Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

360 Inspiring Quotes by Ursula K. Le Guin

  • Last updated Jul 26 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Wikipedia Summary for Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (October 21, 1929 – January 22, 2018) was an American author best known for her works of speculative fiction, including science fiction works set in her Hainish universe, and the Earthsea fantasy series. She was first published in 1959, and her literary career spanned nearly sixty years, producing more than twenty novels and over a hundred short stories, in addition to poetry, literary criticism, translations, and children's books. Frequently described as an author of science fiction, Le Guin has also been called a "major voice in American Letters". Le Guin herself said she would prefer to be known as an "American novelist".

Le Guin was born in Berkeley, California, to author Theodora Kroeber and anthropologist Alfred Louis Kroeber. Having earned a master's degree in French, Le Guin began doctoral studies but abandoned these after her marriage in 1953 to historian Charles Le Guin. She began writing full-time in the late 1950s and achieved major critical and commercial success with A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) and The Left Hand of Darkness (1969), which have been described by Harold Bloom as her masterpieces. For the latter volume, Le Guin won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel, becoming the first woman to do so. Several more works set in Earthsea or the Hainish universe followed; others included books set in the fictional country of Orsinia, several works for children, and many anthologies.

Cultural anthropology, Taoism, feminism, and the writings of Carl Jung all had a strong influence on Le Guin's work. Many of her stories used anthropologists or cultural observers as protagonists, and Taoist ideas about balance and equilibrium have been identified in several writings. Le Guin often subverted typical speculative fiction tropes, such as through her use of dark-skinned protagonists in Earthsea, and also used unusual stylistic or structural devices in books such as the experimental work Always Coming Home (1985). Social and political themes, including race, gender, sexuality, and coming of age were prominent in her writing, and she explored alternative political structures in many stories, such as in the parable "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" (1973) and the utopian novel The Dispossessed (1974).

Le Guin's writing was enormously influential in the field of speculative fiction, and has been the subject of intense critical attention. She received numerous accolades, including eight Hugos, six Nebulas, and twenty-two Locus Awards, and in 2003 became the second woman honored as a Grand Master of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The U.S. Library of Congress named her a Living Legend in 2000, and in 2014, she won the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Le Guin influenced many other authors, including Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie, David Mitchell, Neil Gaiman, and Iain Banks. After her death in 2018, critic John Clute wrote that Le Guin had "presided over American science fiction for nearly half a century", while author Michael Chabon referred to her as the "greatest American writer of her generation".

pink flower

Elegance is a small price to pay for enlightenment, and I was glad to pay it.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


man on running field

His gentleness was uncompromising; because he would not compete for dominance, he was indomitable.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

silhoutte of mountains during sunset

With eye and hand and breath and will.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

man in blue jacket and blue pants carrying black and red backpack standing on snow covered

I never knew anybody ... who found life simple. I think a life or a time looks simple when you leave out the details.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

white brick wall

I do not care what comes after; I have seen the dragons on the wind of morning.

--Ursula K. Le Guin




shallow focus photography of white flowers

The ships always come to the new world at a bad time.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

green and white painted wall

When in the Land of Property think like a propertarian. Dress like one, eat like one, act like one, be one.

--Ursula K. Le Guin




milky way wallpaper

I know who I was, I can tell you who I may have been, but I am, now, only in this line of words I write.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



green leafed trees during daytime

It takes a while to spoil a world, but it can be done.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

yellow green leaf

Part of the particular interest and beauty of science fiction and fantasy: writer and reader collaborate in world-making.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

fire near trees

Nothing means anything but the proper names.

--Ursula K. Le Guin




snow covered mountain during daytime

When the enemy enthusiastically embraces you, and the fellow countrymen bitterly reject you, it is hard not to wonder if you are, in fact, a traitor.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

boy and cat in front of moon

It is hard to swear when sex is not dirty and blasphemy does not exist.

--Ursula K. Le Guin




tree and pink sky painting

Abstractions about right and wrong, whether they are as old as Thou Shalt Not Kill or as modern as Do Your Own Thing, often serve only to confuse and weaken genuine moral decision.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Arizona landscape pines

Every book purchase made from Amazon is a vote for a culture without content and without contentment.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

leafless tree

It's a rare gift, to know where you need to be, before you've been to all the places you don't need to be.

--Ursula K. Le Guin






rock formation under starry skies

Primitiveness and civilization are degrees of the same thing. If civilization has an opposite, it is war.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

blue sky with white clouds

The children of the revolution are always ungrateful, and the revolution must be grateful that it is so.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

yellow flower field near bare trees during daytime

A profound love between two people involves, after all, the power and chance of doing profound hurt.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


black and white duck on brown wooden dock during daytime

To be whole is to be part;
true voyage is return.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

grayscale photo of elephant on grass field

The more defensive a society, the more conformist.

--Ursula K. Le Guin





None

I never had a gift but one, to know when the great wheel gives to a touch, to know and act.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

silhouette of off-road car

A moral choice in its basic terms appears to be a choice that favors survival: a choice made in favor of life.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


adobe wall

The child stared at her or at nothing, trying to breathe, and trying again to breathe, and trying again to breathe.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



mountains covered with fog

She obeys me, but only because she wants to. It's the only justification for obedience, Ged observed.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


red and white led lighted heart decor

No, I don't mean love, when I say patriotism. I mean fear. The fear of the other. And its expressions are political, not poetical: hate, rivalry, aggression.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



photo og calm body of water

There are no right answers to wrong questions.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

bird on pier

Why are my sons followed thus by darkness?'
...'Because they were born in the house of flesh, therefore death follows at their heels.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



None

By such literalism, fundamentalism, religions betrayed the best intentions of their founders. Reducing thought to formula, replacing choice by obedience, these preachers turned the living word into dead law.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

pug lying on pet bed

The use of imaginative fiction is to deepen your understanding of your world, and your fellow men, and your own feelings, and your destiny.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



green trees under white sky during daytime

Heaven and earth
begin in the unnamed:
name's the mother
of the ten thousand things.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

orange petaled flowers

Those who build walls are their own prisoners.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Longer Version:

Those who build walls are their own prisoners. I'm going to go fulfill my proper function in the social organism. I'm going to unbuild walls.


black textile on white textile

In feudal times the aristocracy had sent their sons to university, conferring superiority on the institution. Nowadays it was the other way round: the university conferred superiority on the man.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


adobe wall

Virginity is now a mere preamble or waiting room to be got out of as soon as possible; it is without significance.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Longer Version:

Virginity is now a mere preamble or waiting room to be got out of as soon as possible; it is without significance. Old age is similarly a waiting room, where you go after life's over and wait for cancer or a stroke. The years before and after the menstrual years are vestigial: the only meaningful condition left to women is that of fruitfulness.


men's white dress shirt

Has a shadow a name? ¿Tiene nombre una sombra?

--Ursula K. Le Guin

landscape photography of mountain

For a word to be spoken, there must be silence. Before, and after.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Arizona landscape

At the pit's bottom is no anger.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

focus photography of chick on gray ground

When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

red rose

Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further development.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

empty pathway

To oppose something is to maintain it.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Longer Version:

To oppose something is to maintain it... You must go somewhere else; you must have another goal; then you walk a different road.


group of camels walking on desert lake at daytime

There's a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

city lights from hill

It is hard, I found, to be called traitor. Strange how hard it is, for it's an easy name to call another man.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

selective focus photography of Russian Blue cat

The sunlights differ, but there is only one darkness.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

purple flowered hedge plants

Some dreams tell us what we wish to believe. Some dreams tell us what we fear. Some dreams are of what we know though we may not know we know it. The rarest dream is the dream that tells us what we have not known.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

blue flower in close up photography

Belief is the wound that knowledge heals.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

green lizard

I always grow poetic when I am lying to myself.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

four person standing beside wall

By and large books are mankind's best invention.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


aerial view of foggy forest

Consistency is a virtue until it gets annoying.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



low angle photography of purple sky

Translation is entirely mysterious. Increasingly I have felt that the art of writing is itself translating, or more like translating than it is like anything else.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Longer Version:

Translation is entirely mysterious. Increasingly I have felt that the art of writing is itself translating, or more like translating than it is like anything else. What is the other text, the original? I have no answer. I suppose it is the source, the deep sea where ideas swim, and one catches them in nets of words and swings them shining into the boat... where in this metaphor they die and get canned and eaten in sandwiches.


focused photo of a red rose

Paradise is for those who make paradise.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Bryce Canyon National Park Sunrise Point at Utah

You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



brown and gray brick wall

Even in merely reading a fairytale, we must let go our daylight convictions and trust ourselves to be guided by dark figures, in silence; and when we come back, it may be very hard to describe where we have been.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



closeup photography of wall

If you want to know all about the sea ... and ask the sea itself, what does it say? Grumble grumble swish swish. It is too busy being itself to know anything about itself.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

iceberg near mountain during day

You always have to defend the imagination against idiots.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

green leaf tree near mountain covered by snow at daytime

We read books to find out who we are.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Longer Version:

We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.


body of water

The airport bookstore did not sell books, only bestsellers, which Sita Dulip cannot read without risking a severe systemic reaction.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

blue sky

The thought was meaningless, an attempt to quantify direct experience.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

white clouds and blue sky during daytime

There's a good deal in common between the mind's eye and the TV screen, and though the TV set has all too often been the boobtube, it could be, it can be, the box of dreams.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

blue and white painted wall

The pornography of violence of course far exceeds, in volume and general acceptance, sexual pornography, in this Puritan land of ours.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Longer Version:

The pornography of violence of course far exceeds, in volume and general acceptance, sexual pornography, in this Puritan land of ours. Exploiting the apocalypse, selling the holocaust, is a pornography. For the ultimate selling job on ultimate violence one must read those works of fiction issued by our government as manuals of civil defense, in which you learn that there's nothing to be afraid of if you've stockpiled lots of dried fruit.


purple and white clouds during night time

Only in silence the word, only in dark the light, only in dying life: bright the hawk's flight on the empty sky.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

purple and black light illustration

And though I came to forget or regret all I have ever done, yet I would remember that once I saw the dragons aloft on the wind at sunset above the western isles; and I would be content.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


snowy mountain

If a book told you something when you were fifteen, it will tell you it again when you're fifty, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you're reading a whole new book.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

full moon in the sky

What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?

--Ursula K. Le Guin

yellow and blue painted wall

Wrongs done could not be righted, but at least they were not still being done.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

green fern plant

An owl is mostly air.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

woman wears black dress

What is the sense of giving a boundary to all that, of giving it a name and ceasing to love where the name ceases to apply? What is love of one's country; is it hate of one's uncountry?

--Ursula K. Le Guin

brown rock formation

So honest conversation about concerning geezerhood takes place mostly among geezers.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

photo of giraffe

A dangerous book will always be in danger from those it threatens with the demand that they question their assumptions. They'd rather hang on to the assumptions and ban the book.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


body of water under clear blue sky painting

To use the enemy's weapon is to play the enemy's game...speak the truth and hear the truth.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



group of people inside the room in grayscale photo

I am tired of safe places, and roofs, and walls around me.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

group of people waving their hands

Compare the torrent and the glacier. Both get where they are going.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Light blue to dark blue gradient

If you want your writing to be taken seriously, don't marry and have kids, and above all, don't die. But if you have to die, commit suicide. They approve of that.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



three person looking stars and milky way

It's not a weapon or a woman can make a man, or magery either, or any power, anything but himself.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


green grass field with smoke

The artist deals in what cannot be said in words. The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Light blue to dark blue gradient

"Everything is old, here. We are old -- the Masters."
"You're not," Irian said. She thought him between thirty and forty...
"But I came far. Miles can be years."

--Ursula K. Le Guin

bird in the sky

You must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on that act.

--Ursula K. Le Guin




green moss on brown tree trunk

All men were alien one to another, at times, not only aliens.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


green moss on brown tree trunk

Even foolery is dangerous," said Jasper, "in the hands of a fool.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

coconut tree near body of water

To think that realistic fiction is by definition superior to imaginative fiction is to think imitation is superior to invention.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

green trees near lake under cloudy sky during daytime

At this point, realism is perhaps the least adequate means of understanding or portraying the incredible realities of our existence.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


purple and blue light illustration

When he found that the administrators were upset, he laughed. "Do they expect students not to be anarchists?" he said. "What else can the young be? When you are on the bottom, you must organize from the bottom up."

--Ursula K. Le Guin


silhouette of person standing beside bare tree under stary sky

I was with you at the beginning of your journey. It is right that I should follow you to its end.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

long exposure photography of lights

But now his dry and silent grieving for his lost wife must end, for there she stood, the fierce, recalcitrant, and fragile stranger, forever to be won again.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

pair of white lace-up shoes

This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


yellow background

As a man's real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing,but does only and wholly what he must do.

--Ursula K. Le Guin




time lapse photography body of water

Takver looked at him with mistrustful curiosity. She was four years old. She had a round head, a round face. She was round.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


brown sands

The fish in the creek said nothing. Fish never do. Few people know what fish think about injustice, or anything else.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

brown, black, and white butterfly on purple petaled flower photo

I don't write tracts, I write novels. I'm not a preacher, I'm a fiction writer.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


landscape photo of waters, mountains, and black clouds

You can't crush ideas by suppressing them. You can only crush them by ignoring them. By refusing to think, refusing to change.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



yellow flower field near mountain during daytime

It is above all by the imagination that we achieve perception and compassion and hope.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

red surface

To be oneself is a rare thing, and a great one.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

green leaf

"How do I know," she said at last, "that you are what you seem to be?"
"You don't," Said he. "I don't know what I seem, to you."

--Ursula K. Le Guin

pink and white abstract painting

Realism is a very sophisticated form of literature, a very grown-up one. And that may be its weakness. But fantasy seems to be eternal and omnipresent and always attractive to kids.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

purple and green light digital wallpaper

The reason literacy is important is that literature is the operating instructions. The best manual we have. The most useful guide to the country we're visiting, life.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


sunset

How rich we are in knowledge, and in all that lies around us yet to learn. Billionaires, all of us.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



lion on green grass during golden hour

To see that your life is a story while you're in the middle of living it may be a help to living it well.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

low angle photo of starry night

I, like Borges, think of heaven as something very like a library.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


adobe wall

There's a saying," Aeneas said: "Keep an eye on Greeks when they offer gifts." He spoke wryly. "Horses, particularly.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


man in black suit jacket and woman in blue dress kissing during daytime

In art, 'good enough' is not good enough.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



foggy mountains

A forest ecology is a delicate one. If the forest perishes, its fauna may go with it. The Athshean word for world is also the word for forest.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


brown wooden board

Honestly, orthodoxy concerns me about as much as it concerns your average jackrabbit. I only follow rules that take me where I want to go. If there aren't any rules, I make up my own and follow them strictly.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

couple kissing under gray clouds

It is useless work that darkens the heart.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

forest trees photograph

I am living in a nightmare, from which from time to time I wake in sleep.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

black pug standing tiled floor

The world is in balance . To light a candle is to cast a shadow.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


blue textile on brown wooden table

I don't teach writing classes anymore, and I'm really glad I don't, because I would feel very strange about telling people, 'Go out there and be a writer, and make a living from it.'

--Ursula K. Le Guin

red roses on book

Students are intense people, they laugh and cry, they break down and rebuild.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

None

We tried mindspeech again. I had never before sent repeatedly to a total non-receiver. The experience was disagreeable. I began to feel like an atheist praying.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

man in black bubble hoodie looking at the stars

Which is better off, a lizard basking in the sun or a philosopher?

--Ursula K. Le Guin





green trees near lake under cloudy sky during daytime

What the brain does by itself is infinitely more fascinating and complex than any response it can make to chemical stimulation.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



gray and white concrete floor

It is of the nature of idea to be communicated: written, spoken, done. The idea is like grass. It craves light, likes crowds, thrives on crossbreeding, grows better for being stepped on.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

blue and black abstract painting

Scientific truth will out, you can't hide the sun under a stone.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

A white stripe pattern made up of concrete facade ribs

We all have forests on our minds. Forests unexplored, unending. Each one of us gets lost in the forest, every night, alone.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

silhouette of people riding bicycle

Cinders patter, falling with the snow. We creep infinitesimally northward through the dirty chaos of a world in the process of making itself.
Praise then Creation unfinished!

--Ursula K. Le Guin

body of water near mountains

Alone, no one wins freedom.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

man riding on boat on body of water

Life goes on, even if two-headed and glowing faintly in the dark.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



white wooden table near brown chair

He is far too intelligent to become really cerebral.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

bird on pier

Crankish attacks on the freedom to read are common at present. When backed and coordinated by organized groups, they become sinister.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

green, red, and white abstract painting

We sleep researchers like cats, you know; they sleep a lot!

--Ursula K. Le Guin

person standing on rock formation during daytime

The end justifies the means. But what if there never is an end? All we have is means.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


close-up photo of pink flower

The prisoner is the jailer's jailer.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

yellow flower field near mountain during daytime

The historic function of a Senator from Oregon is to drive all the other Senators mad.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

silhouette of mountains under blue sky during daytime

I've got some gift for languages. You follow your gift. But Latin's not easy.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


blue and white light digital wallpaper

I am offered the Grand Inquisitor's choice. Will you choose freedom without happiness, or happiness without freedom? The only answer one can make, I think, is: No.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

woman carrying toddler on seashore

You cannot blame everything on the enemy.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

orange moon during nighttime

I had of course met with incredulity..., but seldom with a will to incredulity.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

green pine trees near mountain under blue sky during daytime

The desire for power feeds off itself, growing as it devours.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Arizona landscape pines

That I was not dueling with the king, but trying to communicate with him, was itself an incommunicable fact.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

purple and white clouds during night time

Would you give up the craft of your hands, and the passion of your heart, and the hunger of your mind, to buy safety?

--Ursula K. Le Guin

flower garden

The king was pregnant.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

flowers

Would you walk away from Omelas?

--Ursula K. Le Guin


None

A fantasy is a journey. It is a journey into the subconscious mind, just as psychoanalysis is. Like psychoanalysis, it can be dangerous; and it will change you.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

snow covered mountain under blue sky during daytime

He had made follow him. He had called her by her name, and she had come crouching to his hand.

--Ursula K. Le Guin




concert photos

Her work, I really think her work is finding what her real work is and doing it, her work, her own work, her being human, her being in the world.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



photo of brown parquet

Things change:
authors and wizards are not always to be trusted:
nobody can explain a dragon.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

three boys running on field

I learned that the story has no beginning, and no story has an end. That the story is all muddle, all middle. That the story is never true, but that the lie is indeed a child of silence.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



forest and body of water

O foolish writer. Now moves. Even in storytime, dreamtime, once-upon-a-time, now isn't then.

--Ursula K. Le Guin






mountains covered with fog

You must come to terms with your wholeself. the wholeness which exceeds all our virtue and all our vice.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



brown mountains under blue sky

I hope you are never victims, but I hope you have no power over other people.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

None

He was very weary: the day had been long, and full of dragons. And the way ahead grew dark.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

blue sky and white clouds

This is. And thou art. There is no safety. There is no end. The word must be heard in silence. There must be darkness to see the stars. The dance is always danced above the hollow place, above the terrible abyss.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

brown grass field during daytime

Claude Levi-Strauss has been a great source of fruitful irritation to my mind.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

green leafed tree on body of water under starry sky

There are a whole lot of ways to be perfect, and not one of them is attained through punishment.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


woman in white shirt sitting on brown rock near lake during daytime

My books won't take me far
into this place.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

red moon at night

See, the thing is, as a writer you are free. You are about the freest person that ever was. Your freedom is what you have bought with your solitude, your loneliness.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

adult black and white dog leaning on wooden fence

I'd rather get bad news from an honest man than lies from a flatterer.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


black pug puppy

The hunger of a dragon is slow to wake, but hard to sate.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


elephant on green grass field during daytime

All of us have to learn how to invent our lives , make them up, imagine them. We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don't, our lives get made up for us by other people .

--Ursula K. Le Guin


yellow and blue painted wall

The bond between true lovers is as close as we come to what endures forever.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


car passing by in between trees

Owning is owing, having is hoarding.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Longer Version:

War as a moral metaphor is limited, limiting, and dangerous. By reducing the choices of action to “a war against” whatever-it-is, you divide the world into Me or Us (good) and Them or It (bad) and reduce the ethical complexity and moral richness of our life to Yes/nNo, On/nOff. This is puerile, misleading, and degrading. In stories, it evades any solution but violence and offers the reader mere infantile reassurance. All too often the heroes of such fantasies behave exactly as the villains do, acting with mindless violence, but the hero is on the “right” side and therefore will win. Right makes might.


green leafed plant

So wise souls, leaving self behind
move forward,
and setting self aside
stay centered.
Why let the self go?
To keep what the soul needs.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


black and yellow wall sconce

After a pause she said, "I see your magic is not good only for large things."
"Hospitality," he said, "kindness to a stranger, that's a very large thing."

--Ursula K. Le Guin


blue and white striped textile

We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

white and blue ice in water

There's a great fear of the imagination. It's a dangerous thing. It's out of control, it's subversive.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

blue wallpaper

I had forgotten how much light there is in the world, till you gave it back to me.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

man holding brown violin

The only questions that really matter are the ones you ask yourself.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


seashore at daytime

True understanding is the spur of genius.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

brown rocky mountain under blue sky during daytime

Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art -- the art of words.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


white clouds and blue sky during daytime

The literature of the emperor penguin is as forbidding, as inaccessible, as the frozen heart of Antarctica itself. Its beauties may be unearthly, but they are not for us.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

red textile in close up photography

Like all walls it was ambiguous, two faced. What was inside it and what was outside it depended upon which side you were on.

--Ursula K. Le Guin




None

He took pleasure in her inconsequential talk just as he did in the sunshine and the snow.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

brown grass field near gray rocky mountain during daytime

We decided that it was no good asking what is the meaning of life, because life isn't an answer, life is the question, and you, yourself, are the answer.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


blue sky and white clouds

Reason is a faculty far larger than mere objective force. When either the political or the scientific discourse announces itself as the voice of reason, it is playing God, and should be spanked and stood in the corner.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


time lapse photography of lightning during storm

In general she had found that the main drawback in being a man was that conversations were less interesting.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

None

This was the way he had to go; he had no choice. He had never had any choice. He was only a dreamer.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

brown nut on person's left palm

Can true function arise from basic dysfunction?

--Ursula K. Le Guin

street lamp

What good is power when you're too wise to use it?

--Ursula K. Le Guin


silhouette of trees during sunset

They argued because they liked argument, liked the swift run of the unfettered mind along the paths of possibility, liked to question what was not questioned.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


flying blue and green hummingbird

It's so much easier to blame the grownups than to be one.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

None

Anger points powerfully to the denial of rights, but the exercise of rights can't life and thrive on anger. It lives and thrives on the dogged pursuit of justice.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

multicolored heart LED light on wall

Time is not duration but intensity; time is the beat and the interval.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

body of water during daytime

Everything dreams. The play of form, of being, is the dreaming of substance. Rocks have their dreams, and the earth changes..

--Ursula K. Le Guin

photography of yellow petaled flowers field

Fiction--and poetry and drama-- cleanse the doors of perception.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Longer Version:

It is our suffering that brings us together. It is not love. Love does not obey the mind, and turns to hate when forced. The bond that binds us is beyond choice. We are brothers. We are brothers in what we share. In pain, which each of us must suffer alone, in hunger, in poverty, in hope, we know our brotherhood. We know it, because we have had to learn it. We know that there is no help for us but from one another, that no hand will save us if we do not reach out our hand. And the hand that you reach out is empty, as mine is. You have nothing. You possess nothing. You own nothing. You are free. All you have is what you are, and what you give.


silhouette of person wearing cowboy hat during sunset

People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


silhouette photography of person

Which of us saved the other from the Labyrinth, Ged?

--Ursula K. Le Guin

silhouette photography of wavy ocean

The old knowledge had been difficult but not distressing. It had been all paradox and myth, and it had made sense. The new knowledge was all fact and reason, and it made no sense.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


blue and black butterfly on pink and yellow flower

One voice speaking truth is a greater force than fleets and armies.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

forest near mountain alps

A meaningless question has only meaningless answers.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

grey cliff near body of water

Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


focus photography of chick on gray ground

Sometimes you must go against the wheel's turn.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

blue and white light digital wallpaper

George Orr stayed in Portland because he had always lived there and because he had no reason to believe that life anywhere else would be better, or different.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Longer Version:

Capitalism’s grow-or-die imperative stands radically at odds with ecology’s imperative of interdependence and limit. The two imperatives can no longer coexist with each other; nor can any society founded on the myth that they can be reconciled hope to survive. Either we will establish an ecological society or society will go under for everyone, irrespective of his or her status "On the Future of the Left," Motherboard, February 4, 2015.





brown and grey trees and rock formation painting

When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


green leaf in close up photography

One keeps oneself neat out of mere decency mere sanity, awareness of other people. And finally even that goes, and one dribbles unashamed.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

None

The misogyny that shapes every aspect of our civilization is the institutionalized form of male fear and hatred of what they have denied and therefore cannot know, cannot share: that wild country, the being of women.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


None

Little mirrors were attached to the front of their cars, at which they glanced to see where they had been; then they stared ahead again. I had thought that only beetles had this delusion of Progress.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

green forest during daytime

Why can I never set my heart on a possible thing?

--Ursula K. Le Guin


green trees near lake under cloudy sky during daytime

Violence gains nothing, killing wins nothing--only sometimes nothing is what people want. Death is what they want. And they get it.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

palm trees covered with fog

To exhibit the perfect uselessness of knowing the answer to the wrong question.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


landscape photo of mountains under starry sky at nighttime

Sleeping people are so remote.... Right here, but out of communication. That's what strikes humans as uncanny about sleep. Its utter privacy. The sleeper turns his back on everyone.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

panoramic photography of mountains

Nothing said in words ever came out quite even. Things in words got twisted and ran together, instead of staying straight and fitting together.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


Arizona landscape

To see a candle's light one must take it into a dark place.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


black fishes

I do try to separate my personal activism -- showing up at a demonstration or something -- from what I write.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


Arizona landscape

The reader can't take much for granted in a fiction where the scenery can eat the characters.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


yellow sunflower under blue sky during daytime

What will the creature made all of seadrift do on the dry sand of daylight; what will the mind do, each morning, waking?

--Ursula K. Le Guin

black Corona typewriter on brown wood planks

The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


white tulips with green leaves

There are talking dogs all over the place, unbelievably boring they are, on and on and on about sex and shit and smells, and smells and shit and sex, and do you love me, do you love me, do you love me.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


green leafed seedlings on black plastic pots

The great authors share their souls with us- literally.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

pair of white lace-up shoes

Dead anarchists make martyrs, you know, and keep living for centuries. But absent ones can be forgotten.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

forest at daytime

Having one king, one god, one belief, they can act single-mindedly.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Arizona landscape rocks

Besides, when you say you're a feminist it annoys the bigots and the old farts and the prissy ladies so much, it's kind of irresistible.

--Ursula K. Le Guin



silhouette of person wearing cowboy hat during sunset

The direction of escape is toward freedom. So what is ‘escapism' an accusation of?

--Ursula K. Le Guin

worm's eye view of trees during night time

If the rowan's roots are shallow, it bears no crown.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


man in black tank top standing near tree under starry night

'Banished men should never speak their native tongue; it comes bitter from their mouth. And this language suits a traitor better, I think; drips off one's teeth like sugar-syrup.'

--Ursula K. Le Guin

brown and gray mountains during daytime

I don't know if it's right to count people like you count numbers.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

green trees on brown dried leaves during daytime

Gradually the healing took place, seeming as it always does that it wasn't taking place.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

raindrops on clear window

Not even need and love can defeat fate.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

body of water

A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it... By using words well they strengthen their souls.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Longer Version:

A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.



white wall paint with white wall paint

It is yin and yang. Light is the left hand of darkness ... how did it go? Light, dark. Fear, courage. Cold, warmth. Female, male. It is yourself ... both and one. A shadow on snow.

--Ursula K. Le Guin


brown and gray floral textile

The individual cannot bargain with the State. The State recognizes no coinage but power: and it issues the coins itself.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

sunset

Hollowed out,
clay makes a pot.
Where the pot's not
is where it's useful.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

bird in the sky

I believe that maturity is not an outgrowing, but a growing up: that an adult is not a dead child, but a child who survived.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

Longer Version:

I believe that maturity is not an outgrowing, but a growing up: that an adult is not a dead child, but a child who survived. I believe that all the best faculties of a mature human being exist in the child. . . . that one of the most deeply human, and humane, of these faculties is the power of imagination.



white and blue floral textile

What they feared was what they didn't know, what they clung to was what they knew.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

turned on desk lamp beside pile of books

The light is the left hand of darkness.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

sunset

The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

elephant on green grass field during daytime

I think that things happen in nature that we don't altogether understand, and to call them ghosts is to make sure we will not understand. The best we can do is not to put a name to them, but to listen.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

None

The model of modern Western civilization is the virus: the pure bit of information, which turns its environment into endless reproductions of itself.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

red rose

Death and life are the same thing-like the two sides of my hand, the palm and the back. And still the palm and the back are not the same...They can be neither separated, nor mixed.

--Ursula K. Le Guin





None

Fake realism is the escapist literature of our time. And probably the ultimate escapist reading is that masterpiece of total unreality, the daily stock market report.

--Ursula K. Le Guin

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