James Graham Ballard Quotes

The history of psychiatry rewrites itself so often that it almost resembles the self-serving chronicles of a totalitarian and slightly paranoid regime.

James Graham Ballard

Human beings today ... are surrounded by huge institutions we can never penetrate: the City [London's Wall Street], the banking system, political and advertising conglomerates, vast entertainment enterprises. They've made themselves user friendly, but they define the tastes to which we conform. They're rather subtle, subservient tyrants, but no less sinister for that.

James Graham Ballard

Everywhere you look Britain, the States, western Europe people are sealing themselves into crime-free enclaves. That's a mistake a certain level of crime is part of the necessary roughage of life. Total security is a disease of deprivation.

James Graham Ballard

Town-scapes are changing. The open-plan city belongs in the past no more ramblas, no more pedestrian precincts, no more left banks and Latin quarters. We're moving into the age of security grilles and defensible space. As for living, our surveillance cameras can do that for us. People are locking their doors and switching off their nervous systems.

James Graham Ballard

Selfish men make the best lovers. They're prepared to invest in the women's pleasures so that they can collect an even bigger dividend for themselves.

James Graham Ballard

His eyes measured the little chamber. How two people could survive in so small a space was as difficult to grasp as the conventions in contract bridge. Perhaps there was some simple key that would solve the problem, and he would have the subject of another book.

James Graham Ballard

Real war was the thousands of Chinese refugees dying of cholera in the sealed stockades at Pootung, and the bloody heads of Communist soldiers mounted on pikes along the Bund. In a real war no one knew which side he was on, and there were no flags or commentators or winners. In a real war there were no enemies.

James Graham Ballard

Science and technology multiple around us. To an increasing extent they dictate the languages in which we speak and think. Either we use those languages, or we remain mute.

James Graham Ballard

After the commonplaces of everyday life, with their muffled dramas, all my organic expertise for dealing with physical injury had long been blunted or forgotten. The crash was the only real experience I had been through for years.

James Graham Ballard

I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit and force it to look in the mirror.

James Graham Ballard

Along with our passivity, we're entering a profoundly masochistic phase everyone is a victim these days, of parents, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, even love itself. And how much we enjoy it. Our happiest moments are spent trying to think up new varieties of victimhood...

James Graham Ballard

Twenty years ago no one could have imagined the effects the Internet would have: entire relationships flourish, friendships prospertheres a vast new intimacy and accidental poetry, not to mention the weirdest porn. The entire human experience seems to unveil itself like the surface of a new planet.

James Graham Ballard

People, particularly over-moralistic Americans, have often seen me as a pessimist and humourless to boot, yet I think I have an almost maniacal sense of humour. The problem is that it's rather deadpan.

James Graham Ballard

Some people didn't like the novel, it is in some ways extremely bleak. But if you are dealing with the kind of subjects I am trying to demystify the delusions we have about ourselves, to get a more accurate fix on human nature then people are unsettled. And the easiest way to deal with that is to say it's weird or it's cold.

James Graham Ballard

In wartime Shanghai I saw so many horrors... Civilised life is based on a huge number of illusions in which we all collaborate willingly. The trouble is, we forget after a while that they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us.

James Graham Ballard

Dal went on shocking the bourgeoisie till the end. The others, Ernst, Magritte, were all accepted into the critical fold as serious painters. Only Dal held out till the end. He just didn't give a damn.

James Graham Ballard
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