500+ Sourced quotes
I've always been kind of obsessed with Frida Kahlo, so I was really into the idea of getting something that belonged to her. And then from Frida Kahlo I found out about Tina Modotti and then I started collecting her stuff and Edward Weston, and one person always leads to another person with me, because for me it started with Diego Rivera, then it went to Frida Kahlo, then it went to Tina, and Edward and... Also, if you're into Picasso, and you want to find out about him and that whole area of art and European culture, then you start reading about Man Ray and the surrealists and Andre Breton, and all of a sudden you're in that whole world and you start having interests in other people. It's like a disease.
In America I was liberated from a certain naïve belief in culture and attained the capacity to see culture from the outside. To clarify the point: in spite of all social criticism and all consciousness of the primacy of economic factors, the fundamental importance of the mind— Geist —was quasi a dogma self-evident to me from the very beginning. The fact that this was not a foregone conclusion, I learned in America, where no reverential silence in the presence of everything intellectual prevailed.
What has become alien to men is the human component of culture, its closest part, which upholds them against the world. They make common cause with the world against themselves, and the most alienated condition of all, the omnipresence of commodities, their own conversion into appendages of machinery, is for them a mirage of closeness.
Men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the 'culture of waste.' If a computer breaks it is a tragedy, but poverty, the needs and dramas of so many people end up being considered normal.... When the stock market drops 10 points in some cities, it constitutes a tragedy. Someone who dies is not news, but lowering income by 10 points is a tragedy! In this way people are thrown aside as if they were trash.
The fact is, that civilization requires slaves. The Greeks were quite right there. Unless there are slaves to do the ugly, horrible, uninteresting work, culture and contemplation become almost impossible. Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.
I recognize that democracy is going to take different forms in different parts of the world. The very idea of a people governing themselves depends upon government giving expression to their unique culture, their unique history, their unique experiences. But some universal truths are self-evident. No person wants to be imprisoned for peaceful worship. No woman should ever be abused with impunity, or a girl barred from going to school. The freedom to peacefully petition those in power without fear of arbitrary laws — these are not ideas of one country or one culture. They are fundamental to human progress.