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As photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal, they also help people to take possession of space in which they are insecure.
Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance.
Any critic is entitled to wrong judgments, of course. But certain lapses of judgment indicate the radical failure of an entire sensibility.
Ambition, if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others.
Although none of the rules for becoming more alive is valid, it is healthy to keep on formulating them.
AIDS occupies such a large part in our awareness because of what it has been taken to represent. It seems the very model of all the catastrophes privileged populations feel await them.
AIDS obliges people to think of sex as having, possibly, the direst consequences: suicide. Or murder.
A fiction about soft or easy deaths is part of the mythology of most diseases that are not considered shameful or demeaning.
A family's photograph album is generally about the extended family and, often, is all that remains of it.
The standard that a society should actually embody its own professed principles is a utopian one, in the sense that moral principles contradict the way things really are --- and always will be. How things really are --- and always will be --- is neither all-evil nor all-good but deficient, inconsistent, inferior. Principles invite us to do something about the morass of contradictions in which we function morally. Principles invite us to clean up our act; to become intolerant of moral laxity and compromise and cowardice and the turning away from what is upsetting: that secret gnawing of the heart that tells us that what we are doing is not right, and so counsels us that we'd be better off just not thinking about it.
The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.
What pornography is really about, ultimately, isn't sex but death.
Tamed as it may be, sexuality remains one of the demonic forces in human consciousness -- pushing us at intervals close to taboo and dangerous desires, which range from the impulse to commit sudden arbitrary violence upon another person to the voluptuous yearning for the extinction of one's consciousness, for death itself. Even on the level of simple physical sensation and mood, making love surely resembles having an epileptic fit at least as much as, if not more than, it does eating a meal or conversing with someone.
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