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Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia” Quotes (23 Quotes)


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  • If a book were written all in numbers, it would be true. It would be just. Nothing said in words ever came out quite even. Things in words got twisted and ran together, instead of staying straight and fitting together. But underneath the words, at the center, like the center of the Square, it all came out even. Everything could change, yet nothing would be lost. If you saw the numbers you could see that, the balance, the pattern. You saw the foundations of the world. And they were solid.
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • If you evade suffering you also evade the chance of joy. Pleasure you may get, or pleasures, but you will not be fulfilled. You will not know what it is to come home.
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • My world, my Earth is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human species. We multiplied and fought and gobbled until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt. We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first.
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • 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, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • Outside the locked room is the landscape of time, in which the spirit may, with luck and courage, construct the fragile, makeshift, improbable roads and cities of fidelity: a landscape inhabitable by human beings.
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")


  • The individual cannot bargain with the State. The State recognizes no coinage but power: and it issues the coins itself.
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • A child free from the guilt of ownership and the burden of economic competition will grow up with the will to do what needs doing and the capacity for joy in doing it. It is useless work that darkens the heart. The delight of the nursing mother, of the scholar, of the successful hunter, of the good cook, of the skilful maker, of anyone doing needed work and doing it well, - this durable joy is perhaps the deepest source of human affection and of sociality as a whole.
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • The thing about working with time, instead of against it, he thought, is that it is not wasted. Even pain counts.
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • A scientist can pretend that his work isn't himself, it's merely the impersonal truth. An artist can't hide behind the truth. He can't hide anywhere.
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • There was something lacking - in him, he thought, not in the place. He was not up to it. He was not strong enough to take what was so generously offered. He felt himself dry and arid, like a desert plant, in this beautiful oasis. Life on Anarres had sealed him, closed off his soul; the waters of life welled all around him, and yet he could not drink.
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • And I speak of spiritual suffering! Of people seeing their talent, their work, their lives wasted. Of good minds submitting to stupid ones. Of strength and courage strangled by envy, greed for power, fear of change. Change is freedom, change is life
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • They knew that their anarchism was the product of a very high civilization, of a complex diversified culture, of a stable economy and a highly industrialized technology that could maintain high production and rapid transportation of goods. However vast the distances separating settlements, they held to the ideal of complex organicism.
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • Anyhow they're always exceptions. But most women, their only relationship to a man is having. Either owning or being owned.
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • 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, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")

  • Can true function arise from basic dysfunction?
    (Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia")


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