DORIS LESSING QUOTES

British author (1919-2013)

Doris Lessing quote

The book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty or fifty -- and vice versa.

DORIS LESSING, introduction, The Golden Notebook

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Tags: books


Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: "You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself -- educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society."

DORIS LESSING, introduction, The Golden Notebook

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Tags: education


Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.

DORIS LESSING, The Times, November 23, 2003

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Whatever you're meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.

DORIS LESSING, attributed, Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has The Time

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Intelligence forbids tears.

DORIS LESSING, A Man and Two Women

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Coming events cast their shadows before.

DORIS LESSING, Shikasta

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The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.

DORIS LESSING, The Sunday Times, May 10, 1992

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Tags: old age


A woman without a man cannot meet a man, any man, of any age, without thinking, even if it's for a half-second, "Perhaps this is THE man."

DORIS LESSING, The Golden Notebook

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Tags: women


We spend our lives fighting to get people very slightly more stupid than ourselves to accept truths that the great men have always known.

DORIS LESSING, The Golden Notebook

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Tags: truth


Art is the Mirror of our betrayed ideals.

DORIS LESSING, The Golden Notebook

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Tags: art


Parents should leave books lying around marked "forbidden" if they want their children to read.

DORIS LESSING, The Times, November 23, 2003

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I'm always astounded at the way we automatically look at what divides and separates us. We never look at what people have in common. If you see it, black and white people, both sides look to see the differences, they don't look at what they have together. Men and women, and old and young, and so on. And this is a disease of the mind, the way I see it. Because in actual fact, men and women have much more in common than they are separated.

DORIS LESSING, interview, Salon, November 11, 1997

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Tags: differences


It is not always possible to know, when you make a note of an event, or a state of mind, how this may strike someone perhaps ten thousand years later.

DORIS LESSING, Shikasta

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It can be considered a rule that the probable duration of an Empire may be prognosticated by the degree to which its rulers believe in their own propaganda.

DORIS LESSING, The Sentimental Agents in the Volyen Empire

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Tags: propaganda


We are all creatures of the stars and their forces, they make us, we make them, we are part of a dance from which we by no means and not ever may consider ourselves separate.

DORIS LESSING, Shikasta

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Tags: stars


It's amazing what you find out about yourself when you write in the first person about someone very different from you.

DORIS LESSING, The Paris Review, spring 1988

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It is terrible to destroy a person's picture of himself in the interests of truth or some other abstraction.

DORIS LESSING, The Grass Is Singing

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Tags: identity


No one's noticed. So much is destroyed, we can't be bothered.

DORIS LESSING, The Paris Review, spring 1988

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I write because I've always written, can't stop. I am a writing animal. The way a silk worm is a silk-producing animal.

DORIS LESSING, attributed, Shoptalk: Learning to Write with Writers

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Tags: writing


Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.

DORIS LESSING, The Golden Notebook

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Tags: freedom