Norman Mailer quotes

  • The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Eugenics #Suffering #Levels

  • Part of living, part of becoming a wise man or a wise woman, is to get to that point where you can have a friend for whom you are genuinely happy when he or she has a success. That's tough. Very few people get to that point. With writers it's next to impossible. You can't really bless a writer who's as good as yourself.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Wise #Men #People

  • Any war that requires the suspension of reason as a necessity for support is a bad war.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #War #Support #Reason

  • People who live under fascism are not only miserable but they're full of shame. You just don't go in and inject democracy into them. They're half crazy with their own...
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Crazy #People #Democracy

  • Writing books is the closest men ever come to childbearing.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Book #Writing #Men

  • You have the right to speak your mind.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Mind #Speak

  • There was that law of life, so cruel and so just, that one must grow or else pay more for remaining the same.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Law #Pay #Literature

  • One of the reasons the English got through all their falls and the loss of their empire, all their disasters, their strikes, their difficulties, their wars through the years was they had Shakespeare to fall back on. And they speak well in England.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #War #Fall #Loss

  • The art of the novel is to arrive at that artless point where your characters become more real than yourself.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Art #Real #Character

  • The condition that is most disagreeable in your life becomes the most useful one. You know, I feel the same way about the U.S. Army. It was absolutely the worst experience of my life, and it was probably the single most valuable experience.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Army #Way #Worst

  • Any workout which does not involve a certain minimum of danger or responsibility does not improve the body - it just wears it out.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Fitness #Workout #Responsibility

  • I don't read other writers because I'm writing all the time. It's too disturbing to read a writer with a good style when you're in the middle of putting your work together.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Writing #Style #Together

  • Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Real #Bad Day #Mean

  • While I'm working on a book, I rarely read anything more than The New York Times. Which may have the long-term effect of flattening my style.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #New York #Book #Long

  • I've made an ***** of myself so many times I often wonder if I am one.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Wonder #Ass #Made

  • Reagan bankrupted the Soviet Union by increasing armaments.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Unions #Armament #Soviet Union

  • To blame the poor for subsisting on welfare has no justice unless we are also willing to judge every rich member of society by how productive he or she is. Taken individual by individual, it is likely that there's more idleness and abuse of government favors among the economically privileged than among the ranks of the disadvantaged.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Taken #Government #Justice

  • We have an absolute right in a democracy to argue about a war.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #War #Democracy #Arguing

  • With the pride of the artist, you must blow against the walls of every power that exists the small trumpet of your defiance.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Wall #Pride #Blow

  • The nightmare in every democracy, the very nightmare, is if it gets worse and worse and worse, we could end up totalitarian.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Democracy #Nightmare #Ends

  • The final purpose of art is to intensify, even, if necessary, to exacerbate, the moral consciousness of people.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Art #People #Finals

  • There are these two kinds of patriotism. There's blind patriotism, unflagging patriotism. And then there's the patriotism that says I live in a democracy and it's very important for the health and the life of this democracy that it get better all the time, not get worse.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Two #Important #Democracy

  • The difference between writing a book and being on television is the difference between conceiving a child and having a baby made in a test tube.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Baby #Children #Book

  • The only faithfulness people have is to emotions they're trying to recapture
    -- Norman Mailer

    #People #Trying #Emotion

  • Once a newspaper touches a story, the facts are lost forever, even to the protagonists.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Forever #Stories #Literature

  • Writer’s block is only a failure of the ego.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Block #Ego

  • The great power in America is the corporations - we`re a corporate country. We`re run by a CEO and the stockholders have very little to say on how the corporation is run. Fine, the board of directors run it and the stockholders can just be disgruntled, but who gives a damn?
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Running #Country #America

  • There is no greater impotence in all the world like knowing you are right and that the wave of the world is wrong, yet the wave crashes upon you.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Knowing #World #Wave

  • I really gave up being passionate about politics 10, 15, 20 years ago, because I think finally that there were forces in the country that are larger than politics itself. And so I find it a fascinating game, this wonderful stuff goes on in terms of watching the game. But If you get to down it, look, I`m going to root for someone, I`ll root at a football game, not for politicians.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Country #Football #Thinking

  • One's condition on ***** is always existential. One can feel the importance of each moment and how it is changing one. One feels one's being, one becomes aware of the enormous apparatus of nothingness - the hum of a hi-fi set, the emptiness of a pointless interruption, one becomes aware of the war between each of us, how the nothingness in each of us seeks to attack the being of others, how our being in turn is attacked by the nothingness in others.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #War #Marijuana #Emptiness

  • God is a creator, not a law giver.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Law #Giver #Creator

  • A modern democracy is a tyranny whose borders are undefined; one discovers how far one can go only by traveling in a straight line until one is stopped.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Freedom #Tyrants #Democracy

  • There`s a tendency for Americans, particularly the simpler you are, the more you believe in the president as the kind of person to be.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Believe #President #Kind

  • Obsession is the single most wasteful human activity, because with an obsession you keep coming back and back and back to the same question and never get an answer.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Answers #Obsession #Coming Back

  • I can`t get excited about politics, but I love it as a game. Because what I love in politics - this is very selfish of me, but who cares - what I do love in politics is this ability it has to make you think in new ways.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Selfish #Thinking #Games

  • I had a quick grasp of the secret to sanity, it had become the ability to hold the maximum of impossible combinations in one's mind.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Secret #Mind #Literature

  • Each day a few more lies eat into the seed with which we are born, little institutional lies from the print of newspapers, the shock waves of television, and the sentimental cheats of the movie screen.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Lying #Each Day #Television

  • I am not here only so that the blind might see, but to teach those who thought they could see that they are blind
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Might #Blind #Teach

  • The war between being and nothingness is the underlying illness of the twentieth century. Boredom slays more of existence than war.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #War #Blessing #Boredom

  • There is nothing safe about sex. There never will be.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Sex #Safe

  • The writer can grow as a person or he can shrink. ... His curiosity, his reaction to life must not diminish. The fatal thing is to shrink, to be interested in less, sympathetic to less, desiccating to the point where life itself loses its flavor, and one’s passion for human understanding changes to weariness and distaste.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Passion #Understanding #Curiosity

  • There's that popular misconception of man as something between a brute and an angel. Actually man is in transit between brute and God.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Angel #Men #Brutes

  • The desire for success lubricates secret prostitution in the soul.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Soul #Secret #Desire

  • Giving a camera to Diane Arbus is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a child.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Children #Hands #Giving

  • Boredom slays more of existence than war.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #War #Boredom #Existence

  • I think it's bad to talk about one's present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Thinking #Roots #Creative

  • Ultimately a hero is a man who would argue with the gods, and so awakens devils to contest his vision. The more a man can achieve, the more he may be certain that the devil will inhabit a part of his creation.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Hero #Men #Vision

  • Every moment of one's existence one is growing into more or retreating into less. One is always living a little more or dying a little bit.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Love #Life #Change

  • Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Sports #Men #Winning

  • I don't think life is absurd. I think we are all here for a huge purpose. I think we shrink from the immensity of the purpose we are here for.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Inspiring #Thinking #Purpose

  • Love asks us that we be a little braver than is comfortable, a little more generous, a little more flexible. It means living on the edge more than we care to.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Mean #Care #Littles

  • Growth is a greater mystery than death. All of us can understand failure, we all contain failure and death within us, but not even the successful man can begin to describe the impalpable elations and apprehensions of growth.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Successful #Men #Growth

  • A nation fights well in proportion to the amount of men and materials it has. And the other equation is that the individual soldier in that army is a more effective soldier the poorer his standard of living has been in the past.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #War #Army #Fighting

  • People move forward into the future out of the way they comprehend the past. When we don't understand something in our past, we are therefore crippled.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #War #Military #Moving

  • As many people die from an excess of timidity as from bravery.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Fear #People #Bravery

  • Like all men who are Napoleonic in their ambitionshe has instincts about the nature of growth, a lover's sense of the momentof crisis, and he knewhow costly is defeat when it is not soothed by greater consciousness, and how wasteful is the profit of victory when there is not the courage to employ it.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Courage #Ambition #Men

  • Madness is locked beneath. It goes into tissues, is swallowed by the cells. The cells go mad. Cancer is their flag. Cancer is thegrowth of madness denied.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Cancer #Cells #Mad

  • If God is all good, then He is not all powerful. If God is all powerful, then He is not all good. I am a disbeliever is the omnipotence of God because of the Holocaust. But for 35 years, I have been believing that He is doing the best he can.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Powerful #Believe #Years

  • I had the idea that there were two worlds. There was a real world as I called it, a world of wars and boxing clubs and children'shomes on back streets, and this real world was a world where orphans burned orphans.... I liked the other world in which almost everyone lived. The imaginary world.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Children #Real #War

  • One will feel the same subtle nausea coming into the city or waiting to depart from it that one feels now in such plastic catacombs as O'Hare's reception center in Chicago.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Cities #Waiting #Nausea

  • Culture is worth a little risk,
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Risk #Culture #Littles

  • And so I ask, "Would You agree that sex is where philosophy begins?" But God, who is the oldest of the philosophers, answers in his weary cryptic way, "Rather think of Sex as Time, and Time as the connection of new circuits.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #God #Time #Sex

  • I respect most boxers because they're violent people who learned to discipline themselves ... a good boxer is an artist ... Boxing is existential - some fights are better than others.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Fighting #Artist #People

  • We're all divided souls, we've got two natures in us, You measure schizophrenia not by the fact that you're divided but how well the divisions speak to one another.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Two #Soul #Facts

  • I think the internet is the greatest waste of time since masturbation was discovered.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Thinking #Waste #Wasting Time

  • We didn't win the Cold War, we were just a big bank that bankrupted a smaller bank because we had an arms race that wiped the Russians out.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #War #Winning #Race

  • Alimony is the curse of the writing class.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Writing #Class #Alimony

  • God like Us suffers the ambition to make a destiny more extraordinary than was conceived for Him, yes God is like Me, only more so.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Ambition #Destiny #Suffering

  • I met Jack Kennedy in November, 1946.... We went out on a double date and it turned out to be a fair evening for me. I seduced a girl who would have been bored by a diamond as big as the Ritz.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Girl #Bored #Evening

  • I would introduce myself if it were not useless. The name I had last night will not be the same as the name I have tonight. For the moment, then, let me say that I am thinking of Sam Slovoda.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Night #Thinking #Names

  • What's not realized about good novelists is that they're as competitive as good athletes. They study each other - where the other person is good and where the person is less good. Writers are like that but don't admit it.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Athlete #Competition #Novelists

  • Nearly everything in the scheme of things works to dull a first-rate talent. But the worst probably is cowardice.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Courage #Dull #Firsts

  • ...the indispensable requirement for a good newspaperman - as eager to tell a lie as the truth.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Lying #Media #Requirements

  • Did a sense of shame ever reside in our Republican toadies? You can't stop people who are never embarrassed by themselves. Will's readiness to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse can be cited as world class sycophancy.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Class #History #People

  • Prevarication, like honesty, is reflexive, and soon becomes a sturdy habit, as reliable as truth.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Honesty #Habit #Sturdy

  • Mailer's Law: A thing either gets better or it costs more to run it the way it was.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Running #Law #Get Better

  • The White Protestant's ultimate sympathy must be with science, factology, and committee rather than with sex, birth, heat, flesh, creation, the sweet and the funky; they must vote, manipulate, control, and direct, these Protestants who are the center of power in our land, they must go for what they believe is reason when it is only the Square logic of the past.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Sweet #Sex #Believe

  • The century would seek to dominate nature as it had never been dominated, would attack the idea of war, poverty and natural catastrophe as never before. The century would create death, devastation and pollution as never before. Yet the century was now attached to the idea that man must take his conception of life out to the stars.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Stars #War #Men

  • Women think of being a man as a gift. It is a duty. Even making love can be a duty. A man has always got to get it up, and love isn't always enough.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Love Is #Men #Thinking

  • Faction is that hybrid of documented fact and novelistic elaboration.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Facts #Factions #Hybrid

  • So you come soon to power, but you have merely inherited the crisis and yours is the profit of cancer.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Cancer #Profit #Crisis

  • Goldstein, you'd be a pretty good boy if you wasn't so chicken.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Boys #Chickens #Good Boy

  • When the wind carries a cry which is meaningful to human ears, it is simpler to believe the wind shares with us some part of the emotion of Being than that the mysteries of a hurricane's rising murmur reduce to no more than the random collision of insensate molecules.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Meaningful #Believe #Wind

  • To make an Army work you have to have every man in it fitted into a fear ladder... The Army functions best when you're frightened of the man above you, and contemptuous of your subordinates.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Army #Men #Ladders

  • The world's not what I want it to be. But then no one ever said I had the right to design the world.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Design #World #Want

  • Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel, which consequently had to be destroyed. And then came the next shock. We had to realize that the people that did this were brilliant. It showed that the ego we could hold up until September 10 was inadequate.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Country #America #People

  • I certainly do have this feeling of affection for the absolute sense of intellectual freedom that exists as a live nerve, a live wire, right through the center of American life.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Freedom #Feelings #Intellectual

  • The only journey of knowledge is from the depth of one being to the heart of another.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Knowledge #Heart #Journey

  • What is there about polarity that is matter becoming more complex?
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Opposites #Becoming #Matter

  • Comfortless was my religion, anxiety of the anxieties, for I believed God was not love, but courage. Love came only as a reward.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Anxiety #Rewards #Courage To Love

  • Los Angeles is a constellation of plastic.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Los Angeles #Plastic #Constellations

  • Love was love, one could find it with anyone, one could find it anywhere. It was just that you could never keep it. Not unless you were ready to die for it.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Ready

  • I did like Robert Vavra's book not only for its so very good photographs but for the text as well. He's no ordinary fellow, obviously...
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Book #Ordinary #Photograph

  • On a late-winter evening in 1983, while driving through fog along the Maine coast, recollections of old campfires began to drift into the March mist, and I thought of the Abnaki Indians of the Algonquin tribe who dwelt near Bangor a thousand years ago.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Winter #Years #Fog

  • I don't trust compliments. I've been getting them for years. Sometimes I deserve them, sometimes I didn't. But generally when people give you compliments there's one of two things wrong with them. Either they're false, or what's worse is they're sincere. They really mean the compliment. And then they're offering you their loyalty. And I'm kind of a stingy... Well, I don't necessarily want to give all that loyalty back. So either way, let's skip the compliments.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Loyalty #Mean #Offering

  • When I read it, I don't wince, which is all I ever ask for a book I write.
    -- Norman Mailer

    #Book #Writing #Wince