Thursday, January 19, 2006

Random Transmissions 11: J.G.Ballard

Some people have suggested that mental illness is a kind of adaptation to the sort of circumstances that will arise in the future. As we move towards a more and more psychotic landscape, the psychotic traits are signs of a kind of Darwinian adaptation.

The advanced societies of the future will not be governed by reason. They will be driven by irrationality, by competing systems of psychopathology.

Learn the rules, and you can get away with anything.

A general rule: if enough people predict something, it won't happen.

It was an excess of fantasy that killed the old United States, the whole Mickey Mouse and Marilyn thing, the most brilliant technologies devoted to trivia like instant cameras and space spectaculars that should have stayed in the pages of Science Fiction. . . some of the last Presidents of the U.S.A. seemed to have been recruited straight from Disneyland.

Sex times technology equals the future.

The number of exhilarating, important experiences is limited. There's that school of anthropologists who have come up with the "Village Theory." They found that everybody had basically the same pattern . . . you had, say, two powerful sexual partners who transcended all the others. You fell in love once, there was one member of your family you really loved, etc. In your life you're going to meet two adult friends whom you're going to be really close to--if you've had them, you've had them--the slots are filled in the brain, because the brain has a certain finite capacity for friendship . . . And if you have too much experience, you exhaust your capacity for further experiences.

[Joseph] Conrad once said that it's necessary to immerse yourself in the most destructive elements of the times, and then attempt to swim . . .

I always tell the truth . . . It's a new way of lying. If you tell the truth people don't know whether to believe you. It helps me in my work.

The only definition of real happiness: to find yourself and be who you are.

(From RE/Search Publications' J.G.Ballard: Quotes
More here)


The marriage of reason and nightmare which has dominated the 20th century has given birth to an ever more ambiguous world. Across the communications landscape move the specters of sinister technologies and the dreams that money can buy.

The American Dream has run out of gas. The car has stopped. It no longer supplies the world with its images, its dreams, its fantasies. No more. It's over. It supplies the world with its nightmares now...

Given that external reality is a fiction, the writer's role is almost superfluous. He does not need to invent the fiction because it is already there.

We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind -- mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery . . .

The president of the United States bears about as much relationship to the real business of running America as does Colonel Sanders to the business of frying chicken.

Modernism: The Gothic of the Information Age.

Money: The original digital clock.

If you can smell garlic, everything is all right.

Art exists because reality is neither real nor significant.

Each of us is little more than the meagre residue of the infinite unrealized possibilities of our lives.

1 comment:

aguy said...

Quotations are like snowballs: some, flying along the correct trajectory, will smash windows and let in the cold clear air, others will plop noiselessly onto the snow.
Women are like credit cards: First they seduce you with limitless free toys and pleasure, then they bill you with interest.
Art is like reality: Paint stripper will work as well on a Turner or a Kandinsky as on a faded bathroom wall.
From a future collection of my aimless statements.