Quotes by: Octavio Paz

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Perhaps things are not things but words: metaphors, words for other things.
Octavio Paz
For the Chinese, the Greeks, the Mayans, or the Egyptians, nature was a living totality, a creative being. For this reason, art, according to Aristotle, is imitation; the poet imitates the creative gesture of nature.
Octavio Paz
To the poet fated to be a poet, self-expression is as natural and as involuntary as breathing is to us ordinary mortals.
Octavio Paz
The truth is that the history of Mexico is a history in the image of its geography: abrupt and tortuous. Each historical period is like a plateau surrounded by tall mountains and separated from the other plateaus by precipices and divides.
Octavio Paz
The idea of modernity is beginning to lose its vitality. It is losing it because modernity is no longer a critical attitude but an accepted, codified convention.
Octavio Paz
The object of poetic activity is essentially language: whatever his beliefs and convictions, the poet is more concerned with words than with what these words designate.
Octavio Paz
Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone.
Octavio Paz
The relations between rhetoric and ethics are disturbing: the ease with which language can be twisted is worrisome, and the fact that our minds accept these perverse games so docilely is no less cause for concern.
Octavio Paz
Despite the often illusory nature of essays on the psychology of a nation, it seems to me there is something revealing in the insistence with which a people will question itself during certain periods of its growth.
Octavio Paz
The characteristic feature of modernity is criticism: what is new is set over and against what is old, and it is this constant contrast that constitutes the continuity of tradition.
Octavio Paz
A work survives its readers; after a hundred or two hundred years, it is read by new readers who impose on it new modes of reading and interpretation. The work survives because of these interpretations, which are, in fact, resurrections: without them, there would be no work.
Octavio Paz
All of us, at some moment, have had a vision of our existence as something unique, untransferable and very precious. This revelation almost always takes place during adolescence.
Octavio Paz
Poems - crystallizations of the universal play of analogy, transparent objects which, as they reproduce the mechanism and the rotary motion of analogy, are waterspouts of new analogies.
Octavio Paz
We twentieth-century Mexicans, even those of pure Indian descent, look on the pre-Columbian world as a world on the other side, not only distant in time but across the cultural divide.
Octavio Paz
The modern tradition is the tradition of revolt. The French Revolution is still our model today: history is violent change, and this change goes by the name of progress. I do not know whether these notions really apply to art.
Octavio Paz
An unread author is an author who is a victim of the worst kind of censorship, indifference - a censorship more effective than the Ecclesiastical Index.
Octavio Paz
Words are things, but things which mean. We cannot do away with meaning without doing away with signs, that is, with language itself. Moreover, we would have to do away with the universe. All the things man touches are impregnated with meaning.
Octavio Paz
When hypocrisy is a character trait, it also affects one's thinking, because it consists in the negation of all the aspects of reality that one finds disagreeable, irrational or repugnant.
Octavio Paz
The world stretches before me, the vast world of the big, the little, and the medium.
Octavio Paz
If contemporary artists sincerely seek to be original, unique, and new, they should begin by disregarding the notions of originality, individuality, and innovation: they are the cliches of our time.
Octavio Paz
Art is an invention of aesthetics, which in turn is an invention of philosophers... What we call art is a game.
Octavio Paz
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