Paul Theroux Quotes About Con

Browse 16 famous quotes of Paul Theroux about Con.

"..luxury is the enemy of observation, a costly indulgence that induces such a good feeling that you notice nothing. Luxury spoils and infantilizes you and prevents you from knowing the world. That is its purpose, the reason why luxury cruises and great hotels are full of fatheads who, when they express an opinion, seem as though they are from another planet. It was also my experience that one of the worst aspects of travelling with wealthy people, apart from the fact that the rich never listen, is that they constantly groused about the high cost of living – indeed, the rich usually complained of being poor." ~ Paul Theroux
"Connection" is the triumphal cry these days. Connection has made people arrogant, impatient, hasty, and presumptuous. ...I don't doubt that instant communication has been good for business, even for the publishing business, but it has done nothing for literature, and might even have harmed it. In many ways connection has been disastrous. We have confused information (of which there is too much) with ideas (of which there are too few). I found out much more about the world and myself by being unconnected." ~ Paul Theroux
"The wish to disappear sends many travelers away. If you are thoroughly sick of being kept waiting at home or at work, travel is perfect: let other people wait for a change. Travel is a sort of revenge for having been put on hold, or having to leave messages on answering machines, not knowing your party's extension, being kept waiting all your working life - the homebound writer's irritants. But also being kept waiting is the human conditon." ~ Paul Theroux
"But: all journeys were return journeys. The farther one traveled, the nakeder one got, until, towards the end, ceasing to be animated by any scene, one was most oneself, a man in a bed surrounded by empty bottles. The man who says, "I've got a wife and kids" is far from home; at home he speaks of Japan. But he does not know - how could he? - that the scenes changing in the train window from Victoria Station to Tokyo Central are nothing compared to the change in himself; and travel writing, which cannot but be droll at the outset, moves from journalism to fiction, arriving promptly as the Kodama Echo at autobiography. From there any further travel makes a beeline to confession, the embarrassed monologue in a deserted bazaar. The anonymous hotel room in a strange city..." ~ Paul Theroux
"The trains [in a country] contain the essential paraphernalia of the culture: Thai trains have the shower jar with the glazed dragon on its side, Ceylonese ones the car reserved for Buddhist monks, Indian ones a vegetarian kitchen and six classes, Iranian ones prayer mats, Malaysian ones a noodle stall, Vietnamese ones bulletproof glass on the locomotive, and on every carriage of a Russian train there is a samovar. The railway bazaar with its gadgets and passengers represented the society so completely that to board it was to be challenged by the national character. At times it was like a leisurely seminar, but I also felt on some occasions that it was like being jailed and then assaulted by the monstrously typical." ~ Paul Theroux
"The least dignified thing that can happen to a man is to be murdered. If he dies in his sleep he gets a respectful obituary and perhaps a smiling portrait; it is how we all want to be remembered. But murder is the great exposer: here is the victim in his torn underwear, face down on the floor, unpaid bills on his dresser, a meager shopping list, some loose change, and worst of all the fact that he is alone. Investigation reveals what he did that day - it all matters - his habits are examined, his behavior scrutinized, his trunks rifled, and a balance sheet is drawn up at the hospital giving the contents of his stomach. Dying, the last private act we perform, is made public: the murder victim has no secrets." ~ Paul Theroux
"The larger an English industry was, the more likely it was to go bankrupt, because the English were not naturally corporate people; they disliked working for others and they seemed to resent taking orders. On the whole, directors were treated absurdly well, and workers badly, and most industries were weakened by class suspicion and false economies and cynicism. But the same qualities that made English people seem stubborn and secretive made them, face to face, reliable and true to their word. I thought: The English do small things well and big things badly." ~ Paul Theroux
"Extensive traveling induces a feeling of encapsulation, and travel, so broadening at first, contracts the mind." ~ Paul Theroux
"Cooking requires confident guesswork and improvisation-- experimentation and substitution, dealing with failure and uncertainty in a creative way" ~ Paul Theroux
"Unless there is a strong sense of place there is no travel writing, but it need not come from topographical description; dialogue can also convey a sense of place. Even so, I insist, the traveler invents the place. Feeling compelled to comment on my travel books, people say to me, "I went there"---China, India, the Pacific, Albania-- "and it wasn't like that." I say, "Because I am not you." ~ Paul Theroux
"I said I didn't think it would be a collectivist state so much as a wilderness in which most people lived hand to mouth, and the rich would live like princes - better than the rich had ever lived, except that their lives would constantly be in danger from the hungry predatory poor. All the technology would serve the rich, but they would need it for their own protection and to assure their continued prosperity." ~ Paul Theroux
"Someone who seems doddery is perhaps not doddery at all but only an older person absorbed in squinting concentration, as though on an ultimate trip, memorizing a scene, grateful for being alive to see it." ~ Paul Theroux
"Fiction gives us the second chances that life denies us." ~ Paul Theroux
"I like the idea of isolation, I like the idea of solitude. You can be connected and have a phone and still be lonely." ~ Paul Theroux
"Death is an endless night so awful to contemplate that it can make us love life and value it with such passion that it may be the ultimate cause of all joy and all art." ~ Paul Theroux
"So far I had been travelling alone with my handbook and my Western Railway timetable: I was happiest finding my own way and did not require a liaison man. It had been my intention to stay on the train, without bothering about arriving anywhere: sight-seeing was a way of passing the time, but, as I had concluded in Istanbul, it was an activity very largely based on imaginative invention, like rehearsing your own play in stage sets from which all the actors had fled." ~ Paul Theroux
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