Against Opinions: Wisdom from Susan Sontag and Richard Hell

I think about this quote a lot:

There was one thing [Sontag] said that I didn’t understand at all until many years later. She said that she ‘hated opinions’ and that she’d rather not have them. I thought she was being like [host] Victor [Bockris] in contrarian incitement. I took it for granted so completely that opinions defined a person, that one was the sum of one’s opinions and that the point was to have interesting ones, that I could only think she meant something else, like prejudices’ rather than opinions. Wasn’t her whole identity the opinions she spun out in her essays? No, she meant opinions, and that lately she’d been thinking that she wrote the essays to get rid of them, to make ‘space for other things.’ In a way, I was right, because opinions will solidify into prejudices that substitute for perception. Over the years I’ve come to realize that once arrived at, opinions dry up and die, and you have to sweep them away, like she said.

(found it here–do a ctrl-F for “Sontag”)

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!