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It is only because the world looks on his talent with such a frightening indifference that the artist is compelled to make his talent important.
—  James Baldwin
Fires can't be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks.
—  James Baldwin
Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex, you thought of nothing else if you didn't have it and thought of other things if you did.
—  James Baldwin
A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled.
—  James Baldwin
One can only face in others what one can face in oneself.
—  James Baldwin
Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.
—  James Baldwin
Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.
—  James Baldwin
People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.
—  James Baldwin
Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law.
—  James Baldwin
All art is a kind of confession, more or less oblique. All artists, if they are to survive, are forced, at last, to tell the whole story; to vomit the anguish up.
—  James Baldwin
People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.
—  James Baldwin
I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hate so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.
—  James Baldwin
Every legend, moreover, contains its residuum of truth, and the root function of language is to control the universe by describing it.
—  James Baldwin
Children have never been any good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
—  James Baldwin
The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way ... people look at reality, then you can change it.
—  James Baldwin
The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was when you came in.
—  James Baldwin
The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.
—  James Baldwin
It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.
—  James Baldwin
Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.
—  James Baldwin
Everything in life depends on how that life accepts its limits.
—  James Baldwin
You know, it's not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.
—  James Baldwin
You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can't, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world.
—  James Baldwin
Be careful what you set your heart upon, for it will surely be yours.
—  James Baldwin
Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart; for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.
—  James Baldwin
A liberal: someone who thinks he knows more about your experience than you do.
—  James Baldwin
The most dangerous creation of any society is that man who has nothing to lose.
—  James Baldwin
The questions which one asks oneself begin, at least, to illuminate the world, and become one's key to the experience of others.
—  James Baldwin
Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.
—  James Baldwin

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