The Songlines Quotes.

1. "As a general rule of biology, migratory species are less 'aggressive' than sedentary ones. There is one obvious reason why this should be so. The migration itself, like the pilgrimage, is the hard journey: a 'leveller' on which the 'fit' survive and stragglers fall by the wayside. The journey thus pre-empts the need for hierarchies and shows of dominance. The 'dictators' of the animal kingdom are those who live in an ambience of plenty. The anarchists, as always, are the 'gentlemen of the road'."
- Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

2. "A journey is a fragment of Hell."
- Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

3. "Sluggish and sedentary peoples, such as the Ancient Egyptians-- with their concept of an afterlife journey through the Field of Reeds-- project on to the next world the journeys they failed to make in this one."
- Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

4. "If this were so; if the desert were 'home'; if our instincts were forged in the desert; to survive the rigours of the desert - then it is easier to understand why greener pastures pall on us; why possessions exhaust us, and why Pascal's imaginary man found his comfortable lodgings a prison."
- Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

5. "Sometimes, I overheard my aunts discussing these blighted destinies; and Aunt Ruth would hug me, as if to forestall my following in their footsteps. Yet, from the way she lingered over such words as 'Xanadu' or 'Samarkand' or the 'wine-dark sea,' I think she also felt the trouble of the 'wanderer in her soul."
- Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

6. "Richard Lee calculated that a Bushman child will be carried a distance of 4,900 miles before he begins to walk on his own. Since, during this rhythmic phase, he will be forever naming the contents of his territory, it is impossible he will not become a poet."
- Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

7. "Fino a quando, Signore, fino a quando?... "Finché non siano devastate le città...". I Profeti confidavano in un Giorno della Restaurazione, in cui gli Ebrei sarebbero ritornati al frugale ascetismo della vita nomade."
- Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

8. "Proust, more perspicaciously than any other writer, reminds us that the 'walks' of childhood form the raw material of our intelligence."
- Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

9. "[...] la selezione naturale ci ha foggiati - dalla struttura delle cellule cerebrali alla struttura dell'alluce - per una vita di viaggi stagionali a piedi in una torrida distesa di rovi o di deserto. Se era così, se la "patria" era il deserto, se i nostri istinti si erano forgiati nel deserto, per sopravvivere ai suoi rigori - allora era facile capire perché i pascoli più verdi ci vengono a noia, perché le ricchezze ci logorano e perchè l'immaginario uomo di Pascal considerava i suoi confortevoli alloggi una prigione."
- Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

10. "Quali sono, quindi le prime impressioni che un bimbo nomade ha del mondo? Un capezzolo dondolante e una cascata d'oro."
- Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

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