30+ quotes from High-Rise by J.G. Ballard

Quotes from High-Rise

J.G. Ballard ·  208 pages

Rating: (18.2K votes)


“They thrived on the rapid turnover of acquaintances, the lack of involvement with others, and the total self-sufficiency of lives which, needing nothing, were never dissapointed.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Let the psychotics take over. They alone understood what was happening.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“In a sense life in the high-rise had begun to resemble the world outside - there were the same ruthlessness and agression concealed within a set of polite conventions.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“First she would try to kill him, but failing this give him food and her body, breast-feed him back to a state of childishness and even, perhaps, feel affection for him. Then, the moment he was asleep, cut his throat. The synopsis of the ideal marriage.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“A new social type was being created by the apartment building, a cool, unemotional personality impervious to the psychological pressures of high-rise life, with minimal needs for privacy, who thrived like an advanced species of machine in the neutral atmosphere. This was the sort of resident who was content to do nothing but sit in his over-priced apartment, watch television with the sound turned down, and wait for his neighbours to make a mistake.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“He methodically basted the dark skin of the Alsatian, which he had stuffed with garlic and herbs.
"One rule in life", he murmured to himself. "If you can smell garlic, everything is all right".”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“In a sense, these people were the vanguard of a well-to-do and well-educated proletariat of the future, boxed up in these expensive apartments with their elegant furniture and intelligent sensibilities, and no possibility of escape.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Within half an hour almost all the women were drunk, a yardstick Laing had long used to measure the success of a party.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“this was an environment built, not for man, but for man's absence.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Even their insistence on educating their children, the last reflex of any exploited group before it sank into submission, marked the end of their resistance.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“These people were content with their environment, and felt no particular objection to an impersonal steel and concrete landscape, no qualms about the invasion of their privacy by government agencies and organizations, and if anything welcoming these intrusions, using them for their own purposes. These people were the first to master a new kind of 20th century life. They thrived on the rapid turnover of acquaintances, the lack of involvement with others, and the total self-sufficiency of lives which, needing nothing, were never disappointed. Alternatively, their real needs might emerge later.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“The more arid and affectless life became in the high-rise, the greater the possibilities it offered. By its very efficiency, the high-rise took over the task of maintaining the social structure that supported them all. For the first time, it removed the need to suppress every kind of anti-social behavior and left them free to explore any deviant or wayward impulses. It was precisely in these areas where the most important and interesting aspects of their lives would take place. Secure within the shell of the high-rise, like passengers on board an automatically-piloted airliner, they were free to behave in any way they wished, explore the darkest corners they could find. In many ways, the high-rise was a model of all that technology had done to make possible the expression of a truly free psychopathology.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“She referred to the high-rise as if it were some kind of huge animate presence, brooding over them and keeping a magisterial eye on the events taking place.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Reluctantly, he knew that he despised his fellow residents for the way in which they fit so willingly into their appointed slots in the apartment buildings, for their overdeveloped sense of responsibility and lack of flamboyance. Above all, he looked down on them for their good taste. The building was a monument to good taste, to the well-designed kitchen, to sophisticated utencils and fabrics, to elegant and never ostentatious furnishings. In short, to that whole aesthetic sensibility which these well-educated, professional people had inherited from all the schools of industrial design, all the award-winning schemes of interior decoration institutionalized by the last quarter of the century.

Royal detested this orthodoxy of the intelligent. Visiting his neighbors’ apartments, he would find himself physically repelled by the contours of an award-winning coffee pot, but the well-modulated color schemes, by the good taste and intelligence that, Midas-like, had transformed everything in these apartments into an ideal marriage of function and design. In a sense, these people were the vanguard of a well-to-do and well-educated proletariat of the future, boxed up in these expensive apartments with their elegant furniture, and intelligent sensibilities, and no possibility of escape.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Visiting his neighbours’ apartments, he would find himself physically repelled by the contours of an award-winning coffee-pot, by the well-modulated colour schemes, by the good taste and intelligence that, Midas-like, had transformed everything in these apartments into an ideal marriage of function and design.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Mrs Wilder stood passively with her tray, unaware of Royal fondling her, partly because she had been molested by so many men during the past months, but also because the sexual assault itself had ceased to have any meaning.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Our neighbours had happy childhoods to a man and still feel angry. Perhaps they resent never having had a chance to become perverse …”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“All the evidence over several decades cast a critical light on the high-rise as a viable social structure, but cost-effectiveness in the area of public housing and the profitability in the private sector kept pushing these vertical townships into the sky, against the real needs of their occupants. The psychology of high-rise life had been exposed with damaging results. Living in high-rises required a special type of behavior, one that was acquiescent, restrained, even perhaps slightly mad. A psychotic would have a ball here.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Togetherness is beating up an empty elevator.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Wilder went into his sons' bedroom. Glad to see Wilder, they banged their empty feeding-bowls with their plastic machine-pistols. They were dressed in miniature paratroopers' camouflage suits and tin helmets -- the wrong outfit, Wilder reflected, in light of what had been taking place in the high-rise. The correct combat costume was stockbrokers' pin-stripe, briefcase and homburg.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“What's been happening?"
"Nothing... It's already happened”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“The staircase was deserted—the higher up the building the more reluctant were the residents to use the stairs, as if this in some way demeaned them.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Looking up at the endless tiers of balconies, he felt uneasily like a visitor to a malevolent zoo where terraces of vertically mounted cages contained creatures of random and ferocious cruelty.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“the run-down nature of the high-rise was a model of the world into which the future was carrying them, a landscape beyond technology where everything was either derelict or more ambiguously recombined in unexpected but more meaningful ways”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Without knowing it, he had constructed a gigantic vertical zoo, its hundreds of cages stacked above each other. All the events of the past few months made sense if one realised that these brilliant and exotic creatures had learned to open the doors.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“However, for all his affection and loyalty towards the animal, the dog would soon be leaving him - they would both be present at a celebratory dinner when they reached the roof, he reflected with a touch of gallows-humour, but the poodle would be in the pot.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Not for the first time Laing reflected that he and his neighbors were eager for trouble as the most effective means of enlarging their sex lives.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“The sight of the freshly swept floors and neatly furled curtains unsettled Wilder. He pulled the drawers on to the floor, heaved the mattresses off the beds, and urinated into the bath. His burly figure, trousers open to expose his heavy genitalia, glared at him from the mirrors in the bedroom. He was about to break the glass, but the sight of his penis calmed him, a white club hanging in the darkness. He would have liked to dress it in some way, perhaps with a hair-ribbon tied in a floral bow.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“They thrived on the rapid turnover of acquaintances, the lack of involvement with others, and the total self-sufficiency of lives which, needing nothing, were never disappointed. Alternatively,”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


“Now and then, the slight lateral movement of the building in the surrounding airstream sent a warning ripple across the flat surface of the water, as if in its pelagic deeps an immense creature was stirring in its sleep.”
― J.G. Ballard, quote from High-Rise


About the author

J.G. Ballard
Born place: in Shanghai, China
Born date November 15, 1930
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