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Alejandro Jodorowsky (born 17 February 1929) is an actor, playwright, director, producer, composer, mime, comic book writer and psychotherapist. Born in Chile, he became a Mexican citizen and was later naturalized as French.
- "I think the art of filmmaking is something you learn through actions, by doing it, not by learning theories. And as you do it, your mind starts to change."
- Anarchy and Alchemy: the Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky by Ben Cobb (2007) p. 115
- At that time they said I was crazy because I wanted to make a movie that was 14 or 16 hours. But now people do it. There are three—"Hobbit 1," "Hobbit 2," "Hobbit 3." Everything I wanted to do is possible to do today.
- When we didn't make the picture, Dan O'Bannon needed to be interned in a mental institution for two years, suffering because we didn't get to do "Dune." And when he came out he wrote the script for "Alien." "Alien" was the reaction to not doing "Dune." Who would believe that? But it's true!
- Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness.
- As quoted in Investing with Impact: Why Finance is a Force for Good (2016) by Jeremy Balkin
Psychomagic: The Transformative Power of Shamanic Psychotherapy (2010)
- For art to be art it has to cure.
- It is useless to know the future if one ignores who one is here in the moment. (...) The more I advance, the more I notice that all problems stem from the genealogy tree. To enter into a person's difficulties is to enter into his family, to penetrate the psychological atmosphere of his domestic milieu. We are all marked, not to say contaminated, by the psychomental universe of our people. A number of people have associated with them a personality that is not theirs, one that is borrowed from one or more members of their emotional environment. To be born into a family is to be, if I may say it this way, possessed. This possession is transmitted from generation to generation: the enchanted becomes the enchanter in projecting onto his children what was projected onto him—unless an awakening comes to break the cycle. (...) For the awakening to become operable, I must make the person act, lead them to commit a very precise act, but I must do so without taking charge or assuming the role of guide regarding their life.
- We only have problems we really want to have.
- The people with low level of consciousness look for someone else to affirm their value, but people with higher levels of consciousness, what they seek is someone to point out their defects so they can become better.
- That is the marvel of true art, that no one has yet found a way to commercialize it.
- But everyone in the world has a cross. Mine is mine, yours is yours: I only can make you conscious of your cross and, apart from that, you free yourself or not. This depends on you.
- If we want to transform reality, we begin with ourselves. We do not ask the world to change, and we do not fight against society. It has to be us ourselves who affirm our own values.
- Many people effectively stop carrying out what it's called "life's a movie." The majority of people want to be like others, and this drives them to a death in life. It is necessary to find what distinguishes us from others in order to be something. To the extent that we try to be like others, we convert ourselves into zombies.
- We have to stop thinking that God is going to fix everything and saying that if God made everything bad in this universe then we are here to do to, too, again. If there is a God, we are here to help him. This requires that we take possession of the world and of ourselves. We must do what we want to do with full consciousness and with full responsibility. In this level of divine consciousness, we find true art.
- Family hurts us, it is like a trap, it shortens our life, it bothers us psychically and socioculturally, it forces us into a limited level of consciousness, it robs us of our essential self, it inculcates ideas in us that are not our own, and at the moment when we find ourselves in the world, all of this collapses and we have to build a life from scratch. We forgive ourselves because no one is guilty. Generation after generation, each one is victim to the one before. We end up with many centuries of being victims, but in the end you understand that there is no reason for resentment.
- We need to work in a job that we like and always be peaceful people, to do what we like. We must be what we are and not what they want us to be. To love what we love without obligation, without neurotic knots that we cannot untie. To desire what we want and to create what we are capable of making. To live with a certain prosperity, without wasting. But a prosperity for everyone, not a prosperity based on exploiting others. And, of course, it is necessary to become immortals and for this we have to live as if we were immortals thinking that we have a thousand years more to do what we want but without forgetting that in ten seconds we can die.
- At a certain age, you have to make yourself useful for others. When you have lived and life has given you an experience, whether good or bad, the moment arrives when you should pass on what you know. Rather than turn into a dumb old person, you should go further every time. Aging does not exist, neither does mental decline. The memory can have less capacity to find a word or maybe you can feel less sexual desire, less virulence, but there is no reason for desire to have disappeared. If, during your life you have worked the emotions, when you mature you begin to know sublime feelings, which you did not have when you were young because nature did not let you. It takes forty years to find yourself. The true opening of the consciousness cannot be had before this age. From there, the journey begins.
- I remember some artists who said this world isn't worth anything, that it is a pigsty, that we are going nowhere, that God is dead, and all those things. Bad literature is this. To expose your navel, to tell how you drank your morning coffee amid general disgust, with everything around you rotting. While the world is dying, I drink my coffee. Or I perform my little sex acts. This is old-fashioned. One must cross this neurotic curtain.
- Beauty is the maximum limit we can access through language. We cannot reach the truth, but we can get close to it through beauty.
- The symbolic act of the death of the father is absolutely necessary, but it is also necessary to do it in an intelligent way, with lucidity and without resentment. If you perceive your father in a violent way, it is because you are not killing him: you are asking him to love you because you need it. But if you are able to see him positively, without his pedestal and without your fear, you are no longer begging him to love you in order for you to exist. And this is when you kill him, when you make him fall. But once you've knocked him down, it is necessary to rebuild him and repay him, because fathers have essential value, even if they are monsters: they give us life, they leave their imprint on certain parts of our being, and they allow us to become who we are in a conscious way.
- When we do something we have never done, we are already on the road to healing. We must break the routines.
- No one fulfills himself fully. What is fulfilling oneself? Advancing as one can.
- Tenemos que ser muy conscientes de que debajo de cada enfermedad hay una prohibición. Una prohibición que viene de una superstición.
- We have to be very conscious of the fact that beneath every illness is a prohibition. A prohibition that comes from a superstition.
- Addictions come from shortages in infancy. People try to compensate this way. Alcoholism is generally produced from a shortage in mother's milk. And heroin addiction is usually due to a lack of being, the absence of recognition; the drug fills the emptiness of not being loved.
- The person who does not control his territory does not control his existence. If someone is not conscious, he is taken over, not only outwardly but also with the thoughts that assault him. He is very vulnerable to desires and feelings. For example, you live calmly with your wife, and then—catastrophe! Suddenly you lose control because you have fallen in love with another. You don't have to fall victim to that reality; what you have to do is navigate in it, overcome the winds and sandstorms. Amid the storms at sea and the signs, you must move forward calmly and look toward the port you're heading for. In New York, when I was filming The Holy Mountain, I had problems of all sorts. I soaked six or seven T-Shirts a night with my sweat. I went to see a Chinese sage that someone had recommended. He was a poet, a great master of tai chi, and a doctor. When he first saw me, he said, "What is your purpose in life?" I was disconcerted and did not answer. He continued, "If you do not tell me what is your purpose in life, I cannot heal you." So I understood that if a ship crosses the sea without a purpose, it will arrive at no port. What prevents life from devouring us is having a purpose. The higher it is, the further it will carry us...
- I say: "What you give, you give to yourself; what you do not give, you give up." And this is to say that whatever you do in the world, you do to yourself; and whatever you do not give to the world, you lose. If I keep my knowledge, I lose it. (...) One receives knowledge and gives it. When you give knowledge, you enrich yourself. If you do not give love, you are detracting from yourself. If I begin to help people, if I begin to heal people, I begin to heal. Do you understand? To be a therapist, you have to be a patient. The first thing to do to heal yourself is to heal others. I have one more saying: "I do not want anything for myself that I do not want for others".
- To transform oneself one must give, but to transform oneself one must also learn. One closes oneself off and does not admit love from another, the tenderness or the help of another. The real leap is learning to receive, which is as difficult as learning to give. And it is necessary to learn to ask for what one needs: justice is to give to oneself what one deserves. This is why the gospels say, "Knock and the door will be opened." If I ask for a long life, it is because I have the right to ask for it. If I ask that we will use an energy other than oil, it is because I have the right to ask for it. We have to learn to ask for what is just and to not ask for what it is not necessary to ask.
- Once centenarian teacher who had the body of an adolescent told me he had studied martial arts. "Me, too," I answered. We were in Notre Dame, and he said, "Attack me." I put myself in a combat position, and he moved his left hand in such an incredibly beautiful way that while I looked at it, fascinated, he gave me a big slap. "Beauty is the most dangerous weapon," he warned. It took me a long time to understand. He used a secret Chinese practice, which consists of drawing a snake in the air with your hand to distract the enemy. And that is how beauty is: the most awful weapon.