Jonathan Safran Foer Quotes

Jonathan Safran Foer is an acclaimed American novelist and essayist who has written extensively on topics such as vegetarianism, animal rights, Judaism, and the environment. Jonathan’s work has earned him numerous awards including the National Jewish Book Award. Here are some of the best quotes from Jonathan Safran Foer that will inspire you to reflect on life and your place in the world.

  • August has passed, and yet summer continues by force to grow days. They sprout secretly between the chapters of the year, covertly included between its pages.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I am an on-and-off vegetarian. Sometimes on, mostly off. I think it is better to be a vegetarian but occasionally, the call of the hot dog overpowers my ethics.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • It’s not worth getting too excited about thinking about the larger picture. The larger picture doesn’t come into focus for an awfully long time.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • To remember my values, I need to lose certain tastes and find other handles for the memories that they once helped me carry.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown more convinced there’s nothing that shouldn’t be talked about. If we think we’re protecting each other, we’re not.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • There is an overabundance of rational reasons to say no to factory-farmed meat: It is the No. 1 cause of global warming, it systematically forces tens of billions of animals to suffer in ways that would be illegal if they were dogs, it is a decisive factor in the development of swine and avian flus, and so on.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I see myself as someone who makes things. Definitions have never done anything but constrain.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • People who care about animals tend to care about people. They don’t care about animals to the exclusion of people. Caring is not a finite resource and, even more than that, it’s like a muscle: the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • There is no greater gift than time.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • We need a better way to talk about eating animals, a way that doesn’t ignore or even just shruggingly accept things like habits, cravings, family and history but rather incorporates them into the conversation. The more they are allowed in, the more able we will be to follow our best instincts.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I know lots and lots and lots of vegetarians who think it’s perfectly all right to kill animals for food to eat, but don’t do it because they think all the ways in which it’s done are wrong.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • It’s hard to draw clear lines between writing and life and I don’t think it is necessary to or necessarily good to.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • We shouldn’t be intimidated by someone else’s idea of perfection if it will prevent us from taking steps we actively want to take.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • The French, who love their dogs, sometimes eat their horses. The Spanish, who love their horses, sometimes eat their cows. The Indians, who love their cows, sometimes eat their dogs.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I will never come around to the idea of an anthropomorphic God. I’m also uncomfortable with the word ‘God’… I’m agnostic about the answer and I’m agnostic about the question.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • What the world does not need is a Haggadah that pats itself on the back. It needs a Haggadah that gets out of the way, that starts a conversation and gets out of the way.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I’m interested in the kind of religion that makes life harder. I’m not so interested in the comforting kind of religion.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Look, taste is clearly the crudest of our senses: this is scientifically, objectively factual. It is less nuanced. Eyesight is extraordinary – hearing, touch. I find people who devote their whole lives to taste a little strange.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Maybe one day the world will change, that we’ll be in a luxurious position of being able to debate whether or not it’s inherently wrong to eat animals, but the question doesn’t matter right now.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • That’s the nice thing about being a vegetarian. You don’t have to be neurotic. Selective omnivores have to be neurotic. Personally, I don’t have time for all that; I don’t want to get into it.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Every factory-farmed animal is, as a practice, treated in ways that would be illegal if it were a dog or a cat.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I’ve never particularly liked bankers.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I have made my own choice, which is vegetarianism, but it’s not the choice I’m imposing on anybody else.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • There are two kinds of sculptures. There’s the kind that subtracts: Michelangelo starts with a block of marble and chips away. And then there is the kind that adds, building with clay, piling it on. The way I write novels is to keep piling on and piling on and piling on.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • It’s possible to make things that aren’t just money-makers. Something wonderful for its own sake.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • There’s no being wrong in seeing something in art, only being disagreed with.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • We say no to lots of things that would please us. I would like to punch people every now and then, but I don’t. I would like to have something for free rather than pay for it. I would like to skip to the front of the line… I don’t mean to brush aside the taste of meat, which is a powerful attraction. But its power is not without limit.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • The Torah is the foundational text for Jewish law, but the Haggadah is our book of living memory. We are not merely telling a story here. We are being called to a radical act of empathy. Here we are, embarking on an ancient, perennial attempt to give human lives – our lives – dignity.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I usually write away from home, in coffee shops, on trains, on planes, in friends’ houses. I like places where there’s stuff going on that you can lift your eyes, see something interesting, overhear a conversation.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • We’ve made science experiments of ourselves and our children.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • There are a lot of things that we crave, there are a lot of things that would make us perhaps more fulfilled in a sensory way that we just say no to.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I want to talk about God in a literary way. But I think I would have a very hard time praying to God.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Consumers are going to have get used to eating less meat – to paying more for better quality meat and eating significantly less of it.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • As a writer, putting words on the page is how I pay attention.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • These little daily choices that we’re so used to thinking are irrelevant are the most important thing we do all day long.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • For a long time, I thought I would like to be a doctor. Such a good profession. So explicitly good. Never a waste of time.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • People don’t care enough. They don’t get worked up enough. They don’t get angry enough. They don’t get passionate enough. I’d rather somebody hate what I do than be indifferent to it.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I often think about how my sons will come to know about September 11th. Something overheard? A newspaper image? In school? I would prefer that they learn about it from my wife and me, in a deliberate and safe way. But it’s hard to imagine ever feeling ready to broach the subject without some impetus.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • My wife and I have chosen to bring up our children as vegetarians. In another time or place, we might have made a different decision. But the realities of our present moment compelled us to make that choice.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • If the thrill of hunting were in the hunt, or even in the marksmanship, a camera would do just as well.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • All really great artists, Jackson Pollack, John Cage, Beckett or Joyce – you are never indifferent to them.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • When a book remembers, we remember. It reminds you that you have a body. So many of the things we may think of as burdensome are actually the things that make us more human.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • The kind of funny irony is that a lot of people talk about ethical meat eating as if it’s a way to care about things, but also not to alienate yourself from the rest of the world. But it’s so much more alienating than vegetarianism.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Feeding my children is not like feeding myself: it matters more.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Why wouldn’t – how couldn’t – an author care about how his or her books look?

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • It seems entirely possible to me that horrible things can be going on without us becoming horrible people.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I see bad stuff on the street all the time that I don’t do anything about. I do bad stuff myself all the time. The goal is not to somehow be perfect – that’s silly, that’s naive. The goal is to just recognize there are choices in front of us, and to try to make better ones.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Jews have a special relationship to books, and the Haggadah has been translated more widely, and reprinted more often, than any other Jewish book. It is not a work of history or philosophy, not a prayer book, user’s manual, timeline, poem or palimpsest – and yet it is all these things.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Kids are a great analogy. You want your kids to grow up, and you don’t want your kids to grow up. You want your kids to become independent of you, but it’s also a parent’s worst nightmare: That they won’t need you. It’s like the real tragedy of parenting.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • There is a glaring reason that the necessary total ban on nontherapeutic use of antibiotics hasn’t happened: The factory farm industry, allied with the pharmaceutical industry, has more power than public-health professionals.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Is there really anyone, besides Rudy Giuliani, who prefers the new Times Square?

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Fiction works when it makes a reader feel something strongly.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • My children not only inspired me to reconsider what kind of eating animal I would be, but also shamed me into reconsideration.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • There’s never been a culture that wasn’t obsessed with food. The sort of sad thing is that our obsession is no longer with food, but with the price of food.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • We eat as sons and daughters, as families, as communities, as generations, as nations, and increasingly as a globe. We can’t stop our eating from radiating influence even if we want to.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Few people sufficiently appreciate the colossal task of feeding a world of billions of omnivores who demand meat with their potatoes.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • The more exposure people have to the realities of factory farming, the more we will see people rejecting it. It’s already happening.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Food is not just what we put in our mouths to fill up; it is culture and identity. Reason plays some role in our decisions about food, but it’s rarely driving the car.

    Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Words are capable of making experience more vivid, and also of organizing it. They can scare us, and they can comfort us.

    Jonathan Safran Foer

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