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Sonia Johnson

  • All along, one of my major complaints was his absence from home, and even worse, his absence when he was home.

  • The spirit of religious totalitarianism is abroad in the world; it is in the very air we breathe today in this land. Everywhere are those who claim to have a corner on righteousness, on direct access to God ... The bigots of the world are having a heyday.

  • The church belongs to its hierarchy, which is men in power. Those outside the hierarchy, and especially women, are at best only renters and at worst squatters in religious territory.

  • How desperately we wish to maintain our trust in those we love! In the face of everything, we try to find reasons to trust. Because losing faith is worse than falling out of love.

  • I have resigned myself to the fact that Rick is always going to hate me because he has committed a grave offense against me, for which he will never forgive me.

  • Oh dear, dark boy. There was such promise of happiness balanced there. But your mama never rocked you when you were a baby, you say, and your daddy died when you were seventeen. And all the rest of us can never make it up to you.

  • Taboos regulate matters of life and death. The difference between our taboos and those of more 'primitive' people is perhaps that theirs are more conscious, often overtly codified into law. They are openly discussed and warned about. In societies of this sort, persons who have broken taboos have been known to lie down under a tree and die, knowing that, having broken a life-governing rule, life is not possible. Much of life in our culture is also taboo-regulated, but our chief taboos are no longer conscious. They do not appear as themselves in our laws, and for the most part are not spoken of directly. But when we break them or even think of breaking them, our unconscious knowledge that we are violating sacred rules causes us to feel as if our lives are threatened, as if we may not be allowed to live.

  • As we do at such times, I turned on my automatic pilot and went through the motions of normalcy on the outside, so that I could concentrate all my powers on surviving the near-mortal wound inside.

  • ... what we resist persists.

  • It's funny how heterosexuals have lives and the rest of us have 'lifestyles.'

  • ... change only requires a few of us. ... The critical mass can be achieved by the minority — even a small minority.

  • Sometimes I think we can tell how important it is to risk by how dangerous it would be to do so.

  • Some people always assume that if you mention a problem, you caused it.

  • It's only when we have nothing else to hold onto that we're willing to try something very audacious and scary.

  • We survive day by day on this planet by adjusting down, adjusting down. Little by little, imperceptibly, we adjust to increasingly deadly conditions, and come to accept them as 'natural' or inevitable.

  • All bona fide revolutions are of necessity revolutions of the spirit.

  • ... what we have most to fear is failure of the heart.

  • So long as we think dugout canoes are the only possibility — all that is real or can be real — we will never see the ship, we will never feel the free wind blow.

  • The guiding principle of my life, 'the means are the ends,' has taught me that our participation in a corrupt system facilitates it and corrupts and therefore defeats us.

  • Men say that, their goal being peace, naturally they are going to have to bomb and bomb and massacre and rape and pillage and torture and lay waste and then — this is the place at which I used to feel as if I were the only person on earth who hadn't caught on — suddenly, miraculously, there will come a magical moment, a moment when some sort of alchemy takes place, and — voilà! — peace!

  • ... people are strong despite suffering, not because of it.

  • 'I don't have time' is the single most frequently given reason for living fractional, perpetually indentured lives, for not living fully or freely. Because time is life, when we say we don't have enough time, we are admitting that we don't have enough life.

  • ... language, as symbol, determines much of the nature and quality of our experience.

  • Like the one-tenth of our brain that we currently use, I think now that most if not all of us have access to about one-tenth of our possible feelings.

  • I like to remind people what radical means — 'at the root of things.' It shouldn't be considered a pejorative. There isn't a great name out of history you can pick who wasn't 'radical.'

    • Sonia Johnson,
    • in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()

Sonia Johnson, U.S. writer, feminist activist


Full name: Sonia Ann Harris Johnson.