Octavio Paz, born in Mexico City in 1914, was deeply influenced by his family’s intellectual and political roots.
With early exposure to literature and political activism, he began writing young and by 1937 was in Spain for the Second International Congress of Anti-Fascist Writers.
Back in Mexico, he co-founded the influential journal, Taller. In 1943, Paz traveled to the USA, immersing in Anglo-American Modernist poetry.
By 1945, he joined the Mexican diplomatic service, later penning “The Labyrinth of Solitude” in France and collaborating with surrealists.
His tenure as Mexican ambassador to India (1962) deeply influenced his work. Paz resigned in 1968, protesting government suppression.
He then founded arts and politics magazines and received notable awards, including the 1981 Cervantes award.
Esteemed as a poet and essayist, Paz believed in poetry as the “secret religion” of modern times.
I have picked the top quotes by Octavio Paz in this article.
Best Octavio Paz Quotes
If society abolishes poetry it commits spiritual suicide. ~ Octavio Paz.
The world is born when two people kiss. ~ Octavio Paz.
Love is the revelation of the other person’s freedom. ~ Octavio Paz.
Humankind is never what he is but the self he seeks. ~ Octavio Paz
The purpose of poetry is to restore to mankind the possibility to wonder. ~ Octavio Paz.
Wisdom lies neither in fixity nor in change, but in the dialectic between the two. ~ Octavio Paz.
Solitude is the profoundest fact. ~ Octavio Paz.
Poetry is not truth, it is the resurrection of presences. ~ Octavio Paz.
Human nature is universal, and it endures through all cultures and epochs. This is the secret of perenniality of certain poems and books. ~ Octavio Paz.
A flower without a stem, is beauty waiting to die. A heart without love, is a tear waiting to cry. ~ Octavio Paz.
Social criticism begins with grammar and the re-establishing of meanings. ~ Octavio Paz.
Self-discovery is above all the realization that we are alone. ~ Octavio Paz.
Grace is gratuitous; it is a gift. ~ Octavio Paz.
The universe unfolds in the body, which is its mirror and its creature. ~ Octavio Paz.
To read a poem is to hear it with our eyes; to hear it is to see it with our ears. ~ Octavio Paz.
Without democracy freedom is a chimera. ~ Octavio Paz.
Famous Octavio Paz Quotes
Art is the opposite of dissipation, in the physical and spiritual sense of the word: it is concentration, desire that seeks incarnation. ~ Octavio Paz.
Every view of the world that becomes extinct, every culture that disappears, diminishes a possibility of life. ~ Octavio Paz.
If each of my words were a drop of water, you would see through them and glimpse what I feel: gratitude, acknowledgement. ~ Octavio Paz.
To become aware of our history is to become aware of our singularity. ~ Octavio Paz.
Love is not a desire for beauty; it is a yearning for completion. ~ Octavio Paz.
Love is born at first sight; the friendship of a frequent and lengthy exchange. ~ Octavio Paz.
For every language that becomes extinct, an image of man disappears. ~ Octavio Paz.
Deserve your dream. ~ Octavio Paz.
Beyond myself, somewhere, I wait for my arrival. ~ Octavio Paz.
How to speak, oh Dream, your silence out loud? ~ Octavio Paz.
Top Octavio Paz Quotes
It is a model of social organization for a static society: change destroys its nature. ~ Octavio Paz.
Love is an attempt to penetrate another being, but it can only be realized if the surrender is mutual. ~ Octavio Paz.
Self-discovery is above all the realization that we are alone: it is the opening of an impalpable, transparent wall-that of our consciousness-between the world and ourselves. ~ Octavio Paz.
Desire turns us into ghosts. ~ Octavio Paz.
I do not know if the story repeats itself: I only know that people change little. ~ Octavio Paz.
When we learn to speak, we learn to translate. ~ Octavio Paz.
Power immobilizes; it freezes with a single gesture-grandiose, terrible, theatrical, or finally, simply monotonous-the variety which is life. ~ Octavio Paz.
Writers, you know, are the beggars of Western society. ~ Octavio Paz.
Art is what remains of religion: the dance above the yawning abyss. ~ Octavio Paz.
Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition. Man is the only being who knows he is alone. ~ Octavio Paz.
Drugs are nihilistic: they undermine all values and radically overturn all our ideas about good and evil, what is just and what is unjust, what is permitted and what is forbidden. ~ Octavio Paz.
Light is time reflecting on time. ~ Octavio Paz.
Popular Octavio Paz Quotes
I went to the little window and inhaled the country air. One could hear the breathing of the night, feminine, enormous. ~ Octavio Paz.
I don’t believe that there are dangerous writers: the danger of certain books is not in the books themselves but in the passions of their readers. ~ Octavio Paz.
Art is an invention of aesthetics, which in turn is an invention of philosophers… What we call art is a game. ~ Octavio Paz.
By suppressing differences and peculiarities, by eliminating different civilizations and cultures, progress weakens life and favors death. ~ Octavio Paz.
It is the Revolution, the magical word, the word that is going to change everything, that is going to bring us immense delight and a quick death. ~ Octavio Paz.
What sets worlds in motion is the interplay of differences, their attractions and repulsions; life is plurality, death is uniformity. ~ Octavio Paz.
The ideal of a single civilization for everyone, implicit in the cult of progress and technique, impoverishes and mutilates us. ~ Octavio Paz.
The Europeans know nothing of geography, and we know nothing of history. ~ Octavio Paz.
Man does not speak because he thinks; he thinks because he speaks. Or rather, speaking is no different than thinking: to speak is to think. ~ Octavio Paz.
Poet: gardener of epitaphs. ~ Octavio Paz.
To love is to battle, to open doors. The world changes if two can look at each other and see. ~ Octavio Paz.
Great Octavio Paz Quotes
There can be no society without poetry, but society can never be realized as poetry, it is never poetic. Sometimes the two terms seek to break apart. They cannot. ~ Octavio Paz.
What distinguishes modern art from the art of other ages is criticism. ~ Octavio Paz.
I do not condemn the cult of pleasure; I lament the general vulgarity. ~ Octavio Paz.
To love is to undress our names. ~ Octavio Paz.
Changes are inseparable from democracy. To defend democracy is to defend the possibility of change; in turn, changes alone can strengthen democracy. ~ Octavio Paz.
We are condemned to kill time, thus we die bit by bit. ~ Octavio Paz.
My body, plowed by your body, will turn into a field where one is sown and a hundred reaped. ~ Octavio Paz.
A civilization that denies death ends by denying life. ~ Octavio Paz.
Powerful Octavio Paz Quotes
The value of e-commerce is not in the e, but in the commerce. ~ Octavio Paz.
The past reappears because it is a hidden present. ~ Octavio Paz.
Each time we try to express ourselves we have to break with ourselves. ~ Octavio Paz.
To fight evil is to fight ourselves. ~ Octavio Paz.
Light is time thinking about itself. ~ Octavio Paz.
Every moment is nothing without end. ~ Octavio Paz.
Reality is a staircase going neither up nor down, we don’t move; today is today, always is today. ~ Octavio Paz.
Wise Octavio Paz Quotes
Death and birth are solitary experiences. We are born alone and we die alone. When we are expelled from the maternal womb, we begin the painful struggle that finally ends in death. ~ Octavio Paz.
Tradition is no longer a continuity but a series of sharp breaks. The modern tradition is the tradition of revolt. ~ Octavio Paz.
Contemporary man has rationalized the myths, but he has not been able to destroy them. ~ Octavio Paz.
Painting offers us a vision, literature invites us to seek one and therefore traces an imaginary path toward it. ~ Octavio Paz.
Whatever is not stone is light. ~ Octavio Paz.
Poets have the gift to speak for others, Vasko Popa had the very rare quality of hearing the others. ~ Octavio Paz.
Death is the mother of forms. ~ Octavio Paz.
Octavio Paz Quotes in Spanish
Los ojos se cierran, las palabras se abren. ~ Octavio Paz.
El amor es trágico; añado que la amistad es una respuesta a la tragedia. ~ Octavio Paz.
Si las revoluciones no se hacen con palabras, las ideas no se implantan con decretos. ~ Octavio Paz.
La resignación es una de nuestras virtudes populares. Más que el brillo de la victoria nos conmueve la entereza ante la adversidad. ~ Octavio Paz.
El amor es una pasión que todos o casi todos veneran pero que pocos, muy pocos viven realmente. ~ Octavio Paz.
Tal vez amar es aprender a caminar por este mundo. ~ Octavio Paz.
El amor es intensidad y por esto es una distensión del tiempo: estira los minutos y los alarga como siglos. ~ Octavio Paz.
Merece lo que sueñas. ~ Octavio Paz.
Ciertas noches su piel se cubría de fosforescencias y abrazarla era abrazar un pedazo de noche tatuado de fuego. ~ Octavio Paz.
Las masas humanas más peligrosas son aquellas en cuyas venas ha sido inyectado el veneno del miedo… del miedo al cambio. ~ Octavio Paz.
La lectura es libertad y el lector, al leer, reinventa aquello mismo que lee; participa así en la creación universal. ~ Octavio Paz.
Dime cómo mueres y te diré quien eres. ~ Octavio Paz.
Una civilización que niega a la muerte, acaba por negar a la vida. ~ Octavio Paz.,
Mato de hambre al amor, para que devore lo que encuentre. ~ Octavio Paz.
So these were the 91 top Octavio Paz quotes and sayings on life, love and death.