I realize the possibility of attacking many of the things I’m saying and I say them as a sort of act of faith. The little words that I like so much, like “tree,” “hill,” and so on, are I suppose just as much a taxonomy as the more elaborate words; they’re categories, classes, concepts,things we invent for ourselves.Nevertheless, there are certain ones without which we really are unable to exist, including the concept of humanity. I’m trying to describe how the test of images can be a test of whether one’s thought is valid, whether one can establish in a series of images, of experiences … whether or not one will consider the concept of humanity to be valid, something that is, or else have to regard it as being simply a word.
— George Oppen