Allan Bloom quotes

  • Education is the movement from darkness to light.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Education #Light #Darkness

  • The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency - the belief that the here and now is all there is.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Book #Reading #Vision

  • Reason cannot establish values, and its belief that it can is the stupidiest and most pernicious illusion.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Belief #Illusion #Reason

  • Law may prescribe that the male nipples be made equal to the female ones, but they still will not give milk.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Law #Giving #May

  • Authentic values are those by which a life can be lived, which can form a people that produces great deeds and thoughts.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #People #Deeds #Form

  • The liberally educated person is one who is able to resist the easy and preferred answers, not because he is obstinate but because he knows others worthy of consideration.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Inspiring #Education #Philosophy

  • Education in our times must try to find whatever there is in students that might yearn for completion, and to reconstruct the learning that would enable them autonomously to seek that completion.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Trying #Might #Students

  • The utilitarian behaves sensibly in all that is required for preservation but never takes account of the fact that he must die...His whole life is absorbed in avoiding death, which is inevitable, and therefore he might be thought to be the most irrational of men, if rationality has anything to do with understanding ends or comprehending the human situation as such. He gives way without reserve to his most powerful passion and the wishes it engenders.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Powerful #Passion #Men

  • Our Nation, a great stage for the acting out of great thoughts, presents the classic confrontation between Locke's views of the state of nature and Rousseau's criticism of them... Nature is raw material, worthless without the mixture of human labor; yet nature is also the highest and most sacred thing. The same people who struggle to save the snail-darter bless the pill, worry about hunting deer and defend abortion. Reverence for nature, mastery of nature- whichever is convenient.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Struggle #Hunting #Views

  • The most important function of the university in an age of reason is to protect reason from itself.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Important #Age #Reason

  • The students [of the 60s] substituted conspicuous compassion for their parents conspicuous consumption.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Compassion #Parent #Students

  • Reason transformed into prejudice is the worst form of prejudice, because reason is the only instrument for liberation from prejudice.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Prejudice #Reason #Form

  • As soon as tradition has come to be recognized as tradition, it is dead.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Tradition

  • Commitment is a word invented in our abstract modernity to signify the absence of any real motives in the soul for moral dedication.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Real #Commitment #Dedication

  • The humanities are like the great old Paris Flea Market where, amidst masses of junk, people with a good eye found cast away treasures...They are like a refugee camp where all the geniuses driven out of their jobs and countries by unfriendly regimes are idling.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Country #Jobs #Eye

  • Error is indeed our enemy, but it alone points to the truth and therefore deserves our respectful treatment.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Errors #Tolerance #Enemy

  • Rock gives children, on a silver platter, with all the public authority of the entertainment industry, everything their parents always used to tell them they had to wait for until they grew up and would understand later.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Music #Children #Rocks

  • We are like ignorant shepherds living on a site where great civilizations once flourished. The shepherds play with the fragments that pop up to the surface, having no notion of the beautiful structures of which they were once a part.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Beautiful #Civilization #Play

  • The distinction between private and public undermines the unity of spiritual strength, draining the public of the transcendent energies while trivializing them because the merely private life provides no proper stage for their action.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Spiritual #Unity #Energy

  • Never did I think that the university was properly ministerial to the society around it. Rather I thought and think that society is ministerial to the university, and I bless a society that tolerates and supports an eternal childhood for some, a childhood whose playfulness can in turn be a blessing to society.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Thinking #Blessing #Childhood

  • Intellectuals ... advertise their superiority to political practice but are absolutely in its thrall. ... It is no accident that Marxist theory and practice use the intellectuals as tools and keep them in brutal subservience.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Practice #Political #Tools

  • The distinction between the world of commerce and that of "culture" quickly became the distinction between infrastructure and superstructure, with the former clearly determining the latter.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Culture #World #Infrastructure

  • Life, liberty, and the pursuit of property were just what Aristotle did not talk about. They are the conditions of happiness; but the essence of happiness, according to Aristotle, is virtue. So the moderns decided to deal with the conditions and to let happiness take care of itself.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Essence #Liberty #Care

  • The first discipline modernity's originators imposed upon themselves was that of self-restraint, learning to live with vulgarity. Their high expectations for effectiveness were made possible by low expectations of what was to be.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Self #Effectiveness #Discipline

  • Only when the true ends of society have nothing to do with the sublime does "culture" become necessary as a veneer to cover over the void. Culture can at best appreciate the monuments of earlier faith; it cannot produce them.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Appreciate #Sublime #Doe

  • To recognize that some of the things our culture believes are not true imposes on us the duty of finding out which are true and which are not.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Believe #Culture #Duty

  • I am now even more persuaded of the urgent need to study why Socrates was accused. The dislike of philosophy is perennial, and the seeds of the condemnation of Socrates are present at all times, not in the bosoms of pleasure-seekers, who don't give a damn, but in those of high-minded and idealistic persons who do not want to submit their aspirations to examination.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Philosophy #Giving #Needs

  • Socrates' way of life is the consequence of his recognition that we can know what it is that we do not know about the most important things and that we are by nature obliged to seek that knowledge.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Important #Way #Recognition

  • There are two threats to reason, the opinion that one knows the truth about the most important things and the opinion that there is no truth about them. Both of these opinions are fatal to philosophy; the first asserts that the quest for truth is unnecessary, while the second asserts that it is impossible. The Socratic knowledge of ignorance, which I take to be the beginning point of all philosophy, defines the sensible middle ground between two extremes.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Philosophy #Ignorance #Two

  • As Western nations became more prosperous, leisure, which had been put off for several centuries in favor of the pursuit of property, the means to leisure, finally began to be of primary concern. But, in the meantime, any notion of the serious life of leisure, as well as men's taste and capacity to live it, had disappeared.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Mean #Men #Favors

  • University convention submerges nature. It issues licenses, and hunting without one is forbidden.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Hunting #Issues #Conventions

  • There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Believe #Entering #Students

  • The real community of man, in the midst of all the self-contraditory simulacra of community, is the community of those who seek the truth, of potential knowers... of all men to the extent that they know.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Real #Men #Self

  • Plato ... says a multitude can never philosophize and hence can never recognize the seriousness of philosophy or who really philosophizes. Attempting to influence the multitude results in forced prostitution.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Plato #Philosophy #Influence

  • Bacon , Locke , Descartes , Hume , and all the others knew they were giving rights to vulgarity. But in so doing in addition to caring for man's well-being they were providing rights for themselves.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Caring #Men #Rights

  • Self-interest is hostile to the common good, but enlightened self-interest is not. And this is the best key to the meaning of enlightenment.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Keys #Self #Enlightenment

  • Social science and humanities ... have a mutual contempt for one another, the former looking down on the latter as unscientific, the latter regarding the former as philistine. ... The difference comes down to the fact that social science really wants to be predictive, meaning that man is predictable, while the humanities say that he is not.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Men #Differences #Humanity

  • Locke had illegitimately selected those parts of man he needed for his social contract and suppressed all the rest, a theoretically unsatisfactory procedure and a practically costly one. The bourgeois is the measure of the price paid, he who most of all cannot afford to look to his real self, who denies the existence of the thinly boarded-over basement in him, who is most made over for the purposes of a society that does not even promise him perfection or salvation but merely buys him off.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Real #Men #Self

  • Continental thinkers have been obsessed with bourgeois man as representing the worst and most contemptible failure of modernity, which must at all costs be overcome. Nihilism in its most palpable sense means that the bourgeois has won, that the future, all foreseeable futures, belong to him, that all heights above him and all depths beneath him are illusory and that life is not worth living on these terms.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Mean #Men #Nihilism

  • [Rock and the intellectual Left] must both be interpreted as parts of the cultural fabric of late capitalism. Their success comes from the bourgeois' need to feel that he is not bourgeois.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Rocks #Intellectual #Needs

  • In America we have only the bourgeoisie, and the love of the heroic is one of the few counterpoises available to us. In us the contempt for the heroic is only an extension of the perversion of the democratic principle that denies greatness and wants everyone to feel comfortable in his skin without having to suffer unpleasant comparisons. Students have not the slightest notion of what an achievement it is to free oneself from public guidance and find resources for guidance within oneself.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Greatness #America #Achievement

  • Nietzsche said the newspaper had replaced the prayer in the life of the modern bourgeois , meaning that the busy, the cheap, the ephemeral, had usurped all that remained of the eternal in his daily life.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Prayer #Ephemeral #Daily Life

  • Historicism and cultural relativism actually are a means to avoid testing our own prejudices and asking, for example, whether men are really equal or whether that opinion is merely a democratic prejudice.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Mean #Men #Example

  • Americans ... do not naturally apply the term "bourgeois" to themselves, or to anyone else for that matter. They do like to call themselves middle class, but that does not carry with it any determinate spiritual content. ... The term "middle class" does not have any of the many opposites that bourgeois has, such as aristocrat, saint, hero, or artist all good.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Spiritual #Hero #Artist

  • The self must be a tense bow. It must struggle with opposites rather than harmonize them, rather than turn the tension over to the great instruments of last manhood the skilled bow unbenders and Jesuits of our days, the psychiatrists, who, in the same spirit and as part of the same conspiracy of modernity as the peace virtuosos, reduce conflict.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Struggle #Self #Opposites

  • A good education would be devoted to encouraging and refining the love of the beautiful, but a pathologically misguided moralism instead turns such longing into a sin against the high goal of making everyone feel good, of overcoming nature in the name of equality. ... Love of the beautiful may be the last and finest sacrifice to radical egalitarianism.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Beautiful #Sacrifice #Names

  • The de-eroticization of the world, a companion to its disenchantment ... seems to result from a combination of causes our democratic regime and its tendencies toward leveling and self-protection, a reductionist-materialist science that inevitably interprets eros as sex, and the atmosphere generated by "the death of God" and of the subordinate god, Eros.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Sex #Self #Atmosphere

  • We witness a strange inversion: on the one hand, the endeavor to turn the social contract into a less calculating and more feeling connection among its members; on the other hand, the endeavor to turn the erotic relationship into a contractual one.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Hands #Feelings #Connections

  • Did Romeo and Juliet have a ... "relationship"? The term "relationship" ... betokens a chaste egalitarianism leveling different ranks and degrees of attachment.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Attachment #Egalitarianism #Degrees

  • The old view was that delicacy of language was part of the nature, the sacred nature, of eros and that to speak about it in any other way would be to misunderstand it. What has disappeared is the risk and the hope of human connectedness embedded in eros. Ours is a language that reduces the longing for an other to the need for individual, private satisfaction and safety.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Views #Safety #Risk

  • Various kinds of self-forgetting, usually accompanied by illusions and myths, make it possible to live without the intransigent facing of death-in the sense of always thinking about it and what it means for life and the things dear in life-which is characteristic of a serious life.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Mean #Thinking #Self

  • A serious life means being fully aware of the alternatives, thinking about them with all the intensity one brings to bear on life-and-death questions, in full recognition that every choice is a great risk with necessary consequences that are hard to bear.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Mean #Thinking #Life And Death

  • The facile economic and psychological debunking of the theoretical life cannot do away with its irreducible beauties.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Philosopher #Psychological #Economic

  • Classical music is a special taste like Greek language or pre-Columbian archeology, not a common culture of reciprocal communication and psychological shorthand.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Communication #Greek #Special

  • It may well be that a societys greatest madness seems normal to itself.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #May #Normal #Madness

  • The spirit is at home, if not entirely satisfied, in America.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Home #America #Spirit

  • The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Successful #Way #Awareness Of Others

  • The substance of my being has been informed by the books I learned to care for.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Book #Substance #Care

  • I am not a conservative — neo or paleo. Conservatism is a respectable outlook... I just do not happen to be that animal.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Animal #Conservative #Outlook

  • It is easy today to deny God's creativity as a thing of the benighted past, overcome by science, but man's creativity, a thing much more improbable and nothing but an imitation of God's, exercises a strange attraction.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Creativity #Exercise #Past

  • The self is the modern substitute for the soul.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Self #Soul #Modern

  • Education is not sermonizing to children against their instincts and pleasures, but providing a natural continuity between what they feel and what they can and should be.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Children #Instinct #Natural

  • There is no real education that does not respond to felt need; anything else acquired is trifling display.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Real #Doe #Needs

  • Sycophancy toward those who hold power is a fact in every regime, and especially in a democracy, where, unlike tyranny, there is an accepted principle of legitimacy that breaks the inner will to resist.... Flattery of the people and incapacity to resist public opinion are the democratic vices, particularly among writers, artists, journalists and anyone else who is dependent on an audience.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Artist #People #Democracy

  • These sociologists who talk to facilely about the sacred are like a man who keeps a toothless old circus lion around the house in order to experience the thrills of the jungle.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Men #Order #House

  • Students now arrive at the university ignorant and cynical about our political heritage, lacking the wherewithal to be either inspired by it or seriously critical of it.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Learning #Cynical #Political

  • Nothing is more singular about this generation than its addiction to music.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Addiction #This Generation #Generations

  • Fathers and mothers have lost the idea that the highest aspiration they might have for their children is for them to be wise... specialized competence and success are all that they can imagine.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Wise #Mother #Children

  • There is no real teacher who in practise does not believe in the existence of the soul, or in a magic that acts on it through speech.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Teacher #Retirement #Real

  • Education is not the taming or domestication of the soul's raw passions - not suppressing them or excising them, which would deprive the soul of its energy - but forming and informing them as art....
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Education #Art #Passion

  • Professors of Greek forget or are unaware that Thomas Aquinas, who did not know Greek, was a better interpreter of Aristotle than any of them have proved to be, not only because he was smarter but because he took Aristotle more seriously.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Greek #Philosopher #Forget

  • Openness, as currently conceived, is a way of making surrender to whatever is most powerful, or worship of vulgar success, look principled.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Powerful #Way #Looks

  • There is a perennial and unobtrusive view that morality consists in such things as telling the truth, paying one's debts, respecting one's parents and doing no voluntary harm to anyone. Those are all things easy to say and hard to do; they do not attract much attention, and win little honor in the world.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Winning #Views #Parent

  • All literature up to today is sexist. The Muses never sang to the poets about liberated women. It's the same old chanson from the Bible and Homer through Joyce and Proust.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Men #Today #Literature

  • Freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even especially the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Mind #Liberty #Alternatives

  • Human nature must not be altered in order to have a problem-free world. Man is not just a problem-solving being, as behaviorists would wish us to believe, but a problem-recognizing and -accepting being.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Believe #Men #Order

  • We need history, not to tell us what happened or to explain the past, but to make the past alive so that it can explain us and make a future possible.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Past #Needs #Alive

  • We are like ignorant shepherds living on a site where great civilizations once flourished.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Civilization #Ignorant #Shepherds

  • The importance of these [college] years for an American cannot be overestimated. They are civilization's only chance to get to him.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Education #College #Years

  • An education, other than purely professional or technical, can even seem to be an impediment.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Education

  • Culture as art is the peak expression of man's creativity, his capacity to break out of nature's narrow bounds, and hence out of the degrading interpretation of man in modern natural and political science.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Art #Creativity #Men

  • Children tend to be rather better observers of adults' characters than adults are of children's, because children are so dependent on adults that it is very much in their interest to discover the weaknesses of their elders.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Children #Character #Weakness

  • This nation's impulse is toward the future, and tradition seems more of a shackle to it than an inspiration.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Inspiration #Tradition #Shackles

  • The artist is the most interesting of all phenomena, for he represents creativity, the definition of man.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Creativity #Men #Artist

  • [A]ny notion of the serious life of leisure, as well as men's taste and capacity to live it, had disappeared. Leisure became entertainment.
    -- Allan Bloom

    #Men #Taste #Leisure

  • Only Socrates knew, after a lifetime of unceasing labor, that he was ignorant. Now every high-school student knows that. How did it become so easy?
    -- Allan Bloom

    #School #Ignorant #Students