Allan David Bloom Quotes

Democratic individualism does not officially provide much of a place for leaders in a regime where everyone is supposed to be his own master. Charisma both justifies leaders and excuses followers.

Allan David Bloom

When the liberal teaching became dominant, as is the case with most victorious causes, good arguments became less necessary; and the original good arguments, which were difficult, were replaced by plausible simplificationsor by nothing. The history of liberal thought since Locke and Smith has been one of almost unbroken decline in philosophic substance.

Allan David Bloom

Nietzsche restored something like the soul to our understanding of man by providing a supplement to the flat, dry screen of consciousness, which with pure intellect looks at the rest of man as something alien, a bundle of affects of matter, like any other object of physics, chemistry and biology. The unconscious replaces all the irrational thingsabove all divine madness and eroswhich were part of the old soul and had lost significance in modernity. It provides a link between consciousness and nature as a whole, restoring therewith the unity of man.

Allan David Bloom

The side of modernity that is less interesting to Americans, which seeks less for political solutions than for understanding and satisfaction of man in his fullness or completeness, finds its profoundest statement in Nietzsche.

Allan David Bloom

Commitment is the equivalent of faith when the living God has been supplanted by self-provided values. It is Pascals wager, no longer on Gods existence but on ones capacity to believe in oneself and the goals one has set for oneself.

Allan David Bloom

Psychology finds causes of creativity that blur the difference between a Raphael and a finger painter. Everything is in that difference, which necessarily escapes our science.

Allan David Bloom

Marx denied the existence of God but turned over all His functions to History, which is inevitably directed to a goal fulfilling of man and which takes the place of Providence. One might as well be a Christian if one is so naive.

Allan David Bloom

Honesty compels serious men, on examination of their consciences, to admit that the old faith is no longer compelling. It is the very peak of Christian virtue that demands the sacrifice of Christianity.

Allan David Bloom

Universality and rationality were the hallmarks of all these teachings. But very quickly culturewhich was for Kant and, speaking anachronistically, for Rousseau, singularbecame cultures.

Allan David Bloom

It is easy today to deny Gods creativity as a thing of the benighted past, overcome by science, but mans creativity, a thing much more improbable and nothing but an imitation of Gods, exercises a strange attraction.

Allan David Bloom

A small but illuminating example of the pervasiveness of anti-Enlightenment thought today is how scientists themselves have taken to styling themselves as creative. But nothing could be more contrary to the spirit of science than the opinion that the scientist fabricates rather than discovers his results. When every man was understood to be essentially a reasoner, the scientist could be understood to be a perfection of what all men wanted to be. Now the scientist scrambles to recover his position as the perfection of what all men want to be; but what all men want to be has changed.

Allan David Bloom

In order to know such an amorphous being as man, Rousseau himself and his particular history are, in his view, more important than is Socrates quest for man in general or man in himself.

Allan David Bloom

Socrates too thought that living according to the opinions of others was an illness. But he did not urge men to look for a source for producing their own unique opinions, or criticize them for being conformists. His measure of health was not sincerity, authenticity or any of the other necessarily vague criteria for distinguishing a healthy self. The truth is the one thing most needful; and conforming to nature is quite different from conforming to law, convention or opinion.

Allan David Bloom

According to Machiavelli, love of virtue is only an imagination, a kind of perversion of desire effected by societys (i.e., others) demands on us.

Allan David Bloom

Man was supposed to long to be all virtue, to break free from the chains of bodily desire. Wholeness would be happiness. Machiavelli turned things upside down. Happiness is indeed wholeness, so lets try the wholeness available to us in this life. The tradition viewed man as the incomprehensible and self-contradictory union of two substances, body and soul. Man cannot be conceived as body only. But if the function of whatever is not body in him is to cooperate in the satisfaction of bodily desire, then mans dividedness is overcome.

Allan David Bloom

The self is the modern substitute for the soul.

Allan David Bloom

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