Allan David Bloom Quotes

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

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 naturewhichever is convenient. The principle of contradiction has been repealed.

Allan David Bloom

Plato would have united with Rousseau against the bourgeois in his insistence on the essential humanness of longing for the good, as opposed to careful avoidance of the bad. Neither longing nor enthusiasm belongs to the bourgeois. The story of philosophy and the arts under Rousseaus influence has been the search for, or fabrication of, plausible objects of longing to counter bourgeois well-being and self-satisfaction.

Allan David Bloom

Our minds must make an enormous effort to find the natural sweetness of life in its fullness. The way back is at least as long as the one that brought us here. For Hobbes and Locke nature is near and unattractive, and mans movement into society was easy and unambiguously good. For Rousseau nature is distant and attractive, and the movement was hard and divided man.

Allan David Bloom

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 artistall good.

Allan David Bloom

The fact that most of us never would have heard of Oedipus if it were not for Freud should make us aware that we are almost utterly dependent on our German missionaries or intermediaries for our knowledge of Greece, Rome, Judaism and Christianity; that, however profound that knowledge may be, theirs is only one interpretation; and that we have only been told as much as they thought we needed to know. It is an urgent business for one who seeks self-awareness to think through the meaning of the intellectual dependency that has led us to such an impasse.

Allan David Bloom

Nietzsche said, the greatest deeds are thoughts, that the world revolves around the inventors of new values, revolves silently. Nietzsche was such an inventor, and we are still revolving around him. The spectacle consists in how his views have been trivialized by democratic man desirous of tricking himself out in borrowed finery

Allan David Bloom

A value-creating man is a plausible substitute for a good man, and some such substitute becomes practically inevitable in pop relativism, since very few persons can think of themselves as just nothing. The respectable and accessible nobility of man is to be found not in the quest for or discovery of the good life, but in creating ones own life-style, of which there is not just one but many possible, none comparable to another.

Allan David Bloom

People found that Freuds know thyself led them to the couch, where they emptied their tank of the compressed fuel, which was intended to power them on their flight from opinion to knowledge.

Allan David Bloom

The Bible is not the only means to furnish a mind, but without a book of similar gravity, read with the gravity of the potential believer, it will remain unfurnished.

Allan David Bloom

Television enters not only the room, but also the tastes of old and young alike, appealing to the immediately pleasant and subverting whatever does not conform to it.

Allan David Bloom

First radio, then television, have assaulted and overturned the privacy of the home, the real American privacy, which permitted the development of a higher and more independent life within democratic society.

Allan David Bloom

Fathers and mothers have lost the idea that the highest aspiration they might have for their children is for them to be wiseas priests, prophets or philosophers are wise. Specialized competence and success are all that they can imagine.

Allan David Bloom

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