Allan David Bloom Quotes

Why are the gentlemen more open [to philosophy] than the people? Because they have money and hence leisure and can appreciate the beautiful and useless. And because they despise necessity.

Allan David Bloom

The ancients had no tenure to protect them and wanted to avoid the prostitution to which those who have to live off their wits are prone.

Allan David Bloom

The philosopher wants to know things as they are. He loves the truth. That is an intellectual virtue. He does not love to tell the truth. That is a moral virtue. Presumably he would prefer not to practice deception; but if it is a condition of his survival, he has no objection to it. The hopes of changing mankind almost always end up in changing not mankind but ones thought.

Allan David Bloom

The philosopher applies what he sees in nature to his own life. As are the generations of leaves, so are the generations of men,a somber lesson that is only compensated for by the intense pleasure accompanying insight. Without that pleasure, which so few have, it would be intolerable.

Allan David Bloom

Most human beings and all cities require the unscientific mixture of general and particular, necessity and chance, nature and convention. It is just this mixture that the philosopher cannot accept and which he separates into its constituent parts.

Allan David Bloom

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

Allan David Bloom

It is not so much stupidity that closes men to philosophy but love of their own, particularly love of their own lives, but also love of their own children and their own cities. It is the hardest task of all to face the lack of cosmic support for what we care about.

Allan David Bloom

It was to the gentlemen that philosophy made its rhetorical appeal for almost two thousand years. When they ruled, the climate for philosophy was more or less salubrious. When the people, the demos, ruled, religious fanaticism or vulgar utility made things much less receptive to philosophy.

Allan David Bloom

Ancient political philosophy was almost entirely in the service of philosophy, of making the world safer for philosophy.

Allan David Bloom

Philosophy is a threat to all the beliefs that tie the city together and unite the other high typespriests, poets and statesmenagainst philosophy.

Allan David Bloom

The defenselessness of philosophy in the city is what Aristophanes points out and ridicules. He, the poet, has much sympathy with the philosophers wisdom but prides himself on not being so foolish. He can take care of himself, win prizes from and be paid by the people. His stance is that of the wise guy in the face of the wise man; he is city smart.

Allan David Bloom

The theoretical life cannot, at least in its most authentic expression, be, or seriously be understood to be, in the citys service. It therefore has an almost impossible public relations problem.

Allan David Bloom

The prophets, kings and poets are clearly benefactors of mankind at large, providing men with salvation, protection, prosperity, myths and entertainment. They are the noble bulwarks of civil society, and men tend to regard as good what does good to them. Philosophy does no such good. All to the contrary, it is austere and somewhat sad because it takes away many of mens fondest hopes.

Allan David Bloom

Although the philosophic experience is understood by the philosophers to be what is uniquely human, the very definition of man, the dignity and charm of philosophy have not always or generally been popularly recognized. This is not the case with the other claimants to the throne, the prophet or the saint, the hero or the statesman, the poet or the artist, whose claims, if not always accepted, are generally recognized to be serious.

Allan David Bloom

As a result of Enlightenment, philosophers and philosophy came to inhabit the universities exclusively, abandoning their old habits and haunts. There they have become vulnerable in new ways and thus risk extinction. The classical philosophers would not, for very good reasons, have taken this risk.

Allan David Bloom
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