Enlightenment Quotes

The reward of all action is to be found in enlightenment.

Bhagavad-Gita

Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.

Lao Tzu

In order to deserve, we must pay our dues and steadily work for perfection. We must relish in struggle, and relinquish pride. We must dispel fear and seek enlightenment. We must shun division and honor love. We must know our hearts and seek to understand others. We must try, live, create, feel, grow and love.

Bryant McGill

The past was characterized not by ignorance but by false opinions. Men always had opinions about everything, but those opinions were without ground and indemonstrable. Yet they governed the nations of men and were authoritative. Thus the problem of Enlightenment is not merely discovery of the truth but the conflict between the truth and the beliefs of men.

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

From the outset [of the Enlightenment], scholars treated Greek philosophers more as natural scientists treat atoms than as they treat other natural scientists. They were not invited to join the serious discussion of the scholars.

Allan David Bloom

Enlightenment presented the thinker not as the best man but as the most useful one. Happiness is the most important thing; if thinking is not happiness, it must be judged by its relationship to happiness.

Allan David Bloom

Gullivers Travels is to early modern philosophy what Aristophanes The Clouds was to early ancient philosophy. Swift objects to Enlightenment because it encourages a hypertrophic development of mathematics, physics and astronomy, thus returning to the pre-Socratic philosophy that Aristophanes had criticized for being unselfconscious or unable to understand man. But, unlike pre-Socratic philosophy, which had no interest in politics at all, this science wished to rule and could rule. The new science had indeed generated sufficient power to rule, but in order to do so had had to lose the human perspective. In other words, Swift denied that modern science had actually established a human or political science. All to the contrary, it had destroyed it.

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

What happens to poetic imagination when the soul has been subjected to a rigorous discipline that resists poetrys greatest charms? The Enlightenment thinkers were very clear on this point. There is no discontinuity in the tradition about it. They were simply solving the problem to the advantage of reason, as Socrates wished it could be solved but thought it could not.

Allan David Bloom

It is Enlightenment that was intent on philosophers ruling, taking Socrates ironies seriously. If they did not have the title of king, their political schemes were, all the same, designed to be put into practice. And they were put into practice, not by begging princes to listen to them but by philosophys generating sufficient power to force princes to give way.

Allan David Bloom

Socrates never suggests that the nature of the cave could be altered or that a civil society, a people, a demos, could do without false opinions. The philosophers who returned to the cave would recognize that what others take to be reality is only image, but they could not make any but the happy few able to see the beings as they really are. ... Or to put it in another way, the unwise could not recognize the wise. Men like Bacon and Descartes, by contrast, thought that it was possible to make all men reasonable, to change what had always and everywhere been the case. Enlightenment meant to shine the light of being in the cave and forever to dim the images on the wall. Then there would be unity between the people and the philosopher. The whole issue turns on whether the cave is intractable, as Plato thought, or can be changed by a new kind of education, as the greatest philosophic figures of the seventeenth and eighteenth century taught.

Allan David Bloom

The men of the Enlightenment proper were the first whose teachings were addressed not only, or primarily, to other philosophers or potential philosophers of the same rank, and who were concerned not only with those who understand but also with changing the opinions of mankind at large. Enlightenment was the first philosophically inspired movement, a theoretical school that is a political force at the same time.

Allan David Bloom

I have included among the Enlightenment philosophers men like Machiavelli, Bacon, Montaigne, Hobbes, Descartes, Spinoza and Locke, along with the eighteenth-century thinkers like Montesquieu, Diderot and Voltaire, whose teachings are usually held to constitute the Enlightenment, because these latter were quite explicit about their debt to the originators of what the Enlightenment was in large measure only popularizing.

Allan David Bloom

I think with all the odd jobs I ever had, there was some kind of enlightenment but, yes, a lot of pain and suffering that I don't want to re-live.

David Paul Boreanaz

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