Modern Technology Quotes

The first discipline modernitys 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 David Bloom

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 David Bloom

Professors of the humanities have long been desperate to make their subjects accord with modernity instead of a challenge to it. The effort to read books as their writers intended them to be read has been made into a crime, ever since the intentional fallacy was instituted. There are endless debates about methodsamong Freudian criticism, Marxist criticism, New Criticism, Structuralism and Deconstructionism, and many others, all of which have in common the premise that what Plato or Dante had to say about reality is unimportant. These schools of criticism make the writers plants in a garden planned by a modem scholar, while their own garden-planning vocation is denied them.

Allan David Bloom

In antiquity there had also been mere scholars, studying Homer and Plato without knowing quite why, and without being interested in the questions the writers raised, fascinated by meters or the reliability of texts. But the objection to these scholars was that they lacked the urgent desire to know the most important things, whereas the modern objection to scholarship is that it lacks the urgency of commitment to action. If deeds are the most important thing, then the scholar is by definition inferior to the doer.

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

The philosophers in their closets or their academies have entirely different ends than the rest of mankind. ... The moderns did not think, as did the ancients, that they would lose sight of the distinction between the two in identifying them. ... What the ancients almost religiously kept apart, the moderns thought they could join without risk.

Allan David Bloom

Machiavelli follows Callicles in Platos Gorgias, who ridicules Socrates for being unable to defend himself, to avert insults or slaps in the face. The vulnerability of the philosopher would seem to be the starting place for the new reflection and the renewal of philosophy. Machiavelli, the inspirer of the great philosophical systems of modernity, starts from this vulnerability of reason within the political order and makes it his business to correct it.

Allan David Bloom

Following the trail of events from some point in the past to a piece of modern technology is rather like a detective story, with you as the detective, knowing only as much as the people in the past do, and like them having to guess at what was likely to happen next.

James Burke

In science, read, by preference the newest works; in literature, the oldest. The classics are always modern.

Edward George Earl Bulwer Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

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