Rock gives children, on a silver platter, with all the public authority of the entertainment industry, everything their parents always used to tell them they had to wait for until they grew up and would understand later.
Nietzsche said the newspaper had replaced the prayer in the life of the modern bourgeois , meaning that the busy, the cheap, the ephemeral, had usurped all that remained of the eternal in his daily life.
A new language always reflects a new point of view, and the gradual unconscious popularization of new words, or of old words used in new ways, is a sure sign of a profound change in people's articulation of the world.
The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside.
Never did I think that the university was properly ministerial to the society around it. Rather I thought and think that society is ministerial to the university, and I bless a society that tolerates and supports an eternal childhood for some, a childhood whose playfulness can in turn be a blessing to society.
The humanities are like the great old Paris Flea Market where, amidst masses of junk, people with a good eye found cast away treasures...They are like a refugee camp where all the geniuses driven out of their jobs and countries by unfriendly regimes are idling.
The old view was that delicacy of language was part of the nature, the sacred nature, of eros and that to speak about it in any other way would be to misunderstand it. What has disappeared is the risk and the hope of human connectedness embedded in eros. Ours is a language that reduces the longing for an other to the need for individual, private satisfaction and safety.
Historicism and cultural relativism actually are a means to avoid testing our own prejudices and asking, for example, whether men are really equal or whether that opinion is merely a democratic prejudice.
We are like ignorant shepherds living on a site where great civilizations once flourished. The shepherds play with the fragments that pop up to the surface, having no notion of the beautiful structures of which they were once a part.
The de-eroticization of the world, a companion to its disenchantment ... seems to result from a combination of causes our democratic regime and its tendencies toward leveling and self-protection, a reductionist-materialist science that inevitably interprets eros as sex, and the atmosphere generated by "the death of God" and of the subordinate god, Eros.
We witness a strange inversion: on the one hand, the endeavor to turn the social contract into a less calculating and more feeling connection among its members; on the other hand, the endeavor to turn the erotic relationship into a contractual one.
The self must be a tense bow. It must struggle with opposites rather than harmonize them, rather than turn the tension over to the great instruments of last manhood the skilled bow unbenders and Jesuits of our days, the psychiatrists, who, in the same spirit and as part of the same conspiracy of modernity as the peace virtuosos, reduce conflict.
Continental thinkers have been obsessed with bourgeois man as representing the worst and most contemptible failure of modernity, which must at all costs be overcome. Nihilism in its most palpable sense means that the bourgeois has won, that the future, all foreseeable futures, belong to him, that all heights above him and all depths beneath him are illusory and that life is not worth living on these terms.
Intellectuals ... advertise their superiority to political practice but are absolutely in its thrall. ... It is no accident that Marxist theory and practice use the intellectuals as tools and keep them in brutal subservience.
A good education would be devoted to encouraging and refining the love of the beautiful, but a pathologically misguided moralism instead turns such longing into a sin against the high goal of making everyone feel good, of overcoming nature in the name of equality. ... Love of the beautiful may be the last and finest sacrifice to radical egalitarianism.
A serious life means being fully aware of the alternatives, thinking about them with all the intensity one brings to bear on life-and-death questions, in full recognition that every choice is a great risk with necessary consequences that are hard to bear.
As Western nations became more prosperous, leisure, which had been put off for several centuries in favor of the pursuit of property, the means to leisure, finally began to be of primary concern. But, in the meantime, any notion of the serious life of leisure, as well as men's taste and capacity to live it, had disappeared.
Various kinds of self-forgetting, usually accompanied by illusions and myths, make it possible to live without the intransigent facing of death-in the sense of always thinking about it and what it means for life and the things dear in life-which is characteristic of a serious life.
The distinction between private and public undermines the unity of spiritual strength, draining the public of the transcendent energies while trivializing them because the merely private life provides no proper stage for their action.