2004 Quotes of the Week

12/26/04---No Quote Selected


He had a term for people like this: temporal provincials--people who were ignorant of the past, and proud of it.

Temporal provincials were convinced that the present was the only time that mattered, and that anything that had occurred earlier could be safely ignored. The modern world was compelling and new, and the past had no bearing on it. Studying history was as pointless as learning Morse Code, or how to drive a horse-drawn wagon. And the medieval period---all those knights in clanking armor and ladies in gowns and pointy hats---was so obvioulsly irrelevant as to be beneath consideration.

Yet the truth was that the modern world was invented in the Middle Ages. Everything from the legal system, to nation-states, to reliance on technology, to the concept of romantic love had first been established in medieval times. These stockbrokers owed the very notion of a market economy to the Middle Ages. And if they didn't know that, then they didn't know the basic facts of who they were. Why they did what they died. Where they had come from.

Professor Johnston often said that if you didn't know history, you didn't know anything. You were a leaf that didn't know it was part of a tree. Michael Crichton...from Timeline, p. 70...Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.


There are a number of barriers to the development of thinking including the lack of insight into critical thinking on the part of teachers and faculty. But at a deeper level, perhaps the single most significant barrier is the native egocentrism of human thought. This is an important question because it is egocentrism that keeps us from seeking and finding flaws in our thinking. It is egocentrism that leads to intellectual arrogance, or the tendency to think we know more than we do. It is egocentrism that leads to human selfishness and close-mindedness. Therefore as we teach students to think within disciplines, we also need to teach students how the mind normally functions - that it functions to get what it wants, to validate its views, and justify its behavior. Linda Elder...from An Interview with Linda Elder About Using Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools...April 2002


"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations," reads an explanation from CBS, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks." United Church of Christ's Press ReleaseNovember 30, 2004...quoting CBS's reasons for not airing an ad by the UCC


Man is not only a rational and social animal. He can also be defined as a producing animal, capable of transforming the materials which he finds at hand, using his reason and imagination. Not only can he produce, he must produce in order to live. Material production, however, is but the most frequent symbol for productiveness as an aspect of character. The "productive orientation" of personality refers to a fundamental attitude, a mode of relatedness in all realms of human experience. It covers mental, emotional, and sensory responses to others, to oneself, and to things. Productiveness is man's ability to use his powers and to realize the potentialities inherent in him. If we say he must use his powers we imply that he must be free and not dependent on someone who controls his powers. We imply, furthermore, that he is guided by reason, since he can make use of his powers only if he knows what they are, how to use them, and what to use them for. Productiveness means that he experiences himself as the embodiment of his powers and as the "actor"; that he feels himself one with his powers and at the same time that they are not masked and alienated from him. Erich Fromm...from Man For Himself...1947


The sequence of witnessing violence-learning-acting might proceed in this manner: Fans watching a violent sporting event are likely to become more aggressively inclined themselves; as they witness violent behavior, they might, under just the right circumstances, act violently themselves. Of course, as we emphasized earlier in this chapter, learning the heritage and culture of violence is the lived experience of everyone in North America, so sports fans have more than their immediate experiences in the stadium or aren mediating a mindset for violence. D. Stanley Eitzen and George H. Sage...from Sociology of North American Sport, Seventh Edition, p. 146


No Quote Selected


The American people have spoken and here is some of what they said. Lie to me all you want and if you do it often enough I'll not only believe you but I will be forever devoted to you. It's the classic story of the cocktail waitress and the millionaire's promise of marriage. All I care about is that you look sincere when you lie to me, as, for example, Dick Cheney and George Bush always do, and you'll have my undying devotion and enthusiastic support. Christopher Brauchli...from Alas, The People Have Spoken...11/04


I believe in fact, and I believe in the plain truth told wholly---that the truth retold can be a net thrown around life at a certain time and place, encompassing all within, and that people can go out there, live as actors, work within their staging ground, do so with a soft heart; I want others to go out in the world with an idea, with intentions and means, and come back with a story about how their actions affected the world and how they themselves were shaped by the results. I have a belief that such endeavors can improve the world, however recklessly, especially when these people go forward and interact, give, solve, change the situations they encounter---and also, even those with no intentions of recording their actions. There's nothing to be gained from passive observance, the simple documenting of conditions, because, at its core, it sets a bad example. Every time something is observed and not fixed, or when one has a chance to give in some way and does not, there is a lie being told, the same lie we all know by heart but which needn't be reiterated. Dave Eggers...from You Shall Know Our Velocity, Vintage Books, 2002


The history of science is replete with instances of faith in reason and vision of truth. Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton were all imbued with an unshakable faith in reason. For this Bruno was burned at the stake and Spinoza suffered excommunication. At every step from the conception of a rational vision to the formulation of a theory, faith is necessary; faith in the vision as a rationally valid aim to pursue, faith in the hypothesis as a likely and plausible propostion, and faith in the final theory, at least until a general consensus about its validity has been reached. This faith is rooted in one's own experience, in the confidence in one's power of thought, observation, and judgment. While irrational faith is the acceptance of something as true only because an authority or the majority say so, rational faith is rooted in an independent conviction based upon one's own productive observing and thinking. Erich Fromm....from Man for Himself...1947


The irony...is that often "to be good in sports, you have to be bad." You must, as we have seen, take unfair advantage and be overly aggressive if you want to win. The implications of this are significant. Moral development theorists agree that the fundamental structure of moral reasoning remains relatively stable from situation to situation. Thus, when coaches and athletes in their zeal to succeed corrupt the ideals of sportspersonship and fair play, they are likely to employ or condone similar tactics outside of sport. They might accept the necessity of dirty tricks in politics, the manipulation of foreign governments for our benefit, and business practices that include using misleading advertising and selling shoddy and/or harmful products. The ultimate goal in politics, business, and sport, after all is to win. And winning may require moving outside the established rules. Unfortunately, this lesson is learned all too often in sport. D. Stanley Eitzen...from THE DARK SIDE OF COMPETITION
Delivered to the symposium, "Sport And American Values, "Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas October 31, 1995


But why should America care what other countries think? Madison answered that question by making two points: "[T]he one is that independently of the merits of any particular plan or measure, it is desirable, on various accounts, that it should appear to other nations as the offspring of a wise and honorable policy; the second is that in doubtful cases, particularly where the national councils may be warped by some strong passion or momentary interest, the presumed or known opinion of the impartial world may be the best guide that can be followed." (Emphasis added.)

Translation: it is not a sign of weakness but the height of good judgment to make the effort to understand how proposed actions of the United States would be seen by the "impartial world." Madison--Secretary of State under Jefferson and America's first "wartime President"--here utterly refutes the Bush-Cheney doctrine of national infallibility. Indeed, Madison's version of the "global test" is far more forthright than the somewhat hesitant variant of the same idea voiced by Kerry and John Edwards. Thad Williamson...from James Madison Favored a "Global Test"...Published on Thursday, October 7, 2004 by CommonDreams.org


In short, progressive Democrats must remain visible and vocal in a Kerry administration. We cannot fall victim to the argument that our criticism should be muted because Kerry is better than Bush. The expression "damning with faint praise" comes to mind. How hard is it to be better than a fascist? (Emphasis ADDED) That dubious distinction forces the painful vote for Kerry, but it shouldnít keep anyone from speaking up if Kerry forgets who put him in office. Margaret Kimberley...from The November Third Movement...Published on Thursday, September 30, 2004 by the Black Commentator


Not only do we get carried away with competitive activities, but we turn most everything else into a contest. Our collective creativity seems to be tied up in devising new ways to produce winners and losers. It is not enough that we struggle against our colleagues at work to be more productive; we also must compete for the title of Friendliest Employee. The only way we can think of to socialize with the people who work for another company is to try to beat them in a competitive game. If we want to escape all of this by, say, going out dancing, we find that even here we are involved in a contest. No ocrner of our lives is too trivial---or too important---to be exempted from the compulsion to rank ourselves against one another. Even where no explicit contest has been set up, we tend to construe the world in competitive terms. Alfie Kohn...from No Contest: The Case Against Competition Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986 p.2


Whenever two people meet there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is. William James...as quoted in The History Shack


It is difficult for me to write of freedom. I am at once free and unfree, and my lack of freedom precludes me from fully comprehending the state I am in. Freedom is not and should not be construed as an entirely subjective concept. Quite independent of one's perception, the achievement of freedom involves both the knowledge of alternatives and the absence of social and psychological constraints over access to these. People are not free when the system of social relations in which they live deprives them from achieving those goals they could otherwise humanly achieve. Howard J. Ehrlich...from "Notes from a Radical Social Scientist: February 1970" in Radical Sociology, edited by J. David Colfax and Jack L. Roach NY: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1971

9/5/04---No Quote Selected


The purpose of the capitalist state is to do things for the advancement of the entire capitalist system that individual corporate interests cannot do. Left to their own competitive devices, business firms are not willing to abide by certain rules nor tend to common systemic interests. This is true both for the domestic economy and foreign affairs. Like any good capitalist organization, a business firm may have a general long-range interest in seeing Cuban socialism crushed, but it might have a more tempting immediate interest in doing a profitable business with the class enemy. It remains for the capitalist state to force individual companies back in line. Michael Parenti...from Chapter 3 of Against Empire, 1995


Another bunch of ignorant bullshit about your children: school uniforms. Bad theory! The idea that if kids wear uniforms to school, it helps keep order. Hey! Don't these schools do enough damage makin' all these children think alike? Now they're gonna get 'em to look alike, too?

And it's not even a new idea; I first saw it in old newsreels from the 1930's, but it was hard to understand, because the narration was in German! But the uniforms looked beautiful. And the children did everything they were told and never questioned authority. Gee, I wonder why someone would want to put our children in uniforms. Can't imagine. George Carlin...from Napalm & Sillyputty, 2001


For example, a society instills in its members predetermined channels for marriage. Instead of allowing the sexual partners a host of options, it is expected in U.S. society that the couple, composed of a man and a woman, will marry and set up a conjugal household. Although the actual options are many, the partners choose what society demands. In fact, they do not consider the other options as valid (for example, polygamy, polyandry, or group marriage). The result is a patterned arrangement that regulates sexual behavior and attempts to ensure a stable environment for the care of dependent children. The current demand by state legislatures that gay partners should not be allowed to marry illustrates the strict institutional demands of society over individual behavior. D. Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Baca-Zinn...from In Conflict and Order, 10th Edition, p. 44


"It would be a complete misunderstanding of what has just been said if the reader now thought that we are presenting a picture of society in which everybody schemes, plots and deliberately puts on disguises to fool his fellow men. On the contrary, role-playing and identity-building processes are generally unreflected and unplanned, almost automatic. The psychological needs for consistency of self-image just mentioned ensure this. Deliberate deception requires a degree of psychological self-control that few people are capable of. That is why insincerity is rather a rare phenomenon. Most people are sincere, because this is the easiest course to take psychologically. That is, they believe in their own act, conveniently forget the act that preceded it, and happily go through life in the conviction of being responsible in all its demands. Sincerity is the consciousness of the man who is taken in by his own act. Or as it has been put by David Riesman, the sincere man is the one who believes in his own propaganda." Peter L. Berger...from Invitation to Sociology (1963)


You can't be a war president one day and claim to be a peace president the next -- (cheers, applause) -- depending on the latest political polls. Jimmy Carter...from You Can't be a War President one Day, a Peace President the Next (remark made by President Jimmy Carter at the Democratic National Convention in Boston on Monday night, as recorded by the Federal News Service, Inc.: July 26, 2004)


History does nothing, it "possesses no immense wealth", it "wages no battles". It is man, real, living man who does all that, who possesses and fights; "history" is not, as it were, a person apart, using man as a means to achieve its own aims; history is nothing but the activity of man pursuing his aims. Karl Marx (with Engels)...from The Holy Family, Chapter 6


"The really dangerous American fascists," Wallace wrote, "are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power." Vice-President Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945)...from an article in The New York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against the Axis powers of Germany and Japan. (Re: Fascism) (as quoted in "The Ghost of Vice President Wallace Warns: "It Can Happen Here" by Thom Hartmann (Published on Monday, July 19, 2004 by CommonDreams.org)


First, the SPE underscored the degree to which prison enviornments are themselves powerful, potentially damaging situations whose negative psychological effects must be taken seriously, carefully evaluated, and purposefully regulated and controlled. When appropriate, these environments must be changed or (in extreme cases) eliminated. Of course, the SPE demonstrated the power of situations to overwhelm psychologically normal, healthy people and to elicit from them unexpectedly cruel, yet "situationally appropriate" behavior. In many instances during our study, the participants' behavior (and our own) directly contravened personal value systems and deviated dramatically from past records of conduct. This behavior was elicited by the social context and roles we created, and it had painful, even traumatic consequences for the prisoners against whom it was directed. Craig Haney and Philip Zimbardo...from "The Past and Future of U.S. Prison Policy" in American Psychologist, July 1998, pp. 709-727.


Now as to what this flag may mean and represent to others besides good ole patriotic Americans...just what DOES it mean to THEM? Who am I talking about, you may rightfully ask? Oh, millions upon millions of people all over the globe, past and current, who saw it coming at them with guns firing at the same time, that's who. Some people, although liberated in certain ways when it first appeared, soon learned that it would be followed by capitalist vultures ready to take their freedom FROM them in different ways. How about the countless millions who saw this flag flying beside the flag of their own nation and the dictatorial and brutal leaders who ran their nations? These are the people who knew that the presence of the American flag didn't mean self-determination but rather, meant more of the same control they really wished to escape, but which was now supported and funded by the people who brought the flag with them...Americans.

But lets get back to the USA for a minute. What does the flag represent to the people in THIS country who saw it flying or saw it patched on to a uniform...a uniform occupied by a human being about to bash in their head for oh...being a "wrong" color...or for exercising their rights of protest, free speech, voluntary assembly...etc.? What did it represent to them...when they saw it hanging in a courtroom in which they were about to feel and experience the supposed "blindness" of American justice? David H. Kessel...from "The American Flag"...1/19/02


To be sure, we are all sociologists of sorts because we know how to behave socially, we intuitively understand social distance, and we have 'street smarts.' But many go through life knowing how to behave socially, but they do so unconsciously, without being analytical about things social. Most go through life accepting social boundaries of class, race, gender, and sexuality without understanding that they are social constructions. And many are manipulated by advertising, the media, preachers, and politicians.

To understand social life requires more than social experiences. It requires a perspective---the sociological perspective---that leads to sociological questions and analysis. With this perspective, students will find excitement and engagement in looking behind the facades of social life and finding patterns in human behaviors (seeing the general in the particular). D. Stanley Eitzen and Maxine Baca Zinn...from In Conflict and Order, Tenth Edition, p. 10


We maintain that the teaching of sociology is justified insofar as a liberal education is assumed to have a more than etymological connection with intellectual liberation. Where this assumption does not exist, where education is understood in purely technical or professional terms, let sociology be eliminated from the curriculum. It will only interfere with the smooth operation of the latter, provided, of course, that sociology has not also been emasculated in accordance with the educational ethos prevailing in such situations. Where, however, the assumption still holds, sociology is justified by the belief that it is better to be conscious than unconscious and that consciousness is a condition of freedom. To attain a greater measure of awareness, and with it of freedom, entails a certain amount of suffering and even risk. An educational process that would avoid this becomes simple technical training and ceases to have any relationship to the civilizing of the mind. Peter L. Berger...from Invitation to Sociology...Chapter 8 (p. 175)...1963

6/13/04...None Selected


In the final analysis, however, the legacy of Ronald Reagan - whether he had an active hand in its formulation, or was merely along for the ride - is beyond dispute. His famous question, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" is easy to answer. We are not better off than we were four years ago, or eight years ago, or twelve, or twenty. We are a badly damaged state, ruled today by a man who subsists off Reagan's most corrosive final gift to us all: It is the image that matters, and be damned to the truth. William Rivers Pitt...from "Planet Reagan"...t r u t h o u t | Perspective...Monday 07 June 2004


It is not reassuring that, after two thousand years of Christian teachings and two hundred years of democracy, many Americans still believe our political goals are best served by means of war. It is not encouraging that the best we can do to control genocide or terrorism is to bomb civilians, nor is it heartening to learn that our most successful and powerful polities are run by knaves, crooks and fools. How can we ever do things better? If the good guys are just as bad as the bad guys, what hope is there for humanity? Caroline Arnold...from "Memorial Day, Forever?" (Published on Monday, May 31, 2004 by CommonDreams.org...HERE

5/23/04...None Selected


WHENEVER those states which have been acquired as stated have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom, there are three courses for those who wish to hold them: the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute (payment for protection), and establishing within it an oligarchy (small government) which will keep it friendly to you. Because such a government, being created by the prince, knows that it cannot stand without his friendship and interest, and does its utmost to support him; and therefore he who would keep a city accustomed to freedom will hold it more easily by the means of its own citizens than in any other way. Machiavelli...from Chapter 5 of The Prince...circa 1505...entitled "Concerning The Way To Govern Cities Or Principalities Which Lived Under Their Own Laws Before They Were Annexed"


Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But, man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man---state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, it enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Karl Marx...from..."Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right" (Appeared in the Deutsch-FranzŲsische Jahrbucher, February, 1844)


Where there is no vision, we are told, the people perish. Where there is no maturity there is no vision. We now begin to know this. We realize that the evils of our life come not from deep evil within us but from ungrown-up responses to life. Our obligation then, is to grow up. This is what our time requires of us. This is what may yet be the saving of us. Harry Overstreet...from The Mature Mind, NY: W.W. Norton & Co, 1949...p. 292


The biggest problem facing most families as this century draws to a close is not that our families have changed too much but that our institutions have changed too little. America's work policies are 50 years out of date, designed for a time when most moms weren't in the workforce and most dads didn't understand the joys of being involved in childcare. Our school schedules are 150 years out of date, designed for a time when kids needed to be home to help with the milking and haying. And many political leaders feel they have to decide whether to help parents stay home longer with their kids or invest in better childcare, preschool and afterschool programs, when most industrialized nations have long since learned it's possible to do both. Stephanie Coontz...from "The American Family" Life Magazine, November 1999


Thus, many things have happened to the home since machinery entered the world. For the most part, these things have not been clearly recognized by the individuals involved. The average adult, even the average parent, takes the home for granted as if it had come in its present form straight from the workshop of the Creator. Any suggestion that many things need to be changed, particularly in the economic order that has been so largely responsible for the altered and insecure modern home, either leaves him unconvinced or rouses him to anger against "radicalism." This is in itself a sign of adult immaturity. The very institution the adult most cares about is one about which he knows so little...and thinks so little, in any deep sense...that he has allowed it to become an institution secondary in power and at the mercy of forces that he considers it un-american to try to change.

It is quite possible that most of what has happened to the home is still beyond our individual power to correct. But maturity of mind would seem to require at least some intelligent awareness of the situation. The home is not the perfect institution that immature sentimentality makes it out to be. It is, today, full of serious dangers to the psychological health of both its individual members and our total culture. A readiness to see these dangers is called for...and an awareness of their character. The mature adult will regard the modern home as something to be deeply anxious about. Also, he will regard it as something to be cherished...and changed. Harry Overstreet...from The Mature Mind...1949


Unconsciousness is identical with unawareness of truth; becoming aware of the unconscious means discovering the truth. This concept of truth is not the traditional one of the correspondence between thought and that to which thought refers; rather, it is a dynamic one, in which truth is the process of removing illusions, of recognizing what the object is NOT. Truth is not a final statement about something but a step in the direction of undeception; awareness of the unconscious becomes an essential element of truth-seeking, education a process of de-deception. Erich Fromm...from The Revision of Psychoanalysis...1992


"There's a principle here," he told the justices in his closing moments, "and I'm hoping the court will uphold this principle so that we can finally go back and have every American want to stand up, face the flag, place their hand over their heart and pledge to one nation, indivisible, not divided by religion, with liberty and justice for all." Dr. Michael Newdow... Closing statement before the U.S. Supreme Court after arguing that "under God" is unconstitutional in the Pledge of Allegience...3/24/04


Objectivism, the academy's most prized way of knowing, is marked by its insistence that only at a distance can we know things truly and well. Objectivism imagines that by removing ourselves from nature or history or a text we can make truth-claims untainted by any personal bias-a fantasy, but a persistent one. This mode of knowing has been advanced with such arrogance that it is difficult to see the fear behind it. But objectivism is riddled with fear: fear of subjectivity, and fear of the demands that relational knowing might make on our lives. Parker J. Palmer...from The Courage to Teach...appeared in The National Teaching & Learning Forum: Vol.6 No.5, August 1997.

3/21/04---None Selected

3/14/04---None Selected


We are challenged to break the obsolete social and economic systems which divide our world between the overprivileged and the underprivileged. All of us, whether governmental leader or protester, businessman or worker, professor or student share a common guilt. We have failed to discover how the necessary changes in our ideals and our social structures can be made. Each of us, therefore, through our ineffectiveness and our lack of responsible awareness, causes the suffering around the world. Ivan Illich...from "A Call to Celebration" from Celebration of Awareness, 1967


Many political scientists manage to ignore the relationship between government and wealth, treating the corporate giants, if at all, as if they were but one of a number of interest groups. They label as "marxist" any approach that links class, wealth, and capitalism to politics. To be sure, Karl Marx saw such a relationship, but so did more conservative theorists like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Adam Smith, and in America, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Indeed, just about every theorist and practitioner of politics in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries saw the link between political organization and economic interest, and between state and class, as not only important but desirable and essential to the well-being of the polity. "The people who own the country ought to govern it, " declared John Jay. A permanent check over the populace should be exercised by "the rich and the well-born," urged Alexander Hamilton. Unlike most theorists before him, Marx was one of the first in the modern era to see the existing relationship between property and power as undesirable and exploitative, and this was his unforgivable sin. The tendency to avoid critical analysis of corporate capitalism persists to this day among business people, journalists, and most academics. Michael Parenti...from Democracy for the Few, Seventh Edition, 2002...p. 4


The democratic republic and universal suffrage were an immense progressive advance as compared with feudalism; they have enabled the proletariat to achieve its present unity and solidarity, to form those firm and disciplined ranks which are waging a systematic struggle against capital. There was nothing even approximately resembling this among the peasant serfs, not to speak of the slaves. The slaves, as we know, revolted, rioted, started civil wars, but they could never create a class-conscious majority and parties to lead the struggle, they could not clearly realise what their aims were, and even in the most revolutionary moments of history they were always pawns in the hands of the ruling classes. The bourgeois republic, parliament, universal suffrage-all represent great progress from the standpoint of the world development of society. Mankind moved towards capitalism, and it was capitalism alone which, thanks to urban culture, enabled the oppressed proletarian class to become conscious of itself and to create the world working-class movement, the millions of workers organised all over the world in parties-the socialist parties which are consciously leading the struggle of the masses. Without parliamentarism, without an electoral system, this development of the working class would have been impossible. That is why all these things have acquired such great importance in the eyes of the broad masses of people. That is why a radical change seems to be so difficult. V. I. Lenin...from "The State"...a lecture given July 11, 1919


Donít be fooled by me, Donít be fooled by the face I wear
For I wear a thousand masks
That Iím afraid to take off
And none of them is me.

Pretending is an art
That is second nature to me,
For Godís sake, donít be fooled.

I give the impression that I am secure,
That all is sunny and unruffled with me
Within as well as without;
That confidence is my name
And coolness my game.

That the water is calm and I am in command,
And that I need no one.
But donít believe me, please.
My surface may seem smooth
But my surface is a mask. Peter Lehmann...from Lost in a Masquerade...Celestial Arts, 1974


"But like any other word or concept, individualism can be perverted to serve ends the opposite of those it originally served, and this is what has happened when in the name of individual rights, millions of individuals are enjoined from redressing historically documented wrongs. How is this managed? Largely in the same way that the invocation of fairness is used to legitimize an institutionalized inequality. First one says, in the most solemn of tones, that the protection of individual rights is the chief obligation of society. Then one defines individuals as souls sent into the world with equal entitlements ans guaranteed either by their Creator or by the Constitution. Then one pretends that nothing has happened to them since they stepped onto the world's stage. And then one says of these carefully denatured souls that they will all be treated in the same way, irrespective of any of the differences that history ahs produced. Bizarre as it may seem, individualism in this argument turns out to mean that everyone is or should be the same. This dismissal of individual difference in the name of the individual would be funny were its consequences not so serious: it is the mechanism by which imbalances and inequities suffered by millions of people through no fault of their own can be sanitized and even celebrated as the natural workings of unfettered democracy." Stanley Fish...from "Reverse Racism, or How the Pot Got to Call the Kettle Black"...November, 1993...The Atlantic Monthly

2/1/04---None Selected


If the individual realizes his self by spontaneous activity and thus relates himself to the world, he ceases to be an isolated atom; he and the world become part of one structuralized whole; he has his rightful place, and thereby his doubt concerning himself and the meaning of life disappears. This doubt sprang from his separateness and from the thwarting of life; when he can live, neither compulsively nor automatically but spontaneously, the doubt disappears. He is aware of himself as an active and creative individual and recognizes that there is only one meaning of life; the act of living itself. Erich Fromm...from Escape from Freedom, 1941


Haven't we already given money to rich people? Why are we going to do it again? George W. Bush...as quoted in Giving money to rich people by Molly Ivins

1/11/04---None Selected


It suggests that equality implies lack of difference, that equality implies that everyone is like everybody else, that equality implies identity. Actually equality and the demand for equality implies the very opposite: namely, that despite all differences no person should be made a tool of the purpose of anyone else, that every human being is an end and purpose in himself or herself. This means that each person is free to develop his or her peculiarity as an individual, as a member of a given sex, as a member of a given nationality. Equality does not imply the negation of difference but the possibility for its fullest realization. Erich Fromm...from "Man-Woman," 1949