11 months ago in Quotes
Even though we have lost yardsticks by which to measure, and rules under which to subsume the particular, a being whose essence is a beginning may have enough of origin within himself to understand without preconceived categories and to judge without the set of customary rules which is morality.
“Understanding and Politics”
 1 year ago in Quotes
We all grow up and inherit a certain vocabulary. We then have got to examine this vocabulary.
 1 year ago in Quotes
When the facts come home to us, let us try at least to make them welcome. Let us try not to escape into utopias—images, theories, or sheer follies.
 2 years ago in Quotes
It is undeniably true that the strong fraternal sentiments engendered by collective violence have misled many good people into the hope that a new community together with a new man will arise out of it. The hope is an illusion for the simple reason that no human relationship is more transitory than this kind of brotherhood which can be actualized only under conditions of immediate danger to life and limb.
 2 years ago in Quotes
Lies by their very nature have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history.
 2 years ago in Quotes
What I propose, therefore, is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing.
"The Human Condition"
 2 years ago in Quotes
The common prejudice that love is as common as "romance" may be due to the fact that we all learned about it first through poetry. But the poets fool us; they are the only ones to whom love is not only a crucial, but an indispensable experience, which entitles them to mistake it for a universal one.
"The Human Condition"
 2 years ago in Quotes
Revolutionaries do not make revolutions. The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and when they can pick it up. Armed uprising by itself has never yet led to revolution.
 2 years ago in Quotes
Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power's disappearance.
"Crises of the Republic: Lying in Politics; Civil Disobedience; On Violence; Thoughts on Politics and Revolution"
 2 years ago in Quotes
Violence can always destroy power; out of the barrel of a gun grows the most effective command, resulting in the most instant and perfect obedience. What never can grow out of it is power.
"Crises of the Republic: Lying in Politics; Civil Disobedience; On Violence; Thoughts on Politics and Revolution"
 2 years ago in Quotes
Violence can destroy power; it is utterly incapable of creating it.
"On Violence"
 2 years ago in Quotes
Generally speaking, violence always arises out of impotence. It is the hope of those who have no power.
 2 years ago in Quotes
Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power's disappearance.
 2 years ago in Quotes
Love, by its very nature, is unworldly, and it is for this reason rather than its rarity that it is not only apolitical but antipolitical, perhaps the most powerful of all antipolitical forces.
 2 years ago in Quotes
The result of a consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth is not that the lie will now be accepted as truth and truth be defamed as a lie, but that the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world—and the category of truth versus falsehood is among the mental means to this end—is being destroyed.
 2 years ago in Quotes
Laughter helps one to find a place in the world, but ironically, which is to say, without selling one’s soul to it.
 3 years ago in Quotes
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.
 3 years ago in Quotes
Idealism, foolish or heroic, always springs from some individual decision and conviction and is subject to experience and argument. The fanaticism of totalitarian movements, contrary to all forms of idealism, breaks down the moment the movement leaves its fanaticized followers in the lurch, killing in them any remaining conviction that might have survived the collapse of the movement itself. But within the organizational framework of the movement, so long as it holds together, the fanaticized members can be reached by neither experience nor argument; identification with the movement and total conformism seem to have destroyed the very capacity for experience, even if it be as extreme as torture or the fear of death.
"Origins of Totalitarianism"
 3 years ago in Quotes
The graduation of cynicism expressed in a hierarchy of contempt is at least as necessary in the face of constant refutation as plain gullibility. The point is that the sympathizers in front organizations despise their fellow-citizens' complete lack of initiation, the party members despise the fellow-travelers' gullibility and lack of radicalism, the elite formations despise for similar reasons the party membership, and within the elite formations a similar hierarchy of contempt accompanies every new foundation and development. The result of this system is that the gullibility of sympathizers makes lies credible to the outside world, while at the same time the graduated cynicism of membership and elite formations eliminates the danger that the Leader will ever be forced by the weight of his own propaganda to make good his own statements and feigned respectability. It has been one of the chief handicaps of the outside world in dealing with totalitarian systems that it ignored this system and therefore trusted that, on one hand, the very enormity of totalitarian lies would be their undoing and that, on the other, it would be possible to take the Leader at his word and force him, regardless of his original intentions, to make it good. The totalitarian system, unfortunately, is foolproof against such normal consequences; its ingeniousness rests precisely on the elimination of that reality which either unmasks the liar or forces him to live up to his pretense. While the membership does not believe statements made for public consumption, it believes all the more fervently the standard cliches of ideological explanation, the keys to past and future history which totalitarian movements took from nineteenth-century ideologies, and transformed, through organization, into a working reality.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
 4 years ago in Quotes
There exists in our society a widespread fear of judging that has nothing whatever to do with the biblical "Judge not, that ye be not judged," and if this fear speaks in terms of "casting the first stone," it takes this word in vain. For behind the unwillingness to judge lurks the suspicion that no one is a free agent, and hence the doubt that anyone is responsible or could be expected to answer for what he has done. The moment moral issues are raised, even in passing, he who raises them will be confronted with this frightful lack of self-confidence and hence of pride, and also with a kind of mock-modesty that in saying, Who am I to judge? actually means We're all alike, equally bad, and those who try, or pretend that they try, to remain halfway decent are either saints or hypocrites, and in either case should leave us alone.