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Quotes of the day: Paul Goodman
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Published Friday, August 01, 2014 @ 10:02 PM EDT
Aug 01 2014

Paul Goodman (September 9, 1911 – August 2, 1972) was a novelist, playwright, poet and psychotherapist, although now best known as a social critic, anarchist philosopher, and public intellectual. Though often thought of as a sociologist, he vehemently denied being one in a presentation in the Experimental College at San Francisco State in 1964, and in fact said he could not read sociology because it was too often lifeless. The author of dozens of books including Growing Up Absurd and The Community of Scholars, Goodman was an activist on the pacifist Left in the 1960s and a frequently cited inspiration to the student movement of that decade. A lay therapist for a number of years, he was a co-founder of Gestalt Therapy in the 1940s and '50s. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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Comedy deflates the sense precisely so that the underlying lubricity and malice may bubble to the surface.

Enjoyment is not a goal, it is a feeling that accompanies important ongoing activity.

Few great men could pass personnel.

Humankind is innocent, loving, and creative, you dig? It's the bureaucracies that create the evil, that make Honor and Community impossible, and it's the kids who really take it in the groin.

I have learned to have very modest goals for society and myself; things like clean air, green grass, children with bright eyes, not being pushed around, useful work that suits one's abilities, plain tasty food, and occasional satisfying nookie.

I would almost say that our country is like a conquered province with foreign rulers, except that they are not foreigners and we are responsible for what they do.

In America you can say anything you want- as long as it doesn't have any effect.

It is desperately hard these days for an average child to grow up to be a man, for our present organized system does not want men. They are not safe.

It is hard to grow up in a society in which one’s important problems are treated as nonexistent. It is impossible to belong to it, it is hard to fight to change it.

It rarely adds anything to say, 'In my opinion'- not even modesty. Naturally a sentence is only your opinion; and you are not the Pope.

It takes application, a fine sense of value, and a powerful community-spirit for a people to have serious leisure, and this has not been the genius of the Americans.

Low pay generally means harder work under worse conditions.

No good has ever come from feeling guilty, neither intelligence, policy, nor compassion. The guilty do not pay attention to the object but only to themselves, and not even to their own interests, which might make sense, but to their anxieties.

Not to teach the whole curriculum is to give up on the whole man.

Nothing could be more stupid than for the communications commission to give to people who handle the means of broadcasting the inventing of what to broadcast, and then, disturbed at the poor quality, to worry about censorship.

The ancient dream of man to fly among the stars and go through the could and look down on the lands and seas has degenerated in its realization to the socialized and apathetic behavior of passengers who hardly look out the windows.

The appearance of competence may count for more than the reality, and it is a lifework to manufacture appearance or, more usually, to adapt to the common expectation.

The irony is that in our decades, the combination of rationalism, asceticism, and individualism (the so-called Protestant Ethic) has produced precisely the system of boondoggling, luxury-consumption, and status.

The organization of American society is an interlocking system of semi-monopolies notoriously venal, an electorate notoriously unenlightened, misled by a mass media notoriously phony.

We certainly have at present the dismal situation that the most imaginative men are directed by a group, the top managers, who are among the least.

We do not behave as if we believed that the affairs of our world were significant enough for the intervention of great men.

We live increasingly in a system in which little direct attention is paid to the object, the function, the program, the task, the need; but immense attention to the role, the procedure, prestige, and profit.

When a village ceases to be a community, it becomes oppressive in its narrow conformity. So one becomes an individual and migrates to the city. There, finding others likeminded, one re-establishes a village community. Nowadays only New Yorkers are yokels.

When the Devil quotes Scriptures, it's not, really, to deceive, but simply that the masses are so ignorant of theology that somebody has to teach them the elementary texts before he can seduce them.

When the sciences are supreme, average people lose their feeling of causality.

Where there is official censorship it is a sign that speech is serious. Where there is none, it is pretty certain that the official spokesmen have all the loud-speakers.


Categories: Paul Goodman, Quotes of the day


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