American business, while it does not frown on helping the human race, frowns on people who start right in helping the human race without first proving that they can sell things to it.
As one might expect in a society with mass communications and mass markets, the pseudo-ethic says that whatever is popular, is right. Where the traditional ethic derives its sanction from the superiority of a few, the pseudo-ethic derives its sanction from the inferiority of a great many. The pseudo-ethic is keyed, not to the spiritually gifted, but to the spiritually ungifted.
Children are an embarrassment to a business civilization. A business society needs children for the same reason that a nomadic or a pastoral society needs them- to perpetuate itself. Unfortunately, however, children are of no use to a business society until they have almost reached physical maturity.
Democracy makes many taxing demands on its practitioners, but suspension of the intelligence is not one of them.
Equality is an unconscious assumption, and if you feel you are treating someone as an equal, then you are not doing it.
Every time I think I've touched bottom as far as boredom is concerned, new vistas of ennui open up.
Example is better than precept.
Folklore is a collection of ridiculous notions held by other people, but not by you and me.
I am living with a rising generation which talks like people coming out of ether.
If you embark on a project as magnificent in concept as the brotherhood of man, it is foolish not to anticipate difficulties of proportionate magnificence.
In a business society, the emotional economy is an economy of scarcity.
In a business society, the role of sex can be summed up in five pitiful little words. There is money in it.
In practice, there is nothing especially dramatic in people getting along well together.
In some circumstances, the refusal to be defeated is a refusal to be educated.
It is a waste of time to ask more of people than they have to give.
It is impossible to betray another man's child- for whatever reason- without also betraying one's own. To do less than justice to another man's child, no matter who that man is, is to impair by that much the chances one's own children have for a life of meaning and purpose.
Life itself, however, flows and is sequential and punishes those who try to compartmentalize it.
Money does not corrupt people. What corrupts people is lack of affection... Money is simply the bandage which wounded people put over their wounds.
One of the less dismaying aspects of race relations in the United States is that their improvement is not a matter of a few people having a great deal of courage. It is a matter of a great many people having just a little courage.
Our Republic is not a pastoral, not a military, not an agricultural, not a nomadic, not a clerical, but a business civilization. Nor is there anything random, casual or accidental about the United States as a business society. It is thoroughly well integrated- organized from top to bottom for the maximum efficiency of commerce and industry, for the maximum efficiency of making money.
Passionately prejudiced people always turn out, under scrutiny, to be people who cannot get along on a footing of equality with anyone...
Reality is above all else a variable, and nobody is qualified to say that he or she knows exactly what it is. As a matter of fact, with a firm enough commitment, you can sometimes create a reality which did not exist before.
Some persons talk simply because they think sound is more manageable than silence.
Success does not implant bad characteristics in people. It merely steps up the growth rate of the bad characteristics they already had.
The American family is failing in its job of turning out stable human beings... It is failing because Americans do not dare to cultivate in themselves those characteristics which would make family life creative and rewarding. To do so, would ruin them financially.
The business society is interested in training its citizens to make money, and, in this objective, it is often successful. Many of them do make money, and the ones who do not obligingly regard themselves as failures who have wasted the precious gift of life.
The crucial disadvantage of aggression, competitiveness and skepticism as national characteristics is that these qualities cannot be turned off at five o'clock.
The great disadvantage of being in a rat race is that it is humiliating. The competitors in a rat race are by definition rodents.
The idea is that inside every human being, however unprepossessing, there is a glorious, talented, and overwhelmingly attractive personality. Nonsense. Inside each of us is a mess of unruly, primitive impulses, and these can sometimes, under the strenuous self-discipline and dedication of art, result in notable creativity.
The important thing about human beings is not what they do, but why they do it.
The people who say you are not facing reality actually mean that you are not facing their idea of reality.
The position of children as a group, in a commercial society, is not wholly advantageous. A commercial society urges its citizens to be responsible for things, but not for people. It is the unquestioned assumption of a mercantile culture that things need and deserve attention, but that people can take care of themselves...
The psychological attitudes which are indispensable in the American market place are disastrous to family life. Family life... requires yieldingness, generosity, sympathy, altruism, tenderness- all the qualities, in fact, which lead straight to bankruptcy... the American family is tragically out of gear with the profit structure which has mushroomed up around it.
The stress laid on upward social mobility in the United States has tended to obscure the fact that there can be more than one kind of mobility and more than one direction in which it can go. There can be ethical mobility as well as financial, and it can go down as well as up.
The whole flavor and quality of the American representative government turns to ashes on the tongue, if one regards that government as simply an inferior and rather second-rate sort of corporation.
There are dozens of ways of failing to make money. It is one thing to fail to make money because your single talent happens to be a flair amounting to genius for translating the plays of Aristophanes. It is quite another thing to fail to make money because you are black, or a child, or a woman.
There are... other business societies- England, Holland, Belgium and France, for instance. But ours (the United States) is the only culture now extant in which business so completely dominates the national scene that sports, crime, sex, death, philanthropy and Easter Sunday are money-making propositions.
This year's blasphemy is next year's liberating truth...
We know of our own knowledge that we are human beings, and, as such, imperfect. But we are bathed by the communications industry in a ceaseless tide of inhuman, impossible perfection.
Whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the staring defects in other people's characters.
Working with children is the easiest part of educating for democracy, because children are still undefeated and have no stake in being prejudiced.
You have to realize the white-supremacy boys are spoiled children. 'I want my way,' they scream, and like all spoiled children, they advance no justification for it except that it is their way.
Found 42 occurence(s) in 51,786 quotation(s).