David Brooks · 288 pages
Rating: (3.6K votes)
“Self-actualization is what educated existence is all about. For members of the educated class, life is one long graduate school. When they die, God meets them at the gates of heaven, totes up how many fields of self-expression they have mastered, and then hands them a divine diploma and lets them in.”
“To get the most attention, the essay should be wrong. Logical essays are read and understood. But an illogical or wrong essay will prompt dozens of other writers to rise and respond, thus giving the author mounds of publicity.”
“You can't really know God if you ignore his laws, especially the ones that regulate the most intimate spheres of life. You may be responsible and healthy, but you will also be shallow and inconsequential.”
“They turn nature into an achievement course, a series of ordeals and obstacles they can conquer. They go into nature to behave unnaturally. In nature animals flee cold and seek warmth and comfort. But Bobo naturalists flee comfort and seek cold and deprivation.”
“The first thing you see, covering yards and yards of one wall, is an object that looks like a nickel-plated nuclear reactor, but is really the stove.”
“a statement by Bertrand Russell ... embodies the tone of heroic denunciation that you can muster only if you have drunk deeply from the cup of your own oracular majesty”
“If the article mentions some celebrity-perhaps a recently dead politician-the author will want to mention some pointless detail from her last meeting with that person or the emotions she experienced when learning of the subject's death.”
“If done correctly, these techniques can allow the Bobo pilgrim to have 6 unforgettable moments a morning, 2 rapturous experiences over lunch, 1.5 profound insights in the afternoon (on average), and .667 life-altering epiphanies after each sunset.”
“Bobos are uncomfortable with universal moral laws that purport to regulate pleasure. Bobos prefer more prosaic self-controlled regimes. The things that are forbidden are unhealthy or unsafe. The things that are encouraged are enriching or calorie burning. In other words, we regulate our carnal desires with health codes instead of moral codes.”
“If you live in a society like ours, in which people seldom object if they hear someone taking the Lord's name in vain but are outraged if they see a pregnant woman smoking, then you are living in a world that values the worldly more than the divine.”
“The main job of radicals in the Noam Chomsky or G. Gordon Liddy mode is to go around from one scruffy lecture hall to another reminding audiences while they may be disdained or ignored by the mainstream culture, they are actually right about everything.”
“[The public intellectual] will also describe how she can work a pop culture reference into her essay, comparing the Supreme Court to the creature in the number-one box office movie of the moment. Editors like this sort of mass-media integration, first, because it gives them a way to illustrate the piece, and second because they are under the delusion that pop-culture references will propel a piece's readership into the five-digit area.”
“Badasses need to get them some,”
“The best way to find out things, if you come to think of it, is not to ask questions at all. If you fire off a question, it is like firing off a gun; bang it goes, and everything takes flight and runs for shelter. But if you sit quite still and pretend not to be looking, all the little facts will come and peck round your feet, situations will venture forth from thickets and intentions will creep out and sun themselves on a stone; and if you are very patient, you will see and understand a great deal more than a man with a gun.”
“Why are you distressed, And why is your face fallen? 7cSurely, if you do right, There is uplift. But if you do not do right Sin couches at the door; Its urge is toward you, Yet you can be its master.”
“As much as we might like to break, we’re really only made to bend.”
“...Merchant's Ware, the city most people thought of as the real city. Normally its narrow streets were crowded with stalls, and people from all over the Carpet. They'd each be trying to cheat one another in that open-and-aboveboard way known as "doing business.”
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