“So as to give them courage we must teach people to be shocked by themselves.”

Pedagogical Maxims

Education is taking responsibility for belief.

“I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality.”

— H.D. Thoreau

“In studying a philosopher, the right attitude is neither reverence nor contempt, but first a kind of hypothetical sympathy, until it is possible to know what it feels like to believe in his theories, and only then a revival of the critical attitude, which should resemble, as far as possible, the state of mind of a person abandoning opinions which he has hitherto held.”

–Bertrand Russell

“If you allow a lot of young people to do nothing for a few years but read books and talk to each other then it is possible that given certain wider historical circumstances, they will not only begin to question some of the values transmitted to them but begin to interrogate the authority by which they are transmitted.”

— Terry Eagleton

“In practice, common sense betrays its own inadequacy by its incoherences, its contradictions and its silences. Presenting itself as non-theoretical, as ‘obvious’, common sense is not called on to demonstrate that it is internally consistent. But an account of the world which finally proves to be incoherent or non-explanatory constitutes an unsatisfactory foundation….

— Catherine Belsey

“Make One Day Equal Twenty Years.”

–Slogan of the Great Leap Forward

“The intellectual’s historical situation is not an easy one– not because of the laughable accusations brought against him, but because his situation is dialectical: his function is to criticize bourgeois language under the very reign of the bourgeoisie. The intellectual must be both an analyst and a utopian, he must calculate the world’s difficulties, and also its wild desires; he strives to be a philosophical and historical contemporary of the present. What would be the worth of a society that ceased to reflect upon itself? What would become of it? And how can we see ourselves except by talking to one another?”

The Grain of the Voice, Roland Barthes (1974)

“Whether you’re as black as a crow
or white as snow
if you don’t know
and ain’t got no dough
you’re not gonna go.”

— Lewis Michaux

“Only thought which does violence to itself is hard enough to shatter myths.”

— Adorno and Horkheimer

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