Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Daniel J. Boorstin

1914 – 2004 CE

American intellectual Paul Revere

“An intellectual Paul Revere,” American historian, US Congressional Librarian, Rhodes Scholar, and Pulitzer Prize winner; Boorstin became a Communist Party member when young, a prominent conservative in later life. Promoting the "consensus school" of history, he praised entrepreneurs and inventors, criticized conformity, bureaucracy, slavery to tradition, and an historical emphasis on class conflict. On a parallel track with Marshall McLuhan he praised, analyzed, and warned about the unintended consequences and social upheaval that inevitably arises from new technology. With self-effacing insight, he looked deeply into American culture both praising and criticizing aspects of this unprecedented historical experiment.

Eras

Sources

Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

Unlisted Sources

Creators--Heroes of the Imagniation

Creators—Heroes of the Imagniation, 1992

Hidden History (1987)

Hidden History, 1987

The Creators, 1992

The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination, 1992

Quotes by Daniel J. Boorstin (38 quotes)

“Ideas need no passports from their place of origin, nor visas for the countries they enter…. We, the librarians of the world, are servants of an indivisible world… Books and ideas make a boundless world.”

from Hidden History, 1987

Themes: Books

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“In my own vocation of historian, I am impressed by the leadership of the great amateurs... in the original sense of the word ’amateur,’—a lover of the subject—these people tried what the professionals would not dare. Among the great amateurs are Edward Gibbon, Winston Churchill, and Henry Adams.”

from Hidden History, 1987

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“The ablest defender of the Revolution—in fact, the greatest political theorist of the American Revolution—was also the great theorist of British conservatism, Edmund Burke.”

from Hidden History, 1987

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“The courage to doubt, on which American pluralism, federalism, and religious liberty are founded, is a special brand of courage, a more selfless brand of courage than the courage of orthodoxy. A brand that has been rarer and more precious in the history of the West than the courage of the crusader.”

from Hidden History, 1987

Themes: Doubt Pluralism

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“An eloquent and reverent expression of the implications of this courage to doubt—a belief in religious liberty and the creator’s delight in the multiformity of men's minds—was offered by Thomas Paine who was a prophet and publicist of the American Revolution. But he was hardly a favorite of dogmatic theologians”

from Hidden History, 1987

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“The American Revolution was not the product of a nationalistic spirit. We were singularly free from most of the philosophical baggage of modern nationalism.”

from Hidden History, 1987

Themes: Nationalism

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“The United States became a nation in quest of itself… The new nation was to be not a citadel but a laboratory… More than any other modern people, we have been free of the curse of ideology, free to combine the nations, free to rise above chauvinism, free to take our clues from the delightful, unexplored, uncontested world around us… A raw continent made us flexible and responsive and we remain the worlds laboratory binding together peoples from everywhere by opportunities rather than ideologies”

from Hidden History, 1987

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“The very wonders of American democracy, which aimed to bring everything to everybody, brought new complications and confusions. The vast majority had more things, ate better, had an opportunity for more education, the chance for a better life. But were these benefits less enjoyed? Less appreciated?”

from Hidden History, 1987

Themes: Democracy

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“[We live in a world] whose rhetoric is advertising, whose standard of living has become its morality”

from Hidden History, 1987

Themes: Consumerism

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“While technology seems to bring us together, it does so only by making new ways of separating us from one another… we are in danger of being suffocated by our own tastes.”

from Hidden History, 1987

Themes: Technology

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“If we ever doubted that women are the Forgotten Men of history, the Adams epic should remind us… despite the fact that Abigail was one of the brightest, most public-minded, and most sacrificing of the family, she has been treated as little more than a mirror for her husband and the age.”

from Hidden History, 1987

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“Among the great creators, the great spokesmen of ethical ideals, none is more miraculous than Confucius himself. He claimed no divine source for his teachings nor any inspiration not open to everyone… he proclaimed no Commandments and it is easy to see him as an ancient Don Quixote. But his lifelong, unsuccessful tilting against the evils of the chaotic Chinese states of his day somehow awakened his people and eventually commanded two thousand years of Chinese culture.”

from The Creators, 1992

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“Supremely embodied in Michelangelo, the unique unpredictable creator has cast a spell over the arts in modern times… the terribilitá of Michelangelo, the terrifying power of the inspired artist, would leave its mark on the future of the arts. The genius of Michelangelo inspired other to make a fetish of genius.”

from The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination, 1992

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“If admitting faults is a proper claim to respect, Rousseau should be among the most respected of modern men. It is perhaps appropriate that the prototype of modern ‘true’ confessions was written by a madman.”

from The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination, 1992

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“As historians added their visions of the past to the human comedy, novelists created wide-angle mirrors for their readers and their times. Now authors—with the aid of publishers and sales figures, received speedy feedback and became increasingly tempted to give the whatever they wanted. The author-creator himself became the audience of his audience.”

from The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination, 1992

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“Balzac was a fairly consistent royalist and Catholic, anything but a reformer or a politician… A congenital bankrupt and an obsessive shopper, he was a genius at finding ways to be extravagant.”

from The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination, 1992

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“To win his two dozen victories, Sophocles had to be wondrously fertile and able to produce on demand. A man of wealth, noted for his elegant style of life, he was a model of the Athenian public man of letters… He served as a treasurer for tribute money, was elected one of Athen’s ten generals, mounted many expeditions, and—at the age of 83—served on a commission to reorganize the government.”

from Creators--Heroes of the Imagniation

Themes: Victory

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“No historian has seen more vividly how nettlesome is the texture of the human past. Yet few have been bolder or more successful at grasping the nettle… For him, the menace to understanding was not so much ignorance as the illusion of knowledge… with deceptive ease, he managed to translate the catastrophes of nature into parables of human nature.”

from Hidden History, 1987

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“few books of history have been so widely or so indiscriminately praised… it is doubtful if there is another example in the social sciences of a work of similar longevity, respectability, and popularity, which has had so small a dogmatic or doctrinaire ingredient.”

from Hidden History, 1987

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“There is no way of thought so experimental, and no philosopher so tentative that his suggestions cannot be frozen into a dogma by self-seeking disciples.”

from The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination, 1992

Themes: Fanaticism

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“Franklin's life, a parable of New World possibilities, abounded in novelties... The bare facts of his career needed no embellishment to become the success saga of a self made man... a versatile high priest of the European Enlightenment... Franklin's legendary frontier charm enchanted the most elegant drawing rooms and the most desirable bedrooms. The rumors of his liaisons were countless... His last public act was a petition to Congress for the abolition of slavery.”

from Creators—Heroes of the Imagniation, 1992

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“his Autobiography... the first American addition to world literature—probably the most widely read work by an American after the Declaration of Independence—did create a new and decisively modern form of literature, the success saga... the inchoate work, survived and became popular through the centuries and across the world, a model for a whole genus of modern writing... appropriately ends in mid sentence”

from Creators—Heroes of the Imagniation, 1992

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“According to Lucretius, necessity led men to invent and then inventions spawned frivolous needs that equipped and encouraged them to slaughter one another in war.”

from The Creators: A History of Heroes of the Imagination, 1992

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“In time, the Taoist ways of thinking about man and nature were assimilated into the renewed Confucian theorizing by the great synthesizer Zhu Xi.”

from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

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“Unlike the Western world of surprising Creation, of man at war with nature; the world of Confucius transformed by Taoist and Buddhist currents saw man at home among transformations, procreations, and recreations.”

from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

Themes: Confucianism

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“An antidote—and a complement—to the rigid moralism of the later Confucians and their state religion, Taoism became both an elevated philosophy and a popular religion.”

from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

Themes: Taoism

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“As the centuries passed, the fragmentary teachings of Confucius were petrified into 'Confucianism.' The very word, which would have horrified Confucius, seems to have been invented about 1862 by European Christians to fit their simplistic view of the 'religions' of the non-Christian world.”

from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

Themes: Confucianism

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“Western religions begin with a notion that One—One God, One Book, One Son, One Church, One Nation under God—is better than many. The Hindu, dazzled by the wondrous variety of the creation, could not see it that way... the awestruck Hindus never came up with a single grand Creator-God... For so multiplex a world, the more gods the better!”

from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

Themes: God Hinduism

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“The luminosity of their world impressed the Hindus from the beginning. Not the fitting-together-ness not the hierarchy of beings or the order of nature, but the blinding splendor, the Light of the World.”

from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

Themes: Hinduism

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“Who was Homer? The ancient Greeks had no doubt that Homer was a real person... This so-called Homeric Question has provoked some of the bloodiest professorial battles. Speculation about Homer has itself spawned fantasies of epic proportions. Homer himself became a myth.”

from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

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“Chaucer's lively wit and unforgettable poetry gave to twice-told tales a new life... Chaucer's rich contribution to the human comedy... bears witness to the unconventional, and perhaps disreputable, character of his work... he wrote the first great poem in the English language in the interstices of a busy public life.”

from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

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“Perhaps Cervantes was the better equipped to provide his maquette for the modern novel because he was not especially reflective or deeply learned or philosophical. He was i love with the colors and moments and movements of life.”

from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

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“Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, written in the last decade of his life, marks a surprising new vision, a work that would outshine all his others... [His] pilgrims are not merely 'representative,' each has a distinctive face and figure with his very own variety of impatience and enthusiasm... Chaucer himself is always there with self-disparaging comments, a slightly obtuse and puzzled witness to the human condition.”

from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

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“The progress of man... depends largely on his ability to accept superficial paradoxes, to see that what at first looks like a contradiction need not always remain one.”

from Hidden History (1987)

Themes: Paradox Progress

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“in law—as in all other deep human concerns—the demands we make of our world are contradictory.... We wish to believe that our laws are both changeless and changeable, divine and secular, permanent and temporary, transcendental and pragmatic.”

from Hidden History (1987)

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“The patron saint of American philanthropy is... Benjamin Franklin, the man with a business sense and an eye on his community. For Franklin, doing good was not a private act between bountiful giver and grateful receiver it was a prudent social act.”

from Hidden History (1987)

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“Myth is not just fantasy and not just fact but exists in a limbo, in the world of the Will to Believe which William James has written about so eloquently and so perceptively.”

from Hidden History (1987)

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“It was the Impressionists who made an art of instantaneous, and Claude Monet who showed how it could be done.”

from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

Themes: Non-Thought

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