The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge.

— Daniel J. Boorstin

The most unpopular Daniel J. Boorstin quotes to get the best of your day

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.

89

Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know.

80

It is only a short step from exaggerating what we can find in the world to exaggerating our power to remake the world. Expecting more novelty than there is, more greatness than there is, and more strangeness than there is, we imagine ourselves masters of a plastic universe. But a world we can shape to our will is a shapeless world.

48
Daniel J. Boorstin quote Education is learning what you didn't ev

Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know.

19

Human models are more vivid and more persuasive than explicit moral commands.

42

The courage to imagine the otherwise is our greatest resource, adding color and suspense to all our life.

42

Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be.

35

Knowledge is not simply another commodity.

On the contrary. Knowledge is never used up. It increases by diffusion and grows by dispersion.

24

As individuals and as a nation, we now suffer from social narcissism.

The beloved Echo of our ancestors, the virgin America, has been abandoned. We have fallen in love with our own image, with images of our making, which turn out to be images of ourselves.

23

I have observed that the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge. It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever.

23

Technology is so much fun but we can drown in our technology.

The fog of information can drive out knowledge.

21

The history of Western science confirms the aphorism that the great menace to progress is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.

16

An image is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service.

16

About Daniel J. Boorstin

Quotes 123 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Historian
Birthday October 16

No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever.

16

By reading we discover our world, our history, and ourselves.

14

Until now when we have started to talk about the uniqueness of America we have almost always ended by comparing ourselves to Europe. Toward her we have felt all the attraction and repulsions of Oedipus

12

Dispersed as the Jews are, they still form one nation, foreign to the land they live in.

10

Planning for the future without a sense of history is like planting cut flowers.

9

Each living art object, taken out of its native habitat so we can conveniently gaze at it, is like an animal in a zoo. Something about it has died in the removal.

9

In America, communities existed before governments.

There were many groups of people with a common sense of purpose and a feeling of duty to one another before there were political institutions.

9

Our discontent begins by finding false villains whom we can accuse of deceiving us. Next we find false heroes whom we expect to liberate us. The hardest, most discomfiting discovery is that each of us must emancipate himself.

9

The Christian test was a willingness to believe in the one Jesus Christ and His Message of salvation. What was demanded was not criticism but credulity. The Church Fathers observed that in the realm of thought only heresy had a history.

9

A sign of celebrity is that his name is often worth more than his services.

7

Reading is like the sex act - done privately, and often in bed.

7

The hero was distinguished by his achievement;

the celebrity by his image or trademark. The hero created himself; the celebrity is created by the media. The hero was a big man; the celebrity is a big name.

6

The fog of information can drive out knowledge.

5

The modern American tourist now fills his experience with pseudo-events.

He has come to expect both more strangeness and more familiarity than the world naturally offers. He has come to believe that he can have a lifetime of adventure in two weeks and all the thrills of risking his life without any real risk at all.

5

[The Library of Congress] is a multimedia encyclopedia.

These are the tentacles of a nation. [Referring to the diverse holdings of the library, including motion pictures, photographs, recordings, posters and other historic objects which collectively far outnumber the books]

5

The world of crime is a last refuge of the authentic, uncorrupted, spontaneous event.

5

[The Library of Congress] is a multimedia encyclopedia. These are the tentacles of a nation.

4

Disagreement produces debate but dissent produces dissension.

4

What preoccupies us, then, is not God as a fact of nature, but as a fabrication useful for a God-fearing society. God himself becomes not a power but an image.

4

The most important American addition to the World Experience was the simple surprising fact of America. We have helped prepare mankind for all its later surprises.

4

Jefferson refused to pin his hopes on the occasional success of honest and unambitious men; on the contrary, the great danger was that philosophers would be lulled into complacence by the accidental rise of a Franklin or a Washington. Any government which made the welfare of men depend on the character of their governors was an illusion.

4

Time makes heroes but dissolves celebrities.

4

Since the Creator had made the facts of the after-life inaccessible to man, He must not have required that man understand death in order to live fruitfully.

3

destruction is easy for humans but creation is too difficult.

3

But rather that we should lose our sense that neither can become the other, that the traditional novel form continues to enlarge our experience in those very areas where the wide-angle lense and the Cinerama screen tend to narrow it.

3

The American experience stirred mankind from discovery to exploration.

From the cautious quest for what they knew (or thought they knew) was out there, into an enthusiastic reaching to the unknown. These are two substantially different kinds of human enterprise.

3

The most promising words ever written on the maps of human knowledge are terra incognita, unknown territory.

3

A best-seller was a book which somehow sold well because it was selling well.

3

Formerly, a public man needed a private secretary for a barrier between himself and the public. Nowadays he has a press secretary, to keep him properly in the public eye.

3

The most important lesson of American history is the promise of the unexpected.

None of our ancestors would have imagined settling way over here on this unknown continent. So we must continue to have society that is hospitable to the unexpected, which allows possibilities to develop beyond our own imaginings.

3

The force of the advertising word and image dwarfs the power of other literature in the 20th century.

3

We read advertisements... to discover and enlarge our desires. We are always ready - even eager - to discover, from the announcement of a new product, what we have all along wanted without really knowing it.

3

There is no disinfectant like success.

2

If our knowledge is, as I believe, only an island in an infinite sea of ignorance, how can we in our short lifetime find satisfaction in exploring our little island? How can we persuade ourselves to be exhilarated by our meager knowledge and yet not be discouraged by the ocean vistas?

2

Where ruts have not yet been worn, it requires less effort to stay out of them.

2

The Republic of Technology where we will be living is a feedback world.

2

The traditional novel form continues to enlarge our experience in those very areas where the wide-angle lens and the Cinema screen tend to narrow it.

1
famous quotes