In a liquid modern life there are no permanent bonds, and any that we take up for a time must be tied loosely so that they can be untied again, as quickly and as effortlessly as possible, when circumstances change - as they surely will in our liquid modern society, over and over again.

— Zygmunt Bauman

The most mouth-watering Zygmunt Bauman quotes that are little-known but priceless

As long as we say: "Alright, it is truth for me, and I believe in it and I am ready to fight for it, but I accept that others have different beliefs - and so let me have a closer look at what they believe" - we can gain from our intercourse thanks to our difference, not despite our difference.

60

You are a stranger, I am a stranger, we all remain strangers, and nevertheless we can like or even love each other.

60

The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual.

We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of.

49

Like the phoenix, socialism is reborn from every pile of ashes left day in, day out, by burnt-out human dreams and charred hopes.

35

It is so true that in liquid modernity freedom was, so to speak, let off the leash, and for a quite a number of years the freedom of choice was "in principle" unlimited. One result was the weakening of inter-human bonds, particularly inherited bonds, and the counterfactual assumption that individuals must and can fend for themselves.

32

Capitalism proceeds through creative destruction.

What is created is capitalism in a 'new and improved' form - and what is destroyed is self-sustaining capacity, livelihood and dignity of its innumerable and multiplied 'host organisms' into which all of us are drawn/seduced one way or another.

25

This awful concept of underclass is really horrifying.

You're not lower class, you are excluded - outside.

25

Relationships, like cars, should undergo regular services to make sure they are still roadworthy.

23

The carrying power of a bridge is not the average strength of the pillars, but the strength of the weakest pillar. I have always believed that you do not measure the health of a society by GNP but by the condition of its worst off.

22

Civilisation, the orderly world in which we live, is frail.

We are skating on thin ice. There is a fear of a collective disaster. Terrorism, genocide, flu, tsunamis.

19

The risk of the Holocaust is not that it will be forgotten, but that it will be embalmed and surrounded by monuments and used to absolve all future sins.

19

In our world of rampant individualisation, relationships are mixed blessings.

They vacillate between a sweet dream and a nightmare, and there is no telling when one turns into the other.

18

About Zygmunt Bauman

Quotes 139 sayings
Profession Sociologist
Birthday November 19, 1925

You cannot have a cake and eat it too. Either you eat it, or you have it.

16

Today's youth have been cast in a condition of liminal drift, with no way of knowing whether it is transitory or permanent.

15

We have found ourselves in the period of "interregnum": the old works no more, the new is not yet born. But the awareness that without it being born we are all marked for demise, is already much alive, as is the awareness that the hard nut we must urgently crack is not the presence of "too many poor", but "too many rich".

15

I think that the essential instruction of the Bible is very much topical.

The sole problem is that with every change of historical setting, you need to readjust the interpretation of the message.

15

Freedom without security portends chaos, perpetual anxiety and fear.

Security without freedom means slavery. So, each on its own is awful; only together they make for a good life. But, a big "but": being both necessary, complementing each other, they are nevertheless virtually incompatible.

14

Why do I write books? Why do I think? Why should I be passionate? Because things could be different, they could be made better.

13

As long as being a stranger and surrounded by strangers was seen as a temporary irritant, a smallest departure from the binding rules of conduct by a member of a minority, was taken for a major crime justifying deportation.

13

As far as love is concerned, possession, power, fusion and disenchantment are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

13

What has been cut apart cannot be glued back together.

Abandon all hope of totality, future as well as past, you who enter the world of fluid modernity.

13

In a consumer society, people wallow in things, fascinating, enjoyable things.

If you define your value by the things you acquire and surround yourself with, being excluded is humiliating.

11

'I am insecure' means: I can't cope on my own.

The odds are overwhelming. I can't resist them on my own. I need us to join forces, stand shoulder to shoulder, march hand in hand.

10

If only evil things are done by evil people.

.. Life would be then safe, morally elevated, cozy - we know how to spot evil people and what to do with them to pay for their crimes.

10

Why are people so concerned with relativism? If you look back in history, millions of people were killed because of someone's dogmatic views, but I do not remember anybody being killed due to the tolerance of difference, to relativism; ethically relativism does not seem to be such an awful thing, really.

10

For one to be free there must be at least two.

Freedom signifies a social relation, an asymmetry of social conditions: essentially it implies social difference--it presumes and implies the presence of social division. Some can be free only in so far as there is a form of dependence they can aspire to escape.

8

Our consumer-oriented economy wouldn't survive without economic growth.

The whole mechanism depends on invention and insinuation of novelties, arousing new wants, seduction and temptation. This is the problem we face - much more than recapitalizing the banks. The question is: Is that kind of economy sustainable?

6

With globalization and with a lot of power evaporating from the nation-states, the late-19th century established hierarchies of importance, or 'pecking orders' of cultures, presenting assimilation as an advancement or promotion, dissolved.

6

The art of walking on quicksand is still beyond me.

What I learned is only how difficult this art is to master and how hard people need to struggle to learn it.

5

While a few poor countries are catching up with the rich world, the differences between the richest and poorest individuals around the globe are huge and likely growing.

5

I suspect that one of capitalism's crucial assets derives from the fact that the imagination of economists, including its critics, lags well behind its own inventiveness, the arbitrariness of its undertaking and the ruthlessness of the way in which it proceeds.

5

An ideal and flawless freedom, "complete freedom", enabling without disabling, is I believe an oxymoron in metaphysics as much as it is an unreachable goal in social life.

5

I did not and do not think of the solidity-liquidity conundrum as a dichotomy;

I view those two conditions as a couple locked, inseparably, in a dialectical bond.

5

In a world of global dependencies with no corresponding global polity and few tools of global justice, the rich of the world are free to pursue their own interests while paying no attention to the rest.

4

The so called "progress," "time marching on," is not a straight line, but a pendulum.

4

Jews and Gypsies were well-nigh the only Diasporas in 19th century Europe.

Now go to London, it is a collection of Diasporas.

4

Where we hope to land (and where we do land, though only for a fleeting moment, enough for tired wings to catch the wind anew) is a 'there' which we thought of little and knew of even less.

4

Once upon a time there were the Pampas in Argentina, that people could treat as "empty lands" and where they could run away from their problems from problem-ridden homes. That eventuality is no longer available.

4

Middle class people, the bourgeoisie, they are also feeling frightened at the moment. Some fear losing their fortunes; some go bankrupt; some are thinking about suicide. They don't know if they will retain the beautiful house that they bought, or what will happen to the five family cars.

3

The descent of Israel from the morally towering position of a 'light for the nations' to the lowest of the low and one of the last relics of bygone shameful times of merciless imperialism, conquest, exploitation is on the cards.

3

We have a reversal of a longstanding trend, from rising inequality across nations and constant or declining inequality within nations, to declining inequality across nations and rising inequality within them.

3

As to describing me as an outsider throughout, and an outsider through and through - I have no reason to disagree.

3

The inequality between the world's individuals is staggering.

3

If there is something to permit the distinction between "solid" and "liquid" phases of modernity (that is, arranging them in an order of succession), it is the change in both the manifest and latent purpose behind the effort.

2

Indeed, I did not truly "belong" to any school, order, intellectual camaraderie or clique; I did not apply for admission to any of them, let alone did much to deserve an invitation; nor would I be listed by any of them - at least listed unqualifiedly - as "one of us".

2

The problem of insufficient security was, until quite recently, a matter of a minority; now it is becoming very quickly a majority matter. That is a major change.

2

Marcus Aurelius appoints personal character and conscience the ultimate refuge of happiness-seekers: the only place where dreams of happiness, doomed to die childless and intestate anywhere else, are not bound to be frustrated.

2

If Christ would have left Christian ethics codified on the table, then he wouldn't produce moral beings choosing between good and evil, but conformists fulfilling orders. I think the same can be said about the Bible.

2

All the skills which I have acquired during my sociological life allow me to diagnose and explain what is going on, but not to predict what will happen.

2
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