The 70 best phrases of Zygmunt Bauman
Jul 16, 2021
Zygmunt Bauman (November 19, 1925 - January 9, 2017) was a Polish sociologist, philosopher of Jewish origin, and the author of numerous books. Possibly his best known work is "Liquid Love", in which the author spoke of the concept that his text titles.
The liquid love refers to the fragile bond that describes the interpersonal relationships that are formed in postmodernity. However, in addition to this, Bauman has dealt with different topics, such as: social classes, the holocaust, consumerism or globalization. His work allowed him to receive the 2010 Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities.
Bauman's best famous phrases
Throughout his life, Bauman delivered many thought-provoking phrases that bring great insight. Zygmunt Bauman, who died in January 2017, represented one of the standards of modern critical thought.
So, in this article we have made a compilation of his best quotes so you can enjoy them and get closer to their philosophy.
1. Eyes meet across a crowded room, the spark of attraction ignites. They talk, they dance, they laugh. Neither is looking for a serious relationship but somehow one night can turn into a week, then a month, a year or longer
Attraction is a feeling that overwhelms us with great force and that makes our attention focus on that particular person.
2. All measures undertaken in the name of "bailing out the economy" become, as if touched by a magic wand, measures that serve to enrich the rich and impoverish the poor
Bauman reflects on the situation of liberal capitalism and the consequences it has for people.
3. What used to be a “life-long” project has now become an attribute of the moment. Once designed, the future is no longer "forever", but needs to be continually assembled and disassembled. Each of these two seemingly contradictory operations is of equal importance and tends to be equally absorbing.
Another reflection on our society. This time talking about globalization and the emergence of new technologies.
4. Always be at the entire disposal of colleagues and heads of work, as well as members of the family and friends, it becomes not only a possibility but an obligation, as well as a necessity inside; the English citizen's home may still be his castle, but its walls are porous and not insulated from noise
The family will always be a refuge to escape from this highly competitive and demanding society.
5. The art of breaking relationships and getting out of them unscathed goes far beyond the art of building relationships.
It is easier to run away from the partner when things go wrong than to stay to fix it. That requires negotiating and compromising if necessary.
6. Is it the sense of privilege that makes the rich and powerful happy? Is progress towards happiness measured by the ever-decreasing number of fellow travelers?
A Bauman quote that talks about happiness and what motivates us to achieve it.
7. Love can and is as terrifying as death, but it cloaks the truth under waves of desire and enthusiasm.
Love is, without a doubt, motivating. Now, sometimes, it can be scary to take risks for someone.
8. Practicing the art of life, making one's life a "work of art" is equivalent in our modern liquid world to remaining in a state of permanent transformation, to be perpetually redefined by transforming (or at least trying) into someone other than the one who has now
The author talks about how people are trying to continuously improve ourselves and grow without ceasing.
9. Being an artist by decree means that no action also counts as action; In addition to swimming and sailing, being carried away by the waves is considered a priori an act of creative art and retrospectively is usually recorded as such. […] Who can know what ticket he will win in the next lottery draw? Only the ticket not bought has no chance of winning.
If we don't try it or try it, we will never make it. He who does not play does not win. As simple as that.
10. The "network" of human relationships ("network": the endless game of connecting and disconnecting) is today the seat of ambivalence most harrowing, which confronts the artists of life with a tangle of dilemmas that cause more confusion than clues they offer ...
Bauman, reflecting on modern interpersonal relationships and how people behave with others.
11. We can say that the world generated by the "modern project" behaves, in practice if not in theory, as if humans had to be compelled to seek happiness (at least the happiness outlined by those who have set themselves up as their advisers and advisers, as well as by the editors of advertising)
The media and advertising influence our archetype of happiness. Happiness, in fact, is big business.
12. On the other hand, love is the desire to love and preserve the beloved object
For Bauman, love has to do with possession, with wanting to possess and have something.
13. When lovers feel insecure they tend to behave unconstructively trying to please or control
Insecurity negatively affects relationships. Because an insecure person cannot love unconditionally.
14. One of the fundamental effects of equating happiness with the purchase of items that are expected to generate Happiness is about eliminating the possibility that this kind of pursuit of happiness will one day come to your end. […] As the stable state of happiness is not achievable, only the pursuit of this stubbornly elusive goal can keep the runners who pursue it happy.
Happiness has become a very profitable business. Now, the search for happiness through objects becomes the complete opposite of happiness.
15. One of the main causes of the impression that the move from the "management economy" to the "experience economy" is clearly unstoppable appears to be invalidation. partial of all categorical opinions, because of the dissipation, attenuation or disappearance of the borders that, in other times, clearly separated the spheres independent and autonomous and the areas of value of life: the home job, the contract time of free time, the work of leisure and, without a doubt, the business of family life.
A phrase that invites the reader to reflect on how this society is constituted.
16. There is no alternative but to try, and try and try again
If we want something, we must fight for it. If it goes wrong you have to keep trying.
17. As long as he is alive, love is always on the brink of defeat
Conflicts in the members of a couple are frequent, so you have to fight to keep love alive.
18. They say that their desire is to relate but in reality, are they not more concerned with preventing their relationships from crystallizing and curdling?
A quote from Bauman on interpersonal relationships that is food for thought.
19. With our “cult of immediate satisfaction”, many of us “have lost the ability to wait”
Patience is one of the virtues of the human being, but it is usually not compatible with the society of immediacy in which we live.
20. Promises of commitment in a relationship once established mean nothing in the long term
Words and promises are blown away. What counts are the facts.
21. The land of opportunity promised more equality. The country of the people with guts can only offer more inequality
A thought with mention of capitalism. Inequality is a characteristic of this socioeconomic model.
22. One looks to a relationship for the hope of mitigating the insecurity that plagued him alone, but therapy only serves to exacerbate the symptoms
Sometimes people, because they are not alone, end up with a partner. In the long run, this is a bad decision.
23. In addition to being an economy of excess and waste, consumerism is also, and precisely for that reason, an economy of deception. Bet on the irrationality of consumers, and not on their well-informed decisions taken cold; bet on awakening consumer emotion, and not on cultivating reason
Bauman, making it clear that he is against capitalism and the consumer society.
24. You can never be sure what to do and you can never be sure that he has done the right thing.
Uncertainty is part of our life and we have to accept it. Do not be afraid of the future.
25. Love does not find its meaning in the desire for things done but in the impulse to participate in the construction of those things.
Love is an impulse that moves our lives and that is a great motivation for people.
26. What kind of commitment, if any, does the union of bodies establish?
A question that Bauman raises, about the intimacy between two people.
27. Today culture does not consist of prohibitions but of offers, it does not consist of norms but of proposals. As Bourdieu pointed out earlier, culture today is concerned with offering temptations and establishing attractions, with seduction and lures instead of regulations, with public relations instead of police supervision: producing, sowing and planting new wants and needs instead of impose duty
This is the culture of consumption. In which you are constantly buying products even if they are not needed.
28. If you want your relationship to be fulfilling, don't compromise don't demand compromise. Keep all your doors permanently open
For the relationship to be healthy, you must adopt a non-judgmental and non-demanding attitude.
29. To love means to open the door to that destiny, to the most sublime of human conditions in which fear merges with joy in an indissoluble alloy, the elements of which can no longer be separated. Opening up to that destiny means, ultimately, giving freedom to being: that freedom that is embodied in the Other, the partner in love.
You have to be brave in love and love without fear. You have to unleash your heart.
30. Ours is a consumer society: in it culture, like the rest of the world experienced by consumers, manifests itself as a repository of goods conceived
Again, a reflection on the consumer society in which we live immersed and in which it is difficult to stop and reflect.
31. You never lose sight of his cell phone. His sportswear has a special pocket to hold it, and going for a run with that empty pocket would be like going barefoot. In fact, you don't go anywhere without your cell phone (nowhere is actually a space without a cell phone, a space outside the cell phone coverage area, or a cell phone without ...
Mobile phones, like new technologies, have come into our lives with force, changing our perception of the world.
32. Attempts to overcome this duality, to tame the wayward and tame what has no restraint, to make the unknowable foreseeable and to chain the wandering are the death sentence of love.
In love you don't have to be so predictable. Love lives when it manifests.
33. We are in a situation in which we are constantly encouraged and predisposed to act in an egocentric and materialistic way.
Capitalism brings with it a whole value system that affects the members of society.
34. If there is no good solution to a dilemma, if none of the sensible and effective attitudes bring us closer to the solution, people tend to behave irrationally, making the problem more complex and making its resolution less plausible
To solve a problem, if it is also complex, keeping calm and a cool head is necessary.
35. The truth can only emerge at the end of a conversation, and in a genuine conversation (that is, one that is not a soliloquy in disguise) none of the interlocutors knows or can know for sure when it will come to an end (in case there is)
Honest conversations are characterized by promoting honesty and truth.
36. The culture of liquid modernity no longer has a populace to enlighten and ennoble, but clients to seduce
In this society we are very aware of what others think of us and of giving a good image. That detracts from the authenticity of our relationships.
37. Progress, in short, has ceased to be a discourse that talks about improving everyone's life to become a discourse of personal survival
In today's society, what triumphs is individualism over the collective.
38. Love is the survival of the self through the alterity of the self
Love can transform people's perception and behavior.
39. No kind of connection that can fill the void left by old absent links is guaranteed to last.
The emotional bonds between people, what is known as attachment, can leave a mark on our lives.
40. Love and the lust for power are Siamese twins: neither of them could survive the separation
In this sentence, Bauman refers to romantic love. However, there are different kinds of love. If you want to delve into this topic, click here.
41. Consumerism acts to maintain the emotional counterpart of work and family. Exposed to a continuous barrage of advertising through the daily average of three hours of television (half of their free time), workers are persuaded to “need” more things
Consumerism is fueled by constant persuasion from the media and advertising.
42. Modern liquid culture no longer feels that it is a culture of learning and accumulation, like the cultures recorded in the reports of historians and ethnographers. In return, it appears to us as a culture of detachment, discontinuity and forgetfulness
The liquid culture that Bauman speaks of is a consequence of the commodification of interpersonal relationships.
43. If the anticipated happiness does not materialize, there is always the possibility of blaming one wrong choice rather than our inability to live up to the opportunities available to us. offer
In this socioeconomic model, even happiness is marketed.
44. That is the stuff that dreams, and fairy tales, of a consumer society are made of: becoming a desirable and desired product.
In consumer society, even people stop being subjects to become objects.
45. Cell phones help to be connected to those who are at a distance. Cell phones allow those who connect... to keep their distance
Mobile phones have changed the way human beings relate to each other. Even being side by side, we can be really distant if we don't interact with real people and instead interact with chat.
46. Love and death have no history of their own. They are events of human time, each of them independent, not connected (and even less causally connected) to other events. similar, except in retrospective human compositions, eager to locate - to invent - those connections and understand what incomprehensible
A quote that invites the reader to reflect on love and death.
47. The tendency to forget and the dizzying speed of forgetting are, to our misfortune, seemingly indelible marks of liquid modern culture. Because of that adversity, we tend to stumble, stumbling over one explosion of popular anger after another, reacting nervously and mechanically to each one separately, as they present themselves, rather than trying to seriously address the issues at hand. reveal
We live in a society characterized by individualism and the immediacy of information. This makes us weak people.
48. The invariable purpose of education was, is, and will always continue to be, to prepare these young people for life. A life in accordance with the reality they are destined to enter. To be prepared, they need instruction, "practical, concrete, and immediately applicable knowledge" to use Tullio De Mauro's expression. And to be "practical", quality teaching needs to encourage and propagate the openness of the mind, and not its closure.
Valid education is what allows people to develop critical thinking and empowerment in the face of life.
49. It is sterile and dangerous to believe that one dominates the whole world thanks to the Internet when one does not have enough culture to filter the good information from the bad. for consumption, all of them in competition for the unbearably fleeting and distracted attention of potential customers, striving to capture that attention beyond the blink
In modern life, in which we live with the advances of new technologies and the internet, infoxication is a present problem. People must know how to distinguish between useful and unhelpful information.
50. In a word, GDP measures everything except what makes life worth living.
An ironic phrase that refers to the fact that money does not bring happiness.
51. When it comes to love, possessiveness, power, disappointment and absolute fusion are the four horsemen of the apocalypse
One of Bauman's phrases about love.
52. Why do I like books? Why do I like to think? Why am I passionate? Because things could be otherwise
Certain mental attitudes predispose us to change things.
53. I was left-wing, I'm left-wing, and I'll die being left-wing
Zygmunt Bauman's work has been greatly influenced by his political ideology, which led him to focus a lot on social phenomena and not so much on individual ones.
54. The rationality of the errands is always the weapon of the leaders
An interesting reflection on rationality and its role in power relations.
55. The truth that frees men is usually the truth that men prefer not to hear
An idea reminiscent of Plato's cave myth.
56. Globalization is the last hope that there is a place where one can go and find happiness
Bauman criticizes the idealized vision of globalization.
57. Modernity is about forcing nature to obediently serve human needs
This is another critique of the idea of progress, in this case to one of the engines of the Enlightenment.
58. The feelings of injustice that could be exploited to achieve greater equality are redirected towards the clearer manifestations of consumerism
Criticism of consumerism as a mechanism to keep the economy afloat.
59. What is the difference between living and giving explanations about life?
Inspirational phrase about the essence of living.
60. Anti-politics guarantees the continuation of the political game between the parties, but empties it of social significance
Believing ourselves on the fringes of politics does not make us alien to it.
61. What is happening now, what we can call the crisis of democracy, is the collapse of confidence. The belief that leaders are not only corrupt or stupid, but are generally incapable
The vision of professional politics has fallen a lot, in part because of this lack of confidence.
62. In the networks it is so easy to add friends or delete them that you do not need social skills
Reflection on the gaps covered by the use of social networks.
63. Individualization consists in transforming the human identity of something 'given' into a 'task', and in making responsible to the actors of the accomplishment of this task and of the consequences (as well as the collateral effects) of its performance
Bauman believed that individualism is the way of thinking that is being fueled the most by liberalism.
64. One is not tougher and more unscrupulous than all the others, they will destroy you, with or without regrets
Morality also works according to social logics.
65. The essence of the dismissive attitude arises from a dulling of the ability to discriminate
Difficulties in discovering new and stimulating situations can lead to boredom and boredom.
66. The promise of learning the art of love is the promise (false, misleading, but inspiring of deep desire that it is true) to achieve "experience in love" as if it were any other merchandise
Love can also come to be treated as a commodity.
67. Love is a mortgage loan on account of an uncertain and inscrutable future
An aphorism about emotional life and what guides it.
68. The precept to love your neighbor challenges the instincts determined by nature; but it also challenges the sense of survival established by nature, and that of love for oneself, which protects it
Interesting reflection on those forces that love opposes.
69. It is the unbridled speed of circulation, recycling, aging, disposal, and replacement that pays off, not the durability or long-lasting reliability of the product.
Bauman understands the contemporary productive machinery as a bubble that when bursting produces crisis.
70. The possibility of containing and assimilating the unstoppable mass of innovations is less and less promising, if not unattainable
Another of Bauman's criticisms of the idea of progress.