Society's Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 543 quotes )
Special Circumstances had always been the Contact section’s moral espionage weapon, the very cutting edge of the Culture’s interfering diplomatic policy, the elite of the elite, in a society which abhorred elitism. Even before the war, its standing and its image within the Culture had been ambiguous. It was glamorous but dangerous, possessed of an aura of roguish sexiness - there was no other word for it - which implied predation, seduction and even violation…No other part of the Culture more exactly represented what the society as a whole really stood for, or was more militant in the application of he Culture’s fundamental beliefs. Yet no other part embodied less of the society’s day-to-day character.
A period of transition to a new quality in all spheres of society's life is accompanied by painful phenomena. When we were initiating perestroika we failed to properly assess and foresee everything. Our society turned out to be hard to move off the ground, not ready for major changes which affect people's vital interests and make them leave behind everything to which they had become accustomed over many years. In the beginning we imprudently generated great expectations, without taking into account the fact that it takes time for people to realize that all have to live and work differently, to stop expecting that new life would be given from above.
We have gone on too long blaming or pitying the mothers who devour their children, who sow the seeds of progressive dehumanization, because they have never grown to full humanity themselves. If the mother is at fault, why isn't it time to break the pattern by urging all these Sleeping Beauties to grow up and live their own lives? There never will be enough Prince Charmings or enough therapists to break that pattern now. It is society's job, and finally that of each woman alone. For it is not the strength of the mothers that is at fault but their weakness, their passive childlike dependency and immaturity that is mistaken for "femininity." Our society forces boys, insofar as it can, to grow up, to endure the pains of growth, to educate themselves to work, to move on. Why aren't girls forced to grow up - to achieve somehow the core of self that will end the unnecessary dilemma, the mistaken choice between femaleness and humanness that is implied in the feminine mystique?
Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot
Valentine had long ago observed that in a society that expected chastity and fidelity, like Lusitania, the adolescents who controlled and channeled their youthful passions were the ones who grew up to be both strong and civilized. Adolescents in such a community who were either too weak to control themselves or too contemptuous of society's norms to try usually ended up being either sheep or wolves- either mindless members of the herd or predators who took what they could and gave nothing.
They feed back exactly what is given them. Because they do not believe in words - words are for "typeheads," Chester Anderson tells them, and a thought which needs words is just one more of those ego trips - their only proficient vocabulary is in the society's platitudes. As it happens I am still committed to the idea that the ability to think for one's self depends upon one's mastery of the language, and I am not optimistic about children who will settle for saying, to indicate that their mother and father do not live together, that they come from "a broken home." They are sixteen, fifteen, fourteen years old, younger all the time, an army of children waiting to be given the words.
Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference - those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are black, who are older - know that survival is not an academic skill...For the master's tools will not dismantle the master's house. They will never allow us to bring about genuine change.
The proof that the One Stone Solution is political lies in what women feel when they eat 'too much': guilt. Why should guilt be the operative emotion, and female fat be a moral issue articulated with words like good and bad? If our culture's fixation on female fatness of thinness were about sex, it would be a private issue between a woman and her lover; if it were about health, between a woman and herself. Public debate would be far more hysterically focused on male fat than on female, since more men [40 percent] are medically overweight than women [32 percent] and too much fat is far more dangerous for men than for women......But female fat is the subject of public passion, and women feel guilty about female fat, because we implicitly recognize that under the myth, women's bodies are not our own but society's, and that thinness is not a private aesthetic, but hunger a social concession exacted by the community.
What does it mean to be yourself?” he asked. “If it means to do what you think you ought to do, then you’re doing that already. If it means to act like you’re exempt from society’s influence, that’s the worst advice in the world; you would probably stop bathing and wearing clothes. The advice to ‘be yourself’ is obviously nonsense. But our brains accept this tripe as wisdom because it is more comfortable to believe we have a strategy for life than to believe we have no idea how to behave.
It is also essential that good men and women not be educated and propagandized into believing that real evil is a myth and that all malevolent behavior is merely the result of a broken family's or a failed society's shortcomings, amenable to cure by counseling and by the application of new economic theory.
By starving myself into society’s beauty ideal, I had compromised my success, my independence, and my quality of life. Being overweight was really no different. It was just the “f— you” response to the same pressure. I was still responding to the pressure to comply to the fashion industry’s standards of beauty, just in the negative sense. I was still answering to their demands when really I shouldn’t have been listening to them at all. The images of stick-thin prepubescent girls never should have had power over me. I should’ve had my sights set on successful businesswomen and successful female artists, authors, and politicians to emulate. Instead I stupidly and pointlessly just wanted to be considered pretty. I squandered my brain and my talent to squeeze into a size 2 dress while my male counterparts went to work on making money, making policy, making a difference.
We think, sometimes, there's not a dragon left. Not one brave knight, not a single princess gliding through secret forests, enchanting deer and butterflies with her smile. What a pleasure to be wrong. Princesses, knights, enchantments and dragons, mystery and adventure ...not only are they here-and-now, they're all that ever lived on earth! Our century, they've changed clothes, of course. Dragons wear government-costumes, today, and failure-suits and disaster-outfits. Society's demons screech, whirl down on us should we lift our eyes from the ground, dare we turn right at corners we've been told to turn left. So crafty have appearances become that princesses and knights can be hidden from each other, can be hidden from themselves.
In real life during the last decade of the twentieth century, Rumpelstiltskin would probably get the queen's daughter. He would no doubt addict her to heroin, turn her out as a prostitute, confiscate her earnings, beat her for pleasure, hack her to pieces, and escape justice by claiming that society's intolerance for bad-tempered, evil-minded trolls had driven him temporarily insane.
People didn't realize it, but they needed myths to survive, just as much now as when their forebears were alive. Perhaps more. Mythology embodied the world's dreams, helped to make sense of the great human problems. Just as the dreams of individuals exist to give subconscious support to their conscious lives, so do myths serve as society's dreams. They uncover the dark, hidden places where mysteries dwell and can turn to nightmare if left untended. They make sense of injustice in archetypal terms. They give men and women a blueprint for how they may respond to success or failure, tragedy or joy.
Feminist consciousness-raising has not significantly pushed women in the direction of revolutionary politics. For the most part, it has not helped women understand capitalism–how it works as a system that exploits female labor and its interconnections with sexist oppression. It has not urged women to learn about different political systems like socialism or encouraged women to invent and envision new political systems. It has not attacked materialism and our society’s addiction to overconsumption. It has not shown women how we benefit from the exploitation and oppression of women and men globally or shown us ways to oppose imperialism. Most importantly, it has not continually confronted women with the understanding that feminist movement to end sexist oppression can be successful only if we are committed to revolution, to the establishment of a new social order.