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Society

  • Industrial societies can only be run successfully by dictators or oligarchs.

    • Dora Russell,
    • in Dale Spender, There's Always Been a Women's Movement This Century ()
  • Man is not made for society, but society is made for man. No institution can be good which does not tend to improve the individual.

  • The individual who has been liberated by reason is always running head-on into a world, a society, whose past in the shape of 'prejudices' has a great deal of power; he is forced to learn that past reality is also a reality.

  • I always trust the microcosm over the macrocosm.

  • Society's the mother of convention.

  • ... women are the real architects of society.

  • ... there are people who eat the earth and eat all the people on it like in the Bible with the locusts. And other people who stand around and watch them eat it.

  • The suppression of inner patterns in favor of patterns created by society is dangerous to us.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1950, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • What you have when everyone wears the same playclothes for all occasions, is addressed by nickname, expected to participate in Show and Tell, and bullied out of any desire for privacy, is not democracy; it is kindergarten.

  • Miss Manners refuses to allow society to seek its own level. Having peered through her lorgnette into the abyss, she can guess how low that level will be.

  • The type of figleaf which each culture employs to cover its social taboos offers a twofold description of its morality. It reveals that certain unacknowledged behavior exists and it suggests the form that such behavior takes.

  • If one would discern the centers of dominance in any society, one need only look to its definitions of 'virtue' and 'vice' or 'legal' and 'criminal,' for in the strength to set standards resides the strength to maintain control.

  • ... where families suffer from disasters that are preventable, this is a measure of a whole nation's neglect. A society imperils its own future when, out of negligence or contempt, it overlooks the need of children to be reared in a family ... or when, in the midst of plenty, some families cannot give their children adequate food and shelter, safe activity and rest, and an opportunity to grow into full adulthood as people who can care for and cherish other human beings like themselves.

  • Let us get on with creating the democratic and pluralistic society that we say we are.

  • ... if we don't begin by imagining the perfect society, how shall we create one?

  • It would be difficult to determine whether the age is growing better or worse; for I think our plays are growing like sermons, and our sermons like plays.

  • If experience teaches anything, it is that what the community undertakes to do is usually done badly. This is due in part to the temptation to corruption that such enterprises involve, but even more, perhaps, to the lack of personal interest on the part of those engaged in them.

  • Society cares for the individual only in so far as he is profitable.

  • ... you were trained to live in a society which doesn't exist, because no society is the same between yesterday and tomorrow.

  • A society is only as free as its most oppressed and afflicted members.

  • But the individual was not a tool for something. He was the maker of tools. He was the one who must build. Even for the best purpose it is criminal to turn an individual into simply a means for some ultimate end. A society in which the dignity of the individual is destroyed cannot hope to be a decent society.

    • Golda Meir,
    • in Marie Syrkin, ed., A Land of Our Own ()
  • The future of human society. Had it made an irrevocably false start? The compass error that gets harder to correct with every mile you go?

  • Society in its full sense ... is never an entity separable from the individuals who compose it. No individual can arrive even at the threshold of his potentialities without a culture in which he participates. Conversely, no civilization has in it any element which in the last analysis is not the contribution of an individual.

  • Most people are shaped to the form of their culture because of the enormous malleability of their original endowment. They are plastic to the moulding force of the society into which they are born. It does not matter whether, with the Northwest Coast, it requires delusions of self-reference, or with our own civilization the amassing of possessions. In any case the great mass of individuals take quite readily the form that is presented to them.

  • ... the highest priority for any government concerned with its own future and the peace of the world community ought to be the facilities it provides for the care and nurturance of young children.

  • A certain amount of flexibility in the social structure is an advantage, but the mass migrations now habitual in our nation are disastrous to the family and to the formation of individual character. It is impossible to create a stable society if something like a third of our people are constantly moving about. We cannot grow fine human beings, any more than we can grow fine trees, if they are constantly torn up by the roots and transplanted.

  • The person and society are yoked, like mind and body. Arguing which is more important is like debating whether oxygen or hydrogen is the more essential property of water.

  • ... individuals learn faster than institutions and it is always the dinosaur's brain that is the last to get the new messages!

  • We live in the era of the curated life.