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Sissela Bok

  • Secrecy is as indispensable to human beings as fire, and as greatly feared.

  • To mature is in part to realize that while complete intimacy and omniscience and power cannot be had, self-transcendence, growth, and closeness to others are nevertheless within one's reach.

  • Some level of truthfulness has always been seen as essential to human society, no matter how deficient the observance of other moral principles.

  • Deceit and violence — these are the two forms of deliberate assault on human beings.

  • Trust and integrity are precious resources, easily squandered, hard to regain.

  • Sitting too long in front of a screen proves both physically and psychologically debilitating, no matter how innocuous or even beneficial the programs may be.

  • As it does with so many other stimuli, the phenomenon known as 'habituation' also operates when it comes to violence. The greater the level of detachment and numbing, the more of the stimulus is needed to bring about what marketing strategists call 'arousal' and, in turn, to produce whatever pleasure the activity can bring.

  • Regardless of how often the appetite for entertainment violence becomes addictive, increased exposure does risk further desensitizing viewers. And the element of pleasure that they derive may lead them to regard violence as a more acceptable way of dealing with problems, and victimization as more tolerable so long as it befalls others, not themselves.

  • America may be the only society on earth to have experienced what has been called an 'epidemic of children killing children,' which is ravaging some of its communities today.

  • The television screen is the lens through which most children learn about violence. Through the magnifying power of this lens, their everyday life becomes suffused by images of shootings, family violence, gang warfare, kidnappings, and everything else that contributes to violence in our society. It shapes their experiences long before they have had the opportunity to consent to such shaping or developed the ability to cope adequately with this knowledge.

  • Much as being active in the antislavery movement of the last century involved more than not engaging in slavery oneself, so joining in an antiviolence movement has to go beyond opting for nonviolence in one's personal life. It calls for engaging in imaginative and forceful practices of nonviolent resistance to violence, including taking a stand toward entertainment violence.

Sissela Bok, Swedish-born U.S. philosopher, writer


Full name: Sissela Ann Bok.