„There is nothing more unbearable than the intellectual who believes himself to be free and human, while in every action, gesture, word and thought he shows that he has never stepped beyond bourgeois consciousness.“

—  Henri Lefebvre, Context: It is through knowledge that the proletarian liberates himself and begins actively superseding his condition. Moreover in this effort to attain knowledge and awareness, he is forced to assimilate complex theories (economic, social, political...), i. e. to integrate the loftiest findings of science and culture into his own consciousness. On the other hand the petty bourgeois and bourgeois, as such, are barred access to the human. For them to become humanized, they must break with themselves, reject themselves, an endeavor which on an individual level is frequently real and pathetic … We should understand men in a human way, even if they are incomplete; conditions are not confined within precise, geometrically defined boundaries, but are the result of a multitude of obstinate and ever-repeated (everyday) causes. Attempts to escape from the bourgeois condition are not particularly rare; on the other hand, the failure of such attempts are virtually inevitable, precisely because it is not so much a question of suppression but of a complete break. (Among intellectuals, this notion of super session is frequently false and harmful; when they supersede themselves as petty-bourgeois or bourgeois intellectuals, they are often merely continuing in the same direction and following their own inclinations in the belief that they are 'superseding themselves'. So far from gaining a new consciousness, they are merely making the old one worse. There is nothing more unbearable than the intellectual who believes himself to be free and human, while in every action, gesture, word and thought he shows that he has never stepped beyond bourgeois consciousness.)
Henri Lefebvre photo
Henri Lefebvre4
sociologo, urbanista e filosofo francese 1901 - 1991
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Context: War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other. "The Contest in America," Fraser’s Magazine (February 1862); later published in Dissertations and Discussions (1868), vol.1 p. 26

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„To believe something, one must imagine that it is more probable than not. Unless you show him what is probable or he realizes it himself, he may tell you that he believes and yet he will not believe.“

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