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The 70 best sentences of Zygmunt Bauman

The 70 best sentences of Zygmunt Bauman

May 24, 2022

Zygmunt Bauman (November 19, 1925 - January 9, 2017) was a sociologist, Polish philosopher of Jewish origin, and author of numerous books. Possibly, his most well-known work is "Liquid Love", in which the author spoke about the concept that titles his text.

Liquid love refers to the fragile link that describes the interpersonal relationships that are formed in postmodernity. However, in addition to this, Bauman has dealt with different issues, such as: social classes, the holocaust, consumerism or globalization. His work allowed him to receive the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 2010.

Bauman's Best Famous Phrases

Throughout his life, Bauman pronounced many phrases that invite reflection and that bring great knowledge. Died in January 2017, Zygmunt Bauman represented one of the standards of modern critical thinking.


Because, In this article we have made a compilation of your best quotes so you can enjoy them and get closer to their philosophy.

1. The looks are through a crowded room, the spark of attraction is lit. They converse, they dance, they laugh. No one is looking for a serious relationship but somehow one night can become a week, then a month, a year or more.

Attraction is a feeling that invades us with great force and that makes our attention focus on that particular person.

2. All measures undertaken in the name of the "rescue of 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 was once a project for "all life" today has become an attribute of the moment. Once designed, the future is no longer "forever", but needs to be assembled and disassembled continuously. Each of these two operations, apparently contradictory, has a comparable importance and tends to be equally absorbing.

Another reflection on our society. This time talking about globalization and the emergence of new technologies.

4. Being always at the complete disposal of colleagues and bosses, as well as of family members and friends, becomes not only a possibility but also an obligation, as well as an inner need; the home of the English citizen may still be his castle, but his walls are porous and are not isolated 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 leaving them unharmed goes far beyond the art of making relationships

It is easier to flee from the couple when things go wrong than to stay to solve it. That requires negotiating and giving up if necessary.

6. Is it the sense of privilege that makes the rich and powerful happy? Is progress towards happiness measured by the increasingly reduced number of traveling companions?

A quote from Bauman that talks about happiness and what motivates us to achieve it.

7. Love can and is often as terrifying as death but conceals the truth under waves of desire and enthusiasm

Love is, without a doubt, motivating. Now, sometimes, it can cause fear to risk for someone.

8. Practicing the art of life, making one's life a "work of art" is equivalent in our liquid modern world to remain in a state of permanent transformation, to be redefined perpetually transforming (or at least trying) into someone other than the one who it's gone so far

The author talks about how people are trying to continually improve and grow without ceasing.

9. Being an artist by decree means that no action also counts as an action; In addition to swimming and sailing, getting carried away by the waves is considered a priori an act of creative art and retrospectively usually recorded as such. [...] Who can know which ticket will be won in the next lottery draw? Only the non-purchased ticket has no chance of winning.

If we do not try it or try it, we will never get it. He who does not play does not win. It's that simple

10. The "network" of human relationships ("network": the interminable game of connecting and disconnecting) is today the seat of the most anguishing ambivalence, which confronts the artists of life to a tangle of dilemmas that cause more confusion what clues do ...

Bauman, reflecting on modern interpersonal relationships and how people behave towards others.

eleven.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 sketched by those who have risen in their advisers and advisors, as well as advertising copywriters)

The media and advertising influence our archetype of happiness. Happiness, in fact, is a big business.

12. On the other hand, love is the longing to love and preserve the object wanted

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 can not love unconditionally.

14. One of the fundamental effects of equating happiness with the purchase of items that are expected to generate happiness is to eliminate the possibility that this type of pursuit of happiness will one day end. [...] As the state of stable happiness is not attainable, only the pursuit of this obstinately elusive objective can keep the runners who pursue it happy.

Happiness has become a very profitable business. Now, the search for happiness through objects becomes the opposite of happiness.

15. One of the main causes of the impression that the shift from "management economics" to "experience economics" is clearly unstoppable seems to be the partial invalidation of all categorical opinions, because of dissipation, attenuation or disappearance of the borders that, in other times, clearly separated the independent and autonomous spheres and the areas of value of life: the workplace of the house, the time of contract of free time, work of leisure and , undoubtedly, 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 have to fight for it. If it goes wrong you have to keep trying.

17. While alive, love is always on the verge of defeat

Conflicts in 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 rather worried about preventing their relationships from crystallizing and curdling?

A quote from Bauman about interpersonal relationships that makes you think.

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 do not mean anything long-term

Words and promises are carried by the wind. What counts are the facts.

21. The country of opportunities promised more equality. The country of people with guts can only offer more inequality

A thought with mention to capitalism. Inequality is a characteristic of this socioeconomic model.

22. One seeks in a relationship the hope of mitigating the insecurity that harassed him in solitude but the 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. Besides 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 to awaken the consumer emotion, and not to cultivate the reason

Bauman, making it clear that he is against capitalism and the consumer society.

24. One can never be sure of what to do and will never be certain that he has done the right thing

Uncertainty is part of our life and we must accept it. We must 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, establishes the union of bodies?

An issue raised by Bauman, about 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 before, culture today is concerned with offering temptations and establishing attractions, with seduction and decoys instead of regulations, with public relations instead of police supervision: producing, sowing and planting new desires and needs instead of imposing must

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 full, do not compromise or demand commitment. Keep all your doors open permanently

For the relationship to be healthy, it is necessary to 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, whose elements can no longer be separated. Opening to that destiny means, in the last instance, giving freedom to being: that freedom that is incarnated in the Other, the companion in love

You have to be brave in love and love without fear. We must give free rein to the heart.

30. Ours is a consumer society: in it, culture, like the rest of the world experienced by consumers, is manifested as a deposit of conceived goods

Again, a reflection on the consumer society in which we live immersed and in which it is difficult to stop to reflect.

31. You never lose sight of your cell phone. His sportswear has a special pocket to contain it, and going for a run with that empty pocket would be like going barefoot. In fact, you do not go anywhere without your cell phone (no part is, in reality, a space without a cell phone, a space outside the cellular coverage area, or a cell phone without ...

Mobile phones, like new technologies, have burst through our lives, changing our perception of the world.

32. The attempts to overcome this duality, to domesticate the unruly and to dominate what is unrestrained, to make foreseeable the unknowable and to chain the errant are the death sentence of love

In love, you do not have to be so predictable. Love lives when it manifests.

33. We are in a situation in which, constantly, we are encouraged and predisposed to act in an egocentric and materialistic way

Capitalism brings with it a whole system of values ​​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 their resolution less plausible.

To solve a problem, if it is also complex, keep calm and cool head becomes 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 end (in case of that there is)

Honest conversations are characterized to promote honesty and truth.

36. The culture of liquid modernity no longer has a populace to illustrate and ennoble, but clients that seduce

In this society we are very aware of what others think of us and of giving a good image. That subtracts authenticity from our relationships.

37. Progress, in short, has ceased to be a discourse that speaks of 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 otherness of the self

Love can transform the perception and behavior of people.

39. No kind of connection that can fill the gap left by the old absent links has a guarantee of duration

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 advertising bombardment through the daily average of three hours of television (half of their free time), workers are persuaded to "need" more things

Consumerism is nourished by the constant persuasion of 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 oblivion

The liquid culture of which Bauman speaks is a consequence of the commodification of interpersonal relationships.

43. If the anticipated happiness does not materialize, there is always the possibility of blaming a wrong choice rather than our inability to live up to the opportunities that are offered to us.

In this socioeconomic model, it is marketed, even with happiness.

44. That is the subject of which dreams are made, and fairy tales, of a consumer society: to become 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 ... stay at a distance

Mobiles have changed the way we relate to humans.Even being on the side, we can be really distant if we do not interact with real people and, instead, we do it 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 similar events, except in retrospective human compositions, eager to locate -invented- those connections and understand the incomprehensible

A quote that invites the reader to reflect on love and death.

47. The tendency to forget and the vertiginous speed of oblivion are, to our misfortune, seemingly indelible marks of liquid modern culture. Because of this adversity, we tend to stumble, stumbling on one explosion of popular anger after another, reacting nervously and mechanically to each one separately, as they present themselves, instead of trying to seriously face the issues that reveal

We live in a society characterized by individualism and by the immediacy of information. This makes us weak people.

48. The invariable purpose of education was, is, and always will be, the preparation of these young people for life. A life according to the reality in which they are destined to enter. To be prepared, they need instruction, "practical knowledge, concrete and immediate application", to use the expression of Tullio De Mauro. And to be "practical", a quality teaching needs to propitiate and propagate the openness of the mind, and not its closedness

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 entire world thanks to the Internet when there is not enough culture to filter the good information from the bad for consumption, all of them competing for the unbearably fleeting and distracted attention of the potential customers, striving to capture that attention beyond the blink

Modern life, in which we coexist with the advances of new technologies and the internet, infoxication is a present problem. People must know how to discern between useful and not useful information.

50. In a word, GDP measures everything except what makes life worth living

An ironic phrase that makes reference to that money does not give happiness.

51. Regarding 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 on the left, I'm on the left, and I'll die being left

The work of Zygmunt Bauman has been very 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 mandates is always the weapon of the leaders

An interesting reflection about rationality and its role in power relations.

55. The truth that frees men is usually the truth that men prefer not to listen

An idea reminiscent of the myth of Plato's cave.

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 consists in forcing nature to obediently serve human needs

This is another criticism 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 reoriented towards the clearest 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?

Inspiring 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 outside 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 trust. The belief that leaders are not only corrupt or stupid, but that they are incapable, in general

The vision of professional policy has fallen a lot, partly due to this lack of confidence.

62. In networks it is so easy to add friends or delete them that you do not need social skills

Reflection about the shortcomings covered by the use of social networks .

63. Individualization consists in transforming the human identity of something 'given' into a 'task', and in making the actors responsible for carrying out this task and the consequences (as well as the collateral effects) of their performance

Bauman believed that individualism is the way of thinking that is being fed the most by liberalism.

64. One is not harder and unscrupulous than all the others, they will destroy it, with or without remorse

Morality also works according to social logic.

65. The essence of the dismissive attitude arises from a dulling of the ability to discriminate

The difficulties when discovering new and stimulating situations can lead us to boredom and boredom.

66. The promise of learning the art of love is the promise (false, misleading, but inspiring of the deep desire to be true) of achieving "experience in love" as if it were any other merchandise

Love can also be treated as a commodity.

67. Love is a mortgage loan on account of an uncertain and inscrutable future

An aphorism about affective life and what guides it.

68. The precept of loving one's 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. What gives profits is the unbridled speed of circulation, recycling, aging, discarding and replacement, not durability or long-term reliability of the product.

Bauman understands the contemporary productive machinery as a bubble that, when exploded, produces a crisis.

70. The possibility of containing and assimilating the unstoppable mass of innovations is becoming less and less promising, if not unattainable.

Another of Bauman's criticisms of the idea of ​​progress.


Ep. #69: Dois livros de Zygmunt Bauman sobre economia (May 2022).


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