Neil Postman Quotes

Enjoy the top 194 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Neil Postman.

Neil Postman Quotes

But in the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require. Its story of our origins and of our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory. To the question, "How did it all begin?", science answers, "Probably by an accident." To the question, "How will it all end?", science answers, "Probably by an accident." And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living. Moreover, the science-god has no answer to the question, "Why are we here?" and, to the question, "What moral instructions do you give us?", the science-god maintains silence.
— Neil Postman —

When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.

— Neil Postman

Television screens saturated with commercials promote the utopian and childish idea that all problems have fast, simple, and technological solutions. You must banish from your mind the naive but commonplace notion that commercials are about products. They are about products in the same sense that the story of Jonah is about the anatomy of whales.

— Neil Postman

With the invention of the clock, Eternity ceased to serve as the measure and focus of human events.

— Neil Postman

The point is that television does not reveal who the best man is. In fact, television makes impossible the determination of who is better than whom, if we mean by 'better' such things as more capable in negotiation, more imaginative in executive skill, more knowledgeable about international affairs, more understanding of the interrelations of economic systems, and so on. The reason has, almost entirely, to do with 'image.' But not because politicians are preoccupied with presenting themselves in the best possible light. After all, who isn't? It is a rare and deeply disturbed person who does not wish to project a favorable image. But television gives image a bad name. For on television the politician does not so much offer the audience an image of himself, as offer himself as an image of the audience. And therein lies one of the most powerful influences of the television commercial on political discourse.

— Neil Postman

For no medium is excessively dangerous if its users understand what its dangers are. It is not important that those who ask the questions arrive at my answers or Marshall McLuhan's (quite different answers, by the way). This is an instance in which the asking of the questions is sufficient. To ask is to break the spell.

— Neil Postman

As Thoreau implied, telegraphy made relevance irrelevant.

— Neil Postman

Although culture is a creation of speech, it is recreated anew by every medium of communication-from painting to hieroglyphs to the alphabet to television. Each medium, like language itself, makes possible a unique mode of discourse by providing a new orientation for thought, for expression, for sensibility.

— Neil Postman

The shock of twentieth-century technology numbed our brains and we are just beginning to notice the spiritual and social debris that our technology has strewn about us.

— Neil Postman

But in the end, science does not provide the answers most of us require. Its story of our origins and of our end is, to say the least, unsatisfactory. To the question, "How did it all begin?", science answers, "Probably by an accident." To the question, "How will it all end?", science answers, "Probably by an accident." And to many people, the accidental life is not worth living. Moreover, the science-god has no answer to the question, "Why are we here?" and, to the question, "What moral instructions do you give us?", the science-god maintains silence.

— Neil Postman

Americans are the best entertained and quite likely the least well-informed people in the Western world.

— Neil Postman

Childhood is analogous to language learning. It has a biological basis but cannot be realized unless a social environment triggers and nurtures it, that is, has need of it. If a culture is dominated by a medium that requires the segregation of the young in order that they learn unnatural, specialized, and complex skills and attitudes, then childhood, in one form or another, will emerge, articulate and indispensable.

— Neil Postman

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