John Dewey (1859-1952)

Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.”

“Education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.”

“Education is a social process; education is growth; education is not a preparation for life but is life itself.”

“Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.”

“We only think when we are confronted with a problem.”

“The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.”

“Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates to invention. It shocks us out of sheep like passivity, and sets us at noting and contriving.”

“Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination.”

“School is not preparation for life, but school is life.”

“We naturally associate democracy, to be sure, with freedom of action, but freedom of action without freed capacity of thought behind it is only chaos.”

“The aim of education is to enable individuals to continue their education … (and) the object and reward of learning is continued capacity for growth. Now this idea cannot be applied to all the members of a society except where intercourse of man with man is mutual, and except where there is adequate provision for the reconstruction of social habits and institutions by means of wide stimulation arising from equitably distributed interests. And this means a democratic society.”

“We cannot seek or attain health, wealth, learning, justice or kindness in general. Action is always specific, concrete, individualized, unique.”

“The good man is the man who, no matter how morally unworthy he has been, is moving to become better.”

“Skepticism: the mark and even the pose of the educated mind.”

“To find out what one is fitted to do and to secure an opportunity to do it is the key to happiness.”

“Luck, bad if not good, will always be with us. But it has a way of favoring the intelligent and showing its back to the stupid.”

“To me faith means not worrying.”

“Anyone who has begun to think, places some portion of the world in jeopardy.”

“Time and memory are true artists; they remold reality nearer to the heart’s desire.”

“Man is not logical and his intellectual history is a record of mental reserves and compromises. He hangs on to what he can in his old beliefs even when he is compelled to surrender their logical basis.”

“Such happiness as life is capable of comes from the full participation of all our powers in the endeavor to wrest from each changing situations of experience its own full and unique meaning.”

“No man’s credit is as good as his money.”

“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs.”

“One lives with so many bad deeds on one’s conscience and some good intentions in one’s heart.”

“The only freedom that is of enduring importance is the freedom of intelligence, that is to say, freedom of observation and of judgment, exercised in behalf of purposes that are intrinsically worth while. The commonest mistake made about freedom is, I think, to identify it with freedom of movement, or, with the external or physical side of activity.”

“Genuine ignorance is… profitable because it is likely to be accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open mindedness; whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar propositions, gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind with varnish waterproof to new ideas.”

“Complete adaptation to environment means death. The essential point in all response is the desire to control environment.”

“The reactionaries are in possession of force, in not only the army and police, but in the press and the schools”

“There is nothing left worth preserving in the notions of unseen powers, controlling human destiny, to which obedience and worship are due.”

“When men think and believe in one set of symbols and act in ways which are contrary to their professed and conscious ideas, confusion and insincerity are bound to result.”

“By reading the characteristic features of any man’s castles in the air you can make a shrewd guess as to his underlying desires which are frustrated.”

“A democracy is more than a form of government; it is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience.”

“The very problem of mind and body suggests division; I do not know of anything so disastrously affected by the habit of division as this particular theme. In its discussion are reflected the splitting off from each other of religion, morals and science; the divorce of philosophy from science and of both from the arts of conduct. The evils which we suffer in education, in religion, in the materialism of business and the aloofness of “intellectuals” from life, in the whole separation of knowledge and practice — all testify to the necessity of seeing mind-body as an integral whole.”

“As long as art is the beauty parlor of civilization, neither art nor civilization is secure.”

“The religious is any activity pursued in behalf of an ideal end against obstacles and in spite of threats of personal loss because of its general and enduring value.”

“For one man who thanks God that he is not as other men there are a thousand to offer thanks that they are as other men, sufficiently as others are to escape attention.”

“The outstanding problem of the public is discovery and identification of itself”

“To find out what one is fitted to do and to secure and opportunity to do it is the key to happiness.”

“Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently stable world in peril.”

“There is more than a verbal tie between the words common, community, and communication. Try the experiment of communicating, with fullness and accuracy, some experience to another, especially if it be somewhat complicated, and you will find your own.”

“The end justifies the means only when the means used are such as actually bring about the desired and desirable end.”

“Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has color but no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not.”

“Without some goals and some efforts to reach it, no man can live.”

“The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think — rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men.”

“Education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction.”

“I believe that the only true education comes through the stimulation of the child’s powers by the demands of the social situations in which he finds himself.”

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