Human nature is said by many to be good; if so, where have social evils come from? For human nature is the only moral nature in that corrupting thing called "society." Every example set before the child of to-day is the fruit of human nature. It has been planted on every possible field among the snows that never melt; in temperate regions, and under the line; in crowded cities, in lonely forests; in ancient seats of civilization, in new colonies; and in all these fields it has, without once failing, brought forth a crop of sins and troubles.
I trust the time is nigh when, with the universal assent of civilized people, all international differences shall be determined without resort to arms by the benignant processes of civilization.
For a thousand years, the Bible was almost the only book people read, if they could read at all. The stories that were officially told and portrayed were Biblical and religious stories. That other fount of Western civilization as we know it today the Greek classics went largely unknown until the Renaissance. For our purposes, there's a noteworthy difference between these two literatures: in the Bible people are hardly ever said to be mad as such, whereas in Greek drama they go off their rockers with alarming frequency. It was the rediscovery of the classics that stimulated the long procession of literary madpeople of the past four hundred years.
Liberty is so great a magician, endowed with so marvelous a power of productivity, that under the inspiration of this spirit alone, North America was able within less than a century to equal, and even surpass, the civilization of Europe.
The civilization of the West, which was brilliant by virtue of its scientific perfection for a long time, and which subjugated the whole world with the products of this science to its states and nations, is now bankrupt and in decline.
Serious up-cannoning on our part, for all its for all its intrinsic vulgarity and first-principle undesirability, may be the only way to prevent scalar inter-civilization conflicts...
Life on earth is hard. Competition for the necessities of life is fierce. How ridiculous to believe that the law of harsh survival would not be true elsewhere, or that it would be negated by the progress of technology in an advanced civilization...
Constantine declared his own will equivalent to a canon of the Church. According to Justinian, the Roman people had formally transferred to the emperors the entire plenitude of its authority, and, therefore, the emperors pleasure, expressed by edict or by letter, had force of law. Even in the fervent age of its conversion the empire employed its refined civilization, the accumulated wisdom of ancient sages, the reasonableness and subtlety of Roman law, and the entire inheritance of the Jewish, the pagan, and the Christian world, to make the Church serve as a gilded crutch of absolutism. Neither an enlightened philosophy, nor all the political wisdom of Rome, nor even the faith and virtue of the Christians availed against the incorrigible tradition of antiquity. Something was wanted, beyond all the gifts of reflection and experience a faculty of self government and self control, developed like its language in the fibre of a nation, and growing with its growth. This vital element, which many centuries of warfare, of anarchy, of oppression, had extinguished in the countries that were still draped in the pomp of ancient civilization, was deposited on the soil of Christendom by the fertilising stream of migration that overthrew the empire of the West.
English civilization the humanizing, the bringing into one harmonious and truly humane life, of the whole body of English society that is what interests me.
Reading Decline of the West I learned that in Spenglers view ours was a Faustian civilization and that we, the Jews, were Magians, the survivors and representatives of an earlier type, totally incapable of comprehending the Faustian spirit that had created the great civilization of the West. ... What Magians were to Faustians, Faustians might very well be to Americans.
Human history, like all great movements, was cyclical, and returned to the point of beginning. the idea of indefinite progress in a right line was a chimera of the imagination, with no analogue in nature. The parabola of a comet was perhaps a better illustration of the career of humanity. Tending upward and sunward from the aphelion of barbarism, the race attained the perihelion of civilization only to plunge downward once more to its nether goal in the regions of chaos.
We must be aware of the superiority of our civilization, a system that has guaranteed well-being, respect for human rights and - in contrast with Islamic countries - respect for religious and political rights, a system that has as its value understanding of diversity and tolerance ... The West will continue to conquer peoples, even if it means a confrontation with another civilization, Islam, firmly entrenched where it was 1,400 years ago.
There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.
You cannot make a man by standing a sheep on its hind-legs. But by standing a whole flock of sheep in that position you can make a crowd of men. If man were not a gregarious animal, the world might have achieved, by this time, some real progress towards civilization. Segregate him, and he is no fool. But let him loose among his fellows, and he is lost - he becomes a unit in unreason.
Civilization or, to say the same thing, education is the taming or domestication of the souls raw passionsnot suppressing or excising them, which would deprive the soul of its energybut forming and informing them as art.
The dreariness of the familys spiritual landscape passes belief. The delicate fabric of the civilization into which the successive generations are woven has unraveled, and children are raised, not educated.
For both the rich and the poor, life is dominated by an ever growing current of problems, most of which seem to have no real and lasting solution. Clearly we have not touched the deeper causes of our troubles. It is the main point of this book that the ultimate source of all these problems is in thought itself, the very thing of which our civilization is most proud, and therefore the one thing that is "hidden" because of our failure seriously to engage with its actual working in our own individual lives and in the life of society.
The intensity and complexity of life, attendant upon advancing civilization, have rendered necessary some retreat from the world . . .