We have collected and put the best civilization quotes about the meaning of life from around the world. Enjoy reading these insights and feel free to share this page on your social media to inspire others.
A civilization or civilisation is a society characterized by urban development, social stratification imposed by a cultural elite, symbolic systems of communication and a perceived separation from and domination over the natural environment.
Civilization does not mean being rich and putting on fine airs, nor does it mean satisfying carnal desires and leading a luxurious, dissipated life. What it really means is being civil and courteous, kind-hearted, profound in thought, and respectful to others.– M. Fethullah Gulen
Savage people are usually cruel, oppressive and bloodthirsty, as they usually live by plundering … However, what about those civilized savages equipped with modern weaponry, who are always seeking and finding subtle, deceiving ways of shedding blood?– M. Fethullah Gulen
Communities based on the joining of science and morality have always established true civilizations. For this reason, Western civilization remains paralyzed because it is based mainly on science, and Eastern (Asian) civilizations are not “true” because, in their present conditions, they have no scientific background. The civilization of the future will have to be founded upon a combination of Western science and Eastern faith and morality.– M. Fethullah Gulen
Civilization means more than scientific advancement, modern means of transportation, ships, and living in large cities with skyscrapers. While such things may be adjuncts to civilization, it is folly and ignorance to identify civilization with them.– M. Fethullah Gulen
If a given civilization is not based on morality and virtue and nurtured in the pool of intelligence and conscience, it is no more than a passing flash of illuminations that serves a couple rich people and excites some thrill seekers. What a pity for those who are fooled by its blinking lights.– M. Fethullah Gulen
One becomes truly civilized only when all human virtues and potentialities have been developed to the degree that they become second nature. People who think that civilization means indulging all kinds of desires, and who identify it with outward forms and modern fashions, are those lacking in sound judgment and who have given in to their bodily desires. – M. Fethullah Gulen
The test of civilization is the estimate of woman. – George William Curtis
There is precious little in civilization to appeal to a yeti. – Edmund Hillary
Anglo-Saxon civilization has taught the individual to protect his own rights; American civilization will teach him to respect the rights of others. – William Jennings Bryan
In essence the Renaissance was simply the green end of one of civilization’s hardest winters. – John Fowles
Barbarism is needed every four or five hundred years to bring the world back to life. Otherwise it would die of civilization. – Edmond de Goncourt
I have increasingly, over the years, felt that religion today does our civilization more harm than good. – Mary Douglas
To be complex does not mean to be fragmented. This is the paradox and the genius of our Canadian civilization. – Adrienne Clarkson
Monuments and archaeological pieces serve as testimonies of man’s greatness and establish a dialogue between civilizations showing the extent to which human beings are linked. – Vicente Fox
Codi: Gives you the willies, doesn’t it? The thought of raising kids in a place where the front yard ends in a two-hundred-foot drop? [referring to cliff dwellings] Loyd: No worse than raising up kids where the front yard ends in a freeway. – Barbara Kingsolver
[T]he progress of civilization corresponds with the spread of general nausea. – Edgar Saltus
If the views I have expressed be right, we can think of our civilization evolving with the growth of knowledge from small wandering tribes to large settled law. – John Boyd Orr
Civilized society is one huge bourgeoisie: no nobleman dares now shock his greengrocer. – George Bernard Shaw
We veneer civilization by doing unkind things in a kind way. – George Bernard Shaw
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women mearly players. – William Shakespeare
A high civilization is a pyramid: it can stand only on a broad base; its primary prerequisite is a strong and soundly consolidated mediocrity. – Friedrich Nietzsche
Civilization is the process of reducing the infinite to the finite. – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
Hospitals are only an intermediate stage of civilization. – Florence Nightingale
It is impossible to maintain civilization with -year-olds having babies, with -year-olds killing each other, with -year-olds dying of AIDS and with -year-olds getting diplomas they can’t even read. – Newt Gingrich
Allen’s Law of Civilization: It is better for civilization to be going down the drain than to be coming up it. – Paul Dickson
Civilization is a natural and inevitable consequence – whether good or evil I am not prepared to state. – Robert E. Howard
Break the skin of civilization and you find the ape, roaring and red-handed. – Robert E. Howard
A man does not have himself killed for a half-pence a day or for a petty distinction. You must speak to the soul in order to electrify him. – Napoleon Bonaparte
Wherever we look, the work of the chemist has raised the level of our civilization and has increased the productive capacity of the nation. – Calvin Coolidge
Nations, like individuals, live and die; but civilization cannot die. – Giuseppe Mazzini
The human landscape of the New World shows a conquest of nature by an intelligence that does not love it. – Northrop Frye
Civilization began the first time an angry person cast a word instead of a rock. – Sigmund Freud
Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince Lombardi
If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. – Franklin D. Roosevelt
We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others. – Will Rogers
The great advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science or literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government. – Milton Friedman
The test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members. – Pearl S. Buck
The city is the nerve center of our civilization. It is also the storm center. – Josiah Strong
AIDS is a global problem and there should be a global solution found by the entire international community. It is really scary to see and imagine our world fall into pieces because we refuse to share and put in the common vestiges of our civilizations. – Sarah Polley
Our most intimate contact with civilizations long since dust has been through the art which has survived them. – Carlisle Floyd
Sunday is the core of our civilization, dedicated to thought and reverence. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You should hammer your iron when it is glowing hot. – Publilius Syrus
Ultimately, there is no compromise. Westerners will either retain their civilization, including the right to insult and blaspheme, or not. – Daniel Pipes
You know, our sense of individuality is just the number one target of civilization. – Alan Rudolph
The civilized are those who get more out of life than the uncivilized, and for this we are not likely to be forgiven. – Cyril Connolly
Every new stroke of civilization has cost the lives of countless brave men, who have fallen defeated by the dragon, in their efforts to win the apples of the Hesperides, or the fleece of gold. Fallen in their efforts to overcome the old, half sordid savagery of the lower stages of creation, and win the next stage. – D. H. Lawrence
We will never be an advanced civilization as long as rain showers can delay the launching of a space rocket. – George Carlin
Thousands of years and many civilizations have defined a marriage as the union between one man and one woman. With few exceptions, those civilizations that did not follow that perished. – Randy Neugebauer
One man in his time plays many parts. – William Shakespeare
History shows us that other highly developed forms of civilization have collapsed. Who knows whether the same fate does not await our own? – Christian Lous Lange
The city has become a serious menace to our civilization It has a peculiar attraction for the immigrant. – Josiah Strong
One… gets an impression that civilization is something which was imposed on a resisting majority by a minority which understood how to obtain possession of the means to power and coercion. It is, of course, natural to assume that these difficulties are not inherent in the nature of civilization itself but are determined by the imperfections of the cultural forms which have so far been developed. – Sigmund Freud
All the worth which the human being possesses all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State… For Truth is the Unity of the universal and subjective Will; and the Universal is to be found in the State, in its laws, its universal and rational arrangements. The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on Earth. We have in it, therefore, the object of History in a more definite shape than before; that in which Freedom obtains objectivity… – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Our concern is not how to worship in the catacombs but how to remain human in the skyscrapers. – Abraham Joshua Heschel
We are like ignorant shepherds living on a site where great civilizations once flourished. – Allan Bloom
Civilization is nothing more than the effort to reduce the use of force to the last resort. – Jose Ortega y Gasset
The human race has improved everything, but the human race. – Adlai Stevenson
The skylines lit up at dead of night, the air-conditioning systems cooling empty hotels in the desert and artificial light in the middle of the day all have something both demented and admirable about them. The mindless luxury of a rich civilization, and yet of a civilization perhaps as scared to see the lights go out as was the hunter in his primitive night. – Jean Baudrillard
Civilization depends on morality. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As long as our civilization is essentially one of property, of fences, of exclusiveness, it will be mocked by delusions. Our riches will leave us sick; there will be bitterness in our laughter; and our wine will burn our mouth. Only that good profits, which we can taste with all doors open, and which serves all men. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Civilization is an active deposit which is formed by the combustion of the present with the past. Neither in countries without a Present nor in those without a Past is it to be encountered. Proust in Venice, Matisse’s birdcages overlooking the flower market at Nice, Gide on the seventeenth-century quais of Toulon, Lorca in Granada, Picasso by Saint-Germain-des-Pr?s: there lies civilization and for me it can exist only under those liberal regimes in which the Present is alive and therefore capable of assimilating the Past. – Cyril Connolly
Increased means and increased leisure are the two civilizers of man. – Benjamin Disraeli
Civilization…is a matter of imponderables, of delight in the thins of the mind, of love of beauty, of honor, grace, courtesy, delicate feeling. Where imponderables, are things of first importance, there is the height of civilization, and, if at the same time, the power of art exists unimpaired, human life has reached a level seldom attained and very seldom surpassed. – Edith Hamilton
Is civilization only a higher form of idolatry, that man should bow down to a flesh-brush, to flannels, to baths, diet, exercise, and air? – Mary Baker Eddy
The ultimate tendency of civilization is towards barbarism. – David Hare
Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing the things historians usually record, while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks. Historians are pessimists because they ignore the banks for the river. – Will Durant
All civilization has from time to time become a thin crust over a volcano of revolution. – Havelock Ellis
The three great elements of modern civilization, Gun powder, Printing, and the Protestant religion. – Thomas Carlyle
Civilization is a process in the service of Eros, whose purpose is to combine single human individuals, and after that families, then races, peoples and nations, into one great unity, the unity of mankind. Why this has to happen, we do not know; the work of Eros is precisely this. – Sigmund Freud
Civilization is drugs, alcohol, engines of war, prostitution, machines and machine slaves, low wages, bad food, bad taste, prisons, reformatories, lunatic asylums, divorce, perversion, brutal sports, suicides, infanticide, cinema, quackery, demagogy, strikes, lockouts, revolutions, putsches, colonization, electric chairs, guillotines, sabotage, floods, famine, disease, gangsters, money barons, horse racing, fashion shows, poodle dogs, chow dogs, Siamese cats, condoms, peccaries, syphilis, gonorrhea, insanity, neuroses, etc., etc. – Henry Miller
The path of civilization is paved with tin cans. – Elbert Hubbard
Civilization — a heap of rubble scavenged by scrawny English Lit. vultures. – Malcolm Muggeridge
Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities. – Mark Twain
To accept civilization as it is practically means accepting decay. – George Orwell
Civilization is the making of civil persons. – John Ruskin
Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt. – Oscar Wilde
If Germany, thanks to Hitler and his successors, were to enslave the European nations and destroy most of the treasures of their past, future historians would certainly pronounce that she had civilized Europe. – Simone Weil
The word civilization to my mind is coupled with death. When I use the word, I see civilization as a crippling, thwarting thing, a stultifying thing. For me it was always so. I don’t believe in the golden ages, you see… civilization is the arteriosclerosis of culture. – Henry Miller
Civilization today reminds me of an ape with a blowtorch playing in a room full of dynamite. It looks like the monkeys are about to operate the zoo, and the inmates are taking over the asylum. – Vance Havner
A civilization is built on what is required of men, not on that which is provided for them. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
A civilized man is one who will give a serious answer to a serious question. Civilization itself is a certain sane balance of values. – Ezra Pound
One might enumerate the items of high civilization, as it exists in other countries, which are absent from the texture of American life, until it should become a wonder to know what was left. – Henry James
A civilization is a heritage of beliefs, customs, and knowledge slowly accumulated in the course of centuries, elements difficult at times to justify by logic, but justifying themselves as paths when they lead somewhere, since they open up for man his inner distance. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Civilization must be destroyed. The hairy saints of the North have earned this crumb by their complaints. – Wallace Stevens
As life in general constituted much pain in the form of struggles against poverty, disease, ignorance, and emotional anguish, what more civilized way for people to alleviate the same than by giving themselves to one another as brothers and sisters in deed as well as in word? A society of people hoping to become politically superior needed first to become spiritually valid. – Aberjhani
If I say your voice is an amber waterfall In which I yearn to burn each day, if you eat my mouth like a mystical rose with powers of healing and damnation, If I confess that your body is the only civilization I long to experience… would it mean that we are close to knowing something about love? – Aberjhani
The United Nations and the Organization of American States have named as the International Year for People of African Descent. This is an opportunity for all of us around the globe to celebrate the diversity of our societies and to honor the contributions that our fellow citizens of African descent make every day to the economic, social and political fabrics of our communities. – Hillary Clinton
‘Normal’ science, in Kuhn’s sense, exists. It is the activity of the non-revolutionary, or more precisely, the not-too-critical professional: of the science student who accepts the ruling dogma of the day… in my view the ‘normal’ scientist, as Kuhn describes him, is a person one ought to be sorry for… He has been taught in a dogmatic spirit: he is a victim of indoctrination… I can only say that I see a very great danger in it and in the possibility of its becoming normal… a danger to science and, indeed, to our civilization. And this shows why I regard Kuhn’s emphasis on the existence of this kind of science as so important. – Karl Raimund Popper
…while science gives us implements to use, science alone does not determine for what ends they will be employed. Radio is an amazing invention. Yet now that it is here, one suspects that Hitler never could have consolidated his totalitarian control over Germany without its ue. One never can tell what hands will reach out to lay hold on scientific gifts, or to what employment they will be put. Ever the old barbarian emerges, destructively using the new civilization. – Harry Emerson Fosdick
Civilization is the art of creating useless needs. – Léo Errera
A first step in the study of civilization is to dissect it into details, and to classify these in their proper groups. Thus, in examining weapons, they are to be classed under spear, club, sling, bow and arrow, and so forth; among textile arts are to be ranged matting, netting, and several grades of making and weaving threads; myths are divided under such headings as myths of sunrise and sunset, eclipse-myths, earthquake-myths, local myths which account for the names of places by some fanciful tale, eponymic myths which account for the parentage of a tribe by turning its name into the name of an imaginary ancestor; under rites and ceremonies occur such practices as the various kinds of sacrifice to the ghosts of the dead and to other spiritual beings, the turning to the east in worship, the purification of ceremonial or moral uncleanness by means of water or fire. Such are a few miscellaneous examples from a list of hundreds … To the ethnographer, the bow and arrow is the species, the habit of flattening children’s skulls is a species, the practice of reckoning numbers by tens is a species. The geographical distribution of these things, and their transmission from region to region, have to be studied as the naturalist studies the geography of his botanical and zoological species. – Sir Edward Burnett Tylor
A living civilization creates; a dying, builds museums. b
A perfectly normal person is rare in our civilization. – Karen Horney
A study of history shows that civilizations that abandon the quest for knowledge are doomed to disintegration. – Sir Bernard Lovell
A sufficient measure of civilization is the influence of good women. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees. Forests create climate, climate influences peoples’ character, and so on and so forth. There can be neither civilization nor happiness if forests crash down under the axe, if the climate is harsh and severe, if people are also harsh and severe. … What a terrible future! – Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
Ah, the architecture of this world. Amoebas may not have backbones, brains, automobiles, plastic, television, Valium or any other of the blessings of a technologically advanced civilization; but their architecture is two billion years ahead of its time. – L.L. Larison Cudmore
All of our exalted technological progress, civilization for that matter, is comparable to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal. – Albert Einstein
All our civilization is based on invention; before invention, men lived on fruits and nuts and pine cones and slept in caves. – Reginald Fessenden
All palaetiological sciences, all speculations which attempt to ascend from the present to the remote past, by the chain of causation, do also, by an inevitable consequence, urge us to look for the beginning of the state of things which we thus contemplate; but in none of these cases have men been able, by the aid of science, to arrive at a beginning which is homogeneous with the known course of events. The first origin of language, of civilization, of law and government, cannot be clearly made out by reasoning and research; and just as little, we may expect, will a knowledge of the origin of the existing and extinct species of plants and animals, be the result of physiological and geological investigation. – William Whewell
Almost daily we shudder as prophets of doom announce the impending end of civilization and universe. We are being asphyxiated, they say, by the smoke of the industry; we are suffocating in the ever growing mountain of rubbish. Every new project depicts its measureable effects and is denounced by protesters screaming about catastrophe, the upsetting of the land, the assault on nature. If we accepted this new mythology we would have to stop pushing roads through the forest, harnessing rivers to produce the electricity, breaking grounds to extract metals, enriching the soil with chemicals, killing insects, combating viruses … But progress—basically, an effort to organise a corner of land and make it more favourable for human life—cannot be baited. Without the science of pomiculture, for example, trees will bear fruits that are small, bitter, hard, indigestible, and sour. Progress is desirable. – Anonymous
An archaeologist is a scientist who seeks to discover past civilizations while the present one is still around. – Anonymous
And this is the ultimate lesson that our knowledge of the mode of transmission of typhus has taught us: Man carries on his skin a parasite, the louse. Civilization rids him of it. Should man regress, should he allow himself to resemble a primitive beast, the louse begins to multiply again and treats man as he deserves, as a brute beast. This conclusion would have endeared itself to the warm heart of Alfred Nobel. My contribution to it makes me feel less unworthy of the honour which you have conferred upon me in his name. – Charles-Jules-Henri Nicolle
Anthropology has reached that point of development where the careful investigation of facts shakes our firm belief in the far-reaching theories that have been built up. The complexity of each phenomenon dawns on our minds, and makes us desirous of proceeding more cautiously. Heretofore we have seen the features common to all human thought. Now we begin to see their differences. We recognize that these are no less important than their similarities, and the value of detailed studies becomes apparent. Our aim has not changed, but our method must change. We are still searching for the laws that govern the growth of human culture, of human thought; but we recognize the fact that before we seek for what is common to all culture, we must analyze each culture by careful and exact methods, as the geologist analyzes the succession and order of deposits, as the biologist examines the forms of living matter. We see that the growth of human culture manifests itself in the growth of each special culture. Thus we have come to understand that before we can build up the theory of the growth of all human culture, we must know the growth of cultures that we find here and there among the most primitive tribes of the Arctic, of the deserts of Australia, and of the impenetrable forests of South America; and the progress of the civilization of antiquity and of our own times. We must, so far as we can, reconstruct the actual history of mankind, before we can hope to discover the laws underlying that history. – Franz Boas
Archaeology is the science of digging in the earth to try and find a civilization worse than ours. – Anonymous
As agonizing a disease as cancer is, I do not think it can be said that our civilization is threatened by it. … But a very plausible case can be made that our civilization is fundamentally threatened by the lack of adequate fertility control. Exponential increases of population will dominate any arithmetic increases, even those brought about by heroic technological initiatives, in the availability of food and resources, as Malthus long ago realized. – Carl Sagan
As one penetrates from seam to seam, from stratum to stratum and discovers, under the quarries of Montmartre or in the schists of the Urals, those animals whose fossilized remains belong to antediluvian civilizations, the mind is startled to catch a vista of the milliards of years and the millions of peoples which the feeble memory of man and an indestructible divine tradition have forgotten and whose ashes heaped on the surface of our globe, form the two feet of earth which furnish us with bread and flowers. – Honoré de Balzac
As the first monogamian family has improved greatly since the commencement of civilization, and very sensibly in our times, it is at least supposable that it is capable of still further improvement until the equality of the sexes is attained. – Lewis Henry Morgan
As they discover, from strata to strata and from layer to layer, deep in the quarries of Montmartre or the schists of the Urals, these creatures whose fossilized remains belong to antediluvian civilizations, it will strike terror into your soul to see many millions of years, many thousands of races forgotten by the feeble memory of mankind and by the indestructible divine tradition, and whose piles of ashes on the surface of our globe form the two feet of soil which gives us our bread and our flowers. – Honoré de Balzac
At the bidding of a Peter the Hermit many millions of men swarmed to the East; the words of an hallucinated person … have created the force necessary to triumph over the Graeco-Roman world; an obscure monk like Luther set Europe ablaze and bathed in blood. The voice of a Galileo or a Newton will never have the least echo among the masses. The inventors of genius transform a civilization. The fanatics and the hallucinated create history. – Gustave Le Bon
At this very minute, with almost absolute certainty, radio waves sent forth by other intelligent civilizations are falling on the earth. A telescope can be built that, pointed in the right place, and tuned to the right frequency, could discover these waves. Someday, from somewhere out among the stars, will come the answers to many of the oldest, most important, and most exciting questions mankind has asked. – Frank Drake
Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change, windows on the world, lighthouses, (as a poet said), erected in the sea of time. – Barbara Tuchman
BRAIN, n. An apparatus with which we think that we think. That which distinguishes the man who is content to be something from the man who wishes to do something. A man of great wealth, or one who has been pitchforked into high station, has commonly such a headful of brain that his neighbors cannot keep their hats on. In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, brain is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office. – Ambrose Bierce
But Chinese civilization has the overpowering beauty of the wholly other, and only the wholly other can inspire the deepest love and the profoundest desire to learn. – Joseph Needham
But for us, it’s different. Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. – Carl Sagan
But however secure and well-regulated civilized life may become, bacteria, Protozoa, viruses, infected fleas, lice, ticks, mosquitoes, and bedbugs will always lurk in the shadows ready to pounce when neglect, poverty, famine, or war lets down the defenses. – Hans Zinsser
But in practical affairs, particularly in politics, men are needed who combine human experience and interest in human relations with a knowledge of science and technology. Moreover, they must be men of action and not contemplation. I have the impression that no method of education can produce people with all the qualities required. I am haunted by the idea that this break in human civilization, caused by the discovery of the scientific method, may be irreparable. – Max Born
But science is the great instrument of social change, all the greater because its object is not change but knowledge, and its silent appropriation of this dominant function, amid the din of political and religious strife, is the most vital of all the revolutions which have marked the development of modern civilisation. – Arthur Balfour
But why, it has been asked, did you go there [the Antarctic]? Of what use to civilization can this lifeless continent be? … [Earlier] expeditions contributed something to the accumulating knowledge of the Antarctic … that helps us thrust back further the physical and spiritual shadows enfolding our terrestrial existence. Is it not true that one of the strongest and most continuously sustained impulses working in civilization is that which leads to discovery? As long as any part of the world remains obscure, the curiosity of man must draw him there, as the lodestone draws the mariner’s needle, until he comprehends its secret. – Richard Byrd
By his very success in inventing labor-saving devices, modern man has manufactured an abyss of boredom that only the privileged classes in earlier civilizations have ever fathomed. – Lewis Mumford
Civilisations as yet have only been created and directed by a small intellectual aristocracy, never by crowds. Crowds are only powerful for destruction. – Gustave Le Bon
Civilization has made the peasantry its pack animal. The bourgeoisie in the long run only changed the form of the pack. – Leon Trotsky
Civilization is a disease produced by the practice of building societies with rotten material. – George Bernard Shaw
Civilization is hooped together, brought
Under a rule, under the semblance of peace
By manifold illusion. – W. B. Yeats
Civilization is in no immediate danger of running out of energy or even just out of oil. But we are running out of environment—that is, out of the capacity of the environment to absorb energy’s impacts without risk of intolerable disruption—and our heavy dependence on oil in particular entails not only environmental but also economic and political liabilities. – Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran
Civilization is simply a series of victories over nature. – Moses Harvey
Civilization no longer needs to open up wilderness; it needs wilderness to help open up the still largely unexplored human mind. – David Rains Wallace
Coal … We may well call it black diamonds. Every basket is power and civilization; for coal is a portable climate. … Watt and Stephenson whispered in the ear of mankind their secret, that a half-ounce of coal will draw two tons a mile, and coal carries coal, by rail and by boat, to make Canada as warm as Calcutta, and with its comforts bring its industrial power. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Darwin recognized that thus far the civilization of mankind has passed through four successive stages of evolution, namely, those based on the use of fire, the development of agriculture, the development of urban life and the use of basic science for technological advancement. – Frederick Seitz
During my span of life science has become a matter of public concern and the l’art pour l’art standpoint of my youth is now obsolete. Science has become an integral and most important part of our civilization, and scientific work means contributing to its development. Science in our technical age has social, economic, and political functions, and however remote one’s own work is from technical application it is a link in the chain of actions and decisions which determine the fate of the human race. I realized this aspect of science in its full impact only after Hiroshima. – Max Born
Essentially all civilizations that rose to the level of possessing an urban culture had need for two forms of science-related technology, namely, mathematics for land measurements and commerce and astronomy for time-keeping in agriculture and aspects of religious rituals. – Frederick Seitz
Every civilization [in the universe] must go through this [a nuclear crisis]. Those that don’t make it destroy themselves. Those that do make it end up cavorting all over the universe. – Ted Taylor
For nearly twelve years I travelled and lived mostly among uncivilised or completely savage races, and I became convinced that they all possessed good qualities, some of them in a very remarkable degree, and that in all the great characteristics of humanity they are wonderfully like ourselves. Some, indeed, among the brown Polynesians especially, are declared by numerous independent and unprejudiced observers, to be physically, mentally, and intellectually our equals, if not our superiors; and it has always seemed to me one of the disgraces of our civilisation that these fine people have not in a single case been protected from contamination by the vices and follies of our more degraded classes, and allowed to develope their own social and political organislll under the advice of some of our best and wisest men and the protection of our world-wide power. That would have been indeed a worthy trophy of our civilisation. What we have actually done, and left undone, resulting in the degradation and lingering extermination of so fine a people, is one of the most pathetic of its tragedies. – Alfred Russel Wallace
From first to last the civilization of America has been bound up with its physical environment. – Ellsworth Huntington
From the time of Aristotle it had been said that man is a social animal: that human beings naturally form communities. I couldn’t accept it. The whole of history and pre-history is against it. The two dreadful world wars we have recently been through, and the gearing of our entire economy today for defensive war belie it. Man’s loathsome cruelty to man is his most outstanding characteristic; it is explicable only in terms of his carnivorous and cannibalistic origin. Robert Hartmann pointed out that both rude and civilised peoples show unspeakable cruelty to one another. We call it inhuman cruelty; but these dreadful things are unhappily truly human, because there is nothing like them in the animal world. A lion or tiger kills to eat, but the indiscriminate slaughter and calculated cruelty of human beings is quite unexampled in nature, especially among the apes. They display no hostility to man or other animals unless attacked. Even then their first reaction is to run away. – Raymond A. Dart
Geology is part of that remarkable dynamic process of the human mind which is generally called science and to which man is driven by an inquisitive urge. By noticing relationships in the results of his observations, he attempts to order and to explain the infinite variety of phenomena that at first sight may appear to be chaotic. In the history of civilization this type of progressive scientist has been characterized by Prometheus stealing the heavenly fire, by Adam eating from the tree of knowledge, by the Faustian ache for wisdom. – Reinout Willem van Bemmelen
Gorillas are almost altruistic in nature. There’s very little if any ‘me-itis.’ When I get back to civilization I’m always appalled by ‘me, me, me.’ – Dian Fossey
Has anyone ever given credit to the Black Death for the Renaissance—in other words, for modern civilization? … [It] exterminated such huge masses of the European proletariat that the average intelligence and enterprise of the race were greatly lifted, and that this purged and improved society suddenly functioned splendidly. … The best brains of the time, thus suddenly emancipated, began to function freely and magnificently. There ensued what we call the Renaissance. – H. L. Mencken
Here is the element or power of conduct, of intellect and knowledge, of beauty, and of social life and manners, and all needful to build up a complete human life. … We have instincts responding to them all, and requiring them all, and we are perfectly civilized only when all these instincts of our nature—all these elements in our civilization have been adequately recognized and satisfied. – Matthew Arnold
Hospitals are only an intermediate stage of civilization, never intended … to take in the whole sick population. May we hope that the day will come … when every poor sick person will have the opportunity of a share in a district sick-nurse at home. – Florence Nightingale
How fortunate for civilization, that Beethoven, Michelangelo, Galileo and Faraday were not required by law to attend schools where their total personalities would have been operated upon to make them learn acceptable ways of participating as members of the group. – Joel H. Hildebrand
Human civilization is but a few thousand years long. Imagine having the audacity to think that we can devise a program to store lethal radioactive materials for a period of time that is longer than all of human culture to date. – Jeremy Rifkin
I am well convinced that Aerial Navigation will form a most prominent feature in the progress of civilization. – Sir George Cayley
I don’t care two hoots about civilization. I want to wander in the wild. – Jane Goodall
I feel the development of space should continue. It is of tremendous importance. … Along with this development of space, which is really a flowering of civilization toward the stars, you might say, we must protect the surface of the earth. That’s even more important. Our environment on the surface is where man lives. – Charles A. Lindbergh
I hate and fear ‘science’ because of my conviction that, for long to come if not for ever, it will be the remorseless enemy of mankind. I see it destroying all simplicity and gentleness of life, all the beauty of the world; I see it restoring barbarism under a mask of civilization; I see it darkening men’s minds and hardening their hearts. – George Robert Gissing
I have seen the science I worshipped, and the aircraft I loved, destroying the civilization I expected them to serve. – Charles A. Lindbergh
I have turned my attention from technological progress to life, from the civilized to the wild. – Charles A. Lindbergh
I think it is a sad reflection on our civilization that while we can and do measure the temperature in the atmosphere of Venus we do not know what goes on inside our soufflés. – Nicholas Kurti
Ideas are the factors that lift civilization. They create revolutions. There is more dynamite in an idea than in many bombs. – John Heyl Vincent
If the average man in the street were asked to name the benefits derived from sunshine, he would probably say light and warmth and there he would stop. But, if we analyse the matter a little more deeply, we will soon realize that sunshine is the one great source of all forms of life and activity on this old planet of ours. … [M]athematics underlies present-day civilization in much the same far-reaching manner as sunshine underlies all forms of life, and that we unconsciously share the benefits conferred by the mathematical achievements of the race just as we unconsciously enjoy the blessings of the sunshine. – Herbert Ellsworth Slaught
If the Weismann idea triumphs, it will be in a sense a triumph of fatalism; for, according to it, while we may indefinitely improve the forces of our education and surroundings, and this civilizing nurture will improve the individuals of each generation, its actual effects will not be cumulative as regards the race itself, but only as regards the environment of the race; each new generation must start de novo, receiving no increment of the moral and intellectual advance made during the lifetime of its predecessors. It would follow that one deep, almost instinctive motive for a higher life would be removed if the race were only superficially benefited by its nurture, and the only possible channel of actual improvement were in the selection of the fittest chains of race plasma. – Henry Fairfield Osborn
If there be an order in which the human race has mastered its various kinds of knowledge, there will arise in every child an aptitude to acquire these kinds of knowledge in the same order. So that even were the order intrinsically indifferent, it would facilitate education to lead the individual mind through the steps traversed by the general mind. But the order is not intrinsically indifferent; and hence the fundamental reason why education should be a repetition of civilization in little. – Herbert Spencer
If we can combine our knowledge of science with the wisdom of wildness, if we can nurture civilization through roots in the primitive, man’s potentialities appear to be unbounded, Through this evolving awareness, and his awareness of that awareness, he can emerge with the miraculous—to which we can attach what better name than God? And in this merging, as long sensed by intuition but still only vaguely perceived by rationality, experience may travel without need for accompanying life. – Charles A. Lindbergh
If we drove an automobile the way we try to run civilization, I think we would face backwards, looking through the back window, admiring where we came from, and not caring where we are going. If you want a good life you must look to the future. … I think it is all right to have courses in history. But history is the gonest thing in the world. … Let’s keep history, but let’s take a small part of the time and study where we are going. … We can do something about the unmade history. – Charles F. Kettering
In my opinion there is no other salvation for civilization and even for the human race than the creation of a world government with security on the basis of law. As long as there are sovereign states with their separate armaments and armament secrets, new world wars cannot be avoided. – Albert Einstein
In order to imbue civilization with sound principles and enliven it with the spirit of the gospel, it is not enough to be illumined with the gift of faith and enkindled with the desire of forwarding a good cause. For this end it is necessary to take an active part in the various organizations and influence them from within. And since our present age is one of outstanding scientific and technical progress and excellence, one will not be able to enter these organizations and work effectively from within unless he is scientifically competent, technically capable and skilled in the practice of his own profession. – Pope John XXIII
In the secondary schools mathematics should be a part of general culture and not contributory to technical training of any kind; it should cultivate space intuition, logical thinking, the power to rephrase in clear language thoughts recognized as correct, and ethical and esthetic effects; so treated, mathematics is a quite indispensable factor of general education in so far as the latter shows its traces in the comprehension of the development of civilization and the ability to participate in the further tasks of civilization. – German Society for the Advancement of Instruction in Mathematics
In war, science has proven itself an evil genius; it has made war more terrible than it ever was before. Man used to be content to slaughter his fellowmen on a single plane—the earth’s surface. Science has taught him to go down into the water and shoot up from below and to go up into the clouds and shoot down from above, thus making the battlefield three times as bloody as it was before; but science does not teach brotherly love. Science has made war so hellish that civilization was about to commit suicide; and now we are told that newly discovered instruments of destruction will make the cruelties of the late war seem trivial in comparison with the cruelties of wars that may come in the future. – William Jennings Bryan
INVENTOR, n. A person who makes an ingenious arrangement of wheels, levers and springs, and believes it civilization. – Ambrose Bierce
It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy-books and eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them. Operations of thought are like cavalry charges in a battle—they are strictly limited in number, they require fresh horses, and must only be made at decisive moments. – Alfred North Whitehead
It is hard to think of fissionable materials when fashioned into bombs as being a source of happiness. However this may be, if with such destructive weapons men are to survive, they must grow rapidly in human greatness. A new level of human understanding is needed. The reward for using the atom’s power towards man’s welfare is great and sure. The punishment for its misuse would seem to be death and the destruction of the civilization that has been growing for a thousand years. These are the alternatives that atomic power, as the steel of Daedalus, presents to mankind. We are forced to grow to greater manhood. – Arthur Holly Compton
It is the individual only who is timeless. Societies, cultures, and civilizations – past and present – are often incomprehensible to outsiders, but the individual’s hunger, anxieties, dreams, and preoccupations have remained unchanged through the millennia. Thus, we are up against the paradox that the individual who is more complex, unpredictable, and mysterious than any communal entity is the one nearest to our understanding; so near that even the interval of millennia cannot weaken our feeling of kinshiIf in some manner the voice of an individual reaches us from the remotest distance of time, it is a timeless voice speaking about ourselves. – Eric Hoffer
It is the technologist who is transforming at least the outward trappings of modern civilization and no hard and fast line can or should be drawn between those who apply science, and in the process make discoveries, and those who pursue what is sometimes called basic science. – Sir Howard Walter Florey
It is the triumph of civilization that at last communities have obtained such a mastery over natural laws that they drive and control them. The winds, the water, electricity, all aliens that in their wild form were dangerous, are now controlled by human will, and are made useful servants. – Henry Ward Beecher
It is the utmost folly to denounce capital. To do so is to undermine civilization, for capital is the first requisite of every social gain, educational, ecclesiastical, political, or other. – William Graham Sumner
It would take a civilization far more advanced than ours, unbelievably advanced, to begin to manipulate negative energy to create gateways to the past. But if you could obtain large quantities of negative energy—and that’s a big IF—then you could create a time machine that apparently obeys Einstein’s equation and perhaps the laws of quantum theory. – Michio Kaku
Its [the anthropological method] power to make us understand the roots from which our civilization has sprung, that it impresses us with the relative value of all forms of culture, and thus serves as a check to an exaggerated valuation of the standpoint of our own period, which we are only too liable to consider the ultimate goal of human evolution, thus depriving ourselves of the benefits to be gained from the teachings of other cultures and hindering an objective criticism of our own work. – Franz Boas
It’s humbling to realise that the developmental gulf between a miniscule ant colony and our modern human civilisation is only a tiny fraction of the distance between a Type and a Type III civilisation – a factor of billion billion, in fact. Yet we have such a highly regarded view of ourselves, we believe a Type III civilisation would find us irresistible and would rush to make contact with us. The truth is, however, they may be as interested in communicating with humans as we are keen to communicate with ants. – Michio Kaku
Let us hope that the advent of a successful flying machine, now only dimly foreseen and nevertheless thought to be possible, will bring nothing but good into the world; that it shall abridge distance, make all parts of the globe accessible, bring men into closer relation with each other, advance civilization, and hasten the promised era in which there shall be nothing but peace and goodwill among all men. – Octave Chanute
Looking back over the last thousand years, one can divide the development of the machine and the machine civilization into three successive but over-lapping and interpenetrating phases: eotechnic, paleotechnic, neotechnic … Speaking in terms of power and characteristic materials, the eotechnic phase is a water-and-wood complex: the paleotechnic phase is a coal-and-wood complex… The dawn-age of our modern technics stretches roughly from the year to . It did not, of course, come suddenly to an end in the middle of the eighteenth century. A new movement appeared in industrial society which had been gathering headway almost unnoticed from the fifteenth century on: after industry passed into a new phase, with a different source of power, different materials, different objectives. – Lewis Mumford
Love of liberty means the guarding of every resource that makes freedom possible—from the sanctity of our families and the wealth of our soil to the genius [of] our scientists… – Dwight David Eisenhower
Mathematics is a type of thought which seems ingrained in the human mind, which manifests itself to some extent with even the primitive races, and which is developed to a high degree with the growth of civilization. … A type of thought, a body of results, so essentially characteristic of the human mind, so little influenced by environment, so uniformly present in every civilization, is one of which no well-informed mind today can be ignorant. – J. W. A. Young
Metals are the great agents by which we can examine the recesses of nature; and their uses are so multiplied, that they have become of the greatest importance in every occupation of life. They are the instruments of all our improvements, of civilization itself, and are even subservient to the progress of the human mind towards perfection. They differ so much from each other, that nature seems to have had in view all the necessities of man, in order that she might suit every possible purpose his ingenuity can invent or his wants require. – John Shepard
Modern civilization depends on science … James Smithson was well aware that knowledge should not be viewed as existing in isolated parts, but as a whole, each portion of which throws light on all the other, and that the tendency of all is to improve the human mind, and give it new sources of power and enjoyment … narrow minds think nothing of importance but their own favorite pursuit, but liberal views exclude no branch of science or literature, for they all contribute to sweeten, to adorn, and to embellish life … science is the pursuit above all which impresses us with the capacity of man for intellectual and moral progress and awakens the human intellect to aspiration for a higher condition of humanity. – Joseph Henry
Money, mechanization, algebra. The three monsters of contemporary civilization. Complete analogy. – Simone Weil
Most of the dangerous aspects of technological civilization arise, not from its complexities, but from the fact that modern man has become more interested in the machines and industrial goods themselves than in their use to human ends. – René Dubos
Nations have recently been led to borrow billions for war; no nation has ever borrowed largely for education… no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both. – Abraham Flexner
No history of civilization can be tolerably complete which does not give considerable space to the explanation of scientific progress. If we had any doubts about this, it would suffice to ask ourselves what constitutes the essential difference between our and earlier civilizations. Throughout the course of history, in every period, and in almost every country, we find a small number of saints, of great artists, of men of science. The saints of to-day are not necessarily more saintly than those of a thousand years ago; our artists are not necessarily greater than those of early Greece; they are more likely to be inferior; and of course, our men of science are not necessarily more intelligent than those of old; yet one thing is certain, their knowledge is at once more extensive and more accurate. The acquisition and systematization of positive knowledge is the only human activity which is truly cumulative and progressive. Our civilization is essentially different from earlier ones, because our knowledge of the world and of ourselves is deeper, more precise, and more certain, because we have gradually learned to disentangle the forces of nature, and because we have contrived, by strict obedience to their laws, to capture them and to divert them to the gratification of our own needs. – George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
Nobody before the Pythagoreans had thought that mathematical relations held the secret of the universe. Twenty-five centuries later, Europe is still blessed and cursed with their heritage. To non-European civilizations, the idea that numbers are the key to both wisdom and power, seems never to have occurred. – Arthur Koestler
Now, we propose in the first place to show, that this law of organic progress is the law of all progress. Whether it be in the development of the Earth, in the development in Life upon its surface, in the development of Society, of Government, of Manufactures, of Commerce, of Language, Literature, Science, Art, this same evolution of the simple into the complex, through a process of continuous differentiation, holds throughout. From the earliest traceable cosmical changes down to the latest results of civilization, we shall find that the transformation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous is that in which Progress essentially consists. – Herbert Spencer
Of all the works of civilization that interfere with the natural water distribution system, irrigation has been by far the most pervasive and powerful. – Al Gore
One could almost phrase the motto of our modern civilization thus: Science is my shepherd; I shall not want. – Harry Emerson Fosdick
One of the principal results of civilization is to reduce more and more the limits within which the different elements of society fluctuate. The more intelligence increases the more these limits are reduced, and the nearer we approach the beautiful and the good. The perfectibility of the human species results as a necessary consequence of all our researches. Physical defects and monstrosities are gradually disappearing; the frequency and severity of diseases are resisted more successfully by the progress of modern science; the moral qualities of man are proving themselves not less capable of improvement; and the more we advance, the less we shall have need to fear those great political convulsions and wars and their attendant results, which are the scourges of mankind. – Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quételet
Our civilization is an engineering civilization, and the prosperous life of the large population, which our earth now supports has become possible only by the work of the engineer. Engineering, however, is the application of science to the service of man, and so to-day science is the foundation, not only of our prosperity, but of our very existence, and thus necessarily has become the dominant power in our human society. – Charles Proteus Steinmetz
Our civilization is shifting from science and technology to rhetoric and litigation. – Mason Cooley
Our survival, the future of our civilization, possibly the existence of mankind, depends on American leadership. – Charles A. Lindbergh
Physical misery is great everywhere out here [Africa]. Are we justified in shutting our eyes and ignoring it because our European newspapers tell us nothing about it? We civilised people have been spoilt. If any one of us is ill the doctor comes at once. Is an operation necessary, the door of some hospital or other opens to us immediately. But let every one reflect on the meaning of the fact that out here millions and millions live without help or hope of it. Every day thousands and thousands endure the most terrible sufferings, though medical science could avert them. Every day there prevails in many and many a far-off hut a despair which we could banish. Will each of my readers think what the last ten years of his family history would have been if they had been passed without medical or surgical help of any sort? It is time that we should wake from slumber and face our responsibilities! – Albert Schweitzer
Practical application is found by not looking for it, and one can say that the whole progress of civilization rests on that principle. – Jacques-Salomon Hadamard
Preferring a search for objective reality over revelation is another way of satisfying religious hunger. It is an endeavor almost as old as civilization and intertwined with traditional religion, but it follows a very different course—a stoic’s creed, an acquired taste, a guidebook to adventure plotted across rough terrain. It aims to save the spirit, not by surrender but by liberation of the human mind. Its central tenet, as Einstein knew, is the unification of knowledge. When we have unified enough certain knowledge, we will understand who we are and why we are here. If those committed to the quest fail, they will be forgiven. When lost, they will find another way. – Edward O. Wilson
Primitiveness and civilization are degrees of the same thing. If civilization has an opposite, it is war. – Ursula K. Le Guin
Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it’s the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself; Science fiction is central to everything we’ve ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don’t know what they’’re talking about. – Ray Bradbury
Science has done more for the development of western civilization in one hundred years than Christianity did in eighteen hundred years. – John Burroughs
Science is dangerous. There is no question but that poison gas, genetic engineering, and nuclear weapons and power stations are terrifying. It may be that civilization is falling apart and the world we know is coming to an end. In that case, why no turn to religion and look forward to the Day of Judgment, … [being] lifted into eternal bliss … [and] watching the scoffers and disbelievers writhe forever in torment. – Isaac Asimov
Scientists are the true driving force of civilization. – James Burke
Some of my youthful readers are developing wonderful imaginations. This pleases me. Imagination has brought mankind through the Dark Ages to its present state of civilization. Imagination led Columbus to discover America. Imagination led Franklin to discover electricity. Imagination has given us the steam engine, the telephone, the talking-machine and the automobile, for these things had to be dreamed of before they became realities. So I believe that dreams—day dreams, you know, with your eyes wide open and your brain-machinery whizzing—are likely to lead to the betterment of the world. The imaginative child will become the imaginative man or woman most apt to create, to invent, and therefore to foster civilization. A prominent educator tells me that fairy tales are of untold value in developing imagination in the young. I believe it. – L. Frank Baum
Steam, that great civilizer. – George R. Russell
Taken over the centuries, scientific ideas have exerted a force on our civilization fully as great as the more tangible practical applications of scientific research. – I. Bernard Cohen
Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God’s gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences. – Freeman Dyson
That which lies before the human race is a constant struggle to maintain and improve, in opposition to State of Nature, the State of Art of an organized polity; in which, and by which, man may develop a worthy civilization. – Thomas Henry Huxley
The advance from the simple to the complex, through a process of successive differentiations, is seen alike in the earliest changes of the Universe to which we can reason our way back, and in the earliest changes which we can inductively establish; it is seen in the geologic and climatic evolution of the Earth; it is seen in the unfolding of every single organism on its surface, and in the multiplication of kinds of organisms; it is seen in the evolution of Humanity, whether contemplated in the civilized individual, or in the aggregate of races; it is seen in the evolution of Society in respect alike of its political, its religious, and its economical organization; and it is seen in the evolution of all those endless concrete and abstract products of human activity which constitute the environment of our daily life. From the remotest past which Science can fathom, up to the novelties of yesterday, that in which Progress essentially consists, is the transformation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous. – Herbert Spencer
The attitude which the man in the street unconsciously adopts towards science is capricious and varied. At one moment he scorns the scientist for a highbrow, at another anathematizes him for blasphemously undermining his religion; but at the mention of a name like Edison he falls into a coma of veneration. When he stops to think, he does recognize, however, that the whole atmosphere of the world in which he lives is tinged by science, as is shown most immediately and strikingly by our modern conveniences and material resources. A little deeper thinking shows him that the influence of science goes much farther and colors the entire mental outlook of modern civilised man on the world about him. – Percy W. Bridgman
The Babylonian and Assyrian civilizations have perished; Hammurabi, Sargon and Nebuchadnezzar are empty names; yet Babylonian mathematics is still interesting, and the Babylonian scale of is still used in Astronomy. – G. H. Hardy
The beginning of civilisation is the discovery of some useful arts, by which men acquire property, comforts, or luxuries. The necessity or desire of preserving them leads to laws and social institutions. The discovery of peculiar arts gives superiority to particular nations … to subjugate other nations, who learn their arts, and ultimately adopt their manners;- so that in reality the origin as well as the progress and improvement of civil society is founded in mechanical and chemical inventions. – Sir Humphry Davy
The development of civilization and industry in general has always shown itself so active in the destruction of forests that everything that has been done for their conservation and production is completely insignificant in comparison. – Karl Marx
The events of the past few years have led to a critical examination of the function of science in society. It used to be believed that the results of scientific investigation would lead to continuous progressive improvements in conditions of life; but first the War and then the economic crisis have shown that science can be used as easily for destructive and wasteful purposes, and voices have been raised demanding the cessation of scientific research as the only means of preserving a tolerable civilization. Scientists themselves, faced with these criticisms, have been forced to consider, effectively for the first time, how the work they are doing is connected around them. This book is an attempt to analyse this connection; to investigate how far scientists, individually and collectively, are responsible for this state of affairs, and to suggest what possible steps could be taken which would lead to a fruitful and not to a destructive utilization of science. – John Desmond Bernal
The fact remains that, if the supply of energy failed, modern civilization would come to an end as abruptly as does the music of an organ deprived of wind. – Frederick Soddy
The fate of human civilization will depend on whether the rockets of the future carry the astronomer’s telescope or a hydrogen bomb. – Sir Bernard Lovell
The frontiers of science are separated now by long years of study, by specialized vocabularies, arts, techniques, and knowledge from the common heritage even of a most civilized society; and anyone working at the frontier of such science is in that sense a very long way from home, a long way too from the practical arts that were its matrix and origin, as indeed they were of what we today call art. – J. Robert Oppenheimer
The function of Latin literature is its expression of Rome. When to England and France your imagination can add Rome in the background, you have laid firm the foundations of culture. The understanding of Rome leads back to the Mediterranean civilisation of which Rome was the last phase, and it automatically exhibits the geography of Europe, and the functions of seas and rivers and mountains and plains. The merit of this study in the education of youth is its concreteness, its inspiration to action, and the uniform greatness of persons, in their characters and their staging. Their aims were great, their virtues were great, and their vices were great. They had the saving merit of sinning with cart ropes. – Alfred North Whitehead
The history of civilization proves beyond doubt just how sterile the repeated attempts of metaphysics to guess at nature’s laws have been. Instead, there is every reason to believe that when the human intellect ignores reality and concentrates within, it can no longer explain the simplest inner workings of life’s machinery or of the world around us. – Santiago Ramón y Cajal
The history of Europe is the history of Rome curbing the Hebrew and the Greek, with their various impulses of religion, and of science, and of art, and of quest for material comfort, and of lust of domination, which are all at daggers drawn with each other. The vision of Rome is the vision of the unity of civilisation. – Alfred North Whitehead
The history of mathematics is important also as a valuable contribution to the history of civilization. Human progress is closely identified with scientific thought. Mathematical and physical researches are a reliable record of intellectual progress. – Florian Cajori
The human race has reached a turning point. Man has opened the secrets of nature and mastered new powers. If he uses them wisely, he can reach new heights of civilization. If he uses them foolishly, they may destroy him. Man must create the moral and legal framework for the world which will insure that his new powers are used for good and not for evil. – Harry S. Truman
The imagination is the secret and marrow of civilization. It is the very eye of faith. The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope. – Henry Ward Beecher
The instinct for collecting, which began as in other animals as an adaptive property, could always in man spread beyond reason; it could become a hoarding mania. But in its normal form it provides a means of livelihood at the hunting and collecting stage of human evolution. It is then attached to a variety of rational aptitudes, above all in observing, classifying, and naming plants, animals and minerals, skills diversely displayed by primitive peoples. These skills with an instinctive beginning were the foundation of most of the civilised arts and sciences. Attached to other skills in advanced societies they promote the formation of museums and libraries; detached, they lead to acquisition and classification by eccentric individuals, often without any purpose or value at all. – Cyril Dean Darlington
The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses. No creature who began as a mathematical improbability, who was selected through millions of years of unprecedented environmental hardship and change for ruggedness, ruthlessness, cunning, and adaptability, and who in the short ten thousand years of what we may call civilization has achieved such wonders as we find about us, may be regarded as a creature without promise. – Robert Ardrey
The naturalist is a civilized hunter. – Edward O. Wilson
The nineteenth century will ever be known as the one in which the influences of science were first fully realised in civilised communities; the scientific progress was so gigantic that it seems rash to predict that any of its successors can be more important in the life of any nation. – Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer
The origin of what we call civilization is not due to religion but to skepticism. … The modern world is the child of doubt and inquiry, as the ancient world was the child of fear and faith. – Clarence Darrow
The path of civilization is paved with tin cans. – Elbert (Green) Hubbard
The position of the anthropologist of to-day resembles in some sort the position of classical scholars at the revival of learning. To these men the rediscovery of ancient literature came like a revelation, disclosing to their wondering eyes a splendid vision of the antique world, such as the cloistered of the Middle Ages never dreamed of under the gloomy shadow of the minster and within the sound of its solemn bells. To us moderns a still wider vista is vouchsafed, a greater panorama is unrolled by the study which aims at bringing home to us the faith and the practice, the hopes and the ideals, not of two highly gifted races only, but of all mankind, and thus at enabling us to follow the long march, the slow and toilsome ascent, of humanity from savagery to civilization. And as the scholar of the Renaissance found not merely fresh food for thought but a new field of labour in the dusty and faded manuscripts of Greece and Rome, so in the mass of materials that is steadily pouring in from many sides—from buried cities of remotest antiquity as well as from the rudest savages of the desert and the jungle—we of to-day must recognise a new province of knowledge which will task the energies of generations of students to master. – Sir James George Frazer
The price we pay for our advance in civilization is a loss of happiness through the heightening of the sense of guilt. – Sigmund Freud
The progress of civilization consists merely in the multiplication and refinement of human wants. – Robert Andrews Millikan
The purpose of the history of science is to establish the genesis and the development of scientific facts and ideas, taking into account all intellectual exchanges and all influences brought into play by the very progress of civilization. It is indeed a history of civilization considered from its highest point of view. The center of interest is the evolution of science, but general history remains always in the background. – George (Alfred Léon) Sarton
The pursuit of the good and evil are now linked in astronomy as in almost all science. … The fate of human civilization will depend on whether the rockets of the future carry the astronomer’s telescope or a hydrogen bomb. – Sir Bernard Lovell
The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one … I do not believe that civilization will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two thirds of the people of the Earth would be killed. – Albert Einstein
The results of science, in the form of mechanism, poison gas, and the yellow press, bid fair to lead to the total downfall of our civilization. – Bertrand Russell
The social sciences mathematically developed are to be the controlling factors in civilization. – Wiliam F. White
The sole precoccupation of this learned society was the destruction of humanity for philanthropic reasons and the perfection of weapons as instruments of civilization. – Jules Verne
The story of civilization is, in a sense, the story of engineering—that long and arduous struggle to make the forces of nature work for man’s good. – Lyon Sprague DeCamp
The Sun is no lonelier than its neighbors; indeed, it is a very common-place star,—dwarfish, though not minute,—like hundreds, nay thousands, of others. By accident the brighter component of Alpha Centauri (which is double) is almost the Sun’s twin in brightness, mass, and size. Could this Earth be transported to its vicinity by some supernatural power, and set revolving about it, at a little less than a hundred million miles’ distance, the star would heat and light the world just as the Sun does, and life and civilization might go on with no radical change. The Milky Way would girdle the heavens as before; some of our familiar constellations, such as Orion, would be little changed, though others would be greatly altered by the shifting of the nearer stars. An unfamiliar brilliant star, between Cassiopeia and Perseus would be—the Sun. Looking back at it with our telescopes, we could photograph its spectrum, observe its motion among the stars, and convince ourselves that it was the same old Sun; but what had happened to the rest of our planetary system we would not know. – Henry Norris Russell
The swift metamorphosis and the onward march of civilization, sweeping ever westward and transforming and taming our wilderness, fills us with a strange regret, and we rejoice that parts of that wilderness will yet remain to us unchanged. – William Bracket
The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. … It was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York. – Freeman Dyson
The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter. All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe. Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages. According to the Hay Theory of History, the invention of hay was the decisive event which moved the center of gravity of urban civilization from the Mediterranean basin to Northern and Western Europe. The Roman Empire did not need hay because in a Mediterranean climate the grass grows well enough in winter for animals to graze. North of the Alps, great cities dependent on horses and oxen for motive power could not exist without hay. So it was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York. … Great inventions like hay and printing, whatever their immediate social costs may be, result in a permanent expansion of our horizons, a lasting acquisition of new territory for human bodies and minds to cultivate. – Freeman Dyson
The United States at this moment occupies a lamentable position as being perhaps the chief offender among civilized nations in permitting the destruction and pollution of nature. Our whole modern civilization is at fault in the matter. But we in America are probably most at fault … We treasure pictures and sculpture. We regard Attic temples and Roman triumphal arches and Gothic cathedrals as of priceless value. But we are, as a whole, still in that low state of civilization where we do not understand that it is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird. Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals’not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. – Theodore Roosevelt
The value of fundamental research does not lie only in the ideas it produces. There is more to it. It affects the whole intellectual life of a nation by determining its way of thinking and the standards by which actions and intellectual production are judged. If science is highly regarded and if the importance of being concerned with the most up-to-date problems of fundamental research is recognized, then a spiritual climate is created which influences the other activities. An atmosphere of creativity is established which penetrates every cultural frontier. Applied sciences and technology are forced to adjust themselves to the highest intellectual standards which are developed in the basic sciences. This influence works in many ways: some fundamental students go into industry; the techniques which are applied to meet the stringent requirements of fundamental research serve to create new technological methods. The style, the scale, and the level of scientific and technical work are determined in pure research; that is what attracts productive people and what brings scientists to those countries where science is at the highest level. Fundamental research sets the standards of modern scientific thought; it creates the intellectual climate in which our modern civilization flourishes. It pumps the lifeblood of idea and inventiveness not only into the technological laboratories and factories, but into every cultural activity of our time. The case for generous support for pure and fundamental science is as simple as that. – Victor Weisskopf
The weight of our civilization has become so great, it now ranks as a global force and a significant wild card in the human future along with the Ice Ages and other vicissitudes of a volatile and changeable planetary system. – Dianne Dumanoski
The world probably being of much greater antiquity than physical science has thought to be possible, it is interesting and harmless to speculate whether man has shared with the world its more remote history. … Some of the beliefs and legends which have come down to us from antiquity are so universal and deep-rooted that we have are accustomed to consider them almost as old as the race itself. One is tempted to inquire how far the unsuspected aptness of some of these beliefs and sayings to the point of view so recently disclosed is the result of mere chance or coincidence, and how far it may be evidence of a wholly unknown and unsuspected ancient civilization of which all other relic has disappeared. – Frederick Soddy
The world we know at present is in no fit state to take over the dreariest little meteor … If we have the courage and patience, the energy and skill, to take us voyaging to other planets, then let us use some of these to tidy up and civilize this earth. One world at a time, please. – John Boynton (J. B.) Priestley
There are few substances to which it [iron] yields in interest, when it is considered how very intimately the knowledge and properties and uses is connected with human civilization. – George Fownes
There is a demon in technology. It was put there by man and man will have to exorcise it before technological civilization can achieve the eighteenth-century ideal of humane civilized life. – René Dubos
There is no fundamental difference in the ways of thinking of primitive and civilized man. A close connection between race and personality has never been established. – Franz Boas
This extraordinary metal [iron], the soul of every manufacture, and the mainspring perhaps of civilised society. – Samuel Smiles
Those who admire modern civilization usually identify it with the steam engine and the electric telegraph. – George Bernard Shaw
To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization. – Bertrand Russell
Today every city, town, or village is affected by it. We have entered the Neon Civilization and become a plastic world.. It goes deeper than its visual manifestations, it affects moral matters; we are engaged, as astrophysicists would say, on a decaying orbit. – Raymond Loewy
Twenty centuries of progress have brought the average citizen a vote, a national anthem, a Ford, a bank account, and a high opinion of himself, but not the capacity to live in high density without befouling and denuding his environment, nor a conviction that such capacity, rather than such density, is the true test of whether he is civilized. – Aldo Leopold
Untruth naturally afflicts historical information. There are various reasons that make this unavoidable. One of them is partisanship for opinions and schools … Another reason making untruth unavoidable in historical information is reliance upon transmitters … Another reason is unawareness of the purpose of an event … Another reason is unfounded assumption as to the truth of a thing. … Another reason is ignorance of how conditions conform with reality … Another reason is the fact that people as a rule approach great and high-ranking persons with praise and encomiums … Another reason making untruth unavoidable—and this one is more powerful than all the reasons previously mentioned—is ignorance of the nature of the various conditions arising in civilization. Every event (or phenomenon), whether (it comes into being in connection with some) essence or (as the result of an) action, must inevitably possess a nature peculiar to its essence as well as to the accidental conditions that may attach themselves to it. – Ibn Khaldûn
Wait a thousand years and even the garbage left behind by a vanished civilization becomes precious to us. – Isaac Asimov
We are like the inhabitants of an isolated valley in New Guinea who communicate with societies in neighboring valleys (quite different societies, I might add) by runner and by drum. When asked how a very advanced society will communicate, they might guess by an extremely rapid runner or by an improbably large drum. They might not guess a technology beyond their ken. And yet, all the while, a vast international cable and radio traffic passes over them, around them, and through them… We will listen for the interstellar drums, but we will miss the interstellar cables. We are likely to receive our first messages from the drummers of the neighboring galactic valleys – from civilizations only somewhat in our future. The civilizations vastly more advanced than we, will be, for a long time, remote both in distance and in accessibility. At a future time of vigorous interstellar radio traffic, the very advanced civilizations may be, for us, still insubstantial legends. – Carl Sagan
We Buddhists have always held that firm conviction that there exists life and civilization on other planets in the many systems of the universe, and some of them are so highly developed that they are superior to our own. – Dalai Lama
We go to the mountains to experience … how human beings must have felt a hundred thousand years ago, before civilization, governments, social structures, religions, and all the rules that you must follow to be a human. – Reinhold Messner
We have an extraordinary opportunity that has arisen only twice before in the history of Western civilization—the opportunity to see everything afresh through a new cosmological lens. We are the first humans privileged to see a face of the universe no earlier culture ever imagined. – Joel R. Primack
We know next to nothing about virtually everything. It is not necessary to know the origin of the universe; it is necessary to want to know. Civilization depends not on any particular knowledge, but on the disposition to crave knowledge. – George F. Will
We live in a glass-soaked civilization, but as for the bird in the Chinese proverb who finds it so difficult to discover air, the substance is almost invisible to us. To use a metaphor drawn from glass, it may be revealing for us to re-focus, to stop looking through glass, and let our eyes dwell on it for a moment to contemplate its wonder. – Gerry Martin and Alan MacFarlane
We must be part not only of the human community, but of the whole community; we must acknowledge some sort of oneness not only with our neighbors, our countrymen and our civilization but also some respect for the natural as well as for the man-made community. Ours is not only one world in the sense usually implied by that term. It is also one earth. Without some acknowledgement of that fact, men can no more live successfully than they can if they refuse to admit the political and economic interdependency of the various sections of the civilized world. It is not a sentimental but a grimly literal fact that unless we share this terrestrial globe with creatures other than ourselves, we shall not be able to live on it for long. – Joseph Wood Krutch
We must plant the sea and herd its animals … using the sea as farmers instead of hunters. That is what civilization is all about—farming replacing hunting. – Jacques-Yves Cousteau
We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth. – Henry Beston
We talk about our high standard of living in this country. What we have is a high standard of work. Usually the peaks of civilization have been periods when a large proportion of the population had time to live. I don’t think we’re doing this today. I think the people who could live are still spending their time and supplementary resources on making a living. – Margaret Mead
We think our civilization near its meridian, but we are yet only at the cock-crowing and the morning star. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Were I asked to define it, I should reply that archæology is that science which enables us to register and classify our knowledge of the sum of man’s achievement in those arts and handicrafts whereby he has, in time past, signalized his passage from barbarism to civilization. – Amelia Blanford Edwards
We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most critical elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces. – Carl Sagan
What a splendid perspective contact with a profoundly different civilization might provide! In a cosmic setting vast and old beyond ordinary human understanding we are a little lonely, and we ponder the ultimate significance, if any, of our tiny but exquisite blue planet, the Earth… In the deepest sense the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is a search for ourselves. – Carl Sagan
What does it mean for a civilisation to be a million years old? We have had radio telescopes and spaceships for a few decades; our technical civilisation is a few hundred years old … an advanced civilisation millions of years old is as much beyond us as we are beyond a bushbaby or a macaque. – Carl Sagan
What is terrorism? Terrorism in some sense is a reaction against the creation of a type one [planet-wide advanced] civilization. Now most terrorists cannot articulate this. … What they’re reacting to is not modernism. What they’re reacting to is the fact that we’re headed toward a multicultural tolerant scientific society and that is what they don’t want. They don’t want science. They want a theocracy. They don’t want multiculturalism. They want monoculturalism. So instinctively they don’t like the march toward a type one civilization. Now which tendency will win? I don’t know, but I hope that we emerge as a type one civilization. – Michio Kaku
When ever we turn in these days of iron, steam and electricity we find that Mathematics has been the pioneer. Were its back bone removed, our material civilization would inevitably collapse. Modern thought and belief would have been altogether different, had Mathematics not made the various sciences exact. – J. W. A. Young
When not protected by law, by popular favor or superstition, or by other special circumstances, [birds] yield very readily to the influences of civilization, and, though the first operations of the settler are favorable to the increase of many species, the great extension of rural and of mechanical industry is, in a variety of ways, destructive even to tribes not directly warred upon by man. – George Perkins Marsh
When the child outgrows the narrow circle of family life … then comes the period of the school, whose object is to initiate him into the technicalities of intercommunication with his fellow-men, and to familiarize him with the ideas that underlie his civilization, and which he must use as tools of thought if he would observe and understand the phases of human life around him; for these … are invisible to the human being who has not the aid of elementary ideas with which to see them. – William T Harris
When the history of our galaxy is written, and for all any of us know it may already have been, if Earth gets mentioned at all it won’t be because its inhabitants visited their own moon. That first step, like a newborn’s cry, would be automatically assumed. What would be worth recording is what kind of civilization we earthlings created and whether or not we ventured out to other parts of the galaxy. – Michael Collins
Whenever Nature’s bounty is in danger of exhaustion, the chemist has sought for a substitute. The conquest of disease has made great progress as a result of your efforts. Wherever we look, the work of the chemist has raised the level of our civilization and has increased the productive capacity of the nation. Waste materials, formerly cast aside, are now being utilized. – John Calvin Coolidge
While we maintain the unity of the human species, we at the same time repel the depressing assumption of superior and inferior races of men. There are nations more susceptible of cultivation, more highly civilized, more ennobled by mental cultivation than others—but none in themselves nobler than others. All are in like degree designed for freedom. – Baron Alexander von Humboldt
Who can estimate the value to civilization of the Copernican system of the sun and planets? A round earth, an earth not the centre of the universe, an earth obeying law, an earth developed by processes of evolution covering tens of millions of years, is incomparably grander than the earth which ante-Copernican imagination pictured. – W. Wallace Campbell
Whoever looks at the insect world, at flies, aphides, gnats and innumerable parasites, and even at the infant mammals, must have remarked the extreme content they take in suction, which constitutes the main business of their life. If we go into a library or newsroom, we see the same function on a higher plane, performed with like ardor, with equal impatience of interruption, indicating the sweetness of the act. In the highest civilization the book is still the highest delight. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Why do they [Americans] quarrel, why do they hate Negroes, Indians, even Germans, why do they not have science and poetry commensurate with themselves, why are there so many frauds and so much nonsense? I cannot soon give a solution to these questions … It was clear that in the United States there was a development not of the best, but of the middle and worst sides of European civilization; the notorious general voting, the tendency to politics… all the same as in Europe. A new dawn is not to be seen on this side of the ocean. – Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev
Wit is the best safety valve modern man has evolved; the more civilization, the more repression, the more the need there is for wit. – Sigmund Freud
With every throb of the climatic pulse which we have felt in Central Asia,, the centre of civilisation has moved this way and that. Each throb has sent pain and decay to the lands whose day was done, life and vigour to those whose day was yet to be. – Ellsworth Huntington
With whom [do] the adherents of historicism actually empathize[?] The answer is inevitable: with the victor. And all rulers are the heirs of those who conquered before them. Hence, empathy with the victor invariably benefits the rulers. Historical materialists know what that means. Whoever has emerged victorious participates to this day in the triumphal procession in which the present rulers step over those who are lying prostrate. According to traditional practice, the spoils are carried along in the procession. They are called cultural treasures, and a historical materialist views them with cautious detachment. For without exception the cultural treasures he surveys have an origin which he cannot contemplate without horror. They owe their existence not only to the efforts of the great minds and talents who have created them, but also to the anonymous toil of their contemporaries. There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism. – Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin
Without adventure civilization is in full decay. … The great fact [is] that in their day the great achievements of the past were the adventures of the past. – Alfred North Whitehead
Without the cultivation of the earth, [man] is, in all countries, a savage. Until he gives up the chase, and fixes himself in some place and seeks a living from the earth, he is a roaming barbarian. When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of human civilization. – Daniel Webster
Without undervaluing any other human agency, it may be safely affirmed that the Common School, improved and energized, as it can easily be, may become the most effective and benignant of all the forces of civilization. Two reasons sustain this position. In the first place, there is a universality in its operation, which can be affirmed of no other institution whatever… And, in the second place, the materials upon which it operates are so pliant and ductile as to be susceptible of assuming a greater variety of forms than any other earthly work of the Creator. – Horace Mann
You who are scientists may have been told that you are, in part, responsible for the debacle of today … but I assure you that it is not the scientists … who are responsible. … Surely it is time for our republics … to use every knowledge, every science that we possess. … You and I … will act together to protect and defend by every means … our science, our culture, our American freedom and our civilization. – Franklin D. Roosevelt
[About any invention] () everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal; () anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it; () anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it until it’s been around for about ten years when it gradually turns out to be alright really. – Douglas Noel Adams
[American] Fathers are spending too much time taking care of babies. No other civilization ever let responsible and important men spend their time in this way. They should not be involved in household details. They should take the children on trips, explore with them and talk things over. Men today have lost something by turning towards the home instead of going out of it. – Margaret Mead
[Civilization] is a highly complicated invention which has probably been made only once. If it perished it might never be made again. … But it is a poor thing. And if it to be improved there is no hope save in science. – J.B.S. Haldane
[May] this civic and social landmark [the Washington, D.C., Jewish Community Center] … be a constant reminder of the inspiring service that has been rendered to civilization by men and women of the Jewish faith. May [visitors] recall the long array of those who have been eminent in statecraft, in science, in literature, in art, in the professions, in business, in finance, in philanthropy and in the spiritual life of the world. – John Calvin Coolidge
[The blame for the future ‘plight of civilization] must rest on scientific men, equally with others, for being incapable of accepting the responsibility for the profound social upheavals which their own work primarily has brought about in human relationships. – Frederick Soddy
[T]here is little chance that aliens from two societies anywhere in the Galaxy will be culturally close enough to really ‘get along.’ This is something to ponder as you watch the famous cantina scene in Star Wars. … Does this make sense, given the overwhelmingly likely situation that galactic civilizations differ in their level of evolutionary development by thousands or millions of years? Would you share drinks with a trilobite, an ourang-outang, or a saber-toothed tiger? Or would you just arrange to have a few specimens stuffed and carted off to the local museum? – Seth Shostak
… to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before. – Gene Roddenberry
…resort to science has rendered modern war so destructive of life and property that it presents a new problem to mankind, such, that unless our civilization shall find some means of making an end to war, war will make an end to our civilization. – John Hessin Clarke
I’m not so sure he’s wrong about automobiles, he said, With all their speed forward they may be a step backward for civilization—that is, spiritual civilization … But automobiles have come, and they bring a greater change in our life than most of us expect. They are here, and almost all outward things are going to be different because of what they bring. They are going to alter war, and they are going to alter peace. – Booth Tarkington
- Incorrigible humanity, therefore, led astray by the giant Nimrod, presumed in its heart to outdo in skill not only nature but the source of its own nature, who is God; and began to build a tower in Sennaar, which afterwards was called Babel (that is, ‘confusion’). By this means human beings hoped to climb up to heaven, intending in their foolishness not to equal but to excel their creator.
- Dante Alighieri, De vulgari eloquentia, Chapter VII
- Only among those who were engaged in a particular activity did their language remain unchanged; so, for instance, there was one for all the architects, one for all the carriers of stones, one for all the stone-breakers, and so on for all the different operations. As many as were the types of work involved in the enterprise, so many were the languages by which the human race was fragmented; and the more skill required for the type of work, the more rudimentary and barbaric the language they now spoke. But the holy tongue remained to those who had neither joined in the project nor praised it, but instead, thoroughly disdaining it, had made fun of the builders’ stupidity.
- Dante Alighieri, De vulgari eloquentia, Chapter VII
- They have things like the atom bomb! So, I’ll think I’ll stay where I am. Civilization? I’ll stay right here!
- The Andrews Sisters and Danny Kaye, “Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo)” (1947), Decca
- The triumph of the industrial arts will advance the cause of civilization more rapidly than its warmest advocates could have hoped, and contribute to the permanent prosperity and strength of the country far more than the most splendid victories of successful war.
- Charles Babbage. The Exposition of 1851, p. xii-xiii
- The bureaucratic culture which prompts us to view society as an object of administration, as a collection of so many ‘problems’ to be solved, as ‘nature’ to be ‘controlled’, ‘mastered’ and ‘improved’ or ‘remade’, as a legitimate target for ‘social engineering’, and in general a garden to be designed and kept in the planned shape by force (the gardening posture divides vegetation into ‘cultured plants’ to be taken care of, and weeds to be exterminated), was the very atmosphere in which the idea of the Holocaust could be conceived, slowly yet consistently developed, and brought to its conclusion.
- Zygmunt Bauman, “Modernity and the Holocaust” (1989), in Against Civilization (1999), p. 133
- There is no document of civilization that is not at the same time a document of barbarism.
- Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History (1940), VII
- Civilization depends upon the control of our instincts–aggression foremost among them.
- Claire Berlinski, Twitter post (1 October 2018)
- There is a flaw in civilization from the instant it has to admit fear.
- Elizabeth Bowen, A Time in Rome (London: Longmans, 1960), p. 23
- You think that a wall as solid as the earth separates civilization from barbarism. I tell you the division is a thread, a sheet of glass. A touch here, a push there, and you bring back the reign of Saturn.
- John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir Ch. 3 “Tells of a Midsummer Night”, The Power-House (1916)
- Yet somehow our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members.
- Pearl S. Buck, My Several Worlds, p. 337 (1954)
- But the greatest menace to our civilization today is the conflict between giant organized systems of self-righteousness—each system only too delighted to find that the other is wicked—each only too glad that the sins give it the pretext for still deeper hatred and animosity.
- Herbert Butterfield, Christianity, Diplomacy and War (1953), p. 43.
- Many clever men like you have trusted to civilization. Many clever Babylonians, many clever Egyptians, many clever men at the end of Rome. Can you tell me, in a world that is flagrant with the failures of civilisation, what there is particularly immortal about yours?
- G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill (1904)
- People sometimes tell me that they prefer barbarism to civilisation. I doubt if they have given it a long enough trial. Like the people of Alexandria, they are bored by civilisation; but all the evidence suggests that the boredom of barbarism is infinitely greater.
- Kenneth Clark, Ch. 1: The Skin of Our Teeth, Civilisation (1969)
- The convention by which the great events in biblical or secular history could be enacted only by magnificent physical specimens, handsome and well-groomed, went on for a long time — till the middle of the nineteenth century. Only a very few artists — perhaps only Rembrandt and Caravaggio in the first rank — were independent enough to stand against it. And I think that this convention, which was an element in the so-called grand manner, became a deadening influence on the European mind. It deadened our sense of truth, even our sense of moral responsibility.
- Kenneth Clark, Ch. 5: The Hero as Artist, Civilisation (1969)
- We are so much accustomed to the humanitarian outlook that we forget how little it counted in earlier ages of civilisation. Ask any decent person in England or America what he thinks matters most in human conduct: five to one his answer will be “kindness.” It’s not a word that would have crossed the lips of any of the earlier heroes of this series. If you had asked St. Francis what mattered in life, he would, we know, have answered “chastity, obedience and poverty”; if you had asked Dante or Michelangelo, they might have answered “disdain of baseness and injustice”; if you had asked Goethe, he would have said “to live in the whole and the beautiful.” But kindness, never. Our ancestors didn’t use the word, and they did not greatly value the quality — except perhaps insofar as they valued compassion.
- Kenneth Clark, Ch. 13: Heroic Materialism, Civilisation (1969)
- It is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilisation. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs.
- Kenneth Clark, Ch. 13: Heroic Materialism, Civilisation (1969)
- We civilised men do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick …. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands… Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man itself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
- Charles Darwin, p. 501, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, London: MacMillan (1871)
- The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The House of the Dead (1862)
- A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential causes of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.
- Will Durant, Caesar and Christ, Epilogue, p. 665 (1944)
- All of our exalted technological progress, civilization for that matter, is comparable to an axe in the hand of a pathological criminal.
- Albert Einstein, Letter to Heinrich Zangger (Dec 1917), Collected Papers Vol. 8, 412, as cited in Jürgen Neffe, Einstein: A Biography (2007), 256.
- The careful student of history will discover that Christianity has been of very little value in advancing civilization, but has done a great deal toward retarding it. … The church and civilization are antipodal; one means authority, the other freedom; one means conservatism, the other progress; one means the rights of God as interpreted by the priesthood, the other the rights of humanity as interpreted by humanity. Civilization advances by free thought, free speech, free men.
- Matilda Joslyn Gage : ‘Church, Woman and State’, New York, 1893. reprinted by Voice of India, New Delhi, 1997 p. 539-540
- One of the effects of civilisation is to diminish the rigour of the application of the law of natural selection. It preserves weakly lives that would have perished in barbarous lands.
- Francis Galton, Hereditary talent and character, MacMillan’s Magazine, 12, 157-166; 318-327 (1865)
- There is a steady check in an old civilisation upon the fertility of the abler classes: the improvident and unambitious are those who chiefly keep up the breed. So the race gradually deteriorates, becoming in each successive generation less fit for a high civilisation.
- Francis Galton, (p.414), Hereditary Genius, London: MacMillan (1869)
- Civilization is another word for respect for life.
- Elizabeth Goudge in At the Sign of the Dolphin: An Elizabeth Goudge Anthology, compiled and arranged by Rose Dobbs, London: Hodder and Stoughton (1947), p. 507; from Goudge’s novel Green Dolphin Country (1944), Book II, Part I, Chapter 3.3, where a character says,”Civilization […] is another word for respect for life”, adding that it’s “brittle as spun glass”.
- Can humans exist without some people ruling and others being ruled? The founders of political science did not think so. “I put for a general inclination of mankind, a perpetual and restless desire for power after power, that ceaseth only in death,” declared Thomas Hobbes. Because of this innate lust for power, Hobbes thought that life before (or after) the state was a “war of every man against every man”—”solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Was Hobbes right? Do humans have an unquenchable desire for power that, in the absence of a strong ruler, inevitably leads to a war of all against all? To judge from surviving examples of bands and villages, for the greater part of prehistory our kind got along quite well without so much as a paramount chief, let alone the all-powerful English leviathan King and Mortal God, whom Hobbes believed was needed for maintaining law and order among his fractious countrymen.
- Marvin Harris, Our Kind: Who We Are, Where We Came From, Where We Are Going (1989)
- Break the skin of civilization and you find the ape, roaring and red-handed.
- Robert E. Howard in a letter to Harold Preece (c. January or February 1928)
- I believe, like you, that civilization is a natural and inevitable consequence, whether good or evil I am not prepared to state.
- Robert E. Howard in a letter to H. P. Lovecraft (c. August 1930)
- Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.
- Robert E. Howard, “The Tower of the Elephant” (1933)
- Barbarism is the natural state of mankind. Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.
- Robert E. Howard, “Beyond the Black River” (1935)
- The path of civilization is paved with tin cans.
- Elbert (Green) Hubbard, Aphorism in The Philistine (Apr 1905), 20, No. 5, 160.
- If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. The functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty and property of their constituents. There is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.
- Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Colonel Charles Yancey (6 January 1816) ME 14:384.; as cited in Hans Kohn. (1961) The Idea Of Nationalism: A Study In Its Origins And Background. p. 313
- Russian Ambassador: Civilization is an illusion; a game of pretend. What is real is the fact that we are still animals driven by primal instincts. Civilization crumbles whenever we need it most. In the right situation, we are all capable of the most terrible crimes. Imagine a world where this was no so; imagine a world where every crisis did not result in new atrocities, where every newspaper is not full of war and violence. This is to imagine a world where human beings cease to be human.
- Dave Kajganich (screenplay), The Invasion (2007)
- Type I: “Technological level close to the level presently attained on earth, with energy consumption at ≈4×1019 erg/sec (4 × 1012 Watt).” Guillermo A. Lemarchand stated this as “A level near contemporary terrestrial civilization with an energy capability equivalent to the solar insolation on Earth, between 1016 and 1017 watts.”
- Type II: “A civilization capable of harnessing the energy radiated by its own star”–for example, the stage of successful construction of a Dyson sphere–“with energy consumption at ≈4×1033 erg/sec. Lemarchand stated this as “A civilization capable of utilizing and channeling the entire radiation output of its star. The energy utilization would then be comparable to the luminosity of our Sun, about 4×1033 erg/sec (4×1026 Watt).”
- Type III: “A civilization in possession of energy on the scale of its own galaxy, with energy consumption at ≈4×1044 erg/sec.” Lemarchand stated this as “A civilization with access to the power comparable to the luminosity of the entire Milky Way galaxy, about 4×1044 erg/sec (4×1037 Watt).
- Nikolai Kardashev Kardashev scale citing Lemarchand, Guillermo A. “Detectability of Extraterrestrial Technological Activities”. Coseti.
- In more primitive and creative ages, Zorba would have been the chief of a tribe. He would have gone before, opening up the path with a hatchet. Or else he would have been a renowned troubadour visiting castles, and everybody would have hung on his words — lords and ladies and servants’ … In our ungrateful age, Zorba wanders hungrily round the enclosures like a wolf, or else sinks into becoming some pen-pusher’s buffoon.
- Nikos Kazantzakis, in Zorba the Greek (1946), Ch. 6, p. 74
- Every civilization that has ever existed has ultimately collapsed … History is a tale of efforts that failed, of aspirations that weren’t realized . . . So, as a historian, one has to live with a sense of the inevitability of tragedy.
- Henry Kissinger, Cited in The Watchtower 2004, 4/1, Identifying the Wild Beast and Its Mark.
- Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization.
- Charles Lindbergh, as quoted A. Scott Berg, p. 510, Lindbergh (1998)
- Let me make one more remark suggested by this trial and by others. There is no accepted test of civilization. It is not wealth, or the degree of comfort, or the average duration of life, or the increase of knowledge. All such tests would be disputed. In default of any other measure, may it not be suggested that as good a measure as any is the degree to which justice is carried out, the degree to which men are sensitive as to wrong-doing and desirous to right it?
- Sir John MacDonell, Historical Trials, chapter 7, p. 148 (1927)
- We are proudly conscious of the historic duty which we shall continue to fulfil; the defence of that Western civilisation which has been our heritage for centuries, but we know also that we have paid to the very last penny any debt we may have owed the West.
- Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, Farewell order to the Finnish Army, 14th of March 1940
- The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.
- John Stuart Mill, Ch. I: Introductory, p. 14-15, On Liberty (1859)
- If civilisation has got the better of barbarism when barbarism had the world to itself, it is too much to profess to be afraid lest barbarism, after having been fairly got under, should revive and conquer civilisation. A civilisation that can thus succumb to its vanquished enemy, must first have become so degenerate, that neither its appointed priests and teachers, nor anybody else, has the capacity, or will take the trouble, to stand up for it. If this be so, the sooner such a civilisation receives notice to quit the better. It can only go on from bad to worse, until destroyed and regenerated (like the Western Empire) by energetic barbarians.
- John Stuart Mill, p. 114, On Liberty (1859)
- Christianity destroyed for us the whole harvest of ancient civilization, and later it also destroyed for us the whole harvest of Mohammedan civilization. The wonderful culture of the Moors in Spain, which was fundamentally nearer to us and appealed more to our senses and tastes than that of Rome and Greece, was trampled down (—I do not say by what sort of feet—) Why? Because it had to thank noble and manly instincts for its origin—because it said yes to life, even to the rare and refined luxuriousness of Moorish life! … The crusaders later made war on something before which it would have been more fitting for them to have grovelled in the dust — a civilization beside which even that of our nineteenth century seems very poor and very “senile”.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist (1888), Nuvision Publications, p. 55, 2007
- Being civilized signifies not taking your own life and those of others into consideration. It means letting your life be used, exploited and dominated by the always-superior interests of the collectivity where fate decreed that you would be born and live your life. And all for the financial, etc., gain of the authorities of the collectivity in question. In exchange for this submission one is granted the possibility of being accepted as a human being.
- Des Réfractaires, “How Nice to Be Civilized!” (1993), in Against Civilization (1999), p. 184
- Civilizations and social orders have not been geared to the fulfillment of human potential (even now, for all of our liberal thought), but to the suppression of abilities that did not fit in with the basic assumptions about the nature of the self. We inhibited any such evidence from conscious awareness, developing a kind of one-line official consciousness. Opposing data did not disappear, but formed powerful undercurrents that composed the unofficial knowledge of the race.
- Jane Roberts, in Psychic Politics: An Aspect Psychology Book, p. 275
- We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most critical elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
- Sir Ernest Rutherford, from The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1996), 26.
- In the vastness of the Cosmos there must be other civilizations far older and more advanced than ours.
- Carl Sagan, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1990 Update), Episode 12: Encyclopedia Galactica, 0 min 45 sec
- Since, in the long run, every planetary society will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring — not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive.
- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot (1994), p. 371,
- We have designed our civilization based on science and technology and at the same time arranged things so that almost no one understands anything at all about science and technology. This is a clear prescription for disaster.
- Carl Sagan, interview with Anne Kalosh (1995)
- What does it mean for a civilisation to be a million years old? We have had radio telescopes and spaceships for a few decades; our technical civilisation is a few hundred years old … an advanced civilisation millions of years old is as much beyond us as we are beyond a bushbaby or a macaque
- Carl Sagan, Star Makers, Cosmos (Feb 2006).
- Darwin recognized that thus far the civilization of mankind has passed through four successive stages of evolution, namely, those based on the use of fire, the development of agriculture, the development of urban life and the use of basic science for technological advancement.
- Frederick Seitz, in The Science Matrix: The Journey, Travails, Triumphs (1992, 2012), 86.
- Essentially all civilizations that rose to the level of possessing an urban culture had need for two forms of science-related technology, namely, mathematics for land measurements and commerce and astronomy for time-keeping in agriculture and aspects of religious rituals.
- Frederick Seitz, from The Science Matrix: The Journey, Travails, Triumphs (1992, 1998), Preface, x.
- Western civilization was built on Judeo-Christian values and Greek reason, culminating in a perspective on natural rights that is preserved by institutions like English jurisprudence. It is thanks to those philosophical principles that free markets, free speech and free association have grown and flourished. Only if we re-enshrine those principles, rather than undermine them, will our prosperity and freedoms be preserved.
- Ben Shapiro, When You Don’t Appreciate Your Civilization, April 3 2019, The Daily Wire
- Instead of civilization being artificial it is a part of nature; all of a piece with the development of an embryo or the unfolding of a flower. The modifications mankind have undergone, and are still undergoing, result from a law underlying the whole organic creation; and provided the human race continues, and the constitution of things remains the same, those modifications must end in completeness.
- Herbert Spencer, Social Statistics (1851)
- The realization of justice is, in the actual state of things, a matter of life or death for society and for civilisation itself.
- African Spir, Words of a Sage (1937), p. 55,
- Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset.
- Because they didn’t know better, they called it “civilization,” when it was part of their slavery.
- Tacitus, Agricola (98), Book 1, paragraph 21
- Variant translation: Step by step they were led to things which dispose to vice, the lounge, the bath, the elegant banquet. All this in their ignorance they called civilisation, when it was but a part of their servitude.
- As translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
- Because they didn’t know better, they called it “civilization,” when it was part of their slavery.
- I know how reluctant it makes us feel to give any credit for humanity to the western civilisation when we observe the brutalities into which this nationalism of theirs breaks out, instances of which are so numerous all the world over, — in the late war, in the lynching of negroes, in cowardly outrages allowed to be committed by European soldiers upon helpless Indians, in the rapacity and vandalism practised in Pekin during the Boxer war by the very people who are never tired of vulgarly applying the epithet of Hun to one section of their own confederates. But while I have never sought to gloss over or keep out of mind any of these ugly phenomena, I still aver that in the life of the West they have a large tract where their mind is free ; whence the circulation of their thought currents can surround the world.
- Rabindranath Tagore, “The Way To Unity” (1923) in Visva-Bharati Quarterly, Vol. I. No. 2, July 1923. Reprinted in Sisir Kumar Das, Sahitya Akademi,The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore: A miscellany, 1994,(p. 464).
- If Western Civilization were a person, we would be directing it to the nearest meeting of War-Preparers Anonymous. We would be telling it to stand up before the meeting and say “My name is Western Civilization. I am a compulsive War-Preparer. I have lost everything I ever cared about. I should have come here long ago. I first hit bottom in World War I”.
- Kurt Vonnegut, “The Worst Addiction of Them All”, The Nation Magazine, December 31 1983-January 7 1984. Quoted in Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation 1865-1990: Selections from the Independent Magazine of Politics and Culture. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1990.
- In one of my last conversations with Darwin he expressed himself very gloomily on the future of humanity , on the ground that in our modern civilisation natural selection had no play and the fittest did not survive… It is notorious that our population is more largely renewed in each generation from the lower than from the middle and upper classes.
- Alfred Russel Wallace, Human selection, Popular Science Monthly 38: 90-102 (1890)
- It is not until a community or an individual has advanced a fair distance along the path of civilisation and shows by its laws its elimination of many of its most mischievous dispositions—notably sadism—that it can bear to admit the equality of women.
- Rebecca West, “Woman as Artist and Thinker” (1931), reprinted in Rebecca West, Woman as Artist and Thinker, edited by Helen Atkinson, Lincoln, Neb. : iUniverse, 2005.
- Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them.
- Alfred North Whitehead, An Introduction to Mathematics (1911), ch. 5
- Indeed, we may regard it as an axiom, that the knowledge which is anywhere possessed of the art of healing, is the measure of the refinement and civilization to which the people have attained. Man is civilized by virtue of social relations; and refinement is the becoming divested from grossness, vulgarity, and the evil manners which are characteristic and incident to a living for one’s self alone. Selfishness is savagery; and a state of society in which self-interest is the ruling element is hardly yet reclaimed from the state of barbarism. It is of little avail to appeal to skill in mechanics, engineering, and other attainments in the plane of material evolution. These are not adequate proof of spiritual advancement. Kindly sentiment toward others, sincere regard for their welfare, charity in will and act, make the only real culture and civilization. The art and technique of healing proceed from these qualities, and cannot flourish apart from them.
- Alexander Wilder, History of Medicine: A Brief Outline of Medical History and Sects of Physicians, from the Earliest Historic Period; with an Extended Account of the New Schools of the Healing Art in the Nineteenth Century, and Especially a History of American Eclectic Practice of Medicine, Never Before Published (1901)
- There is good reason… for the supposition that such cycles of alternate savagery and civilization will continue till the earth shall become unfit, if such a crisis can ever arise, for the sustaining of human inhabitants. The germs of such changes are found in every country and social condition.
- Alexander Wilder, History of Medicine: A Brief Outline… (1901)
- You’ve got the temperament of a scholar, and you live on your own and write books. You don’t have anything to do with civilization. You’ve been in London a few days and you can’t wait to get back home. But how about the people who can’t write books — people there’s no outlet for in this civilization? What about your new men who don’t know what to do?
- Colin Wilson in The Glass Cage, p. 200 (1966)
- In its broad sense, civilization means not only comfort in daily necessities but also the refining of knowledge and the cultivation of virtue so as to elevate human life to a higher plane… It refers to the attainment of both material well-being and the elevation of the human spirit, [but] since what produces man’s well-being and refinement is knowledge and virtue, civilization ultimately means the progress of man’s knowledge and virtue.
- Fukuzawa Yukichi, Bunmeiron no Gairyaku (An Outline of a Theory of Civilization) (1875)
- Moreover, the argument for national polity, for Christianity, and for Confucianism… are also insufficient to bolster people’s hearts. What, then, will? I say there is one thing: namely, to establish our goal and advance toward civilization… The way in which to preserve this independence cannot be sought anywhere except in civilization.
- Fukuzawa Yukichi, Bunmeiron no Gairyaku (An Outline of a Theory of Civilization) (1875)