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Henry Adams

Geburtstag: 16. Februar 1838
Todesdatum: 27. März 1918
Andere Namen: 亨利·亞當斯, Henry Brooks Adams

Henry Brooks Adams war ein US-amerikanischer Historiker und Kulturphilosoph. Er war Mitglied der bekannten Familie Adams.

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Zitate Henry Adams

„Niemand meint alles was er sagt, und nur wenige sagen alles was sie denken. Worte sind glitschig und Gedanken sind klebrig.“

—  Henry Adams, buch The Education of Henry Adams

The Education of Henry Adams, 1907
Original engl.: "No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous."

„Creation was not successive; it was one instantaneous thought and act, identical with the will, and was complete and unchangeabble from end to end, including time as one of its functions.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: Creation was not successive; it was one instantaneous thought and act, identical with the will, and was complete and unchangeabble from end to end, including time as one of its functions. Thomas was as clear as possible on that point:— "Supposing God wills anything in effect, he cannot will not to will it, because his will cannot change." He wills that some things shall be contingent and others necessary, but he wills in the same act that the contingency shall be necessary. "They are contingent because God has willed them to be so, and with this object has subjected them to causes which are so." In the same way he wills that his creation shall develop itself in time and space and sequence, but he creates these conditions as well as the events. He creates the whole, in one act, complete, unchangeable, and it is then unfolded like a rolling panorama with its predetermined contingencies.Man's free choice — liberum arbitrium — falls easily into place as a predetermined contingency. God is the First Cause, and acts in all Secondary Causes directly; but while he acts mechanically on the rest of creation,— as far as is known,— he acts freely at one point, and this free action remains free as far as it extends on that line. Man's freedom derives from this source, but it is simply apparent, as far as he is a cause; it is a [... ] Reflex Action of the complicated mirror [... ] called Mind, and [... ] an illusion arising from the extreme delicacy of the machine.

„For reasons which many persons thought ridiculous, Mrs. Lightfoot Lee decided to pass the winter in Washington.“

—  Henry Adams, buch Democracy: An American Novel

Quelle: Democracy: An American Novel (1880), Ch. I, first lines
Kontext: For reasons which many persons thought ridiculous, Mrs. Lightfoot Lee decided to pass the winter in Washington. She was in excellent health, but she said that the climate would do her good.

„Science affirmed that choice was not free,— could not be free,— without abandoning the unity of force and the foundation of law. Society insisted that its choice must be left free, whatever became of science or unity.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: Experience proved that man's power of choice in action was very far from absolute, and logic seemed to require that every choice should have some predetermining cause which decided the will to act. Science affirmed that choice was not free,— could not be free,— without abandoning the unity of force and the foundation of law. Society insisted that its choice must be left free, whatever became of science or unity. Saint Thomas was required to illustrate the theory of liberum arbitrium by choosing a path through these difficulies, where path there was obviously none.

„He wills that some things shall be contingent and others necessary, but he wills in the same act that the contingency shall be necessary.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: Creation was not successive; it was one instantaneous thought and act, identical with the will, and was complete and unchangeabble from end to end, including time as one of its functions. Thomas was as clear as possible on that point:— "Supposing God wills anything in effect, he cannot will not to will it, because his will cannot change." He wills that some things shall be contingent and others necessary, but he wills in the same act that the contingency shall be necessary. "They are contingent because God has willed them to be so, and with this object has subjected them to causes which are so." In the same way he wills that his creation shall develop itself in time and space and sequence, but he creates these conditions as well as the events. He creates the whole, in one act, complete, unchangeable, and it is then unfolded like a rolling panorama with its predetermined contingencies.Man's free choice — liberum arbitrium — falls easily into place as a predetermined contingency. God is the First Cause, and acts in all Secondary Causes directly; but while he acts mechanically on the rest of creation,— as far as is known,— he acts freely at one point, and this free action remains free as far as it extends on that line. Man's freedom derives from this source, but it is simply apparent, as far as he is a cause; it is a [... ] Reflex Action of the complicated mirror [... ] called Mind, and [... ] an illusion arising from the extreme delicacy of the machine.

„Mankind could not admit an anarchical,— a dual or multiple — universe. The world was there, staring them in the face, with all its chaotic conditions, and society insisted on its Unity in self-defence. Society still insists on treating it as Unity though no longer affecting logic.“

—  Henry Adams

"Affecting": making a pretence of
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: Mankind could not admit an anarchical,— a dual or multiple — universe. The world was there, staring them in the face, with all its chaotic conditions, and society insisted on its Unity in self-defence. Society still insists on treating it as Unity though no longer affecting logic. Society insists on its free will, although free will has never been explained to the satisfaction of any but those who much wish to be satisfied, and although the words in any common sense implied not unity but duality in creation. The Church had nothing to do with inventing this riddle,— the oldest that fretted mankind.

„We do not, and never can, know the twelfth-century woman, or, for that matter, any other woman“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: Eleanor and her daughter Mary and her granddaughter Blanche knew as well as Saint Bernard did, or Saint Francis, what a brute the emancipated man could be; and as though they foresaw the society of the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, they used every terror they could invent as well as every tenderness they could invoke, to tame the beasts around them. Their charge was of manners, and to teach manners, they made a school which they called their Court of Love, with a code of law to which they gave the name of "courteous love". The decisions of this Court were recorded, like the decisions of a modern Bench, under the names of the great ladies who made them, and were enforced by the ladies of good society for whose guidance they were made. They are worth reading, and anyone who likes may read them to this day, with considerable scepticism about their genuineness. The doubt is only ignorance. We do not, and never can, know the twelfth-century woman, or, for that matter, any other woman, but we do know the literature she created; we know the art she lived in, and the religion she professed. We can collect from them some idea why the Virgin Mary ruled, and what she was taken to be, by the world which worshipped her.

„An economic civilisation troubles itself about the universe much as a hive of honey-bees troubles about the ocean, only as a region to be avoided. The hive of Saint Thomas sheltered God and Man, Mind and Matter, The Universe and the Atom, the One and the Multiple, within the walls of a harmonious home.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: Saint Thomas is still alive and overshadows as many schools as he ever did; at all events as many as the Church maintains. He has outlived Descartes and Leibnitz and a dozen other schools of philosophy more or less serious in their day. He has mostly outived Hume, Voltaire and the militant sceptics. His method is typical and classic; his sentences, when interpreted by the Church, seem, even to an untrained mind, intelligible and consistent; his Church Intellectual remains practically unchanged, and, like the Cathedral of Beauvais, erect although the storms of six or seven centuries have prostrated, over and over again, every other social or political or juristic shelter. Compared with it, all modern systems are complex and chaotic, crowded with self-contradictions, anomalies, impracticable functions and out-worn inheritances; but beyond all their practical shortcomings is their fragmentary character. An economic civilisation troubles itself about the universe much as a hive of honey-bees troubles about the ocean, only as a region to be avoided. The hive of Saint Thomas sheltered God and Man, Mind and Matter, The Universe and the Atom, the One and the Multiple, within the walls of a harmonious home.

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„Perhaps some day — say 1938, their centenary — they might be allowed to return together for a holiday, to see the mistakes of their own lives made clear in the light of the mistakes of their successors; and perhaps then, for the first time since man began his education among the carnivores, they would find a world that sensitive and timid natures could regard without a shudder.“

—  Henry Adams

The closing lines of the book.
Kontext: It was time to go. The three friends had begun life together; and the last of the three had no motive — no attraction — to carry it on after the others had gone. Education had ended for all three, and only beyond some remoter horizon could its values be fixed or renewed. Perhaps some day — say 1938, their centenary — they might be allowed to return together for a holiday, to see the mistakes of their own lives made clear in the light of the mistakes of their successors; and perhaps then, for the first time since man began his education among the carnivores, they would find a world that sensitive and timid natures could regard without a shudder.

„At best, the renewal of broken relations is a nervous matter,“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: As was sure, sooner or later, to happen, Adams one day met Charles Sumner on the street, and instantly stopped to greet him. As though eight years of broken ties were the natural course of friendship, Sumner at once, after an exclamation of surprise, dropped back into the relation of hero to the school boy. Adams enjoyed accepting it. He was then thirty years old and Sumner was fifty-seven; he had seen more of the world than Sumner ever dreamed of, and he felt a sort of amused curiosity to be treated once more as a child. At best, the renewal of broken relations is a nervous matter, and in this case it bristled with thorns.

„The effort is as evident and quite as laborious in modern science, starting as it does from multiplicity, as in Thomas Aquinas who started from unity, and it is necessarily less successful, for its true aims as far as it is Science and not disguised Religion, were equally attained by reaching infinite complexity; but the assertion or assumption of ultimate unity has characterised the Law of Energy as emphatically as it has characterised the definition of God in Theology. If it is a reproach to Saint Thomas, it is equally a reproach to Clerk-Maxwell. In truth it is what most men admire in both — the power of broad and lofty generalisation.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: ... the quality that arouses most surprise in Thomism is its astonishingly scientific method. [... ] Avowedly science has aimed at nothing but the reduction of multiplicity to unity, and has excommunicated, as though it were itself a Church, anyone who doubted or disputed its object, its method, or its results. The effort is as evident and quite as laborious in modern science, starting as it does from multiplicity, as in Thomas Aquinas who started from unity, and it is necessarily less successful, for its true aims as far as it is Science and not disguised Religion, were equally attained by reaching infinite complexity; but the assertion or assumption of ultimate unity has characterised the Law of Energy as emphatically as it has characterised the definition of God in Theology. If it is a reproach to Saint Thomas, it is equally a reproach to Clerk-Maxwell. In truth it is what most men admire in both — the power of broad and lofty generalisation.

„As educator, Jean Jacques was, in one respect, easily first; he erected a monument of warning against the Ego.“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: As educator, Jean Jacques was, in one respect, easily first; he erected a monument of warning against the Ego. Since his time, and largely thanks to him, the Ego has steadily tended to efface itself, and, for purposes of model, to become a manikin on which the toilet of education is to be draped in order to show the fit or misfit of the clothes. The object of study is the garment, not the figure. The tailor adapts the manikin as well as the clothes to his patron's wants. The tailor's object, in this volume, is to fit young men, in universities or elsewhere, to be men of the world, equipped for any emergency; and the garment offered to them is meant to show the faults of the patchwork fitted on their fathers.

„The proper study of mankind is woman“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: p>The twelfth and thirteenth centuries, studied in the pure light of political economy, are insane. The scientific mind is atrophied, and suffers under inherited cerebral weakness, when it comes in contact with the eternal woman,— Astarte, Isis, Demeter, Aphrodite, and the last and greatest deity of all, the Virgin. Very rarely one lingers, with a mild sympathy, such as suits the patient student of human error, willing to be interested in what he cannot understand. Still more rarely, owing to some revival of archaic instincts, he rediscovers the woman. This is perhaps the mark of the artist alone, and his solitary privilege. The rest of us cannot feel; we can only study. The proper study of mankind is woman, and, by common agreement since the time of Adam, it is the most complex and arduous. The study of Our Lady, as shown by the art of Chartres, leads directly back to Eve, and lays bare the whole subject of sex.If it were worthwhile to argue a paradox, one might maintain that nature regards the female as the essential, the male as the superfluity of her world.</p

„God, as Descartes justly said, we know! but what is man?“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: God, as Descartes justly said, we know! but what is man? The schools answered:— Man is a rational animal! So was apparently a dog, or a bee, or a beaver, none of which seemed to need churches. Modern science, with infinite effort, has discovered and announced that man is a bewildering complex of energies, which helps little to explain his relations with the ultimate Substance or Energy or Prime Motor whose existence both Science and Schoolmen admit; which Science studies in laboratories and Religion worships in churches. The Man whom God created to fill his Church, must be an energy independent of God; otherwise God filled his own Church with his own energy.

„Among other general rules he laid down the paradox that, in the social disequilibrium between capital and labor, the logical outcome was not collectivism, but anarchism; and Henry made note of it for study.“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: Loving paradox, Brooks, with the advantages of ten years' study, had swept away much rubbish in the effort to build up a new line of thought for himself, but he found that no paradox compared with that of daily events. The facts were constantly outrunning his thoughts. The instability was greater than he calculated; the speed of acceleration passed bounds. Among other general rules he laid down the paradox that, in the social disequilibrium between capital and labor, the logical outcome was not collectivism, but anarchism; and Henry made note of it for study.

„Every individual that has existed or shall exist was created by the same instantaneous act, for all time.“

—  Henry Adams

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)
Kontext: In any case God's act was the union of Mind with Matter by the same act or will which created both. No intermediate cause or condition intervened; no secondary influence had anything whatever to do with the result. Time had nothing to do with it. Every individual that has existed or shall exist was created by the same instantaneous act, for all time. "When the question regards the universal agent who produces beings and time, we cannot consider him as acting now and before, according to the succession of time." God emanated time, force, matter, mind, as he might emanate gravitation, not as a part of his substance but as an energy of his will, and maintains them in their activity by the same act, not by a new one. Every individual is a part of the direct act, not a secondary outcome.

„Power when wielded by abnormal energy is the most serious of facts“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: Power when wielded by abnormal energy is the most serious of facts, and all Roosevelt's friends know that his restless and combative energy was more than abnormal.

„The economic needs of a violently centralizing society forced the empire to enlarge its slave-system until the slave-system consumed itself and the empire too, leaving society no resource but further enlargement of its religious system in order to compensate for the losses and horrors of the failure.“

—  Henry Adams

Kontext: p>The result might have been stated in a mathematical formula as early as the time of Archimedes, six hundred years before Rome fell. The economic needs of a violently centralizing society forced the empire to enlarge its slave-system until the slave-system consumed itself and the empire too, leaving society no resource but further enlargement of its religious system in order to compensate for the losses and horrors of the failure. For a vicious circle, its mathematical completeness approached perfection. The dynamic law of attraction and reaction needed only a Newton to fix it in algebraic form.At last, in 410, Alaric sacked Rome, and the slave-ridden, agricultural, uncommercial Western Empire — the poorer and less Christianized half — went to pieces. </p

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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