„Our technical civilization has just reached its greatest level of savagery. We will have to choose, in the more or less near future, between collective suicide and the intelligent use of our scientific conquests.“
Between Hell and Reason (1945)
Kontext: The world is what it is, which is to say, nothing much. This is what everyone learned yesterday, thanks to the formidable concert of opinion coming from radios, newspapers, and information agencies. Indeed we are told, in the midst of hundreds of enthusiastic commentaries, that any average city can be wiped out by a bomb the size of a football. American, English, and French newspapers are filled with eloquent essays on the future, the past, the inventors, the cost, the peaceful incentives, the military advantages, and even the life-of-its-own character of the atom bomb.
We can sum it up in one sentence: Our technical civilization has just reached its greatest level of savagery. We will have to choose, in the more or less near future, between collective suicide and the intelligent use of our scientific conquests.
Meanwhile we think there is something indecent in celebrating a discovery whose use has caused the most formidable rage of destruction ever known to man. What will it bring to a world already given over to all the convulsions of violence, incapable of any control, indifferent to justice and the simple happiness of men — a world where science devotes itself to organized murder? No one but the most unrelenting idealists would dare to wonder.
„We are not just visitors on this planet, it belongs to us just as we belong to her, its past is ours, so is its future.“
— Amin Maalouf, buch The First Century after Beatrice
Quelle: Le premier siècle après Béatrice
— James Anthony Froude, buch The Nemesis of Faith
Confessions Of A Sceptic
The Nemesis of Faith (1849)
Kontext: Once in our lives we have all to choose. More or less we have all felt once the same emotions. We have not always been what the professions make of us. Nature made us men, and she surrenders not her children without a struggle. I will go back to my story now with but this one word, that it is these sons of genius, and the fate they meet with, which is to me the one sole evidence that there is more in "this huge state" than what is seen, and that in very truth the soul of man is not a thing which comes and goes, is builded and decays like the elemental frame in which it is set to dwell, but a very living force, a very energy of God's organic Will, which rules and moulds this universe.
For what are they? Say not, say not, it is but a choice which they have made; and an immortality of glory in heaven shall reward them for what they have sacrificed on earth. It may be so; but they do not ask for it. They are what they are from the Divine power which is in them, and you would never hear their complainings if the grave was the gate of annihilation.
„To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.“
— Bertrand Russell logician, one of the first analytic philosophers and political activist 1872 - 1970
„Wherever we look, the work of the chemist has raised the level of our civilization and has increased the productive capacity of our nation.“
— Calvin Coolidge American politician, 30th president of the United States (in office from 1923 to 1929) 1872 - 1933
As quoted in Sid Meier's Civilization V (2010).
„They will furnish credits which will serve us for the support of the Communist Party in their countries and, by supplying us materials and technical equipment which we lack, will restore our military industry necessary for our future attacks against our suppliers. To put it in other words, they will work on the preparation of their own suicide.“
— Vladimir Lenin Russian politician, led the October Revolution 1870 - 1924
Reported by I. U. Annenkov in an article entitled, "Remembrances of Lenin", Novyi Zhurnal/New Review (September 1961), p. 147.
„Barbarism has its vices, its sophistries, no less than civilization. Your cynicisms and sophistications are weak and childish beside the elemental cynicism, the vital sophistication of what you call savagery. If our virtues were unspoiled as a new-born panther cub, our sins were older than Nineveh.“
— Robert E. Howard American author 1906 - 1936
"The Thunder-Rider" (c. 1936)
„is its openness to talent wherever found, the feminist demand for collective quotas has overturned the basic feature of our civilization.“
— Kenneth Minogue Australian political theorist 1930 - 2013
How Civilizations Fall
„The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.“
— Michelangelo Buonarroti Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet 1475 - 1564
„We think our civilization near its meridian, but we are yet only at the cock-crowing and the morning star. In our barbarous society the influence of character is in its infancy.“
— Ralph Waldo Emerson American philosopher, essayist, and poet 1803 - 1882
1840s, Essays: Second Series (1844), Politics
„We choose hope over fear. We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort. We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes to human affairs. We choose to work for the world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be.“
— Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America 1961
2014, Address to the United Nations (September 2014)
„We have not collected an account of the killed and wounded, but we judge our loss amounts to between two and three hundred, and that of the enemy, to much more.“
— Nathanael Greene American general in the American Revolutionary War 1742 - 1786
Letter to George Washington (August 1778)
„The free school is the promoter of that intelligence which is to preserve us as a nation. If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason’s and Dixon’s, but between patriotism and intelligence on one sight, and superstition, ambition, and ignorance on the other. Now in this centennial year of our national existence, I believe it a good time to begin the work of strengthening the foundation of the house commenced by our patriotic forefathers one hundred years ago, at Concord and Lexington.“
— Ulysses S. Grant 18th President of the United States 1822 - 1885
1870s, Speech to the Society of the Army of Tennessee (1875)
„It has certainly been true in the past that what we call intelligence and scientific discovery have conveyed a survival advantage. It is not so clear that this is still the case: our scientific discoveries may well destroy us all, and even if they don’t, a complete unified theory may not make much difference to our chances of survival.“
— Stephen Hawking, buch A Brief History of Time
Quelle: A Brief History of Time (1988), Ch. 1
Kontext: It has certainly been true in the past that what we call intelligence and scientific discovery have conveyed a survival advantage. It is not so clear that this is still the case: our scientific discoveries may well destroy us all, and even if they don’t, a complete unified theory may not make much difference to our chances of survival. However, provided the universe has evolved in a regular way, we might expect that the reasoning abilities that natural selection has given us would be valid also in our search for a complete unified theory, and so would not lead us to the wrong conclusions.
„The objective level is not words, and cannot be reached by words alone. We must point our finger and be silent, or we will never reach this level.“
— Alfred Korzybski, buch Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics
Quelle: Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics
„Maybe the most sacred function of memory is just that: to render the distinction between past, present, and future ultimately meaningless; to enable us at some level of our being to inhabit that same eternity which it is said that God himself inhabits.“
— Frederick Buechner Poet, novelist, short story writer, theologian 1926
Telling Secrets (1991)
— Viktor E. Frankl Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor 1905 - 1997
„Beyond all question the future is with the vegetarian. It seems certain that in the future — and I hope it may be in the near future — we shall be looking back upon this time with disgust and with horror. In spite of all its wonderful discoveries, in spite of its marvellous machinery, in spite of the enormous fortunes that have been made in it, I am certain that our descendants will look back upon this age as one of only partial civilisation, and in fact but little removed from savagery.“
— Charles Webster Leadbeater English theosophist 1854 - 1934
Quelle: Vegetarianism and Occultism (1913), p. 28
„The results of civilization were surprising: our lives became more secure but less free, and we worked a lot harder.“
— Eduardo Galeano Uruguayan writer 1940 - 2015
As quoted in Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone (2009), p. 17
„We continue to live in ignorance concerning the harm we inflict on animals; very few of us have ever visited an industrial breeding site or a slaughterhouse. We maintain a kind of moral schizophrenia that has us lavishing pampering our pets and at the same time planting our forks in the pigs that have been sent to the slaughter by the millions, even though they are in no way less conscious, less sensitive to pain, or less intelligent than our cats and dogs.“
— Matthieu Ricard French writer and Buddhist monk 1946
Introduction, p. 4
A Plea for the Animals (2014)