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Will Durant

Data de nascimento: 5. Novembro 1885
Data de falecimento: 7. Novembro 1981
Outros nomes:ویل دورانت

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William James Durant foi um filósofo, historiador e escritor estadunidense, conhecido por sua autoria e coautoria, junto à sua esposa Ariel Durant, da coleção A História da Civilização.

Durant concebeu a filosofia como perspectiva total, ou seja, uma visão das coisas sub specie totius, expressão inspirada pelo sub specie aeternitatis de Spinoza. Procurou em sua obra unificar e humanizar o grande corpo de conhecimento histórico - que havia se tornado muito volumoso e se fragmentado em especializações com terminologias "esotéricas" - vitalizando-o para aplicação contemporânea.

Dotado de um talentoso estilo de prosa e considerado um excelente contador de histórias, Durant ganhou um grande número de leitores, em grande parte por causa da natureza e da excelência da sua escrita, que, em contraste com a linguagem acadêmica, é animada, inteligente, carismática, colorida, ornamentada, epigramática, em suma, "humanizada". Max Schuster, co-fundador da editora Simon & Schuster, comentou que a prosa de Durant "implora para ser lida em voz alta". John Little, que fundou e dirige a Will Durant Foundation e tem dedicado muito esforço para popularizar as obras do autor no século XXI, ecoa a admiração de Schuster em palavras que o próprio Durant se utilizou muitas vezes para descrever algumas das melhores obras da Antiguidade Clássica: "prosa tão bonita rivaliza com a poesia".

Will e Ariel Durant foram agraciador com o Prémio Pulitzer de Não Ficção Geral em 1968, e com a Medalha Presidencial da Liberdade em 1977.

Citações Will Durant

„Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts — between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war.“

— Will Durant
Context: Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts — between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader. But if we turn from that Mississippi of strife, hot with hate and dark with blood, to look upon the banks of the stream, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: women rearing children, men building homes, peasants drawing food from the soil, artisans making the conveniences of life, statesmen sometimes organizing peace instead of war, teachers forming savages into citizens, musicians taming our hearts with harmony and rhythm, scientists patiently accumulating knowledge, philosophers groping for truth, saints suggesting the wisdom of love. History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks. As quoted in "The Gentle Philosopher" (2006) by John Little at Will Durant Foundation

„History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks.“

— Will Durant
Context: Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts — between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader. But if we turn from that Mississippi of strife, hot with hate and dark with blood, to look upon the banks of the stream, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: women rearing children, men building homes, peasants drawing food from the soil, artisans making the conveniences of life, statesmen sometimes organizing peace instead of war, teachers forming savages into citizens, musicians taming our hearts with harmony and rhythm, scientists patiently accumulating knowledge, philosophers groping for truth, saints suggesting the wisdom of love. History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks. As quoted in "The Gentle Philosopher" (2006) by John Little at Will Durant Foundation

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„I know how unfashionable it is now to acknowledge in life or history any genius loftier than ourselves.“

— Will Durant
Context: I know how unfashionable it is now to acknowledge in life or history any genius loftier than ourselves. Our democratic dogma has leveled not only all voters but all leaders; we delight to show that living geniuses are only mediocrities, and that dead ones are myths. … Since it is contrary to good manners to exalt ourselves, we achieve the same result by slyly indicating how inferior are the great men of the earth. In some of us, perhaps, it is a noble and merciless asceticism, which would root out of our hearts the last vestige of worship and adoration, lest the old gods should return and terrify us again. For my part, I cling to this final religion, and discover in it a content and stimulus more lasting than came from the devotional ecstasies of youth. The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time.

„If the average man had had his way there would probably never have been any state. Even today he resents it, classes death with taxes, and yearns for that government which governs least. If he asks for many laws it is only because he is sure that his neighbor needs them; privately he is an unphilosophical anarchist, and thinks laws in his own case superfluous.“

— Will Durant
Context: If the average man had had his way there would probably never have been any state. Even today he resents it, classes death with taxes, and yearns for that government which governs least. If he asks for many laws it is only because he is sure that his neighbor needs them; privately he is an unphilosophical anarchist, and thinks laws in his own case superfluous. In the simplest societies there is hardly any government. Primitive hunters tend to accept regulation only when they join the hunting pack and prepare for action. The Bushmen usually live in solitary families; the Pygmies of Africa and the simplest natives of Australia admit only temporarily of political organization, and then scatter away to their family groups; the Tasmanians had no chiefs, no laws, no regular government; the Veddahs of Ceylon formed small circles according to family relationship, but had no government; the Kubus of Sumatra "live without men in authority" every family governing itself; the Fuegians are seldom more than twelve together; the Tungus associate sparingly in groups of ten tents or so; the Australian "horde" is seldom larger than sixty souls. In such cases association and cooperation are for special purposes, like hunting; they do not rise to any permanent political order. Ch. III : The Political Elements of Civilization, p. 21

„The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history.“

— Will Durant
Context: The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within. Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage page 459.

„All the relations of men and women are being changed by this one factor“

— Will Durant
Context: The invention and spread of contraceptives is the proximate cause of our changing morals. The old moral code restricted sexual experience to marriage, because copulation could not be effectively separated from parentage, and parentage could be made responsible only through marriage. But to-day the dissociation of sex from reproduction has created a situation unforeseen by our fathers. All the relations of men and women are being changed by this one factor; and the moral code of the future will have to take account of these new facilities which invention has placed at the service of ancient desires. Our Changing Morals, in The Mansions of Philosophy: A Survey of Human Life and Destiny, (1929), Simon and Schuster, New York, ch. 5. p. 119.

„It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment.“

— Will Durant
Context: It is a mistake to think that the past is dead. Nothing that has ever happened is quite without influence at this moment. The present is merely the past rolled up and concentrated in this second of time. You, too, are your past; often your face is your autobiography; you are what you are because of what you have been; because of your heredity stretching back into forgotten generations; because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. So with a city, a country, and a race; it is its past, and cannot be understood without it. As quoted in "The Gentle Philosopher" (2006) by John Little at the Will Durant Foundation https://web.archive.org/web/20130312115951/http://www.willdurant.com/home.html

„I felt more keenly than before the need of a philosophy that would do justice to the infinite vitality of nature.“

— Will Durant
Context: I felt more keenly than before the need of a philosophy that would do justice to the infinite vitality of nature. In the inexhaustible activity of the atom, in the endless resourcefulness of plants, in the teeming fertility of animals, in the hunger and movement of infants, in the laughter and play of children, in the love and devotion of youth, in the restless ambition of fathers and the lifelong sacrifice of mothers, in the undiscourageable researches of scientists and the sufferings of genius, in the crucifixion of prophets and the martyrdom of saints — in all things I saw the passion of life for growth and greatness, the drama of everlasting creation. I came to think of myself, not as a dance and chaos of molecules, but as a brief and minute portion of that majestic process... I became almost reconciled to mortality, knowing that my spirit would survive me enshrined in a fairer mold... and that my little worth would somehow be preserved in the heritage of men. In a measure the Great Sadness was lifted from me, and, where I had seen omnipresent death, I saw now everywhere the pageant and triumph of life. Transition (1927)

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„I came to think of myself, not as a dance and chaos of molecules, but as a brief and minute portion of that majestic process...“

— Will Durant
Context: I felt more keenly than before the need of a philosophy that would do justice to the infinite vitality of nature. In the inexhaustible activity of the atom, in the endless resourcefulness of plants, in the teeming fertility of animals, in the hunger and movement of infants, in the laughter and play of children, in the love and devotion of youth, in the restless ambition of fathers and the lifelong sacrifice of mothers, in the undiscourageable researches of scientists and the sufferings of genius, in the crucifixion of prophets and the martyrdom of saints — in all things I saw the passion of life for growth and greatness, the drama of everlasting creation. I came to think of myself, not as a dance and chaos of molecules, but as a brief and minute portion of that majestic process... I became almost reconciled to mortality, knowing that my spirit would survive me enshrined in a fairer mold... and that my little worth would somehow be preserved in the heritage of men. In a measure the Great Sadness was lifted from me, and, where I had seen omnipresent death, I saw now everywhere the pageant and triumph of life. Transition (1927)

„Human progress having reached a high level through respect for the liberty and dignity of men, it has become desirable to re-affirm these evident truths“

— Will Durant
Context: Human progress having reached a high level through respect for the liberty and dignity of men, it has become desirable to re-affirm these evident truths: That differences of race, color, and creed are natural, and that diverse groups, institutions, and ideas are stimulating factors in the development of man; That to promote harmony in diversity is a responsible task of religion and statesmanship; That since no individual can express the whole truth, it is essential to treat with understanding and good will those whose views differ from our own; That by the testimony of history intolerance is the door to violence, brutality and dictatorship; and That the realization of human interdependence and solidarity is the best guard of civilization.

„In a measure the Great Sadness was lifted from me, and, where I had seen omnipresent death, I saw now everywhere the pageant and triumph of life.“

— Will Durant
Context: I felt more keenly than before the need of a philosophy that would do justice to the infinite vitality of nature. In the inexhaustible activity of the atom, in the endless resourcefulness of plants, in the teeming fertility of animals, in the hunger and movement of infants, in the laughter and play of children, in the love and devotion of youth, in the restless ambition of fathers and the lifelong sacrifice of mothers, in the undiscourageable researches of scientists and the sufferings of genius, in the crucifixion of prophets and the martyrdom of saints — in all things I saw the passion of life for growth and greatness, the drama of everlasting creation. I came to think of myself, not as a dance and chaos of molecules, but as a brief and minute portion of that majestic process... I became almost reconciled to mortality, knowing that my spirit would survive me enshrined in a fairer mold... and that my little worth would somehow be preserved in the heritage of men. In a measure the Great Sadness was lifted from me, and, where I had seen omnipresent death, I saw now everywhere the pageant and triumph of life. Transition (1927)

„The invention and spread of contraceptives is the proximate cause of our changing morals“

— Will Durant
Context: The invention and spread of contraceptives is the proximate cause of our changing morals. The old moral code restricted sexual experience to marriage, because copulation could not be effectively separated from parentage, and parentage could be made responsible only through marriage. But to-day the dissociation of sex from reproduction has created a situation unforeseen by our fathers. All the relations of men and women are being changed by this one factor; and the moral code of the future will have to take account of these new facilities which invention has placed at the service of ancient desires. Our Changing Morals, in The Mansions of Philosophy: A Survey of Human Life and Destiny, (1929), Simon and Schuster, New York, ch. 5. p. 119.

Publicidade

„I feel for all faiths the warm sympathy of one who has come to learn that even the trust in reason is a precarious faith, and that we are all fragments of darkness groping for the sun.“

— Will Durant
Context: I feel for all faiths the warm sympathy of one who has come to learn that even the trust in reason is a precarious faith, and that we are all fragments of darkness groping for the sun. I know no more about the ultimates than the simplest urchin in the streets. Preface

„To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves“

— Will Durant
Context: To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves; let us be above such transparent egotism. If you can't say good and encouraging things, say nothing. Nothing is often a good thing to do, and always a clever thing to say. Durant, Will. Commencement Speech. We Have a Right To Be Happy Today https://web.archive.org/web/20130106111821/http://www.willdurant.com/youth.htm. Webb School of Claremont, CA. 7 Jun 1958.

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