„We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.“
— Milan Kundera Czech author of Czech and French literature 1929
— John Henry Newman English cleric and cardinal 1801 - 1890
An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845), Chapter 1, Section 1, Part 7.
„The circumstances of the world are continually changing, and the opinions of man change also; and as government is for the living, and not for the dead, it is the living only that has any right in it.“
— Thomas Paine English and American political activist 1737 - 1809
1790s, Rights of Man, Part I (1791), Part 1.3 Rights of Man
„Our lives are the only meaningful expression of what we believe and in Whom we believe. And the only real wealth, for any of us, lies in our faith. Why do I say this? Faith in a Divine Being, in the Almighty, is the great moving power that can change our lives. With it comes the only lasting comfort and peace of mind. God is our Eternal Father, and He lives. I don't understand the wonder of His majesty; I can't comprehend His glory. But I know that He is intensely interested in our welfare and involved in our lives, that I can speak with Him in prayer, and that He will hear and listen.“
— Gordon B. Hinckley President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1910 - 2008
Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.
„If we don't change, our species will not survive… Frankly, we may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse.“
— Maurice Strong Canadian businessman 1929 - 2015
Maurice Strong, September 1, 1997 edition of National Review magazine
— Stanley Baldwin Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1867 - 1947
1933, Speech at the Institute of Public Administration, London (26 October 1933), quoted in This Torch of Freedom (1935), p. 53.
— Oscar Wilde Irish writer and poet 1854 - 1900
The Soul of Man Under Socialism (1891), Context: The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes. Change is the one quality we can predicate of it. The systems that fail are those that rely on the permanency of human nature, and not on its growth and development. The error of Louis XIV was that he thought human nature would always be the same. The result of his error was the French Revolution. It was an admirable result. All the results of the mistakes of governments are quite admirable.
„We do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place.“
— Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America 1961
2009, Nobel Prize acceptance speech (December 2009), Context: We do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place. The non-violence practiced by men like Gandhi and King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love that they preached — their fundamental faith in human progress — that must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey. For if we lose that faith — if we dismiss it as silly or naïve; if we divorce it from the decisions that we make on issues of war and peace — then we lose what's best about humanity. We lose our sense of possibility. We lose our moral compass. Like generations have before us, we must reject that future. As Dr. King said at this occasion so many years ago, "I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the 'isness' of man's present condition makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal 'oughtness' that forever confronts him." Let us reach for the world that ought to be — that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls.
„Civilisation as a term suggests human agency. […] It is the way in which people have articulated how and why they wanted to live in communities. It's about how we imagine the perfect community. […] I think the most ambitious thing humans have ever done is deciding to live together with people whom they didn't know in cities. It's really difficult to build a community, to learn to celebrate difference and to live harmoniously together, and we fail all the time.“
— Richard Miles (historian) British historian and archaeologist 1969
My bright idea: Civilisation is still worth striving for
„Living in age of advertisement, we are perpetually disillusioned. The perfect life is spread before us every day, but it changes and withers at a touch.“
— J.B. Priestley English writer 1894 - 1984
"The Disillusioned", in The Balconinny, and Other Essays ( 1969) p. 30.
„I only know that in our choice of friends and lovers and teachers who will change our lives, we are guided by forces which have nothing to do with the rationalizations we give.“
— Erica Jong Novelist, poet, memoirist, critic 1942
How to Save Your Own Life (1977)