Saturday, November 3, 2012

Insightful quotes and reflections on Civilization ,philosophy and Humanity by Will Durant and Soren Kierkegaard

Samuel Barber - Adagio for Strings

My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel it is, before all, to make you see. That and no more, and it is everything. If I succeed, you shall find there, according to your deserts, encouragement, consolation, fear, charm, all you demand--and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask.
Joseph Conrad

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.
Will Durant ,The story of Civilization

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.
Will Durant,Transition

Perhaps our supercilious disgust with existence is a cover for a secret disgust with ourselves; we have botched and bungled our lives, and we cast the blame upon the environment or the world, which have no tongues to utter a defense. The mature man accepts the natural limitations of life; he does not expect Providence to be prejudiced in his favor; he does not ask for loaded dice to play the game of life.

He knows, with Carlyle, that there is no sense in vilifying the sun because it will not light our cigars. And perhaps, if we are clever enough to help it, the sun will even do that; and this vast neutral cosmos may turn out to be a pleasant place enough if we bring a little sunshine of our own to help it out. In truth, the world is neither with us or against us; it is but raw material in our hands, and can be heaven or hell according to what we are.
Will Duran, The Story of Philosophy

And last are the few whose delight is in meditation and understanding; who yearn not for goods, nor for victory, but for knowledge; who leave both market and battlefield to lose themselves in the quiet clarity of secluded thought; whose will is a light rather than a fire, whose haven is not power but truth: these are the men of wisdom, who stand aside unused by the world.
Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy

Love one another. My final lesson of history is the same as that of Jesus. You may think that's a lot of lollipop but just try it. Love is the most practical thing in the world. If you take an attitude of love toward everybody you meet, you'll eventually get along.
Will Durant

How, then, shall we face the future? When the sailor is out on the ocean, when everything is changing all around him, when the waves are born and die, he does not stare down into the waves, because they are changing. He looks up at the stars. Why? Because they are faithful.
Soren Kierkegaard

Do not interrupt the flight of your soul; do not distress what is best in you; do not enfeeble your spirit with half wishes and half thoughts.
Soren Kierkegaard

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