Not every age is an age of heroes. In order for there to be such larger-than-life figures among us, there must be great social causes, such as just wars or liberation movements that call for extraordinary leadership. Otherwise there are no heroic niches to be filled, and we look elsewhere – to business, sports, entertainment – for people to admire.
We live in an age of self-dissipation, of depersonalization. Should we adjust our vision of existence to make our paucity, make a virtue of obtuseness, glorify evasion?
The kingdom of God is neither an unconditional divine gift sent down from heaven all at once, nor a simple human task to be completed in a few generations. It is both a gift and a task: an infinitely difficult, infinitely glorious divine-human undertaking requiring all God’s power and all man’s devotion, and even so stretching on from age to age as though it were endless.
Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment… I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
People do not define themselves directly through a chronology of life experiences. Rather, they define themselves through the expression of selected life experiences... people crystallize certain experiences into themes… considered building blocks of identity. Identity in old age – the ageless self – is founded on the present significance of past experience, the current rendering of meaningful symbols and events of a life.
An individual does not comprehend his or her self as a linear sequence – a succession of roles or a trajectory of “socialize” beings, learning and then acting out (or deviating from) a set of socially appropriate rules of behavior. Moreover, identity in old age is not merely the sum of the parts, whether roles, achievements, losses, or social norms. Instead, people dynamically integrate a wide range of experience – unique situations, structural forces, values, cultural pathways, knowledge of an entire life span – to construct a current and viable identity.
We accumulate opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest.
Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do. You can’t stop the plane; you can’t stop the storm; you can’t stop time. So one might as well accept it calmly, wisely.
An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.
The mind, by its very nature, persistently tries to live forever, resisting age and attempting to give itself a form... When a person passes his prime and his life begins to lose true vigor and charm, his mind starts functioning as if it were another form of life; it imitates what life does, eventually doing what life cannot do.
Every age seeks out the appropriate medium in which to confront the unanswerable questions of human existence.
The age of isolation is gone. And gone are the days in which barbed wire served as demarcation lines, separating and isolating countries from one another. No country can escape looking beyond its boundaries to find the source of the currents which influence how it can live with others.
In our age there is no such thing as “keeping out of politics.” All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.
When, in countries that are called civilized, we see age going to the workhouse and youth to the gallows, something must be wrong in the system of government.
The heresy of one age is the orthodox belief and “only infallible rule” of the next.
By the time a baby born today in the U.S. reaches age 75, (s)he will have used on average: 4,000 barrels of oil, 54,000 pounds of plant matter, 64,000 pounds of animal products, and 43 million gallons of water – and will have produced over 3 million pounds of liquid wastes and 1,500 tons of solid wastes.
The great characteristic of our age is not its love of religion, but its love of talking about religion.
It has become almost banal to say that the atomic age has fundamentally altered the nature of war. No nuclear power can tell another: “Do as I say or I shall kill you,” but is reduced to saying: “Do as I say or I shall kill us both,” which is an entirely different matter.
One person dies at the age of ten, another at the age of one hundred. Perfect saints die, and so do dangerous fools… Once dead, they are molding bones. As molding bones, they are equal. Who can tell the difference between them? Let us therefore grasp life’s moment – what is the point of worrying about the time after death?
It is the spirit of the age to believe that any fact, no matter how suspect, is superior to any imaginative exercise, no matter how true.