Arnold J. Toynbee, fully Arnold Joseph Toynbee

Arnold J.
Toynbee, fully Arnold Joseph Toynbee
1889
1975

English Economic Historian

Author Quotes

Religion is Man’s attempt to get into touch with an absolute spiritual Reality behind the phenomena of the Universe, and, having made contact with It, to live in harmony with It.

Personalities are inconceivable except as agents of spiritual activity.

Our generic evil of an institution of any kind is that people who have identified themselves with it are prone to make an idol of it.

Only through a harmonization of human wills, in a compact freely entered into in the light of divine necessity, can peace prevail among men.

Myths are unenlightening if they do not transcend experience, and unwarrantable if they contradict it.

Mythology… is an intuitive form of apprehending and expressing universal truths.

Man has been a dazzling success in the field of intellect and “know-how” and a dismal failure in the things of spirit.

Lifelong part-time education is the surest way of raising the intellectual and moral level of the masses.

It is the historical function of civilizations to serve, by their downfalls, as stepping stones to the progressive process of the revelation of always deeper religious insight, and the gift of ever more grace to act on this insight.

It is said to have been reported to one of the Roman emperors, as a piece of good news, that one of his subjects had invented a process for manufacturing unbreakable glass. The emperor gave orders that the inventor should be put to death and the records of his invention should be destroyed. If the invention had been put on the market, the manufacturers of regular glass would have been put out of business; there would have been unemployment that would have caused political unrest, and perhaps revolution.

In an age in which mankind’s collective power has suddenly been increased, for good or evil, a thousand-fold through the tapping of atomic energy, the standard of conduct demanded from ordinary human beings can be no lower than the standard attained in times past by rare saints.

In an age in which mankind’s collective power has suddenly been increased, for good or evil, a thousandfold through the tapping of atomic energy, the standard of conduct demanded from ordinary human beings can be no lower than the standard in times past by rare saints.

If the first step of Man’s road toward sainthood is the renunciation of Man’s traditional role of being his brother’s murderer, the second step would be an acceptance of Man’s new role of being his brother’s keeper.

If mankind cannot now bring itself at last to live as one family, the penalty, in our new situation, must be genocide sooner or later.

Human dignity… can be achieved only in the field of ethics, and ethical achievement is measured by the degree in which our actions are governed by compassion and love, not by greed and aggressiveness.

Historical events are not inevitable; it’s only in retrospect that they seem so.

Human actions are not the mechanical effects of causes; they are purposive executions of decisions between alternative possible choices.

God’s love is unlimited but… his power is not.

Familiarity breeds acquiescence as well as contempt.

Every historic culture-pattern is an organic whole in which all the parts are interdependent.

Civilization is a movement, not a condition. A voyage and not a harbor.

Adversity in the things of this world opens the door for spiritual salvatin.

Anybody who set up in the present-day world to be a prophet… would rightly be treated as a figure of fun.

A life which does not go into action is a failure.

A human being may be defined as a personality with a will of its own capable of making moral choices between good and evil.

Author Picture
First Name
Arnold J.
Last Name
Toynbee, fully Arnold Joseph Toynbee
Birth Date
1889
Death Date
1975
Bio

English Economic Historian