Arnold J. Toynbee, fully Arnold Joseph Toynbee

Arnold J.
Toynbee, fully Arnold Joseph Toynbee
1889
1975

English Economic Historian

Author Quotes

Though sixteen civilizations may have perished already to our knowledge, and nine others may be now at the point of death, we - the twenty-sixty - are not compelled to submit the riddle of our fate to the blind arbitrament of statistics. The divine spark of creative power is still alive in us, and, if we have the grace to kindle it into flame, then the stars in their courses cannot defeat our efforts to attain the goal of human endeavor.

We have been God-like in our planned breeding of our domesticated plants and animals, but we have been rabbit-like in our unplanned breeding of ourselves.

The history of almost every civilization furnishes examples of geographical expansion coinciding with deterioration in quality.

The cause of the breakdowns of civilizations is not to be found in loss of command over the human environment, as measured by the encroachment of alien human forces... The most that an alien enemy has achieved has been to give an expiring suicide his coup de grace.

Religion, after all, is the serious business of the human race.

Neither race nor environment, taken by itself, can be the positive factor which, within the last six thousand years, has shaken humanity out of its static repose on the level of primitive society and started it on the hazardous quest of civilization.

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

As human beings, we are endowed with freedom of choice, and we cannot shuffle off our responsibility upon the shoulders of God or nature. We must shoulder it ourselves. It is up to us.

My own view of history is that human beings do have genuine freedom to make choices. Our destiny is not predetermined for us; we determine it for ourselves.

Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal which takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.

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

English Economic Historian