It is our duty to give meaning to the life of future generations by sharing our knowledge and experience; by teaching an appreciation of work well done and a respect for nature, the source of all life; by encouraging the young to venture off the beaten path and avoid complacency by challenging their emotions.
The metaphysical comfort - with which, I am suggesting even now, every true tragedy leaves us - that life is at the bottom of things, despite all the changes of appearances, indestructibly powerful and pleasurable - this comfort appears in the incarnate clarity in the chorus of satyrs, a chorus of natural being who live ineradicably, as it were behind all civilization and remain eternally the same, despite the changes of generations and of the history of nations.
Real life is, to most men, a long second-best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible; but the world of pure reason knows no compromise, no practical limitations, no barrier to the creative activity embodying in splendid edifices the passionate aspiration after the perfect from which all great works springs. Remote from human passions, remote even from the pitiful facts of nature, the generations have gradually created an ordered cosmos, where pure thought can dwell as in its natural home, and where one, at least, of our nobler impulses can escape from the dreary exile of the actual world.
What is the real relation between happiness and goodness? It is only within a few generations that men have found the courage to say that there is none.
No one can attain to truth by himself. Only by laying stone on stone with the cooperation of all, by the millions of generations from our forefather Adam to our own times, is that temple reared which is to be a worthy dwelling place of the Great God.
Be more prudent for your children than perhaps you have been for yourself. When they, too, are parents they will imitate you, and each of you will have prepared happy generations who will transmit, together with your memory, the worship of your wisdom.
I do not believe in a child world. It is fantasy world. I believe the child should be taught from the very first that the whole world is his world, that adult and child share one world, that all generations are needed.
In every visible Creature there is a Body and a Spirit... or, more Active and more Passive Principle, which may fitly be termed Male and Female, by reason of that Analogy a Husband hath with his Wife. For as the ordinary Generation of Men requires a Conjunction and Co-operation of Male and Female; so also all Generations and Productions whatsoever they be, require an Union, and conformable Operation of those Two Principles, to wit, Spirit and Body; but the Spirit is an Eye or Light beholding its own proper Image, and the Body is a Tenebrosity or Darkness receiving that Image, when the Spirit looks thereinto, as when one sees himself in a Looking-Glass; for certainly he cannot so behold himself in the Transparent Air, nor in any Diaphanous Body, because the reflexion of an Image requires a certain opacity or darkness, which we call a Body: Yet to be a Body is not an Essential property of any Thing; as neither is it a Property of any Thing to be dark; for nothing is so dark that nothing else, neither differs any thing from a Spirit, but in that it is more dark; therefore by how much the thicker and grosser it is become, so much the more remote it is from the degree of Spirit, so that this distinction is only modal and gradual, not essential or substantial.
Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself in all cases as the ages and generations which preceded it. The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.
It is the close observation of little things which is the secret of success in business, in art, in science, and in every pursuit in life. Human knowledge is but an accumulation of small facts, made by successive generations of men, the little bits of knowledge and experience carefully treasured up and growing at length into a mighty pyramid.
Today the conservation movement finds itself turning back to ancient Indian land ideas, to the Indian understanding that we are not outside of nature, but of it... In recent decades we have slowly come back to some of the truths that the Indian knew from the beginning; that unborn generations have a claim on the land equal to our own; that men need to keep an ear to the earth, and to replenish their spirits in frequent contacts with animals and wild land.
Everyone expects to go further than his father went; everyone expects to be better than he was born and every generation has one big impulse in its heart - to exceed all the other generations of the past in all the things that make life worth living.
What children expect from grownups is not to be 'understood', but only to be loved, even though this love may be expressed clumsily or in sternness. Intimacy does not exist between generations - only trust.
Life’s development has been much harder to definitely trace than that of the universe. This is because biology’s countless combinations and permutations are exceedingly convoluted compared to the linearity of physics or the predictability of chemistry. Life’s ability to mutate and change over successive generations has meant that investigators cannot simply extrapolate backwards to determine what previously existed, nor look forward and predict what might result.
There are two complementary parts of our cosmic duty – one to ourselves, to be fulfilled in the realization and enjoyment of our capacities; the other to others, to be fulfilled in service to the community and in promoting the welfare of the generations to come and the advancement of our species as a whole.
What is life worth if we don’t strive to build something that is bigger than we are and lasts longer than we do? For too long, we’ve not worried about future generations or met our obligations to each other. Instead, we have lived for ourselves, and for today. Such a world is simply not sustainable.
If we turn from contemplating the world as a whole, and, in particular, the generations of men as they live their little hour of mock-existence, and then are swept away in rapid succession; if we turn from this, and look at life in its small details, as presented, say, in a comedy, how ridiculous it all seems ! It is like a drop of water seen through a microscope, a single drop teeming with infusoria; or a speck of cheese full of mites invisible to the naked eye. How e laugh as they bustle about so eagerly, and struggle with one another in so tiny a space! And whether here, or in the little span of human life, this terrible activity produces a comic effect.
The pact of Munich was a more fell blow to humanity than the atom bomb at Hiroshima. Suffocation of human freedom among a once free people, however quietly and peacefully accomplished, is more far-reaching in its implications and its effects on their future than the destruction of their homes, industrial centers and transportation facilities. Out of rubble heaps, willing hands can rebuild a better city; but out of freedom lost can stem only generations of hate and bitter struggle and brutal oppression.
Only a few rare souls in a century, to whose class I make no pretension, count much in the great flow of this Republic. The life stream of this nation is the generations of millions of human particles acting under the impulses of advancing ideas and national ideals gathered from a thousand springs... We are but transitory officials in government whose duty is to keep these channels clear and to strengthen and extend these dikes. What counts toward the honor of public officials is that they sustain the national ideals upon which are patterned the design of these channels of progress and the construction of these dikes of safety.
Men in their generations are like the leaves of the trees. The wind blows and one year's leaves are scattered on the ground; but the trees burst into bud and put on fresh ones when the spring comes round.