Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Era

"Not years but experiences age us; hence man would be the unhappiest of creatures were he a diligent pupil of experience. That each new generation and each new era starts out from the cradle is what keeps mankind eternally young." - Ludwig Börne, fully Karl Ludwig Börne

"Those who are versed in the history of their country, in the history of the human race, must know that rigorous state prosecutions have always preceded the era of convulsion; and this era, I fear, will be accelerated by the folly and madness of our rulers. If the people are discontented, the proper mode of quieting their discontent is, not by instituting rigorous and sanguinary prosecutions, but by redressing their wrongs and conciliating their affections. Courts of justice, indeed, may be called in to the aid of ministerial vengeance; but if once the purity of their proceedings is suspected, they will cease to be objects of reverence to the nation; they will degenerate into empty and expensive pageantry, and become the partial instruments of vexatious oppression. Whatever may become of me, my principles will last forever. Individuals may perish; but truth is eternal. The rude blasts of tyranny may blow from every quarter; but freedom is that hardy plant which will survive the tempest and strike an everlasting root into the most unfavorable soil." - Joseph Gerrald

"Every era opens with its challenges, and they cannot be met by elaborating methods of the past." - Charles Lindbergh, fully Charles Augustus Lindbergh, nicknamed "Slim,""Lucky Lindy" and "The Lone Eagle"

"The art of our era is not art, but technology. Today Rembrandt is painting automobiles; Shakespeare is writing research reports." - Howard Sparks

"Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair-trigger balances, when a false, or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act." -

"A grand meta-narrative is a story of the development and purpose of human history in which we as individual can find a place and play a role. Four basic meta-narratives: (1) Platonic Christian is the idea of life as a journey to another unchanging realm. (2) Hegel’s view that history is the unfolding of the consciousness of God. (3) Marx’s notion of another revolution ushering in a new era. (4) Nietzsche’s idea that there is no “beyond” and that the only meaning comes through creative activities through which we shape a life for ourselves." - Stephen A. Erickson

"Our current obsession with creativity is the result of our continued striving for immortality in an era when most people no longer believe in an after-life." -

"The lineaments of the new religion that we can be sure will arise to serve the needs of the coming era... Instead of worshipping supernatural rulers, it will sanctify the higher manifestations of human nature, in art and love, in intellectual comprehension and aspiring adoration, and will emphasize the fuller realization of life’s possibilities as a sacred trust." - Julian Huxley, fully Sir Julian Sorell Huxley

"We are actors in a great historical drama. It rests upon us to decide if a new era is to dawn in the transformation of the world into the kingdom of God, or if Western civilization is to descend to the graveyard of dead civilizations and God will have to try once more." - Walter Rauschenbusch

"It seems to be a constant throughout history: In every period, people believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you would have gotten in terrible trouble for saying otherwise. Is our time any different? To anyone who has read any amount of history, the answer is almost certainly no. It would be a remarkable coincidence if ours were the first era to get everything just right. It's tantalizing to think we believe things that people in the future will find ridiculous. What would someone coming back to visit us in a time machine have to be careful not to say?" - Paul Graham

"The modern era, dedicated to repeatable experimental data, buried something valuable that cannot be resurrected by scientific language: namely, the qualities of knowing that rely on unification between an observer and the object observed." - Helen Palmer

"In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action." - Dag Hammarskjöld

"The soul is an embryo in the body of man, and the day of death is the day of awakening, for it is the great era of labour and the rich hour of creation... Death is an ending to the son of the earth, but to the soul it is the start, the triumph of life... Death removes but the touch, and not the awareness of all good. And he who has lived one spring or more possesses the spiritual life of one who has lived a score of springs." - Kahlil Gibran

"In the social production of their existence, human beings necessarily enter into determinate relations, independent of their will, relations of production, corresponding to a given stage of development of their material productive powers. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation on which rises a legal and political superstructure and tow which correspond determinate forms of social consciousness. the mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and spiritual life. It is not the consciousness of human beings which determines their existence, but their social existence determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive powers of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or - this merely expresses the same things in terms of right - with the property relations in the framework of which they have thus far operated. From forms of development of the productive powers these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure." - Karl Marx

"Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind; and when the same thought occurs to another man, it is the key to that era." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We in the contemporary west may wake up each morning to cast out our sleep and dream experience like so much rubbish. But that is an almost freakish act of alienation. Only western society - and especially in the modern era - has been quite so prodigal in dealing with what is, even by the fictitious measure of our mechanical clocks, a major portion of our lives." -

"Our current obsession with creativity is the result of our continued striving for immortality in an era when most people no longer believe in an after-life." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"The era of Moshiach is the fulfillment and culmination of the creation of the world, for which purpose it was originally created. Something of this revelation has been experienced once before on earth, at the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai [when] "To you it has been shown, to know that the L-rd is G‑d; there is none else beside Him" (Deuteronomy 4:35). G‑dliness was then perceived with physical vision.... Subsquently, however, sin coarsened both them and the world - until the era of Moshiach, when the physicality of the body and the world will be refined, and we will be able to apprehend the revealed Divine light which will shine forth to Israel by means of the Torah.... "The glory of G‑d will be revealed; and all flesh will see that the mouth of G‑d has spoken" (Isaiah 40:5)... This all depends on our deeds and labor throughout the duration of the galut... When a person does a mitzvah, he draws down a flow of Divine light into the world, to be suffused and integrated into the material reality." - Shneur Zalman of Liadi

"The passionate controversies of one era are viewed as sterile preoccupations by another, for knowledge alters what we seek as well as what we find." - Freda Adler

"Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair-trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act." - James Thurber, fully James Grover Thurber

"Modern man’s discovery of the fundamental aloneness and solitude in a universe indifferent to his fate is due to an expectation that it was in the universe where care for what is ultimately precious was to be found. He now suffers from the collapse of naïve self-deception and oversimplification. Our era marks the end of simplification, the end of personal exclusiveness, the end of self-defense through aloofness, the end of a sense of security. " - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"From the cave to the skyscraper, from the club to weapons of mass destruction, from the tautological life of the tribe to the era of globalization, the fictions of literature have multiplied human experiences, preventing us from succumbing to lethargy, self-absorption, resignation. Nothing has sown so much disquiet, so disturbed our imagination and our desires as the life of lies we add, thanks to literature, to the one we have, so we can be protagonists in the great adventures, the great passions real life will never give us. The lies of literature become truths through us, the readers transformed, infected with longings and, through the fault of fiction, permanently questioning a mediocre reality. Sorcery, when literature offers us the hope of having what we do not have, being what we are not, acceding to that impossible existence where like pagan gods we feel mortal and eternal at the same time, that introduces into our spirits non-conformity and rebellion, which are behind all the heroic deeds that have contributed to the reduction of violence in human relationships. Reducing violence, not ending it. Because ours will always be, fortunately, an unfinished story. That is why we have to continue dreaming, reading, and writing, the most effective way we have found to alleviate our mortal condition, to defeat the corrosion of time, and to transform the impossible into possibility." - Mario Vargas Llosa, fully Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, 1st Marquis of Vargas Llosa

"The idea inherent in all idealistic metaphysics–that the world is in some sense a product of the mind–is thus turned into its opposite: the mind is a product of the world, of the processes of nature. Hence, according to popular Darwinism, nature does not need philosophy to speak for her: nature, a powerful and venerable deity, is ruler rather than ruled. Darwinism ultimately comes to the aid of rebellious nature in undermining any doctrine, theological or philosophical, that regards nature itself as expressing a truth that reason must try to recognize. The equating of reason with nature, by which reason is debased and raw nature exalted, is a typical fallacy of the era of rationalization. Instrumentalized subjective reason either eulogizes nature as pure vitality or disparages it as brute force, instead of treating it as a text to be interpreted by philosophy that, if rightly read, will unfold a tale of infinite suffering. Without committing the fallacy of equating nature and reason, mankind must try to reconcile the two. In traditional theology and metaphysics, the natural was largely conceived as the evil, and the spiritual or supernatural as the good. In popular Darwinism, the good is the well-adapted, and the value of that to which the organism adapts itself is unquestioned or is measured only in terms of further adaptation. However, being well adapted to one’s surroundings is tantamount to being capable of coping successfully with them, of mastering the forces that beset one. Thus the theoretical denial of the spirit’s antagonism to nature–even as implied in the doctrine of interrelation between the various forms of organic life, including man–frequently amounts in practice to subscribing to the principle of man’s continuous and thoroughgoing domination of nature. Regarding reason as a natural organ does not divest it of the trend to domination or invest it with greater potentialities for reconciliation. On the contrary, the abdication of the spirit in popular Darwinism entails the rejection of any elements of the mind that transcend the function of adaptation and consequently are not instruments of self-preservation. Reason disavows its own primacy and professes to be a mere servant of natural selection. On the surface, this new empirical reason seems more humble toward nature than the reason of the metaphysical tradition. Actually, however, it is arrogant, practical mind riding roughshod over the ‘useless spiritual,’ and dismissing any view of nature in which the latter is taken to be more than a stimulus to human activity. The effects of this view are not confined to modern philosophy." - Max Horkheimer

"Our sages point to Messiah and the Messianic era as the ultimate purpose for the creation of the world. God created the world in order that he would have a dwelling place among men. And this would be realized in the messianic era because the world was created solely for the Messiah." - Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe

"The present era grabs everything that was ever written in order to transform it into films, TV programmes, or cartoons. What is essential in a novel is precisely what can only be expressed in a novel, and so every adaptation contains nothing but the non-essential. If a person is still crazy enough to write novels nowadays and wants to protect them, he has to write them in such a way that they cannot be adapted, in other words, in such a way that they cannot be retold. " - Milan Kundera

"Industrial progress, mechanical improvement, all of the great wonders of the modern era have meant relatively little to the wealthy. The rich in Ancient Greece would have benefited hardly at all from modern plumbing : running servants replaced running water. Television and radio? The Patricians of Rome could enjoy the leading musicians and actors in their home, could have the leading actors as domestic retainers. Ready-to-wear clothing, supermarkets - all these and many other modern developments would have added little to their life. The great achievements of Western Capitalism have redounded primarily to the benefit of the ordinary person. These achievements have made available to the masses conveniences and amenities that were previously the exclusive prerogative of the rich and powerful." - Milton Friedman, fully John Milton Friedman

"Each and every master, regardless of the era or the place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit - love." - Morihei Ueshiba

"An important step, far-reaching in its consequences, was taken when man first sought the cause of change and decay in things themselves and in the laws which appeared to govern things, rather than in powers and forces outside of and beyond them. When the question was first asked, What is it that persists amid all changes and that underlies every change? A new era was about to dawn in the history of man's wonder and his desire to know." - Nicholas Murray Butler

"Psychoanalysis arrived to save the human soul in a materialistic era sick with self-consciousness and threatened by loss of belief in immortality and in its public expression, religion. Its greatness resides in having done this in the mind-set of our era, not simply symbolizing the soul exoterically or concretizing it socially as in the past, but attempting to demonstrate it scientifically. But realistic psychology is the death knell of the soul, whose source, nature, and value lie precisely in the abstract, the unfathomable, and the esoteric." - Otto Rank, born Otto Rosenfeld

"Markets are superb at setting prices, but incapable of recognizing costs... The answer cuts right through abstract political philosophy: We cannot return to the era of local markets, but we can regain control of the larger markets by enforcing the payment of costs--total costs...The incentive to lower costs is the same as the one that presently operates in all businesses, but in this case the producer's most efficient means to lower them is not externalizing these costs onto society, but implementing better design." - Paul Hawken

"Even in the era of AIDS, sex raises no unique moral issues at all. Decisions about sex may involve considerations about honesty, concern for others, prudence, and so on, but there is nothing special about sex in this respect, for the same could be said of decisions about driving a car. (In fact, the moral issues raised by driving a car, both from an environmental and from a safety point of view, are much more serious than those raised by sex.) " - Peter Singer

"In an earlier stage of our development most human groups held to a tribal ethic. Members of the tribe were protected, but people of other tribes could be robbed or killed as one pleased. Gradually the circle of protection expanded, but as recently as 150 years ago we did not include blacks. So African human beings could be captured, shipped to America, and sold. In Australia white settlers regarded Aborigines as a pest and hunted them down, much as kangaroos are hunted down today. Just as we have progressed beyond the blatantly racist ethic of the era of slavery and colonialism, so we must now progress beyond the speciesist ethic of the era of factory farming, of the use of animals as mere research tools, of whaling, seal hunting, kangaroo slaughter, and the destruction of wilderness. We must take the final step in expanding the circle of ethics. " - Peter Singer

"Soon other questions and demands are to be answered, questions ever going out in silence from multitudes; and, in answering them, in at first attempting to carry out and prove the answers and the means shown to accomplish or realize many things deemed impossible or visionary, there will be mistake and stupidity, and blunder and silliness, and breakdowns and failures, and consequent ridicule; just as there were ten smashes on railways, and ten bursted boilers in the earlier era of the use of steam, to one of today. " - Prentice Mulford

"The youth of humanity all around our planet are intuitively revolting from all sovereignties and political ideologies. The youth of Earth are moving intuitively toward an utterly classless, raceless, omnicooperative, omniworld humanity. Children freed of the ignorantly founded educational traditions and exposed only to their spontaneously summoned, computer-stored and -distributed outflow of reliable-opinion-purged, experimentally verified data, shall indeed lead society to its happy egress from all misinformedly conceived, fearfully and legally imposed, and physically enforced customs of yesterday. They can lead all humanity into omnisuccessful survival as well as entrance into an utterly new era of human experience in an as-yet and ever-will-be fundamentally mysterious Universe" - Buckminster Fuller, fully Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

"What a sad era when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice." - Albert Einstein

"An era dominated by industry, in which the right to make money, at whatever cost to others, is seldom challenged." - Rachel Carson, fully Rachel Louise Carson

"We are about to enter a new era in which, each year, less net energy will be available to humankind, regardless of our efforts or choices. The only significant choice we will have will be how we adjust to this new regime. That choice — not whether, but how to reduce energy usage and make a transition to renewable alternatives — will have profound ethical and political ramifications. " - Richard Heinberg

"The God of the Old Testament himself, with his pitilessly vengeful jealousy, his racism, sexism, and terrifying bloodlust, will not be adopted as a literal role model by anybody you or I would wish to know. Yes, of course it is unfair to judge the customs of an earlier era by the enlightened standards of our own. But that is precisely my point! Evidently, we have some alternative source of ultimate moral conviction that overrides Scripture when it suits us." - Richard Dawkins

"Welcome to a dangerous new era - the Unlightenment - in which centuries of rational thought are overturned by idiots. Superstitious idiots. They're everywhere - reading horoscopes, buying homeopathic remedies, consulting psychics, babbling about chakras and healing energies, praying to imaginary gods, and rejecting science in favor of soft-headed bunkum. But instead of slapping these people round the face till they behave like adults, we encourage them. We've got to respect their beliefs, apparently. Well I don't... Maybe you've put your faith in spiritual claptrap because our random, narrative-free universe terrifies you. But that's no solution. If you want comforting, suck your thumb. Buy a pillow. Don't make up a load of floaty blah about energy or destiny. This is the real world, stupid. We should be solving problems, not sticking our fingers in our ears and singing about fairies. Everywhere you look, screaming gittery is taking root, with serious consequences. The NHS recently spent " - Richard Dawkins

"What is truly revolutionary about molecular biology in the post-Watson-Crick era is that it has become digital." - Richard Dawkins

"But as the era of cheap, abundant fossil fuels comes to an end, our assumptions about continued expansion are being shaken to their core. The end of growth is a very big deal indeed. It means the end of an era, and of our current ways of organizing economies, politics, and daily life." - Richard Heinberg

"We're entering a whole new era now. America has suffered a terrorist attack of historic proportions, and now we're going to go after the perpetrators. Cyber-attacks may be inevitable... Physical and cyber-attacks in conjunction could cause panic across a whole economic sector." - Richard Powers

"Ours is an age between worldviews, creative yet disoriented, a transitional era when the old cultural vision no longer holds and the new has not yet constellated. Yet we are not without signs of what the new might look like." - Richard Tarnas, fully Richard Theodore Tarnas

"Let us move from the era of confrontation to the era of negotiation." - Richard Nixon, fully Richard Milhous Nixon

"We shall continue, in this era of negotiation, to work for the limitation of nuclear arms, and to reduce the danger of confrontation between the great powers." - Richard Nixon, fully Richard Milhous Nixon

"Now history under God's providence has reached the era of perpetual emergency, when man's age~old sin combined with his new technology threatens the survival of the human race. Even the most violent of men must recognize that there can be no satisfaction in destroying an enemy by thermonuclear weapons while he is destroying us. But the world is caught in the mood of bitter, tragic necessity. The Sermon on the Mount offers no program to present to Congress or the United Nations. But something of its vision and daring, combined with wise statecraft, offer the only hope for mankind." - Roger L. Shinn, fully Roger Lincoln Shinn

"Middle age is when you're faced with two temptations and you choose the one that will get you home by nine o'clock." - Ronald Reagan, fully Ronald Wilson Reagan

"The working classes in every country only learn to fight in the course of their struggles." - Rosa Luxemburg, aka Rosalia Luxemburg, "Bloody Rosa"

"Happiness is a small and unworthy goal for something as big and fancy as a whole lifetime, and should be taken in small doses." - Russell Baker. fully Russell Wayne Baker

"Even from the abyss of horror in which we try to feel our way today, half-blind, our hearts distraught and shattered, I look up again and again to the ancient constellations that shone on my childhood, comforting myself with the inherited confidence that, some day, this relapse will appear only an interval in the eternal rhythm of progress onward and upward." - Stefan Zweig