Epochs Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 72 quotes )
Yesterday, there was a Tzar and there were slaves. Today, there is no Tzar, but the slaves are still here. Tomorrow there will be only Tzars. We walk forward in the name of the free man of tomorrow, the Tzar of tomorrow. We have gone through the epoch when the masses were oppressed. We are now going through the epoch when the individual is oppressed in the name of the masses.
The first impression of the writings of Mr. J. J. Rousseau received by a knowledgeable reader, who is reading for something more than vanity or to kill time, is that he is encountering a lucidity of mind, a noble impulse of genius and a sensitive soul of such a high level that perhaps never an author of whatever epoch or of whatever people has been able to possess in combination. The impression that immediately follows is bewilderment over the strange and contradictory opinions, which so oppose those which are in general circulation that one can easily come to the suspicion that the author, by virtue of his extraordinary talent, wishes to show off only the force of his bewitching wit and through the magic of rhetoric make himself something apart who through captivating novelties stands out among all rivals at wit.
In the Second World War he took no public part, having escaped to a neutral country just before its outbreak. In private conversation he was wont to say that homicidal lunatics were well employed in killing each other, but that sensible men would keep out of their way while they were doing it. Fortunately this outlook, which is reminiscent of Bentham, has become rare in this age, which recognizes that heroism has a value independent of its utility. The Last Survivor of a Dead Epoch
We feel that we actual men have suddenly been left alone on the earth; that the dead did not die in appearance only but effectively; that they can no longer help us. Any remains of the traditional spirit have evaporated. Models, norms, standards are no use to us. We have to solve our problems without any active collaboration of the past, in full actuality, be they problems of art, science, or politics. (...) It is not easy to formulate the impression that our epoch has of itself; it believes itself more than all the rest, and at the same time feels that it is a beginning. What expression shall we find for it? Perhaps this one: superior to other times, inferior to itself. Strong, indeed, and at the same time uncertain of its destiny; proud of its strength and at the same time fearing it.
The bourgeois period of history has to create the material basis of the new world? on the one hand universal intercourse founded upon the mutual dependency of mankind, and the means of that intercourse; on the other hand the development of the productive powers of man and the transformation of material production into a scientific domination of natural agencies. Bourgeois industry and commerce create these material conditions of a new world in the same way as geological revolutions have created the surface of the earth. When a great social revolution shall have mastered the results of the bourgeois epoch, the market of the world and the modern powers of production, and subjected them to the common control of the most advanced peoples, then only will human progress cease to resemble that hideous, pagan idol, who would not drink the nectar but from the skulls of the slain.
I bring you the dance. I bring you the idea that is going to revolutionise our entire epoch. Where have I discovered it? By the Pacific Ocean, but the waving pine-forests of Sierra Nevada. I have seen the ideal figure of youthful American dancing over the top of the Rockies. The supreme poet of our country is Walt Whitman. I have discovered the dance that is worthy of the poem of Walt Whitman. I am indeed the spiritual daughter of Walt Whitman. For the children of America I will create a new dance that will express America. I bring to your theatre the vital soul that it lacks, the soul of the dancer. For you know...that the birth of the theatre was the dance, that the first actor was the dancer. He danced and sang. That was the birth of the tragedy, and until the dancer in all his spontaneous great art returns to the theatre, your theatre will not live in its true expression!
All men and women are born, live suffer and die; what distinguishes us one from another is our dreams, whether they be dreams about worldly or unworldly things, and what we do to make them come about... We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we live.
The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i. e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.
Today history is no more than a thin thread of the remembered stretching over an ocean of the forgotten, but time moves on, and an epoch of millennia will come which the inextensible memory of the individual will be unable to encompass; whole centuries and millennia will therefore fall away, centuries of paintings and music, centuries of discoveries, of battles, of books, and this will be dire, because man will lose the notion of his self, and his history, unfathomable, unencompassable, will shrivel into a few schematic signs destitute of all sense.
One glance at (a book) and you hear the voice of another person - perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millenia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time.
We debate sometimes what is to be the future of this nation when we think that in a few years public affairs may be in the hands of the fin-de-siecle gilded youths we see about us during the Christmas holidays. Such foppery, such luxury, such insolence, was surely never practiced by the scented, overbearing patricians of the Palatine, even in Rome's most decadent epoch. In all the wild orgy of wastefulness and luxury with which the nineteenth century reaches its close, the gilded youth has been surely the worst symptom.
At certain epochs, man has felt conscious of something about himself - body and spirit - which was outside the day-to-day struggle for existence and the night-to-night struggle with fear; and he has felt the need to develop these qualities of thought and feeling so that they might approach as nearly as possible to an ideal of perfection - reason, justice, physical beauty, all of them in equilibrium. He has managed to satisfy this need in various ways - through myths, through dance and song, through systems of philosophy and through the order that he has imposed upon the visible world.
Life was a pleasure; he looked back at its moments, many of them as much shrouded in mist as the opposite bank of the Thames; objectively, many of them held only misery, fear, confusion; but afterwards, and even at the time, he had known an exhilaration stronger than the misery, fear, or confusion. A fragment of belief came to him from another epoch: 'Cogito ergo sum'. For him that had not been true; his truth had been, 'Senito ergo sum'. I feel so I exist. He enjoyed this fearful, miserable, confused life, and not only because it made more sense than non-life.
What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.
ask yourself how many people you have met who grumbled at a thing as incurable, and how many who attacked it as curable? How many people we have heard abuse the British elementary schools, as they would abuse the British climate? How few have we met who realized that British education can be altered, but British weather cannot?...For a thousand that regret compulsory education, where is the hundred, or the ten, or the one, who would repeal compulsory education? …At the beginning of our epoch men talked with equal ease about Reform and Repeal. Now everybody talks about reform; nobody talks about repeal.