Decline Quotes

Quotes tagged as "decline" Showing 1-30 of 66
Thomas Jefferson
“Whereas it appeareth that however certain forms of government are better calculated than others to protect individuals in the free exercise of their natural rights, and are at the same time themselves better guarded against degeneracy, yet experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny; and it is believed that the most effectual means of preventing this would be, to illuminate, as far as practicable, the minds of the people at large, ....whence it becomes expedient for promoting the publick happiness that those persons, whom nature hath endowed with genius and virtue, should be rendered by liberal education worthy to receive, and able to guard the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens, and that they should be called to that charge without regard to wealth, birth or accidental condition of circumstance.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters

Saul Bellow
“For instance? Well, for instance, what it means to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organized power. Subject to tremendous controls. In a condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes. In a society that was no community and devalued the person. Owing to the multiplied power of numbers which made the self negligible. Which spent military billions against foreign enemies but would not pay for order at home. Which permitted savagery and barbarism in its own great cities. At the same time, the pressure of human millions who have discovered what concerted efforts and thoughts can do. As megatons of water shape organisms on the ocean floor. As tides polish stones. As winds hollow cliffs. The beautiful supermachinery opening a new life for innumerable mankind. Would you deny them the right to exist? Would you ask them to labor and go hungry while you yourself enjoyed old-fashioned Values? You—you yourself are a child of this mass and a brother to all the rest. or else an ingrate, dilettante, idiot. There, Herzog, thought Herzog, since you ask for the instance, is the way it runs.”
Saul Bellow, Herzog

Oswald Spengler
“One day the last portrait of Rembrandt and the last bar of Mozart will have ceased to be — though possibly a colored canvas and a sheet of notes will remain — because the last eye and the last ear accessible to their message will have gone.”
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Vol 1: Form and Actuality

Theodor W. Adorno
“What can oppose the decline of the west is not a resurrected culture but the utopia that is silently contained in the image of its decline.”
Theodor W. Adorno

Gary Shteyngart
“And the looks on the faces of my countrymenpassive heads bent arms at their trousers everyone guilty of not being their best of not earning their daily bread the kind of docility I had never expected from Americans even after so many years of our decline. Here was the tiredness of failure imposed on a country that believed only in its opposite. Here was the end product of our deep moral exhaustion.”
Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story

Adam Smith
“There is a great deal of ruin in a nation.”
Adam Smith, Correspondence of Adam Smith

Bernard of Cluny
“Stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemos.”
Bernard Of Cluny, Scorn for the World: Bernard of Cluny's De Contemptu Mundi : The Latin Text With English Translation and an Introduction

Willa Cather
“Cavenaugh rubbed his hands together and smiled his sunny smile.

'I like that idea. It's reassuring. If we can have no secrets, it means we can't, after all, go so far afield as we might,' he hesitated, 'yes, as we might.'

Eastman looked at him sourly. 'Cavenaugh, when you've practiced law in New York for twelve years, you find that people can't go far in any direction, except-' He thrust his forefinger sharply at the floor.'Even in that direction, few people can do anything out of the ordinary. Our range is limited. Skip a few baths, and we become personally objectionable. The slightest carelessness can rot a man's integrity or give him ptomaine poisoning. We keep up only be incessant cleansing operations, of mind and body. What we call character, is held together by all sorts of tacks and strings and glue. ("Consequences")”
Willa Cather, American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps

Theodore Dalrymple
“I have the not altogether unsatisfying impression that civilisation is collapsing around me.

Is it my age, I wonder, or the age we live in? I am not sure. Civilisations do collapse, after all, but on the other hand people grow old with rather greater frequency.”
Theodore Dalrymple

Tomas Tranströmer
“The gentle downward slope gets steeper
and imperceptibly becomes an abyss.”
Tomas Tranströmer, New Collected Poems

Lauren Groff
“Poetry is what he turns to these days, finding in its fragmentation the proper echo of the disintegrating world.”
Lauren Groff, Arcadia

Martin Heidegger
“A building, a Greek temple, portrays nothing. It simply stands there in the middle of the rock-cleft valley. The building encloses the figure of the god, and in this concealment lets it stand out into the holy precinct through the open portico. By means of the temple, the god is present in the temple. This presence of the god is in itself the extension and delimitation of the precinct as a holy precinct. The temple and its precinct, however, do not fade away into the indefinite. It is the temple-work that first fits together and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape of destiny for human being.”
Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings

Michael Crichton
“It suggests to us that behavior of complex animals can change very rapidly, and not always for the better. It suggests that behavior can cease to be responsive to the environment, and lead to decline and death. It suggests that animals may stop adapting. Is this what happened to the dinosaurs? Is this the true cause of their disappearance? We may never know. But it is no accident that human beings are so interested in dinosaur extinction. The decline of the dinosaurs allowed mammals—including us—to flourish. And that leads us to wonder whether the disappearance of the dinosaurs is going to be repeated, sooner or later, by us as well. Whether at the deepest level the fault lies not in blind fate—in some fiery meteor from the skies—but in our own behavior. At the moment, we have no answer.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World

Romain Gary
“My hints had, undoubtedly and unintentionally, made her feel insecure, guilty, inadequate, afraid that she was losing whatever it was that turned me on; in short, it aroused all the self-doubt so readily awakened in women after thousands of years of servitude. Hence my zeal in denying the effects of time was abetted by Laura's complicity.”
Romain Gary, Au-delà de cette limite votre ticket n'est plus valable

Richelle E. Goodrich
“What baffles me—what will always baffle me—is how easy, how simple, how effortless it was to slip by such lukewarm degrees into the disgraceful state in which I now find myself.”
Richelle E. Goodrich, Being Bold: Quotes, Poetry, & Motivations for Every Day of the Year

Romain Gary
“There is, of course, Niemen, in Switzerland, and Horsschitt, in Germany... It all depends on what you mean by ‘love’.”
Romain Gary, Au-delà de cette limite votre ticket n'est plus valable

Romain Gary
“My body had become that of an old liar, and my most spontaneous transports had begun to end in calculated maneuverings and delayed deliveries. It was no longer a question of self-esteem or pride; when I thought of breaking up with her, it was not to avoid some sort of discomfiture: it was a question of authenticity. I loved Laura too much to drag myself along on crutches in the wake of our love.”
Romain Gary, Au-delà de cette limite votre ticket n'est plus valable

Romain Gary
“— When a man close to sixty decides to break with a young woman whom he loves, and who loves him, what would you call it?
— Damned stupidity, sir.
— Yes, damned stupidity; in other words, ‘good sense’.”
Romain Gary, Au-delà de cette limite votre ticket n'est plus valable

Romain Gary
“At the moment we have unemployment, of course, and a shortage of orders, and tight credit, but those are only necessary phases of readjustment. Sometimes I wonder whether the Roman patricians didn't secretly long for the barbarians... And too, there are always those who mistake their own dilapidated condition for the decadence of a civilization.”
Romain Gary

Romain Gary
“Not that I had any intention of accosting him to propose any practical agreement. That would have demanded on Laura's part a degree of devotion, of understanding, a detached view of the purely animal act of love, such as could not be expected of so young a woman who was so subject conventions of comportment in a society that had always shown itself incapable of differentiating between love and sexuality.”
Romain Gary, Au-delà de cette limite votre ticket n'est plus valable

Lauren Groff
“And this country has lost what has made it magic, of course. The exuberance, you know. Things, I am afraid, are soon to fall apart. The center cannot hold, all that.”
Lauren Groff, Arcadia

Steven Magee
“Hello a year in Space, hello cognitive decline.”
Steven Magee

Steven Magee
“I cannot remember’ is the most frequent sentence that my girlfriend hears.”
Steven Magee

“The war, that was meant to be over in a few weeks, or, at worst, a few months, dragged on for four grinding years. All generations felt the lash, but the cut ran deepest among the young men. During the hostilities Emile Durkheim lost many of his most talented students: Maxime David, Antoine Bianconi, Charles Peguy, Jean Rainier and Robert Hertz, all perished at the Front... When he learned the sad news that his son, Andre´ had succumbed from his battle wounds, he wrote, in a letter to his nephew, Marcel Mauss, ‘I feel detached from all worldly interests. I don’t know if I ever laughed much, but I’m through with laughing . . . due to no longer having any temporal interest’ (Besnard and Fournier, 1998: 508)...

Durkheim died on 15 November 1917, nearly a full year before the Armistice brought hostilities to an end. One cannot rid oneself of the feeling that he died of a broken heart… It was not just his son, his most promising students and the children of others, who had died. The rational hopes of the Enlightenment, and the positive sociology of La Belle Epoque, lay in shreds.

(Chris Rojek, The longue durée of Spengler’s thesis of the Decline of the West, 2017)”
Chris Rojek

“It would be a tragedy if the profits of the drug trade ­were allowed to corrupt Amer­i­ca and were ­later seen, as was the case in China a century and a half ago, as the beginning of a hundred years of humiliation and decline.”
Anne Case, Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism

A.E. Housman
“The signal-fires of warning
They blaze, but none regard;
And on through night to morning
The world runs ruinward.”
A.E. Housman, More Poems

Hans-Hermann Hoppe
“Intellectuals are now typically public employees, even if they work for nominally private institutions or foundations. Almost completely protected from the vagaries of consumer demand ("tenured"), their number has dramatically increased and their compensation is on average far above their genuine market value. At the same time the quality of their intellectual output has constantly fallen.”
Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Natural Elites, Intellectuals, and the State

“Z is for zealotry: national pride like an infinite zipline, hyperdrive, the fastest way down.”
Joshua Bennett, Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

John Lukacs
“It was a roiling and mobile civilization marked by a steady increase in carnality, vulgarity, brutality. Yet, oddly, the institutions and the accustomed frameworks of liberal parliamentary democracy, of that highest creation of the now passing Modern Age, continued to exist--at a time when civilization itself (a term first appearing in English in 1601) was coming apart. History is not governed by logic: but we must at least consider that this strange duality cannot exist much longer: that sooner or later the very political structure of democracy may undergo a deep-going and at least for a while irreversible transformation, including mutations that may have already begun.”
John Lukacs, Democracy and Populism: Fear and Hatred

Jack Gilbert
“Another Grandfather"

Every generation tells
of how the good world died.
Jack Gilbert, Collected Poems

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