Decline Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Decline. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.
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Plato (The Republic)
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Lonely people tend, rather, to be lonely because they decline to bear the psychic costs of being around other humans. They are allergic to people. People affect them too strongly.
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David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments)
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Societies in decline have no use for visionaries.
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AnaΓ―s Nin
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I can believe things that are true and things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen - I believe that people are perfectable, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkled lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women. I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone's ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we'll all be wiped out by the common cold like martians in War of the Worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind's destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it's aerodynamically impossible for a bumble bee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there's a cat in a box somewhere who's alive and dead at the same time (although if they don't ever open the box to feed it it'll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says sex is overrated just hasn't done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what's going on will lie about the little things too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman's right to choose, a baby's right to live, that while all human life is sacred there's nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.
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Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
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A weird time in which we are alive. We can travel anywhere we want, even to other planets. And for what? To sit day after day, declining in morale and hope.
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Philip K. Dick (The Man in the High Castle)
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Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines, And too often is his gold complexion dimm'd: And every fair from fair sometimes declines, By chance or natures changing course untrimm'd; By thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
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William Shakespeare (Shakespeare's Sonnets)
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Only those who decline to scramble up the career ladder are interesting as human beings. Nothing is more boring than a man with a career.
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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
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The first ten million years were the worst," said Marvin, "and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million years I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.
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Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
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Your offer," he said, "is far too idiotic to be declined.
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G.K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare)
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The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
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Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
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I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness... The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance
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Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
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The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief.
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Sigmund Freud
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Regrets came up and asked me if I’d like to own them. Declined them for the most part but took a few just so I wouldn’t leave this relationship empty handed.
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Steve Toltz (A Fraction of the Whole)
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At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
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T.S. Eliot
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The book itself is a curious artifact, not showy in its technology but complex and extremely efficient: a really neat little device, compact, often very pleasant to look at and handle, that can last decades, even centuries. It doesn't have to be plugged in, activated, or performed by a machine; all it needs is light, a human eye, and a human mind. It is not one of a kind, and it is not ephemeral. It lasts. It is reliable. If a book told you something when you were fifteen, it will tell it to you again when you're fifty, though you may understand it so differently that it seems you're reading a whole new book." (Staying Awake: Notes on the alleged decline of reading, Harper's Magazine, February 2008)
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Ursula K. Le Guin
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I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.
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William Faulkner (Nobel Prize in Literature Acceptance Speech, 1949)
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Now that you're an adult, you might still feel a pang of guilt when you decline a dinner invitation in favor of a good book. Or maybe you like to eat alone in restaurants and could do without the pitying looks from fellow diners. Or you're told that you're "in your head too much", a phrase that's often deployed against the quiet and cerebral. Or maybe there's another word for such people: thinkers.
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Susan Cain
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He was trying to make me his bed buddy. I declined. He gave chase." [...] "How, exactly, did you 'decline' his offer?" "By slitting his throat." The silence in the garage was broken only by the sound of water drip-dripping somewhere in the distance. Sara just stared. So did Ransom. Then the idiot male started laughing hysterically. He laughed so hard he fell off the bike and onto the scarred concrete of the garage floor. Even that didn't stop him. Elena would've kicked him, except he'd probably use the chance to pull her down with him. "Shut up before I do the same to you." He tried to stop laughing. Failed. "Jesus, Ellie. You are awesome!
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Nalini Singh (Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter, #1))
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Such days of autumnal decline hold a strange mystery which adds to the gravity of all our moods.
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Charles Nodier (Smarra & Trilby)
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It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion--its message becomes meaningless.
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Abraham Joshua Heschel (God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism)
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It’s ridiculous, when I think about it. How did I find myself here? I wonder where it started, my decline; I wonder at what point I could have halted it. Where did I take the wrong turn?
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Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train)
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Marriage is a duel to the death which no man of honour should decline.
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G.K. Chesterton
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What is truth? For the multitude, that which it continually reads and hears.
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Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West, Vol 2: Perspectives of World History)
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Sara held up a hand. 'How exactly did you "decline" his offer?' 'By slitting his throat.
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Nalini Singh (Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter, #1))
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Decline is also a form of voluptuousness, just like growth. Autumn is just as sensual as springtime. There is as much greatness in dying as in procreation.
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Iwan Goll
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Strip back the beliefs pasted on by governesses, schools, and states, you find indelible truths at one's core. Rome'll decline and fall again, CortΓ©s'll lay TenochtitlΓ‘n to waste again, and later, Ewing will sail again, Adrian'll be blown to pieces again, you and I'll sleep under the Corsican stars again, I'll come to Bruges again, fall in and out of love with Eva again, you'll read this letter again, the sun'll grow cold again. Nietzsche's gramophone record. When it ends, the Old One plays it again, for an eternity of eternities.
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David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
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Nothing stands still - everything is being born, growing, dying - the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline - the law of rhythm is in constant operations....
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Three Initiates (Kybalion: A Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece)
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The press today is an army with carefully organized weapons, the journalists its officers, the readers its soldiers. The reader neither knows nor is supposed to know the purposes for which he is used and the role he is to play.
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Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West)
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What makes us leave what we love best? What is it inside us that keeps erasing itself When we need it most, That sends us into uncertainty for its own sake And holds us flush there until we begin to love it And have to begin again? What is it within our own lives we decline to live Whenever we find it, making our days unendurable, And nights almost visionless? I still don't know yet, but I do it.
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Charles Wright (Littlefoot: A Poem)
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Psychologists call this habituation, economists call it declining marginal utility, and the rest of us call it marriage.
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Daniel Todd Gilbert (Stumbling on Happiness)
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Sometimes I would get invited to a party or to go out to dinner by one of them and I would decline. Part of me wanted to go, but those kind of outings always made me feel even more alienated than usual. Hearing them talk made me feel lonely and hateful at the same time. Lonely because I didn't fit in, never did. When I was reminded, it hurt. And hateful because it reaffirmed what I already knew, that I was alone and on the outside.
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Henry Rollins (The Portable Henry Rollins)
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Fiction is a kind of compassion-generating machine that saves us from sloth. Is life kind or cruel? Yes, Literature answers. Are people good or bad? You bet, says Literature. But unlike other systems of knowing, Literature declines to eradicate one truth in favor of another; rather, it teaches us to abide with the fact that, in their own way, all things are true, and helps us, in the face of this terrifying knowledge, continually push ourselves in the direction of Open the Hell Up.
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George Saunders
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Declining from the public ways, walk in unfrequented paths.
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Pythagoras
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My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares, And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest, Where can we finde two better hemispheares Without sharpe North, without declining West? What ever dyes, was not mixt equally; If our two loves be one, or, thou and I Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.
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John Donne (The Complete English Poems)
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For no one, in our long decline, So dusty, spiteful and divided, Had quite such pleasant friends as mine, Or loved them half as much as I did.
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Hilaire Belloc
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The terrible predicament of a beautiful girl is that only an experienced womanizer, someone cynical and without scruple, feels up to the challenge. More often than not, she will lose her virginity to some filthy lowlife in what proves to be the first step in an irrevocable decline.
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Michel Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles)
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Don't become a random photograph in the eyes of friends, and even your enemies, for each glance at your face will cause a declination of value and reputation. Create value, through scarcity.
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Michael Bassey Johnson
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Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone; For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own. Sing, and the hills will answer; Sigh, it is lost on the air; The echoes bound to a joyful sound, But shrink from voicing care. Rejoice, and men will seek you; Grieve, and they turn and go; They want full measure of all your pleasure, But they do not need your woe. Be glad, and your friends are many; Be sad, and you lose them all,β€” There are none to decline your nectared wine, But alone you must drink life’s gall. Feast, and your halls are crowded; Fast, and the world goes by. Succeed and give, and it helps you live, But no man can help you die. There is room in the halls of pleasure For a large and lordly train, But one by one we must all file on Through the narrow aisles of pain.
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Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Freedom is indivisible. As soon as one starts to restrict it, one enters upon a decline on which it is difficult to stop.
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Ludwig von Mises
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When forced to leave my house for an extended period of time, I take my typewriter with me, and together we endure the wretchedness of passing through the X-ray scanner. The laptops roll merrily down the belt, while I’m instructed to stand aside and open my bag. To me it seems like a normal enough thing to be carrying, but the typewriter’s declining popularity arouses suspicion and I wind up eliciting the sort of reaction one might expect when traveling with a cannon. It’s a typewriter,’ I say. β€˜You use it to write angry letters to airport security.
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David Sedaris
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I have very few rules in life, but one of them is to never decline an adventure. The others are: to avoid becoming romantically entangled with sea creatures; to always ask for what you want, because the worst thing that can happen is embarrassment but the best thing that can happen is nudity; to demand ready money up front; and to never play cards with Catarina Loss.
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Cassandra Clare (Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale (The Bane Chronicles, #3))
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The line between the public life and the private life has been erased, due to the rapid decline of manners and courtesy. There is a certain crudeness and crassness that has suddenly become accepted behavior, even desirable.
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Fannie Flagg (Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! (Elmwood Springs, #1))
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It surprised him that his grief was sharper than in the past few days. He had forgotten that grief does not decline in a straight line or along a slow curve like a graph in a child's math book. Instead, it was almost as if his body contained a big pile of garden rubbish full both of heavy lumps of dirt and of sharp thorny brush that would stab him when he least expected it.
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Helen Simonson (Major Pettigrew's Last Stand)
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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.
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Theodor W. Adorno
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Despair is a form of certainty, certainty that the future will be a lot like the present or decline from it. Optimism is similarly confident about what will happen. Both are grounds for not acting. Hope can be the knowledge that reality doesn't necessarily match our plans.
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Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me)
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I wonder, sometimes, whether men and women in fact are capable of learning from history--whether we progress from one stage to the next in an upward course or whether we just ride the cycles of boom and bust, war and peace, ascent and decline.
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Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
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I must decline your invitation owing to a subsequent engagement.
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Oscar Wilde
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The decline of literature indicates the decline of a nation.
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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A civilization begins to decline the moment Life becomes its sole obsession.
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Emil M. Cioran
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Ranger declined the butterscotch pudding, not wanting to disrupt the consistency of his blood sugar level. I had two puddings and coffee, choosing to keep my pancreas at peak performance. Use it or lose it is my philosophy.
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Janet Evanovich (Three to Get Deadly (Stephanie Plum, #3))
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Through money, democracy becomes its own destroyer, after money has destroyed intellect.
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Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West)
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A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage . . . . Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elite, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society.
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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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I believe in courtesy. It is the way we avoid hurting people's feelings. She thought that maybe, just maybe, western civilization was in decline because people did not take time to take tea at four o'clock.
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E.L. Konigsburg (The View from Saturday)
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...status, as in any traditional, class-conscious society, declines more slowly than wealth.
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Mohsin Hamid (The Reluctant Fundamentalist)
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I hated cranberry sauce, but for some reason my mom persisted in her lifelong belief that it was my very favorite food, even though every single Thanksgiving I politely declined to include it on my plate.
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John Green (Looking for Alaska)
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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.
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Thomas Jefferson (Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters)
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A child, more than all other gifts That earth can offer to declining man, Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts." β€”WORDSWORTH.
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George Eliot (Silas Marner)
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I don't know if people have gotten ruder or if my tolerance level has declined.
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Tim Gunn
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Pessimism is not in being tired of evil but in being tired of good. Despair does not lie in being weary of suffering, but in being weary of joy. It is when for some reason or other the good things in a society no longer work that the society begins to decline; when its food does not feed, when its cures do not cure, when its blessings refuse to bless. We might almost say that in a society without such good things we should hardly have any test by which to register a decline; that is why some of the static commercial oligarchies like Carthage have rather an air in history of standing and staring like mummies, so dried up and swathed and embalmed that no man knows when they are new or old.
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G.K. Chesterton (The Everlasting Man)
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You can’t become a billionaire stepping over children sleeping on the street.
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Bernie Sanders (The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class)
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I decline the coffee. I don't drink it, because no matter how much sugar I put into it, it still tastes like ass-water to me. Maybe it's because my taste buds are so desensitized to sweet that anything not comprised of at least ninety percent sugar tastes wrong
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Katja Millay (The Sea of Tranquility)
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Should one point out that from ancient times decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end?
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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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Pessimism is not in being tired of evil but in being tired of good. Despair does not lie in being weary of suffering, but in being weary of joy. It is when for some reason or other good things in a society no longer work that the society begins to decline; when its food does not feed, when its cures do not cure, when its blessings refuse to bless.
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G.K. Chesterton (The Everlasting Man)
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As people age, they confuse changes in themselves with changes in the world, and changes in the world with moral declineβ€”the illusion of the good old days.
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Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
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It takes constant vigilance not to slip into negativity or simple apathy. It takes courage to believe over any given period of time that we are getting better and not sliding into decline.
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Julia Cameron (Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance)
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Western civilization was declining too fast for comfort, but too slowly to be very exciting.
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Tom Robbins (Still Life with Woodpecker)
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The most worthless of mankind are not afraid to condemn in others the same disorders which they allow in themselves; and can readily discover some nice difference in age, character, or station, to justify the partial distinction.
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Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
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If we were to do the Second Coming of Christ in color for a full hour, there would be a considerable number of stations which would decline to carry it on the grounds that a Western or a quiz show would be more profitable.
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Edward R. Murrow
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Edward Gibbon, in his classic work on the fall of the Roman Empire, describes the Roman era's declension as a place where "bizarreness masqueraded as creativity.
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Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
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I sometimes think that there is a link between the decline in humanity and the increase in prosperity and comfort. Property and comfort are what people seek, but the costs to character are often terrifying.
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Mo Yan (Red Sorghum)
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When poverty declines, the need for government declines, which is why expecting government to solve poverty is like expecting a tobacco company to mount an aggressive anti-smoking campaign.
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Stefan Molyneux
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Revenge is profitable, gratitude is expensive.
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Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
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I decline utterly to be impartial between the fire brigade and the fire.
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Winston S. Churchill
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Thank you, but we respectfully decline your overture, being more enjoyably occupied at present.
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Laini Taylor (Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2))
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Osbert was the only one who didn't seem suspicious. He was so interested in the Decline of Western Civilization that he missed the version of it taking place under his nose.
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Meg Rosoff (How I Live Now)
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Whoever then would be free, let him wish for nothing, let him decline nothing, which depends on others; else he must necessarily be a slave.
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Epictetus (The Enchiridion of Epictetus)
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More recently, books, especially paperbacks, have been printed in massive and inexpensive editions. For the price of a modest meal you can ponder the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, the origin of species, the interpretation of dreams, the nature of things. Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil.
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Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
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Naw, Jem. I think that there is just one kind of folks. Folks." Jen turned and punched his pillow. WHen he settle back his face was cloudy. He was going in to one of his declines, and I grew wary. His brows came together; his mouth became a thin line. He was silent for a while. That is what I thought, too," he said at last, "when I was your age. If there is just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other? If they're all alike, why do they go ut of their way to despise each other? Scout, I think I am beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley stayed shut up in the house all this time...it's because he wants to stay inside
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Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
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Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.
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Aristotle
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I respectfully decline the invitation to join your hallucination.
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Scott Adams
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I would rather decline two drinks than one German adjective.
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Mark Twain
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Morality, then, is not a set of arbitrary regulations dictated by a vengeful deity and written down in a book; nor is it the custom of a particular culture or tribe. It is a consequence of the interchangeability of perspectives and the opportunity the world provides for positive-sum games.
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Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
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Challenge a person's beliefs, and you challenge his dignity, standing, and power. And when those beliefs are based on nothing but faith, they are chronically fragile. No one gets upset about the belief that rocks fall down as opposed to up, because all sane people can see it with their own eyes. Not so for the belief that babies are born with original sin or that God exists in three persons or that Ali is the second-most divinely inspired man after Muhammad. When people organize their lives around these beliefs, and then learn of other people who seem to be doing just fine without them--or worse, who credibly rebut them--they are in danger of looking like fools. Since one cannot defend a belief based on faith by persuading skeptics it is true, the faithful are apt to react to unbelief with rage, and may try to eliminate that affront to everything that makes their lives meaningful.
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Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
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Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity,decline,disgrace,honor,praise,censure,suffering, and pleasure.They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds.
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Nichiren Daishonin (The Major Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Volume 5)
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The only people who should be allowed to govern countries with nuclear weapons are mothers, those who are still breastfeeding their babies."--Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only survivor of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.
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Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
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Decadence is a moral and spiritual disease, resulting from too long a period of wealth and power, producing cynicism, decline of religion, pessimism and frivolity. The citizens of such a nation will no longer make an effort to save themselves, because they are not convinced that anything in life is worth saving.
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John Bagot Glubb (The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival)
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A cherry pie is . . . ephemeral. From the moment it emerges from the oven it begins a steep decline: from too hot to edible to cold to stale to mouldy, and finally to a post-pie state where only history can tell you that it was once considered food. The pie is a parable of human life.
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Nick Harkaway (The Gone-Away World)
β€œ
One day the last portrait of Rembrandt and the last bar of Mozart will have ceased to be β€” though possibly a colored canvas and a sheet of notes will remain β€” 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)
β€œ
War, in its fairest form, implies a perpetual violation of humanity and justice.
”
”
Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
β€œ
More coffee?” Hodges declines with a smile. Hot can only do so much for bad coffee.
”
”
Stephen King (Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1))
β€œ
A day, a livelong day, is not one thing but many. It changes not only in growing light toward zenith and decline again, but in texture and mood, in tone and meaning, warped by a thousand factors of season, of heat or cold, of still or multi winds, torqued by odors, tastes, and the fabrics of ice or grass, of bud or leaf or black-drawn naked limbs. And as a day changes so do its subjects, bugs and birds, cates, dogs, butterflies and people.
”
”
John Steinbeck (The Winter of Our Discontent)
β€œ
The Good-Morrow I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I Did, till we lov'd? Were we not wean'd till then? But suck'd on countrey pleasures, childishly? Or snorted we in the seaven sleepers den? T'was so; But this, all pleasures fancies bee. If ever any beauty I did see, Which I desir'd, and got, 'twas but a dreame of thee. And now good morrow to our waking soules, Which watch not one another out of feare; For love, all love of other sights controules, And makes one little roome, an every where. Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone, Let Maps to other, worlds on worlds have showne, Let us possesse one world; each hath one, and is one. My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares, And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest, Where can we finde two better hemispheares Without sharpe North, without declining West? What ever dyes, was not mixed equally; If our two loves be one, or, thou and I Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.
”
”
John Donne (The Complete English Poems)
β€œ
Every Socialist outbreak only blazes new paths for Capitalism.
”
”
Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West)
β€œ
The theory that religion is a force for peace, often heard among the religious right and its allies today, does not fit the facts of history.
”
”
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
Ace!" Tate shouted, both Wendy and I jumped and twisted our necks to look his way. "You cashed out or what?" Tate asked still in a shout. "I'm cashed out," I shouted back. "You wanna socialize for the next hour or are we gonna go?" He was still shouting and I was acutely aware, due to the fact that the noise level declined significantly, that the entire bar was listening. "Keep your pants on!" I yelled. The noise level disappeared. "Babe, get your ass over here," Tate ordered. "Patience, Captain, I'm talking to Wendy," I shot back. "Ass. Over. Here!" Tate commanded. I looked at Wendy and snapped loudly, "He's so darned bossy!" Two men and a woman sitting at the bar close to us burst out laughing. "You better get your ass over there," Wendy advised, I rolled my eyes and stomped across the bar.
”
”
Kristen Ashley (Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain, #2))
β€œ
Remember to act always as if you were at a symposium. When the food or drink comes around, reach out and take some politely; if it passes you by don't try pulling it back. And if it has not reached you yet, don't let your desire run ahead of you, be patient until your turn comes. Adopt a similar attitude with regard to children, wife, wealth and status, and in time, you will be entitled to dine with the gods. Go further and decline these goods even when they are on offer and you will have a share in the gods' power as well as their company. That is how Diogenes, Heraclitus and philosophers like them came to be called, and considered, divine.
”
”
Epictetus (The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness)
β€œ
To-day we live so cowed under the bombardment of this intellectual artillery(the media) that hardly anyone can attain to the inward detachment that is required for a clear view of the monstrous drama. The will-to-power operating under a pure democratic disguise has finished off its masterpiece so well that the object's sense of freedom is actually flattered by the most thorough-going enslavement that has ever existed
”
”
Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West, Vol 2: Perspectives of World History)
β€œ
... it's not whiteness itself that sets Them against Us, but the worship of whiteness. Same goes if you swap whiteness out for other things-- fancy possessions for sure, pedigree, maybe youth too... we beat Them (and spare ourselves a lot of tedium and terror) by declining to worship.
”
”
Helen Oyeyemi (Boy, Snow, Bird)
β€œ
He was a man of very few words, and as it was impossible to talk, one had to keep silent. It’s hard work talking to some people, most often males. I have a Theory about it. With age, many men come down with testosterone autism, the symptoms of which are a gradual decline in social intelligence and capacity for interpersonal communication, as well as a reduced ability to formulate thoughts. The Person beset by this Ailment becomes taciturn and appears to be lost in contemplation. He develops an interest in various Tools and machinery, and he’s drawn to the Second World War and the biographies of famous people, mainly politicians and villains. His capacity to read novels almost entirely vanishes; testosterone autism disturbs the character’s psychological understanding.
”
”
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
β€œ
Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No, really, I couldn’t she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat. Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that isn’t a person with discipline; that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy. A slice of cake never made anybody fat. You don’t eat the whole cake. You don’t eat a cake every day of your life. You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that’s safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what’s served on the happiest days of your life. This is a story of how my life was saved by cake, so, of course, if sides are to be taken, I will always take the side of cake.
”
”
Jeanne Ray
β€œ
I am convinced that when Nietzsche came to Switzerland and went insane, it was not because of venereal disease, though he did have this disease. Rather, it was because he understood that insanity was the only philosophic answer if the infinite-personal God does not exist.
”
”
Francis A. Schaeffer (How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture)
β€œ
All genius is a conquering of chaos and mystery.
”
”
Otto Weininger
β€œ
For years, I declined to fill in the form for my Senate press credential that asked me to state my 'race,' unless I was permitted to put 'human.' The form had to be completed under penalty of perjury, so I could not in conscience put 'white,' which is not even a color let alone a 'race,' and I sternly declined to put 'Caucasian,' which is an exploded term from a discredited ethnology. Surely the essential and unarguable core of King's campaign was the insistence that pigmentation was a false measure: a false measure of mankind (yes, mankind) and an inheritance from a time of great ignorance and stupidity and cruelty, when one drop of blood could make you 'black.
”
”
Christopher Hitchens
β€œ
What I'm primarily saying,' he says, 'is that this is a time for knowledge assimilation, not backstabbing. We learned a lesson, you and I. We personally grew. Gratitude for this growth is an appropriate response. Gratitude, and being careful never to make the same mistake twice.
”
”
George Saunders (CivilWarLand in Bad Decline)
β€œ
I have my own theory about why decline happens at companies like IBM or Microsoft. The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesmen, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues, not the product engineers and designers. So the salespeople end up running the company.
”
”
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
β€œ
I have a sense that God is unfair and preferentially punishes his weak, his dumb, his fat, his lazy. I believe he takes more pleasure in his perfect creatures, and cheers them on like a brainless dad as they run roughshod over the rest of us. He gives us a need for love, and no way to get any. He gives us a desire to be liked, and personal attributes that make us utterly unlikable. Having placed his flawed and needy children in a world of exacting specifications, he deducts the difference between what we have and what we need from our hearts and our self-esteem and our mental health.
”
”
George Saunders (CivilWarLand in Bad Decline)
β€œ
Your god, sir, is the World. In my eyes, you, too, if not an infidel, are an idolater. I conceive that you ignorantly worship: in all things you appear to me too superstitious. Sir, your god, your great Bel, your fish-tailed Dagon, rises before me as a demon. You, and such as you, have raised him to a throne, put on him a crown, given him a sceptre. Behold how hideously he governs! See him busied at the work he likes best -- making marriages. He binds the young to the old, the strong to the imbecile. He stretches out the arm of Mezentius and fetters the dead to the living. In his realm there is hatred -- secret hatred: there is disgust -- unspoken disgust: there is treachery -- family treachery: there is vice -- deep, deadly, domestic vice. In his dominions, children grow unloving between parents who have never loved: infants are nursed on deception from their very birth: they are reared in an atmosphere corrupt with lies ... All that surrounds him hastens to decay: all declines and degenerates under his sceptre. Your god is a masked Death.
”
”
Charlotte BrontΓ« (Shirley)
β€œ
There is no proletarian, not even a Communist movement, that has not operated in the interests of money, and for the time being permitted by money - and that without the idealists among its leaders having the slightest suspicion of the fact.
”
”
Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West)
β€œ
... as long as mankind shall continue to bestow more liberal applause on their destroyers than their benefactors, the thirst of military glory will ever be the vice of the most exalted characters.
”
”
Edward Gibbon (The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume I)
β€œ
You will be interested to hear, Hilary, that it [the drug] had a most remarkable effect β€” even on Selena after a very modest quantity. She cast off all conventional restraints and devoted herself without shame to the pleasure of the moment." I asked for particulars of this uncharacteristic conduct. "She took from her handbag a paperback edition of Pride and Prejudice and sat on the sofa reading it, declining all offers of conversation.
”
”
Sarah Caudwell (The Shortest Way to Hades (Hilary Tamar, #2))
β€œ
Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society, the way that a child catches the measles. But people with understanding realize that their presuppositions should be *chosen* after a careful consideration of which worldview is true.
”
”
Francis A. Schaeffer (How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture)
β€œ
They tell us we must learn to live with less, and teach our children that their lives will be less full and prosperous than ours have been; that the America of the coming years will be a place where β€” because of our past excesses β€” it will be impossible to dream and make those dreams come true. I don't believe that. And, I don't believe you do either. That is why I am seeking the presidency. I cannot and will not stand by and see this great country destroy itself. Our leaders attempt to blame their failures on circumstances beyond their control, on false estimates by unknown, unidentifiable experts who rewrite modern history in an attempt to convince us our high standard of living, the result of thrift and hard work, is somehow selfish extravagance which we must renounce as we join in sharing scarcity. I don't agree that our nation must resign itself to inevitable decline, yielding its proud position to other hands. I am totally unwilling to see this country fail in its obligation to itself and to the other free peoples of the world.
”
”
Ronald Reagan
β€œ
Today you can buy the Dialogues of Plato for less than you would spend on a fifth of whiskey, or Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for the price of a cheap shirt. You can buy a fair beginning of an education in any bookstore with a good stock of paperback books for less than you would spend on a week's supply of gasoline.
”
”
Louis L'Amour (Education of a Wandering Man)
β€œ
We musn't forget old people with their rotten bodies, old people who are so close to death, something that young people don't want to think about. We musn't forget that our bodies decline, friends die, everyone forgets about us, and the end is solitude. Nor must we forget that these old people were young once, that a lifespan is pathetically short, that one day you're twenty and the next day you're eighty.
”
”
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
β€œ
I enjoy self-publishing & sending publishers rejection letters. They're like, 'Who is this guy?' And I'm like, 'the end of your industry.
”
”
Ryan Lilly (Write like no one is reading)
β€œ
The only crime is pride.
”
”
Sophocles
β€œ
I feel that if I’m going through this hellish decline, you should be going through one also . . . misery loves company, and I guess we’ve all got a streak of one hundred percent gold-plated bastard in our natures, tangled up so tightly with the good part of us that we can never get free of it.
”
”
Richard Bachman (Thinner)
β€œ
So. Yes. We're all dying. We're all crumbling into the void, one cell at a time. We are disintegrating like sugar cubes in champagne. But only women have to pretend it isn't happening. Fifty-something men wander around with their guts flopped over their waistbands and their faces looking like a busted tramp's mattress in an underpass. They sprout nasal hair and chasm-like wrinkles, and go 'Ooof!' whenever they stand up or sit down. men visibly age, every day -- but women are supposed to stop the decline at around 37, 38, and live out the next 30 or 40 years in some magical bubble where their hair is still shiny and chestnut, their face unlined, their lips puffy, and their tits up on the top third of the ribcage.
”
”
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
β€œ
The scriptures present a God who delights in genocide, rape, slavery, and the execution of nonconformists, and for millennia those writings were used to rationalize the massacre of infidels, the ownership of women, the beating of children, dominion over animals, and the persecution of heretics and homosexuals. Humanitarian reforms such as the elimination of cruel punishment, the dissemination of empathy-inducing novels, and the abolition of slavery were met with fierce opposition in their time by ecclesiastical authorities and their apologists. The elevation of parochial values to the realm of the sacred is a license to dismiss other people’s interests, and an imperative to reject the possibility of compromise.
”
”
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
Radicalism usually prospers in the gap between rising expectations and declining opportunities. This is especially true where the population is young, idle, and bored; where the art is impoverished; where entertainmentβ€”movies, theater, musicβ€”is policed or absent altogether; and where young men are set apart from the consoling and socializing presence of women.
”
”
Lawrence Wright (The Looming Tower)
β€œ
The doctrine of the sacredness of the soul sounds vaguely uplifting, but in fact is highly malignant. It discounts life on earth as just a temporary phase that people pass through, indeed, an infinitesimal fraction of their existence…the gradual replacement of lives for souls as the locus of moral value was helped along by the ascendency of skepticism and reason
”
”
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
Long ago the country bore the country-town and nourished it with her best blood. Now the giant city sucks the country dry, insatiably and incessantly demanding and devouring fresh streams of men, till it wearies and dies in the midst of an almost uninhabited waste of country.
”
”
Oswald Spengler (The Decline of the West)
β€œ
But there seems to have been an actual decline in rational thinking. The United States had become a place where entertainers and professional athletes were mistaken for people of importance. They were idolized and treated as leaders; their opinions were sought on everything and they took themselves just as seriously β€” after all, if an athlete is paid a million or more a year, he knows he is important … so his opinions of foreign affairs and domestic policies must be important, too, even though he proves himself to be both ignorant and subliterate every time he opens his mouth. (Most of his fans were just as ignorant and unlettered; the disease was spreading.)
”
”
Robert A. Heinlein (To Sail Beyond the Sunset)
β€œ
Since violence is largely a male pastime, cultures that empower women tend to move away from the glorification of violence and are less likely to breed dangerous subcultures of rootless young men.
”
”
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
If there is a Creator-God, it has used methods of creation that are indistinguishable from nature, it has declined to make itself known for all of recorded history, it doesn't intervene in affairs on earth, and has made itself impossible to observe. Even if you believe in that God... why would you think it would want to be worshiped?
”
”
David G. McAfee (Mom, Dad, I'm an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-Believer)
β€œ
It's perfectly simple," said Wednesday. "In other countries, over the years, people recognized the places of power. Sometimes it would be a natural formation, sometimes it would just be a place that was, somehow, special. They knew that something important was happening there, that there was some focusing point, some channel, some window to the Immanent. And so they would build temples or cathedrals, or erect stone circles, or...well, you get the idea." "There are churches all across the States, though," said Shadow. "In every town. Sometimes on every block. And about as significant, in this context, as dentists' offices. No, in the USA, people still get the call, or some of them, and they feel themselves being called to from the transcendent void, and they respond to it by building a model out of beer bottles of somewhere they've never visited, or by erecting a gigantic bat house in some part of the country that bats have traditionally declined to visit. Roadside attractions: people feel themselves pulled to places where, in other parts of the world, they would recognize that part of themselves that is truly transcendent, and buy a hot dog, and walk around, feeling satisfied on a level they cannot truly describe, and profoundly dissatisfied on a level beneath that.
”
”
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
β€œ
The mind in creation is as a fading coal, which some invisible influence, like an inconstant wind, awakens to transitory brightness; this power arises from within...could this influence be durable in its original purity and force, it is impossible to predict the greatness of the result; but when composition begins, inspiration is already on the decline; and the most glorious poetry that has been communicated to the world is probably a feeble shadow of the original conceptions of the poet.
”
”
Percy Bysshe Shelley
β€œ
As my son Frankie put it, Humanism has changed the Twenty-third Psalm: They began - I am my shepherd. Then - Sheep are my shepherd. Then - Everything is my shepherd. Finally - Nothing is my shepherd.
”
”
Francis A. Schaeffer (How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture)
β€œ
Like the Nazis, the cadres of jihad have a death wish that sets the seal on their nihilism. The goal of a world run by an oligarchy in possession of Teutonic genes, who may kill or enslave other 'races' according to need, is not more unrealizable than the idea that a single state, let alone the globe itself, could be governed according to the dictates of an allegedly holy book. This mad scheme begins by denying itself the talents (and the rights) of half the population, views with superstitious horror the charging of interest, and invokes the right of Muslims to subject nonbelievers to special taxes and confiscations. Not even Afghanistan or Somalia, scenes of the furthest advances yet made by pro-caliphate forces, could be governed for long in this way without setting new standards for beggary and decline.
”
”
Christopher Hitchens (The Enemy)
β€œ
It is when one begins to lose the consciousness of freedom, and when the idea of necessity enters the world at all, when there is any hurry or strain anywhere, a letter to be written or a train to catch, when you have got to work, to make the horses of the dream gallop, or to make the rifles go off, that the dream is declining, and turning into the nightmare, which belongs to the poorest and most vulgar class of dreams.
”
”
Karen Blixen (Out of Africa)
β€œ
The rich and large corporations get richer, the CEOs earn huge compensation packages, and when things get bad, don't worry; Uncle Sam and the American taxpayers are here to bail you out. But when you are in trouble, well, we just can't afford to help you, if you are in the working class or middle class of this country.
”
”
Bernie Sanders (The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class)
β€œ
The love of God is like himself – equal, constant, not capable of augmentation or diminution; our love is like ourselves – unequal, increasing, waning, growing, declining. His, like the sun, always the same in its light, though a cloud may sometimes interpose; ours, as the moon, has its enlargements and straightenings.
”
”
John Owen (Communion with the Triune God)
β€œ
Man has always been a venal animal. The growth of populations, the huge costs of war, the incessant pressure of confiscatory taxation – all these things make him more and more venal. The average man is tired and scared, and a tired, scared man can’t afford ideals. He has to buy food for his family. In our time we have seen a shocking decline in both public and private morals. You can’t expect quality from people whose lives are a subjection to a lack of quality. You can’t have quality with mass production. You don’t want it because it lasts too long. So you substitute styling, which is a commercial swindle intended to produce artificial obsolescence. Mass production couldn’t sell its goods next year unless it made what is sold this year look unfashionable a year from now. We have the whitest kitchens and the most shining bathrooms in the world. But in the lovely white kitchen the average [person] can’t produce a meal fit to eat, and the lovely shining bathroom is mostly a receptacle for deodorants, laxatives, sleeping pills, and the products of that confidence racket called the cosmetic industry. We make the finest packages in the world, Mr Marlowe. The stuff inside is mostly junk.
”
”
Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe, #6))
β€œ
According to Adams, Jefferson proposed that he, Adams, do the writing [pf the Declaration of Independence], but that he declined, telling Jefferson he must do it. Why?" Jefferson asked, as Adams would recount. Reasons enough," Adams said. What can be your reasons?" Reason first: you are a Virginian and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. Reason second: I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular. You are very much otherwise. Reason third: You can write ten times better than I can.
”
”
David McCullough (John Adams)
β€œ
Have you at any time been detained in a mental home or similar institution? If so, give particulars.' 'I was at Scone College, Oxford, for two years,' said Paul.
”
”
Evelyn Waugh (Decline and Fall)
β€œ
In this way of thinking, the fact that women show a lot of skin or that men curse in public is not a sign of cultural decay. On the contrary, it's a sign that they live in a society that is so civilized that they don't have to fear being harassed or assaulted in response.
”
”
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
Civilizations grow by agreements and accomodations and accretions, not by repudiations. The rebels and the revolutionaries are only eddies, they keep the stream from getting stagnant but they get swept down and absorbed, they're a side issue. Quiet desperation is another name for the human condition. If revolutionaries would learn that they can't remodel society by day after tomorrow -- haven't the wisdom to and shouldn't be permitted to -- I'd have more respect for them ... Civilizations grow and change and decline -- they aren't remade.
”
”
Wallace Stegner (Angle of Repose)
β€œ
Women are raised to work with dexterity, to keep their nimble fingers ready, their minds alert. It is her job to know how to handle the stream of bombs, how to kindly decline giving her number, how to move her hand from the button of her jeans, to turn down a drink. When a woman is assaulted, one of the first questions people ask is, β€˜did you say no?’ This question assumes that the answer was always yes, and that it is her job to revoke the agreement. To defuse the bomb she was given. But why are they allowed to touch us until we physically fight them off? Why is the door open until we have to slam it shut?
”
”
Chanel Miller (Know My Name)
β€œ
An ideology can provide a satisfying narrative that explains chaotic events and collective misfortunes in a way that flatters the virtue and competence of believers, while being vague or conspiratorial enough to withstand skeptical scrutiny.
”
”
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
He saw the black water and the declining sun and the swan dipping down, its white wings flashing, and slowing and slowing till silver ripples carried it home. It was a scene which seemed the heart of this land. The lowing sun and the one star waking, white wings on a black water, and the smell of rain, and the long lane fading where a voice comes in the falling night. --Ireland, said Scrotes. --Yes, this is Ireland.
”
”
Jamie O'Neill (At Swim, Two Boys)
β€œ
There was no manifestation of contemporary culture that did not indicate to my grandmother how steadfast was the nation's decline, how merciless our mental and moral deterioration, how swiftly all-embracing our final decadence. I never saw her read a book again; but she referred to books often - as if they were shrines and cathedrals of learning that television had plundered and then abandoned.
”
”
John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)
β€œ
Every culture has a myth of decline from some golden age, and almost all peoples throughout history have been pessimists. Even today pessimism still dominates huge parts of the world. An indefinite pessimist looks out onto a bleak future, but he has no idea what to do about it. This describes Europe since the early 1970s, when the continent succumbed to undirected bureaucratic drift. Today the whole Eurozone is in slow-motion crisis, and nobody is in charge. The European Central Bank doesn’t stand for anything but improvisation: the U.S. Treasury prints β€œIn God We Trust” on the dollar; the ECB might as well print β€œKick the Can Down the Road” on the euro. Europeans just react to events as they happen and hope things don’t get worse.
”
”
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
β€œ
Institutionalized torture in Christendom was not just an unthinking habit; it had a moral rationale. If you really believe that failing to accept Jesus as one's savior is a ticket to fiery damnation, then torturing a person until he acknowledges this truth is doing him the biggest favor of his life: better a few hours now than an eternity later.
”
”
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
How can one respect people as members of the human race unless one holds them to a standard of conduct and truthfulness?
”
”
Theodore Dalrymple (Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics & Culture of Decline)
β€œ
It Begins with skepticism. The history of human folly, and our own susceptibility to illusions and fallacies, tell us that men and women are fallible.
”
”
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
The theologian may indulge the pleasing task of describing Religion as she descended from Heaven, arrayed in her native purity. A more melancholy duty is imposed on the historian. He must discover the inevitable mixture of error and corruption which she contracted in a long residence upon Earth, among a weak and degenerate race of beings.
”
”
Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
β€œ
The army is the only order of men sufficiently united to concur in the same sentiments, and powerful enough to impose them on the rest of their fellow-citizens; but the temper of soldiers, habituated at once to violence and to slavery, renders them very unfit guardians of a legal, or even a civil constitution.
”
”
Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
β€œ
The ascent to greatness, however steep and dangerous, may entertain an active spirit with the consciousness and exercise of its own power: but the possession of a throne could never yet afford a lasting satisfaction to an ambitious mind.
”
”
Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
β€œ
The Barbarian hopes β€” and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too.He will consume what civilization has slowly produced after generations of selection and effort, but he will not be at pains to replace such goods, nor indeed has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being. Discipline seems to him irrational, on which account he is ever marvelling that civilization, should have offended him with priests and soldiers.... In a word, the Barbarian is discoverable everywhere in this, that he cannot make: that he can befog and destroy but that he cannot sustain; and of every Barbarian in the decline or peril of every civilization exactly that has been true. We sit by and watch the barbarian. We tolerate him in the long stretches of peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creed refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there are no smiles.
”
”
Hilaire Belloc
β€œ
Ellie, my darling, please explain to me why the office has been flooded with calls about, and I quote"--she crooked her fingers in the air--"a vicious vampire on the loose, a crazy knife-wielding maniac, and oh, this one's my favorite--an assassin carrying a gun!" "I can explain." Sara folded her arms and tapped one fashionably clad foot. "Explain why you flashed not only a knife but a gun? I hope to God you didn't actually use either of them without authoriation because if the VPA gets ahold of it, we're screwed." Elena rubbed the back of her neck. "Exigent circumstances. He was trying to make me his bed buddy. I declined. He gave chase." Ranson chocked back what sounded suspiciously like a laugh. "Why did you say no? It's been a dry spell of what, forever?" She threw him a dirty look before returning her gaze to Sara. "You know I'd never have considered using the gun otherwise." Sara heldup a hand. "How, exactly, did you 'decline' his offer?" "By slitting his throat.
”
”
Nalini Singh (Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter, #1))
β€œ
Cindy, have you heard of the second law of thermodynamics?” β€œYes. Something about heat energy can never be created or destroyed?” β€œThat’s the first law of thermodynamics. The second one is this…all organized systems tend to slide slowly into chaos and disorder. Energy tends to run down. The universe itself heads inevitably towards darkness and stasis. Our own star system eventually will die, the sun will become a red giant, and the earth will be swallowed by the red giant.” β€œCheery thought.” β€œBut mathematics has altered this concept; rather one particular mathematician. His name was Ilya Prigogine, a Belgian mathematician.” β€œWho and what does that have to do with your being a PI and a great psychologist?” β€œAre you being sarcastic? Of course you are. Anyway, what I was trying to say was that Prigogine used the analogy of a walled city and open city. The walled city is isolated from its surroundings and will run down, decay, and die. The open city will have an exchange of materials and energy with its surroundings and will become larger and more complex; capable of dissipating energy even as it grows. So my point is, this analogy very much pertains to a certain female. The walled person versus the open person. The walled person will eventually decline, fade, and decay.
”
”
Behcet Kaya (Appellate Judge (Jack Ludefance, #3))
β€œ
Why should the spread of ideas and people result in reforms that lower violence? There are several pathways. The most obvious is a debunking of ignorance and superstition. A connected and educated populace, at least in aggregate and over the long run, is bound to be disabused of poisonous beliefs, such as that members of other races and ethnicities are innately avaricious or perfidious; that economic and military misfortunes are caused by the treachery of ethnic minorities; that women don't mind to be raped; that children must be beaten to be socialized; that people choose to be homosexual as part of a morally degenerate lifestyle; that animals are incapable of feeling pain. The recent debunking of beliefs that invite or tolerate violence call to mind Voltaire's quip that those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
”
”
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
Old boy," said Grimes, "you're in love." "Nonsense!" "Smitten?" said Grimes. "No, no." "The tender passion?" "No." "Cupid's jolly little darts?" "No." "Spring fancies, love's young dream?" "Nonsense!" "Not even a quickening of the pulse?" "No." "A sweet despair?" "Certainly not." "A trembling hope?" "No." "A frisson? a Je ne sais quoi?" "Nothing of the sort." "Liar!" said Grimes.
”
”
Evelyn Waugh (Decline and Fall)
β€œ
Consider this: all the ants on the planet, taken together, have a biomass greater than that of humans. Ants have been incredibly industrious for millions of years. Yet their productiveness nourishes plants, animals, and soil. Human industry has been in full swing for little over a century, yet it has brought about a decline in almost every ecosystem on the planet. Nature doesn't have a design problem. People do.
”
”
William McDonough, Michael Braungart
β€œ
Outside the window, there slides past that unimaginable and deserted vastness where night is coming on, the sun declining in ghastly blood-streaked splendour like a public execution across, it would seem, half a continent, where live only bears and shooting stars and the wolves who lap congealing ice from water that holds within it the entire sky. All white with snow as if under dustsheets, as if laid away eternally as soon as brought back from the shop, never to be used or touched. Horrors! And, as on a cyclorama, this unnatural spectacle rolls past at twenty-odd miles an hour in a tidy frame of lace curtains only a little the worse for soot and drapes of a heavy velvet of dark, dusty blue.
”
”
Angela Carter (Nights at the Circus)
β€œ
Stories are bulls. Writers come of age full of vigor, and they feel the need to drive the old stories from the herd. One bull rules the herd awhile but then he loses his vigor and the young bulls take over. Stories are nations, empires. They can last as long as ancient Rome or as short as the Third Reich. Story-nations rise and decline. Governments change, trends rise, and they go on conquering their neighbors. Stories are people. I'm a story, you're a story . . . your father is a story. Our stories go in every direction, but sometimes, if we're lucky, our stories join into one, and for a while, we're less alone.
”
”
Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins)
β€œ
Is it just a coincidence that as the portion of our income spent on food has declined, spending on health care has soared? In 1960 Americans spent 17.5 percent of their income on food and 5.2 percent of national income on health care. Since then, those numbers have flipped: Spending on food has fallen to 9.9 percent, while spending on heath care has climbed to 16 percent of national income. I have to think that by spending a little more on healthier food we could reduce the amount we have to spend on heath care.
”
”
Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto)
β€œ
This separation was absolute in our original Republic. But the sky-godders do not give up easily. In the 1950s they actually got the phrase In God We Trust onto the currency, in direct violation of the First Amendment.
”
”
Gore Vidal (The Decline and Fall of the American Empire)
β€œ
This process of assimilation, which takes place in depth, requires a state of relaxation that is becoming rarer and rarer. If sleep is the apogee of physical relaxation, boredom is the apogee of mental relaxation. Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away. His nesting places - the activities that are intimately associated with boredom - are already extinct in the cities and are declining in the country as well. With this the gift for listening is lost and the community of listeners disappears. For storytelling is always the art of repeated stories, and this art is lost when the stories are no longer retained.
”
”
Walter Benjamin (Illuminations: Essays and Reflections)
β€œ
The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.
”
”
Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
β€œ
When I was first aware that I had been laid low by the disease, I felt a need, among other things, to register a strong protest against the word "depression." Depression, most people know, used to be termed "melancholia," a word which appears in English as the year 1303 and crops up more than once in Chaucer, who in his usage seemed to be aware of its pathological nuances. "Melancholia" would still appear to be a far more apt and evocative word for the blacker forms of the disorder, but it was usurped by a noun with a blank tonality and lacking any magisterial presence, used indifferently to describe an economic decline or a rut in the ground, a true wimp of a word for such a major illness. It may be that the scientist generally held responsible for its currency in modern times, a Johns Hopkins Medical School faculty member justly venerated -- the Swiss-born psychiatrist Adolf Meyer -- had a tin ear for the finer rhythms of English and therefore was unaware of the semantic damage he had inflicted for such a dreadful and raging disease. Nonetheless, for over seventy-five years the word has slithered innocuously through the language like a slug, leaving little trace of its intrinsic malevolence and preventing, by its insipidity, a general awareness of the horrible intensity of the disease when out of control.
”
”
William Styron (Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness)
β€œ
I'm not a bad guy. If only I could stop hoping. If only I could say to my heart: Give up. Be alone forever. There's always opera. There's angel-food cake and neighborhood children caroling, and the look of autumn leaves on a wet roof. But no. My heart's some kind of idiotic fishing bobber.
”
”
George Saunders (CivilWarLand in Bad Decline)
β€œ
That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is only that God's appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide. Then they shall be left to fall, as they are inclined by their own weight. God will not hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands on such slippery declining ground, on the edge of a pit, he cannot stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.
”
”
Jonathan Edwards (Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God)
β€œ
On Drinking Alone by Moonlight Here are flowers and here is wine, But where’s a friend with me to join Hand in hand and heart to heart In one full cup before we part? Rather than to drink alone, I’ll make bold to ask the moon To condescend to lend her face The hour and the scene to grace. Lo, she answers, and she brings My shadow on her silver wings; That makes three, and we shall be. I ween, a merry company The modest moon declines the cup, But shadow promptly takes it up, And when I dance my shadow fleet Keeps measure with my flying feet. But though the moon declines to tipple She dances in yon shining ripple, And when I sing, my festive song, The echoes of the moon prolong. Say, when shall we next meet together? Surely not in cloudy weather, For you my boon companions dear Come only when the sky is clear.
”
”
Li Bai (The Works Of Li Po: The Chinese Poet (1922))
β€œ
Meanwhile, improving by 1 percent isn’t particularly notableβ€”sometimes it isn’t even noticeableβ€”but it can be far more meaningful, especially in the long run. The difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding. Here’s how the math works out: if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. Conversely, if you get 1 percent worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero. What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more.
”
”
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
β€œ
A strange mood has seized the almost-educated young. They're on the march, angry at times, but mostly needful, longing for authority's blessing, its validation of their chosen identities. The decline of the West in new guise perhaps. Or the exaltation and liberation of the self. A social-media site famously proposes seventy-one gender options – neutrois, two spirit, bigender…any colour you like, Mr Ford. Biology is not destiny after all, and there's cause for celebration. A shrimp is neither limiting nor stable. I declare my undeniable feeling for who I am. If I turn out to be white, I may identify as black. And vice versa. I may announce myself as disabled, or disabled in context. If my identity is that of a believer, I'm easily wounded, my flesh torn to bleeding by any questioning of my faith. Offended, I enter a state of grace. Should inconvenient opinions hover near me like fallen angels or evil djinn (a mile being too near), I'll be in need of the special campus safe room equipped with Play-Doh and looped footage of gambolling puppies. Ah, the intellectual life! I may need advance warning if upsetting books or ideas threaten my very being by coming too close, breathing on my face, my brain, like unwholesome drugs.
”
”
Ian McEwan (Nutshell)
β€œ
He stood up and took a step toward her. "There has been a request for your hand in marriage." "Is that why you kissed me? So you could take me home and then marry me to a man I don't love? Who is he?" she demanded, emotionally spent now and uncaring that tears were streaming down her face. He started toward her. "Don't you dare kiss me again," she ordered. "I can't think when you… Just don't," she stammered. "And as for the offer, I decline." "You can't decline until you know who he is," he reasoned. "All right. Tell me his name, and then I'll decline. You're going to praise him first though, aren't you? That's what you always do to try to get me to agree," she ended, and even she could hear the heartbreak in her voice. "No, I'm not going to praise him. He's riddled with flaws." She stopped trying to run away. "He is?" He slowly nodded. "I have it on good authority that he's stupid and arrogant and obstinate, or at least he was until he realized what a fool he has been." "But that's what I said about… you." "I love you, Bridgid. Will you marry me?
”
”
Julie Garwood (Ransom (Highlands' Lairds, #2))
β€œ
Boys [should be] inured from childhood to trifling risks and slight dangers of every possible description, such as tumbling into ponds and off of trees, etc., in order to strengthen their nervous system... They ought to practice leaping off heights into deep water. They ought never to hesitate to cross a stream over a narrow unsafe plank for fear of a ducking. They ought never to decline to climb up a tree, to pull fruit merely because there is a possibility of their falling off and breaking their necks. I firmly believe that boys were intended to encounter all kinds of risks, in order to prepare them to meet and grapple with risks and dangers incident to man’s career with cool, cautious self-possession...
”
”
R.M. Ballantyne
β€œ
Are you afraid of him? Are you getting distant from friends or family because he makes those relationships difficult? Is your level of energy and motivation declining, or do you feel depressed? Is your self-opinion declining, so that you are always fighting to be good enough and to prove yourself? Do you find yourself constantly preoccupied with the relationship and how to fix it? Do you feel like you can’t do anything right? Do you feel like the problems in your relationship are all your fault? Do you repeatedly leave arguments feeling like you’ve been messed with but can’t figure out exactly why?
”
”
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
β€œ
Death was a blessing, so great, so deep that we can fathom it only at those moments, like this one now, when we are reprieved from it. It was the return home from long, unspeakably painful wanderings, the correction of a great error, the loosening of tormenting chains, the removal of barriers---it set a horrible accident to rights again.
”
”
Thomas Mann (Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family)
β€œ
Pity preserves things that are ripe for decline, it defends things that have been disowned and condemned by life, and it gives a depressive and questionable character to life itself by keeping alive an abundance of failures of every type. People have dared to call pity a virtue… people have gone even further, making it into the virtue, the foundation and source of all virtues, - but of course you always have to keep in mind that this was the perspective of a nihilistic philosophy that inscribed the negation of life on its shield. Schopenhauer was right here: pity negates life, it makes life worthy of negation, - pity is the practice of nihilism. Once more: this depressive and contagious instinct runs counter to the instincts that preserve and enhance the value of life: by multiplying misery just as much as by conserving everything miserable, pity is one of the main tools used to increase decadence - pity wins people over to nothingness! … You do not say β€˜nothingness’ : instead you say β€˜the beyond’; or β€˜God’; or β€˜the true life’; or nirvana, salvation, blessedness … This innocent rhetoric from the realm of religious-moral idiosyncrasy suddenly appears much less innocent when you see precisely which tendencies are wrapped up inside these sublime words: tendencies hostile to life.
”
”
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Anti-Christ)
β€œ
Health is normal. The human body is a self-repairing, self-defending, self-healing marvel. Disease is relatively difficult to induce, considering the body's powerful immune system. However, this complicated and delicate machinery can be damaged if fed the wrong fuel during the formative years. ... Healthy living with nutritional excellence throughout life can slow the decline of aging. It can prevent the years and years of suffering in ill health that is so common today as people get older and become dependent on medical treatments, drugs, and surgery. Nutritional excellence is the only real fountain of youth.
”
”
Joel Fuhrman (Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right)
β€œ
When trees grow together, nutrients and water can be optimally divided among them all so that each tree can grow into the best tree it can be. If you "help" individual trees by getting rid of their supposed competition, the remaining trees are bereft. They send messages out to their neighbors in vain, because nothing remains but stumps. Every tree now muddles along on its own, giving rise to great differences in productivity. Some individuals photosynthesize like mad until sugar positively bubbles along their trunk. As a result, they are fit and grow better, but they aren't particularly long-lived. This is because a tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it. And there are now a lot of losers in the forest. Weaker members, who would once have been supported by the stronger ones, suddenly fall behind. Whether the reason for their decline is their location and lack of nutrients, a passing malaise, or genetic makeup, they now fall prey to insects and fungi. But isn't that how evolution works? you ask. The survival of the fittest? Their well-being depends on their community, and when the supposedly feeble trees disappear, the others lose as well. When that happens, the forest is no longer a single closed unit. Hot sun and swirling winds can now penetrate to the forest floor and disrupt the moist, cool climate. Even strong trees get sick a lot over the course of their lives. When this happens, they depend on their weaker neighbors for support. If they are no longer there, then all it takes is what would once have been a harmless insect attack to seal the fate even of giants.
”
”
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World)
β€œ
In an alleged democracy, the image of the public sphere with its appeal to dialogue and shared responsibility has given way to the spectacle of unbridled intolerance, ignorance, seething private fears, unchecked anger, along with the decoupling of reason from freedom. … What this decline in civility, the emergence of mob behavior …suggests is that we have become one of the most illiterate nations on the planet. I don't mean illiterate in the sense of not being able to read … The new illiteracy is about more than learning how to read the book or the word; it is about learning how not to read the world. … As a result of this widespread illiteracy that has come to dominate American culture we have moved from a culture of questioning to a culture of shouting, and in doing so have restaged politics and power in both unproductive and anti-democratic ways.
”
”
Henry A. Giroux
β€œ
Globalization makes it impossible for modern societies to collapse in isolation, as did Easter Island and the Greenland Norse in the past. Any society in turmoil today, no matter how remote ... can cause trouble for prosperous societies on other continents and is also subject to their influence (whether helpful or destabilizing). For the first time in history, we face the risk of a global decline. But we also are the first to enjoy the opportunity of learning quickly from developments in societies anywhere else in the world today, and from what has unfolded in societies at any time in the past. That's why I wrote this book.
”
”
Jared Diamond (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed)
β€œ
76. David Hume – Treatise on Human Nature; Essays Moral and Political; An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding 77. Jean-Jacques Rousseau – On the Origin of Inequality; On the Political Economy; Emile – or, On Education, The Social Contract 78. Laurence Sterne – Tristram Shandy; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy 79. Adam Smith – The Theory of Moral Sentiments; The Wealth of Nations 80. Immanuel Kant – Critique of Pure Reason; Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals; Critique of Practical Reason; The Science of Right; Critique of Judgment; Perpetual Peace 81. Edward Gibbon – The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Autobiography 82. James Boswell – Journal; Life of Samuel Johnson, Ll.D. 83. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier – TraitΓ© Γ‰lΓ©mentaire de Chimie (Elements of Chemistry) 84. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison – Federalist Papers 85. Jeremy Bentham – Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation; Theory of Fictions 86. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – Faust; Poetry and Truth 87. Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier – Analytical Theory of Heat 88. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel – Phenomenology of Spirit; Philosophy of Right; Lectures on the Philosophy of History 89. William Wordsworth – Poems 90. Samuel Taylor Coleridge – Poems; Biographia Literaria 91. Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice; Emma 92. Carl von Clausewitz – On War 93. Stendhal – The Red and the Black; The Charterhouse of Parma; On Love 94. Lord Byron – Don Juan 95. Arthur Schopenhauer – Studies in Pessimism 96. Michael Faraday – Chemical History of a Candle; Experimental Researches in Electricity 97. Charles Lyell – Principles of Geology 98. Auguste Comte – The Positive Philosophy 99. HonorΓ© de Balzac – PΓ¨re Goriot; Eugenie Grandet 100. Ralph Waldo Emerson – Representative Men; Essays; Journal 101. Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter 102. Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America 103. John Stuart Mill – A System of Logic; On Liberty; Representative Government; Utilitarianism; The Subjection of Women; Autobiography 104. Charles Darwin – The Origin of Species; The Descent of Man; Autobiography 105. Charles Dickens – Pickwick Papers; David Copperfield; Hard Times 106. Claude Bernard – Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine 107. Henry David Thoreau – Civil Disobedience; Walden 108. Karl Marx – Capital; Communist Manifesto 109. George Eliot – Adam Bede; Middlemarch 110. Herman Melville – Moby-Dick; Billy Budd 111. Fyodor Dostoevsky – Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Brothers Karamazov 112. Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary; Three Stories 113. Henrik Ibsen – Plays 114. Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace; Anna Karenina; What is Art?; Twenty-Three Tales 115. Mark Twain – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Mysterious Stranger 116. William James – The Principles of Psychology; The Varieties of Religious Experience; Pragmatism; Essays in Radical Empiricism 117. Henry James – The American; The Ambassadors 118. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche – Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; The Genealogy of Morals;The Will to Power 119. Jules Henri PoincarΓ© – Science and Hypothesis; Science and Method 120. Sigmund Freud – The Interpretation of Dreams; Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis; Civilization and Its Discontents; New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis 121. George Bernard Shaw – Plays and Prefaces
”
”
Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
β€œ
The supermarket shelves have been rearranged. It happened one day without warning. There is agitation and panic in the aisles, dismay in the faces of older shoppers.[…]They scrutinize the small print on packages, wary of a second level of betrayal. The men scan for stamped dates, the women for ingredients. Many have trouble making out the words. Smeared print, ghost images. In the altered shelves, the ambient roar, in the plain and heartless fact of their decline, they try to work their way through confusion. But in the end it doesn’t matter what they see or think they see. The terminals are equipped with holographic scanners, which decode the binary secret of every item, infallibly. This is the language of waves and radiation, or how the dead speak to the living. And this is where we wait together, regardless of our age, our carts stocked with brightly colored goods. A slowly moving line, satisfying, giving us time to glance at the tabloids in the racks. Everything we need that is not food or love is here in the tabloid racks. The tales of the supernatural and the extraterrestrial. The miracle vitamins, the cures for cancer, the remedies for obesity. The cults of the famous and the dead.
”
”
Don DeLillo (White Noise)
β€œ
The decline of geography in academia is easy to understand: we live in an age of ever-increasing specialization, and geography is a generalist's discipline. Imagine the poor geographer trying to explain to someone at a campus cocktail party (or even to an unsympathetic adminitrator) exactly what it is he or she studies. "Geography is Greek for 'writing about the earth.' We study the Earth." "Right, like geologists." "Well, yes, but we're interested in the whole world, not just the rocky bits. Geographers also study oceans, lakes, the water cycle..." "So, it's like oceanography or hydrology." "And the atmosphere." "Meteorology, climatology..." "It's broader than just physical geography. We're also interested in how humans relate to their planet." "How is that different from ecology or environmental science?" "Well, it encompasses them. Aspects of them. But we also study the social and economic and cultural and geopolitical sides of--" "Sociology, economics, cultural studies, poli sci." "Some geographers specialize in different world regions." "Ah, right, we have Asian and African and Latin American studies programs here. But I didn't know they were part of the geography department." "They're not." (Long pause.) "So, uh, what is it that do study then?
”
”
Ken Jennings
β€œ
The indispensability of reason does not imply that individual people are always rational or are unswayed by passion and illusion. It only means that people are capable of reason, and that a community of people who choose to perfect this faculty and to exercise it openly and fairly can collectively reason their way to sounder conclusions in the long run. As Lincoln observed, you can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
”
”
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
With the industrial proliferation of visual and audiovisual prostheses and unrestrained use of instantaneous-transmission equipment from earliest childhood onwards, we now routinely see the encoding of increasingly elaborate mental images together with a steady decline in retention rates and recall. In other words we are looking at the rapid collapse of mnemonic consolidation. This collapse seems only natural, if one remembers a contrario that seeing, and its spatio-temporal organization, precede gesture and speech and their coordination in knowing, recognizing, making known (as images of our thoughts), our thoughts themselves and cognitive functions, which are never ever passive.
”
”
Paul Virilio (The Vision Machine)
β€œ
The death of the spirit is the price of progress. Nietzsche revealed this mystery of the Western apocalypse when he announced that God was dead and that He had been murdered. This Gnostic murder is constantly committed by the men who sacrificed God to civilization. The more fervently all human energies are thrown into the great enterprise of salvation through world–immanent action, the farther the human beings who engage in this enterprise move away from the life of the spirit. And since the life the spirit is the source of order in man and society, the very success of a Gnostic civilization is the cause of its decline. A civilization can, indeed, advance and decline at the same timeβ€”but not forever. There is a limit toward which this ambiguous process moves; the limit is reached when an activist sect which represents the Gnostic truth organizes the civilization into an empire under its rule. Totalitarianism, defined as the existential rule of Gnostic activists, is the end form of progressive civilization.
”
”
Eric Voegelin (The New Science of Politics: An Introduction)
β€œ
A woman owes it to herself to have pretty things. And if she feels good she looks good. You are wrong if you think you cannot live without love. I cannot live without it. I do not mean that I go into a decline, develop odd symptons, became a caricature. I mean that I cannot live well without it. I cannot think or act or speak or write or even dream with any kind of energy in the absence of love. I feel excluded from the living world. I become cold, fish-like, immobile. I implode. My idea of absolute happiness is to sit in a hot garden all day, reading or writing, utterly safe in the knowledge that the person I love will come home to me in the evening. Every evening. I am not a romantic. I am a domesticated animal. I do not sigh and yearn for extravagant displays of passion, for the grand affair, the world well lost for love. I know all that, and know that it leaves you lonely. No, what I crave is the simplicity of routine. An evening walk, arm in arm, in fine weather. A game of cards. Time for idle talk. Preparing a meal together.
”
”
Anita Brookner (Hotel du Lac)
β€œ
I have a foreboding of America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time–when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all of the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; with our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. And when the dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites now down to 10 seconds or less, lowest-common-denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.
”
”
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
β€œ
We cultivate refinement without extravagance and knowledge without effeminacy; wealth we employ more for use than for show, and place the real disgrace of poverty not in owning to the fact but in declining the struggle against it. Our public men have, besides politics, their private affairs to attend to, and our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters; for, unlike any other nation, regarding him who takes no part in these duties not as unambitious but as useless, we Athenians are able to judge at all events if we cannot originate, and instead of looking on discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all.
”
”
Pericles
β€œ
As we age and plasticity declines, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to change in response to the world, even if we want to. We find familiar types of stimulation pleasurable; we seek out like-minded individuals to associate with, and research shows we tend to ignore or forget, or attempt to discredit, information that does not match our beliefs, or perception of the world, because it is very distressing and difficult to think and perceive in unfamiliar ways. Increasingly the aging individual acts to preserve the structures within, and when there is a mismatch between his internal neurocognitive structures and the world, he seek to change the world. In small ways he begins to micromanage his environment, to control it, and make it familiar. But this process, writ large, often leads whole cultural groups to try to impose their view of the world on other cultures, and they often become violent, especially in the modern world, where globalization has brought different cultures closer together, exacerbating the problem. Wexler's point, then, is that much of the cross-cultural conflict we see is a product of the relative decrease in plasticity. One could add that totalitarian regimes seem to have an intuitive awareness that it becomes hard for people to change after a certain age, which is why so much effort is made to indoctrinate the young from an early age.
”
”
Norman Doidge (The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science)
β€œ
Offer me?" A shrill note of indignation entered her voice. "Young man, there are three things that make Britain great. The first is our inability at playing sports." How does that make Britain great?" "Despite the certainty of loss, we try anyway with the absolute conviction that this year will be the one, regardless of all evidence to the contrary!" I raised my eyebrows, but that simply meant I could see my blood more clearly, so looked away and said nothing. "The second," she went on, "is the BBC. It may be erratic, tabloid, under-funded and unreliable, but without the World Service, obscure Dickens adaptions, the Today Program and Doctor Who, I honestly believe that the cultural and communal capacity of this country would have declined to the level of the apeman, largely owing to the advent of the mobile phone!" "Oh," I said, feeling that something was expected. "Oh" was enough. "And lastly, we have the NHS!" "This is an NHS service?" I asked incredulously. "I didn't say that, I merely pointed out that the NHS makes Britain great. Now lie still.
”
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Kate Griffin (A Madness of Angels (Matthew Swift, #1))
β€œ
To draw for a moment from an entirely different corner of my life, that part of me still attached to the biological sciences, there is ample evidence that animals β€” rats and monkeys, for example β€” that are forced into a subordinate status within their social systems adapt their brain chemistry accordingly, becoming 'depressed' in humanlike ways. Their behavior is anxious and withdrawn; the level of serotonin (the neurotransmitter boosted by some antidepressants) declines in their brains. And β€” what is especially relevant here β€” they avoid fighting even in self-defense ... My guess is that the indignities imposed on so many low-wage workers β€” the drug tests, the constant surveillance, being 'reamed out' by managers β€” are part of what keeps wages low. If you're made to feel unworthy enough, you may come to think that what you're paid is what you are actually worth.
”
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Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America)
β€œ
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? Youβ€”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.
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Saul Bellow (Herzog)
β€œ
To Selene (Moon) Hear, Goddess queen, diffusing silver light, bull-horn'd and wand'ring thro' the gloom of Night. With stars surrounded, and with circuit wide Night's torch extending, thro' the heav'ns you ride: Female and Male with borrow'd rays you shine, and now full-orb'd, now tending to decline. Mother of ages, fruit-producing Moon [Mene], whose amber orb makes Night's reflected noon: Lover of horses, splendid, queen of Night, all-seeing pow'r bedeck'd with starry light. Lover of vigilance, the foe of strife, in peace rejoicing, and a prudent life: Fair lamp of Night, its ornament and friend, who giv'st to Nature's works their destin'd end. Queen of the stars, all-wife Diana hail! Deck'd with a graceful robe and shining veil; Come, blessed Goddess, prudent, starry, bright, come moony-lamp with chaste and splendid light, Shine on these sacred rites with prosp'rous rays, and pleas'd accept thy suppliant's mystic praise.
”
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Orpheus
β€œ
The Rights Revolutions too have given us ideals that educated people today take for granted but that are virtually unprecedented in human history, such as that people of all races and creeds have equal rights, that women should be free from all forms of coercion, that children should never, ever be spanked, that students should be protected from bullying, and that there’s nothing wrong with being gay. I don’t find it at all implausible that these are gifts, in part, of a refined and widening application of reason.
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Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
Now goes under, and I watch it go under, the sun That will not rise again. Today has seen the setting, in your eyes cold and senseless as the sea, Of friendship better than bread, and of bright charity That lifts a man a little above the beasts that run. That this could be! That I should live to see Most vulgar Pride, that stale obstreperous clown, So fitted out with purple robe and crown To stand among his betters! Face to face With outraged me in this once holy place, Where Wisdom was a favoured guest and hunted Truth was harboured out of danger, He bulks enthroned, a lewd, an insupportable stranger! I would have sworn, indeed I swore it: The hills may shift, the waters may decline, Winter may twist the stem from the twig that bore it, But never your love from me, your hand from mine. Now goes under the sun, and I watch it go under. Farewell, sweet light, great wonder! You, too, farewell,-but fare not well enough to dream You have done wisely to invite the night before the darkness came.
”
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Edna St. Vincent Millay
β€œ
Footfalls echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take Towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden. Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future And time future contained in time past. (I) What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which is always present. Footfalls echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take Towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden. My words echo Thus, in your mind. But to what purpose Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves I do not know. (I) Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind Cannot bear very much reality. What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which is always present. Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children, Hidden excitedly, containing laughter. Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind Cannot bear very much reality. Time past and time future What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which is always present. (I) At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is... At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards, Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point, There would be no dance, and there is only the dance. I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time. (II) All is always now. Time past and time future Allow but a little consciousness. To be conscious is not to be in time But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden, The moment in the arbour where the rain beat, The moment in the draughty church at smokefall Be remembered; involved with past and future. Only through time time is conquered. (II) Words move, music moves Only in time; but that which is only living Can only die. Words, after speech, reach Into the silence. (V) Or say that the end precedes the beginning, And the end and the beginning were always there Before the beginning and after the end. And all is always now. Words strain, Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, Will not stay still. (V) Desire itself is movement Not in itself desirable; Love is itself unmoving, Only the cause and end of movement, Timeless, and undesiring Except in the aspect of time Caught in the form of limitation Between un-being and being. (V)
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T.S. Eliot (Four Quartets)
β€œ
Old Deuteronomy's lived a long time; He's a Cat who has lived many lives in succession. He was famous in proverb and famous in rhyme A long while before Queen Victoria's accession. Old Deuteronomy's buried nine wives And more – I am tempted to say, ninety-nine; And his numerous progeny prospers and thrives And the village is proud of him in his decline. At the sight of that placid and bland physiognomy, When he sits in the sun on the vicarage wall, The Oldest Inhabitant croaks: "Well, of all … Things … Can it be … really! … No! … Yes! … Ho! hi! Oh, my eye! My mind may be wandering, but I confess I believe it is Old Deuteronomy!" Old Deuteronomy sits in the street, He sits in the High Street on market day; The bullocks may bellow, the sheep they may bleat, But the dogs and the herdsman will turn them away. The cars and the lorries run over the kerb, And the villagers put up a notice: ROAD CLOSED β€” So that nothing untoward may chance to disturb Deuteronomy's rest when he feels so disposed Or when he's engaged in domestic economy: And the Oldest Inhabitant croaks: "Well of all … Things … Can it be … really! … No! … Yes! … Ho! hi! Oh, my eye! My sight's unreliable, but I can guess That the cause of the trouble is Old Deuteronomy!
”
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T.S. Eliot (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats)
β€œ
When the anarchist, as the mouthpiece of the declining levels of society, insists on 'right,' 'justice,' 'equal rights' with such beautiful indignation, he is just acting under the pressure of his lack of culture, which cannot grasp why he really suffers, what he is poor in– in life. A drive to find causes is powerful in him: it must be somebody's fault that he's feeling bad . . . Even his 'beautiful indignation' does him good; all poor devils like to whine--it gives them a little thrill of power. Even complaints, the act of complaining, can give life the charm on account of which one can stand to live it: there is a subtle dose of revenge in every complaint; one blames those who are different for one's own feeling bad, and in certain circumstances even being bad, as if they were guilty of an injustice, a prohibited privilege. 'If I'm a lowlife, you should be one too': on this logic, revolutions are built.– Complaining is never good for anything; it comes from weakness. Whether one ascribes one's feeling bad to others or to oneself–the socialist does the former, the Christian, for example, the latter–makes no real difference. What is common to both and, let us add, what is unworthy, is that it should be someone's fault that one is suffering–in short, that the sufferer prescribes the honey of revenge as a cure for his own suffering.
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Friedrich Nietzsche (Twilight of the Idols)
β€œ
Try as we will to take the β€œcure” of ineffectuality; to meditate on the Taoist fathers’ doctrine of submission, of withdrawal, of a sovereign absence; to follow, like them, the course of consciousness once it ceases to be at grips with the world and weds the form of things as water does, their favorite elementβ€”we shall never succeed. They scorn both our curiosity and our thirst for suffering; in which they differ from the mystics, and especially from the medieval ones, so apt to recommend the virtues of the hair shirt, the scourge, insomnia, inanition, and lament. β€œA life of intensity is contrary to the Tao,” teaches Lao Tse, a normal man if ever there was one. But the Christian virus torments us: heirs of the flagellants, it is by refining our excruciations that we become conscious of ourselves. Is religion declining? We perpetuate its extravagances, as we perpetuate the macerations and the cell-shrieks of old, our will to suffer equaling that of the monasteries in their heyday. If the Church no longer enjoys a monopoly on hell, it has nonetheless riveted us to a chain of sighs, to the cult of the ordeal, of blasted joys and jubilant despair. The mind, as well as the body, pays for β€œa life of intensity.” Masters in the art of thinking against oneself, Nietzsche, Baudelaire, and Dostoevsky have taught us to side with our dangers, to broaden the sphere of our diseases, to acquire existence by division from our being. And what for the great Chinaman was a symbol of failure, a proof of imperfection, constitutes for us the sole mode of possessing, of making contact with ourselves.
”
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Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
β€œ
Once again, the point of this discussion is not to accuse Christians of endorsing torture and persecution. Of course most devout Christians today are thoroughly tolerant and humane people. Even those who thunder from televised pulpits do not call for burning heretics alive or hoisting Jews on the strappado. The question is why they don’t, given that their beliefs imply that it would serve the greater good. The answer is that people in the West today compartmentalize their religious ideology. When they affirm their faith in houses of worship, they profess beliefs that have barely changed in two thousand years. But when it comes to their actions, they respect modern norms of nonviolence and toleration, a benevolent hypocrisy for which we should all be grateful.
”
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Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
β€œ
A thought expressed is a falsehood." In poetry what is not said and yet gleams through the beauty of the symbol, works more powerfully on the heart than that which is expressed in words. Symbolism makes the very style, the very artistic substance of poetry inspired, transparent, illuminated throughout like the delicate walls of an alabaster amphora in which a flame is ignited. Characters can also serve as symbols. Sancho Panza and Faust, Don Quixote and Hamlet, Don Juan and Falstaff, according to the words of Goethe, are "schwankende Gestalten." Apparitions which haunt mankind, sometimes repeatedly from age to age, accompany mankind from generation to generation. It is impossible to communicate in any words whatsoever the idea of such symbolic characters, for words only define and restrict thought, but symbols express the unrestricted aspect of truth. Moreover we cannot be satisfied with a vulgar, photographic exactness of experimental photoqraphv. We demand and have premonition of, according to the allusions of Flaubert, Maupassant, Turgenev, Ibsen, new and as yet undisclosed worlds of impressionability. This thirst for the unexperienced, in pursuit of elusive nuances, of the dark and unconscious in our sensibility, is the characteristic feature of the coming ideal poetry. Earlier Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe said that the beautiful must somewhat amaze, must seem unexpected and extraordinary. French critics more or less successfully named this feature - impressionism. Such are the three major elements of the new art: a mystical content, symbols, and the expansion of artistic impressionability. No positivistic conclusions, no utilitarian computation, but only a creative faith in something infinite and immortal can ignite the soul of man, create heroes, martyrs and prophets... People have need of faith, they need inspiration, they crave a holy madness in their heroes and martyrs. ("On The Reasons For The Decline And On The New Tendencies In Contemporary Literature")
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Dmitry Merezhkovsky (The Silver Age of Russian Culture: An Anthology)
β€œ
I touched Loki's chest, running my fingers over the bumps of his scar. I didn't know why exactly, but I felt compelled to, as if the scar connected us somehow. "You just couldn't wait to get me naked, could you, Princess?" Loki asked tiredly. I started to pull my hand back, but he put his own hand over it, keeping it in pace. "No,I-I was checking for wounds," I stumbled. I wouldn't meet his gaze. "I'm sure." He moved his thumb, almost caressing my hand, until it hit my ring. "What's that?" He tried to sit up to see it, so I lifted my hand, showing him the emerald-encrusted oval on my finger. "Is that a wedding ring?" "No, engagement." I lowered my hand, resting it on the bed next to him. "I'm not married yet." "I'm not too late, then." He smiled and settled back in the bed. "Too late for what?" I asked. "To stop you, of course." Still smiling, he closed his eyes. "Is that why you're here?" I asked, failing to point out how near we were to my nuptials. "I told you why I'm here," Loki said. "What happened to you, Loki?" I asked, my voice growing thick when I thought about what he had to have gone through to get all those marks and bruises. "Are you crying?" Loki asked and opened his eyes. "No, I'm not crying." I wasn't, but my eyes were moist. "Don't cry." He tried to sit up, but he winced when he lifted his head, so I put my hand gently on his chest to keep him down. "You need to rest," I said. "I will be fine." He put his hand over mine again, and I let him. "Eventually." "Can you tell me what happened?" I asked. "Why do you need amnesty?" "Remember when we were in the garden?" Loki asked. Of course I remembered. Loki had snuck in over the wall and asked me to run away with him. I had declined, but he'd stolen a kiss before he left, a rather nice kiss. My cheeks reddened slightly at the memory, and that make Loki smile wider. "I see you do." He grinned. "What does that have to do with anything?" I asked. "That doesn't," Loki said, referring to the kiss. "I meant when I told you that the King hates me. He really does, Wendy." His eyes went dark for a minute. "The Vittra King did this to you?" I asked, and my stomach tightened. "You mean Oren? My father?" "Don't worry about it now," he said, trying to calm the anger burning in my eyes. "I'll be fine." "Why?" I asked. "Why does the King hate you? Why did he do this to you?" "Wendy, please." He closed his eyes. "I'm exhausted. I barely made it here. Can we have this conversation when I'm feeling a bit better? Say, in a month or two?" "Loki," I said with a sigh, but he had a point. "Rest. But we will talk tomorrow. All right?" "As you wish, Princess," he conceded, and he was already drifting back to sleep again. I sat beside him for a few minutes longer, my hand still on his chest so I could feel his heartbeat pounding underneath. When I was certain he was asleep, I slid my hand out from under his, and I stood up.
”
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Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
β€œ
What happened? It took Gibbon six volumes to describe the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, so I shan’t embark on that. But thinking about this almost incredible episode does tell one something about the nature of civilisation. It shows that however complex and solid it seems, it is actually quite fragile. It can be destroyed. 

What are its enemies?
 
Well, first of all fear β€” fear of war, fear of invasion, fear of plague and famine, that make it simply not worthwhile constructing things, or planting trees or even planning next year’s crops. And fear of the supernatural, which means that you daren’t question anything or change anything. The late antique world was full of meaningless rituals, mystery religions, that destroyed self-confidence. And then exhaustion, the feeling of hopelessness which can overtake people even with a high degree of material prosperity. 

There is a poem by the modern Greek poet, Cavafy, in which he imagines the people of an antique town like Alexandria waiting every day for the barbarians to come and sack the city. Finally the barbarians move off somewhere else and the city is saved; but the people are disappointed β€” it would have been better than nothing. Of course, civilisation requires a modicum of material prosperity—

What civilization needs:

confidence in the society in which one lives, belief in its philosophy, belief in its laws, and confidence in one’s own mental powers. The way in which the stones of the Pont du Gard are laid is not only a triumph of technical skill, but shows a vigorous belief in law and discipline. Vigour, energy, vitality: all the civilisationsβ€”or civilising epochsβ€”have had a weight of energy behind them. People sometimes think that civilisation consists in fine sensibilities and good conversations and all that. These can be among the agreeable results of civilisation, but they are not what make a civilisation, and a society can have these amenities and yet be dead and rigid.
”
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Kenneth Clark (Civilisation)
β€œ
Life is like the big wheel at Luna Park. You pay five francs and go into a room with tiers of seats all around, and in the centre the floor is made of a great disc of polished wood that revolves quickly. At first you sit down and watch the others. They are all trying to sit in the wheel, and they keep getting flung off, and that makes them laugh too. It's great fun. You see, the nearer you can get to the hub of the wheel the slower it is moving and the easier it is to stay on. There's generally someone in the centre who stands up and sometimes does a sort of dance. Often he's paid by the management, though, or, at any rate, he's allowed in free. Of course at the very centre there's a point completely at rest, if one could only find it; I'm not very near that point myself. Of course the professional men get in the way. Lots of people just enjoy scrambling on and being whisked off and scrambling on again. How they all shriek and giggle! Then there are others, like Margot, who sit as far out as they can and hold on for dear life and enjoy that. But the whole point about the wheel is that you needn't get on it at all, if you don't want to. People get hold of ideas about life, and that makes them think they've got to join in the game, even if they don't enjoy it. It doesn't suit everyone. People don't see that when they say "life" they mean two different things. They can mean simply existence, with its physiological implications of growth and organic change. They can't escape that - even by death, but because that's inevitable they think the other idea of life is too - the scrambling and excitement and bumps and the effort to get to the middle, and when we do get to the middle, it's just as if we never started. It's so odd. Now you're a person who was clearly meant to stay in the seats and sit still and if you get bored watch the others. Somehow you got on to the wheel, and you got thrown off again at once with a hard bump. It's all right for Margot, who can cling on, and for me, at the centre, but you're static. Instead of this absurd division into sexes they ought to class people as static and dynamic. There's a real distinction there, though I can't tell you how it comes. I think we're probably two quite different species spiritually.
”
”
Evelyn Waugh (Decline and Fall)