People who plan roads, bridges, sewers, and so forth are called civil engineers. Civilization happens in cities, where civil society is possible, because of civil engineers. Cities are fed by roads, drained by sewers, watered by pipes that they lay down. There have been barbarian poets and composers, even painters and some lawyers, but never a barbarian civil engineer.
My Advice to the Civilized
Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, April, 1990
The only propaganda that stands any chance of influencing people is packaged so attractively that editors will buy it in the belief that the cash customers will be entertained by it.
Robert A. Heinlein
I've lost all my money on these films. They are not commercial. But I'm glad to lose it this way. To have for a souvenir of my life pictures like Umberto D. and The Bicycle Thief.
Vittorio De Sica
(In Talking to Myself by Studs Terkel)
Despite a widely held notion to the contrary, the expression "the survival of the fittest" has little to do with battling for supremacy. What must be preserved, after all, are not a handful of belligerent individuals, but those characteristics that favor successful reproduction. Ultimately, it is the best mother, the best hunter, the best hider, the best builder, the best runner, and the most healthy and intact animals whose genes are passed on to the next generation. And to remain healthy and intact, combat must be held to a minimum. Some species manage this by distancing themselves from others of their kind, each individual claiming and marking an exclusive living space for itself. The more socially evolved animals, however, having discovered the value of cooperation, had to invent complex strategies for getting along with their relatives-- including built-in prohibitions against fighting.
Lily Pond, Four Years With a Family of Beavers
Dear to us ever are the banquet and the harp and the dance and changes of raiment and the warm bath and love and sleep.
Homer, The Odyssey
Love of goodness without love of learning degenerates into silliness. Love of wisdom without love of learning degenerates into utter lack of principle. Love of keeping promises without love of learning degenerates into villainy. Love of uprightness without love of learning degenerates into harshness. Love of courage without love of learning degenerates into turbulence. Love of courage without love of learning degenerates into mere recklessness.
Analects, Book XVII (Waley translation)
Having been around long, seen much, and experienced a few things, I believe
that, for normal people, a happy marriage is the best thing that life has to
offer. Wealth, power, and glory are all very nice, but for getting the most out
of life, they must take second place.
L. Sprague de Camp
(In Time and Chance: an autobiography,
written in 1996, after forty-five years of
marriage to Catherine Crook de Camp)
If I were told that I could write a novel in which I could indisputably establish as true my point of view on all social questions, I would not dedicate two hours to such a work; but if I were told that what I wrote would be read twenty years from now by those who are children today, and that they would weep and laugh over it and fall in love with the life in it, then I would dedicate all my existence and all my powers to it.
Now it is impossible to judge of equality, whether physical or moral, except by appearances; from which it follows that the citizen who wants to avoid persecution must, if he is not like everyone else or worse, bend his every effort to appearing to be so. If he has much talent, he must hide it; if he is ambitious, he must pretend to scorn honors; if he wants to obtain anything, he must ask for nothing; if his person is handsome, he must neglect it; he must look slovenly and dress badly, his accessories must be of the plainest, he must ridicule everything foreign; he must bow awkwardly, not pride himself on being well mannered, care little for the fine arts, conceal his good taste if he has it....he must wear an ill-combed wig and be a little dirty.
Giacomo Casanova, History of My Life, Volume II, Chapter Three
(Translated by Willard R. Trask)
In the East the opposing forces stood in substantially the same relationship
to each other as three years before.....Battles had been fought of as great
severity as had ever been known in war, over ground from the James River and
Chickahominy, near Richmond, to Gettysburg and Chambersburg in Pennsylvania,
with indecisive results, sometimes favorable to the National army, sometimes to
the Confederate army; but in every case, I believe, claimed as victories for the
South by the Southern press, if not by the Southern generals. The Northern
press, as a whole, did not discourage these claims; a portion of it always
magnified Rebel success and belittled ours, while another portion, most
sincerely earnest in their desire for the preservation of the Union and the
overwhelming success of the Federal armies, would nevertheless generally express
dissatisfaction with whatever victories were gained because they were not more
Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs
Do not look down on us with arrogance, if you stand higher and see further than we did; rather appreciate from the picture we have given you just how much we elevated and supported your fatherland. Do the same for your posterity and be happy.
Anonymous eighteenth century writer
in time capsule placed in steeple of St.
Margaret's Church at Gotha in 1784 and
discovered in 1856. Quoted in
The Search for Glory, Europe 1648-1815 by
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