An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Civilization rests on a set of promises; if the promises are broken too often, the civilization dies, no matter how rich it may be, or how mechanically clever. Hope and faith depend on the promises; if hope and faith go, everything goes.


Herbert Agar (American author)


Civilization is the lamb's skin in which barbarism masquerades.


Thomas B. Aldrich (1836-1907, American writer, editor)


Each new generation is a fresh invasion of savages.


Hervey Allen (1889-1949, American author)


The skylines lit up at dead of night, the air-conditioning systems cooling empty hotels in the desert and artificial light in the middle of the day all have something both demented and admirable about them. The mindless luxury of a rich civilization, and yet of a civilization perhaps as scared to see the lights go out as was the hunter in his primitive night.


Jean Baudrillard (French postmodern philosopher, writer)


We are born princes and the civilizing process makes us frogs.


Eric Berne (1910-1970, Canadian psychiatrist, writer)


The three great elements of modern civilization, Gun powder, Printing, and the Protestant religion.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


People sometimes tell me that they prefer barbarism to civilization. I doubt if they have given it a long enough trial. Like the people of Alexandria, they are bored by civilization; but all the evidence suggests that the boredom of barbarism is infinitely greater.


Kenneth, Lord Clark


Civilization is an active deposit which is formed by the combustion of the present with the past. Neither in countries without a Present nor in those without a Past is it to be encountered. Proust in Venice, Matisse's birdcages overlooking the flower market at Nice, Gide on the seventeenth-century quais of Toulon, Lorca in Granada, Picasso by Saint-Germain-des-Pres: there lies civilization and for me it can exist only under those liberal regimes in which the Present is alive and therefore capable of assimilating the Past.


Cyril Connolly (1903-1974, British critic)


The civilized are those who get more out of life than the uncivilized, and for this we are not likely to be forgiven.


Cyril Connolly (1903-1974, British critic)


The test of civilization is its estimate of women.


George William Curtis (1824-1892, American journalist)


Increased means and increased leisure are the two civilizers of man.


Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881, British statesman, Prime Minister)


Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing the things historians usually record, while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks. Historians are pessimists because they ignore the banks for the river.


William J. Durant (1885-1981, American historian, essayist)


I think there are only three things America will be known for 2, 000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, jazz music and baseball.


Gerald Early (1952-, American author)


Is civilization only a higher form of idolatry, that man should bow down to a flesh-brush, to flannels, to baths, diet, exercise, and air?


Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910, American founder of the Christian Science Church)


All civilization has from time to time become a thin crust over a volcano of revolution.


Havelock Ellis (1859-1939, British psychologist)


As long as our civilization is essentially one of property, of fences, of exclusiveness, it will be mocked by delusions. Our riches will leave us sick; there will be bitterness in our laughter; and our wine will burn our mouth. Only that good profits, which we can taste with all doors open, and which serves all men.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Civilization depends on morality.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Sunday is the core of our civilization, dedicated to thought and reverence.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Civilization is a process in the service of Eros, whose purpose is to combine single human individuals, and after that families, then races, peoples and nations, into one great unity, the unity of mankind. Why this has to happen, we do not know; the work of Eros is precisely this.


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939, Austrian physician, founder of Psychoanalysis) a matter of imponderables, of delight in the things of the mind, of love of beauty, of honor, grace, courtesy, delicate feeling. Where imponderables are things of first importance, there is the height of civilization, and, if at the same time, the power of art exists unimpaired, human life has reached a level seldom attained and very seldom surpassed.


Edith Hamilton (1867-1963, American classical scholar, translator)


The ultimate tendency of civilization is towards barbarism.


David Hare (1947-, British playwright, director)


Civilization today reminds me of an ape with a blowtorch playing in a room full of dynamite. It looks like the monkeys are about to operate the zoo, and the inmates are taking over the asylum.


Vance Havner


Without winners, there wouldn't even be any civilization.


Woody Hayes (1913-1987, American college football coach)


The path of civilization is paved with tin cans.


Elbert Hubbard (1859-1915, American author, publisher)


One might enumerate the items of high civilization, as it exists in other countries, which are absent from the texture of American life, until it should become a wonder to know what was left.


Henry James (1843-1916, American author)


Civilization - a heap of rubble scavenged by scrawny English Lit. vultures.


Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990, British broadcaster)


Every new stroke of civilization has cost the lives of countless brave men, who have fallen defeated by the "dragon," in their efforts to win the apples of the Hesperides, or the fleece of gold. Fallen in their efforts to overcome the old, half sordid savagery of the lower stages of creation, and win the next stage.


D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930, British author)


The word "civilization" to my mind is coupled with death. When I use the word, I see civilization as a crippling, thwarting thing, a stultifying thing. For me it was always so. I don't believe in the golden ages, you see... civilization is the arteriosclerosis of culture.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


Civilization is just a slow process of learning to be kind.


Charles L. Lucas


Civilization is drugs, alcohol, engines of war, prostitution, machines and machine slaves, low wages, bad food, bad taste, prisons, reformatories, lunatic asylums, divorce, perversion, brutal sports, suicides, infanticide, cinema, quackery, demagogy, strikes, lockouts, revolutions, putsches, colonization, electric chairs, guillotines, sabotage, floods, famine, disease, gangsters, money barons, horse racing, fashion shows, poodle dogs, chow dogs, Siamese cats, condoms, peccaries, syphilis, gonorrhea, insanity, neuroses, etc., etc.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


To accept civilization as it is practically means accepting decay.


George Orwell (1903-1950, British author, "Animal Farm")


A civilized man is one who will give a serious answer to a serious question. Civilization itself is a certain sane balance of values.


Ezra Pound (1885-1972, American poet, critic)


Civilization is the making of civil persons.


John Ruskin (1819-1900, British critic, social theorist)


A civilization is a heritage of beliefs, customs, and knowledge slowly accumulated in the course of centuries.  Elements difficult at times to justify by logic, but justifying themselves as paths when they lead somewhere, since they open up for man his inner distance.


Antoine De Saint-Exupery (1900-1944, French aviator, writer)


A civilization is built on what is required of men, not on that which is provided for them.


Antoine De Saint-Exupery (1900-1944, French aviator, writer)


Civilization must be destroyed. The hairy saints of the North have earned this crumb by their complaints.


Wallace Stevens (1879-1955, American poet)


The human race has improved everything, but the human race.


Adlai E. Stevenson (1900-1965, American lawyer, politician)


Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.


Arnold Toynbee (1852-1883, British economic historian and social reformer)


Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.


Arnold Toynbee (1852-1883, British economic historian and social reformer)


To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization.


Arnold Toynbee (1852-1883, British economic historian and social reformer)


Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


The civilized savage is the worst of all savages.


C. J. Weber


If Germany, thanks to Hitler and his successors, were to enslave the European nations and destroy most of the treasures of their past, future historians would certainly pronounce that she had civilized Europe.


Simone Weil (1910-1943, French philosopher, mystic)


Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


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