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





Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself.


Jane Addams (1860-1935, American writer, social reformer)


If the human race wants to go to hell in a basket, technology can help it get there by jet.


Charles M. Allen (American professor)


The characteristic of scientific progress is our knowing that we did not know.


Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962, French scientist, philosopher, literary theorist)


Progress would not have been the rarity it is if the early food had not been the late poison.


Walter Bagehot (1826-1977, British economist, critic)


It's the same each time with progress. First they ignore you, then they say you're mad, then dangerous, then there's a pause and then you can't find anyone who disagrees with you.


Tony Benn (1925-, British politician)


The grandest of all laws is the law of progressive development. Under it, in the wide sweep of things, men grow wiser as they grow older, and societies better.


John Christian Bovee (1820-1904, American author, lawyer)


A good fundraiser has the appetite of an IBM machine, the energy of a chimpanzee, the lungs of an umpire, the enthusiasm of a kid in an ice cream plant, and the shyness and timidity of a bull elephant.


Charles H. Branch


All progress is experimental.


John Jay Chapman (1862-1933, American author)


The reason for the slow progress of the world seems to lie in a single fact. Every man is born under the yoke, and grows up beneath the oppressions of his age. He can only get a vision of the unselfish forces in the world by appealing to them, and every appeal is a call to arms. If he fights he must fight, not one man, but a conspiracy. He is always at war with a civilization. On his side is proverbial philosophy, a galaxy of invisible saints and sages, and the half-developed consciousness and professions of everybody. Against him is the world, and every selfish passion in his own heart.


John Jay Chapman (1862-1933, American author)


New roads; new ruts.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.


Shirley Chisholm (1924-, American social activist)


Progress is the injustice each generation commits with regard to its predecessors.


E. M. Cioran (1911-1995, Rumanian-born French philosopher)


We are either progressing or retrograding all the while. There is no such thing as remaining stationary in this life.


James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888, American minister, theologian)


He that is good, will infallibly become better, and He that is bad, will as certainly become worse; for vice, virtue and time are three things that never stand still.


Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832, British sportsman writer)


Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil. Our great hope lies in developing what is good.


Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933, American President (30th))


Nothing recedes like progress.


EE Cummings (1894-1962, American poet)


I was taught that the way of progress I neither swift nor easy.


Madame Marie Curie (1867-1934, Polish-born French physicist)


One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.


Madame Marie Curie (1867-1934, Polish-born French physicist)


The pace of progress will accelerate so that even engineers and technical managers will find it necessary to recycle back through school after no more than ten years. In particular fast-moving technologies skills will become obsolete every five years or so.


Owen Davies


Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure.


Thomas A. Edison (1847-1931, American inventor, founder of GE)


My own experience and development deepen everyday my conviction that our moral progress may be measured by the degree in which we sympathize with individual suffering and individual joy.


George Eliot (1819-1880, British novelist)


What we call progress is the exchange of one nuisance for another.


Havelock Ellis (1859-1939, British psychologist)


All our progress is an unfolding, like a vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.


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


The walking of Man is falling forwards.


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


With every passing hour, our solar system comes forty-three thousand miles closer to globular cluster M13 in the constellation Hercules, and still there are some misfits who continue to insist that there is no such thing as progress.


Ransom K. Ferm


I have lost when I have not the bright feeling of progression.


Margaret Witter Fuller (1810-1850, American writer, lecturer)


Perhaps the best definition of progress would be the continuing efforts of men and women to narrow the gap between the convenience of the powers that be and the unwritten charter.


Nadine Gordimer (1923-, South African author)


Progress everywhere today does seem to come so very heavily disguised as Chaos.


Joyce Grenfell (1910-1979, British entertainer)


A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.


Bill Grey (American business executive)


The greatest enemy of progress is not stagnation, but false progress.


Sidney J. Harris (1917-, American journalist)


This world owes all its forward impulses to people ill at ease.


Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864, American novelist, short story writer)


Human development is a form of chronological unfairness, since late-comers are able to profit by the labors of their predecessors without paying the same price.


Alexander Herzen (1812-1870, Russian journalist, political thinker)


The slogan of progress is changing from the full dinner pail to the full garage.


Herbert Clark Hoover (1874-1964, American President (31st))


That is good which serves man is the important item, this earth is the place, and the time is now.


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


The world is moving so fast now-a-days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.


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


The United States has to move very fast to even stand still.


John F. Kennedy (1917-1963, American President (35th))


Progress is the life-style of man. The general life of the human race is called Progress, and so is its collective march. Progress advances, it makes the great human and earthly journey towards what is heavenly and divine; it has its pauses, when it rallies the stragglers, its stopping places when it meditates, contemplating some new and splendid promised land that has suddenly appeared on its horizon. It has its nights of slumber; and it is one of the poignant anxieties of the thinker to see the human spirit lost in shadow, and to grope in the darkness without being able to awake sleeping progress.


Victor Hugo (1802-1885, French poet, dramatist, novelist)


Progress is the stride of God.


Victor Hugo (1802-1885, French poet, dramatist, novelist)


I make progress by having people around me who are smarter than I am and listening to them. And I assume that everyone is smarter about something than I am.


Henry J. Kaiser (1882-1967, American industrialist)


All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.


Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968, American Civil Rights leader, Nobel Prize winner, 1964)


Progress celebrates victories over nature. Progress makes purses out of human skin. When people were traveling in mail coaches, the world got ahead better than it does now that salesmen fly through the air. What good is speed if the brain has oozed out on the way? How will the heirs of this age be taught the most basic motions that are necessary to activate the most complicated machines? Nature can rely on progress; it will avenge it for the outrage it has perpetrated on it.


Karl Kraus (1874-1936, Austrian satirist)


Progress, under whose feet the grass mourns and the forest turns into paper from which newspaper plants grow, has subordinated the purpose of life to the means of subsistence and turned us into the nuts and bolts for our tools.


Karl Kraus (1874-1936, Austrian satirist)


Is it progress if a cannibal uses a fork?


Stanislaw J. Lec (1909-1966, Polish writer)


Enthusiastic partisans of the idea of progress are in danger of failing to recognize... the immense riches accumulated by the human race. By underrating the achievements of the past, they devalue all those which still remain to be accomplished.


Claude Levi-Strauss (1908-, French anthropologist)


I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865, American President (16th))


The age looks steadily to the redressing of wrong, to the righting of every form of error and injustice, and a tireless... philanthropy, which... is one of the most hopeful Characteristics of our time.


Mary Livermore


The age looks steadily to the redressing of wrong, to the righting of every form of error and injustice, and a tireless... philanthropy, which... is one of the most hopeful Characteristics of our time.


Mary Livermore


It is curious to note the old sea-margins of human thought! Each subsiding century reveals some new mystery; we build where monsters used to hide themselves.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892, American poet)


We have not wings we cannot soar; but, we have feet to scale and climb, by slow degrees, by more and more, the cloudy summits of our time.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892, American poet)


Time advances: facts accumulate; doubts arise. Faint glimpses of truth begin to appear, and shine more and more unto the perfect day. The highest intellects, like the tops of mountains, are the first to catch and to reflect the dawn. They are bright, while the level below is still in darkness. But soon the light, which at first illuminated only the loftiest eminences, descends on the plain, and penetrates to the deepest valley. First come hints, then fragments of systems, then defective systems, then complete and harmonious systems. The sound opinion, held for a time by one bold speculator, becomes the opinion of a small minority, of a strong minority, of a majority of mankind. Thus, the great progress goes on.


Thomas B. Macaulay (1800-1859, American essayist and historian)


Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busy work. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now. Now! Not tomorrow!


Og Mandino (1923-1996, American motivational author, speaker)

Author's website:


Whatever there be of progress in life comes not through adaptation but through daring, through obeying the blind urge.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.


Alfred A. Montapert (American author)


By his very success in inventing labor-saving devices, modern man has manufactured an abyss of boredom that only the privileged classes in earlier civilizations have ever fathomed.


Lewis Mumford (1895-1990, American social philosopher)


Today, the notion of progress in a single line without goal or limit seems perhaps the most parochial notion of a very parochial century.


Lewis Mumford (1895-1990, American social philosopher)


Progress might have been alright once, but it has gone on too long.


Ogden Nash (1902-1971, American humorous poet)


It takes five years to design a new car in this country. Heck, we won World War II in four years.


H. Ross Perot (1930-, American businessman, founder of EDS)


To finish a work? To finish a picture? What nonsense! To finish it means to be through with it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul, to give it its final blow the coup de grace for the painter as well as for the picture.


Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, Spanish artist)


Not to go back is somewhat to advance, and men must walk, at least, before they dance.


Alexander Pope (1688-1744, British poet, critic, translator)


Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.


Chinese Proverb (Sayings of Chinese origin)


When a blind man carries a lame man both go forward.


Swedish Proverb (Sayings of Swedish origin)


The simplest school boy is now familiar with truths for which Archimedes would have sacrificed his life.


Ernest Renan (1823-1892, French writer, critic, scholar)


You can't say that civilization don't advance... for in every war they kill you a new way.


Will Rogers (1879-1935, American humorist, actor)


The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.


Philip Roth (1933-, American novelist)


A process which led from the amoebae to man appeared to the philosophers to be obviously a progress -- though whether the amoebae would agree with this opinion is not known.


Bertrand Russell (1872-1970, British philosopher, mathematician, essayist)


Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual.


George Santayana (1863-1952, American philosopher, poet)


All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


All progress means war with society.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


The true law of the race is progress and development. Whenever civilization pauses in the march of conquest, it is overthrown by the barbarian.


William Gilmore Simms (1806-1870, American author)


The progress of the world is the history of men who would not permit defeat to speak the final word.


Joseph R. Sizoo


All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.


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


When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


Every convenience brings its own inconveniences along with it.


Author Unknown


Most people are in favor of progress, it's the changes they don't like.


Author Unknown


Progress is mediation that comes swiftly for those who try their hardest.


Author Unknown


Today's progress was yesterday's plan.


Author Unknown


Why aren't we making any progress towards a crime-free society? We're not making progress because we are too damn busy making excuses.


Author Unknown


Once an organization loses its spirit of pioneering and rests on its early work, its progress stops.


Thomas J. Watson (1874-1956, American businessman, founder of IBM)


Our civilization is characterized by the word `progress'. Progress is its form rather than making progress one of its features. Typically it constructs. It is occupied with building an ever more complicated structure. And even clarity is only sought as a means to this end, not as an end in itself. For me on the contrary clarity, perspicuity are valuable in themselves. I am not interested in constructing a building, so much as in having a perspicuous view of the foundations of typical buildings.


Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951, Austrian philosopher)


The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order.


Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947, British mathematician, philosopher)


Progress always involves risk; you can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.


Frederick Wilcox


Only mediocrities progress. An artist revolves in a cycle of masterpieces, the first of which is no less perfect than the last.


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


A radical is one of whom people say "He goes too far." A conservative, on the other hand, is one who "doesn't go far enough." Then there is the reactionary, "one who doesn't go at all." All these terms are more or less objectionable, wherefore we have coined the term "progressive." I should say that a progressive is one who insists upon recognizing new facts as they present themselves -- one who adjusts legislation to these new facts.


Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924, American President (28th))


 Back to Daimon Library English Quotes Search Page


website tracking