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.
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- Opera, next to Gothic architecture, is one of the strangest inventions of Western man. It could not have been foreseen by any logical process.
- 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.
- 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.
- Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.
- Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.
- 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.