Citáty Henry Adams

„Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.“

—  Henry Adams
Context: One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.

„We never despised the world or its opinions, we only failed to find out its existence.“

—  Henry Adams
Context: We never despised the world or its opinions, we only failed to find out its existence. The world, if it exists, feels exactly in the same way towards us, and cares not one straw whether we exist or not. Philosophy has never got beyond this point. There are but two schools: one turns the world onto me; the other turns me onto the world; and the result is the same. The so-called me is a very, very small and foolish puppy-dog, but it is all that exists, and it tries all its life to get a little bigger by enlarging its energies, and getting dollars or getting friends. Letter to Elizabeth Cameron (13 May 1905), in Worthington C. Ford ed., Letters of Henry Adams, Volume 2: 1892–1918 (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1938), p. 451

Reklama

„A period of about twelve years measured the beat of the pendulum.“

—  Henry Adams
Context: A period of about twelve years measured the beat of the pendulum. After the Declaration of Independence, twelve years had been needed to create an efficient Constitution; another twelve years of energy brought a reaction against the government then created; a third period of twelve years was ending in a sweep toward still greater energy; and already a child could calculate the result of a few more such returns. A History of the United States of America During the First Administration of James Madison (1890), Vol. II, Ch. VI: Meeting of the Twelfth Congress; 1921 edition, p. 123

„Among other general rules he laid down the paradox that, in the social disequilibrium between capital and labor, the logical outcome was not collectivism, but anarchism; and Henry made note of it for study.“

—  Henry Adams
Context: Loving paradox, Brooks, with the advantages of ten years' study, had swept away much rubbish in the effort to build up a new line of thought for himself, but he found that no paradox compared with that of daily events. The facts were constantly outrunning his thoughts. The instability was greater than he calculated; the speed of acceleration passed bounds. Among other general rules he laid down the paradox that, in the social disequilibrium between capital and labor, the logical outcome was not collectivism, but anarchism; and Henry made note of it for study.

„The scientific mind is atrophied, and suffers under inherited cerebral weakness, when it comes in contact with the eternal woman,— Astarte, Isis, Demeter, Aphrodite, and the last and greatest deity of all, the Virgin.“

—  Henry Adams
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904), Context: p>The twelfth and thirteenth centuries, studied in the pure light of political economy, are insane. The scientific mind is atrophied, and suffers under inherited cerebral weakness, when it comes in contact with the eternal woman,— Astarte, Isis, Demeter, Aphrodite, and the last and greatest deity of all, the Virgin. Very rarely one lingers, with a mild sympathy, such as suits the patient student of human error, willing to be interested in what he cannot understand. Still more rarely, owing to some revival of archaic instincts, he rediscovers the woman. This is perhaps the mark of the artist alone, and his solitary privilege. The rest of us cannot feel; we can only study. The proper study of mankind is woman, and, by common agreement since the time of Adam, it is the most complex and arduous. The study of Our Lady, as shown by the art of Chartres, leads directly back to Eve, and lays bare the whole subject of sex.If it were worthwhile to argue a paradox, one might maintain that nature regards the female as the essential, the male as the superfluity of her world.</p

„Religious minds prefer scepticism. The true saint is a profound sceptic; a total disbeliever in human reason, who has more than once joined hands on this ground with some who were at best sinners.“

—  Henry Adams
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904), Context: In every age man has been apt to dream uneasily, rolling from side to side, beating against imaginary bars, unless tired out he has sunk into indifference or scepticism. Religious minds prefer scepticism. The true saint is a profound sceptic; a total disbeliever in human reason, who has more than once joined hands on this ground with some who were at best sinners. Bernard was a total disbeliever in scholasticism; so was Voltaire.

„Among all the imagery of these three door-ways, there is no hint of fear, punishment or damnation, and this is the note of the whole time. Before 1200, the Church seems not to have felt the need of appealing habitually to terror; the promise of hope and happiness was enough.“

—  Henry Adams
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904), Context: First comes the central door-way, and above it is the glory of Christ, as the church at Chartres understood Christ in the year 1150; for the glories of Christ were many, and the Chartres Christ is one. Whatever Christ may have been at other churches, here, on this portal, he offers himself to his flock as the herald of salvation alone. Among all the imagery of these three door-ways, there is no hint of fear, punishment or damnation, and this is the note of the whole time. Before 1200, the Church seems not to have felt the need of appealing habitually to terror; the promise of hope and happiness was enough.

„Every individual that has existed or shall exist was created by the same instantaneous act, for all time.“

—  Henry Adams
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904), Context: In any case God's act was the union of Mind with Matter by the same act or will which created both. No intermediate cause or condition intervened; no secondary influence had anything whatever to do with the result. Time had nothing to do with it. Every individual that has existed or shall exist was created by the same instantaneous act, for all time. "When the question regards the universal agent who produces beings and time, we cannot consider him as acting now and before, according to the succession of time." God emanated time, force, matter, mind, as he might emanate gravitation, not as a part of his substance but as an energy of his will, and maintains them in their activity by the same act, not by a new one. Every individual is a part of the direct act, not a secondary outcome.

„So little egoistic he was that none of his friends felt envy of his extraordinary superiority, but rather grovelled before it, so that women were jealous of the power he had over men; but women were many and Kings were one. The men worshipped not so much their friend, as the ideal American they all wanted to be.“

—  Henry Adams
Context: p>Whatever prize he wanted lay ready for him — scientific social, literary, political — and he knew how to take them in turn. With ordinary luck he would die at eighty the richest and most many-sided genius of his day.So little egoistic he was that none of his friends felt envy of his extraordinary superiority, but rather grovelled before it, so that women were jealous of the power he had over men; but women were many and Kings were one. The men worshipped not so much their friend, as the ideal American they all wanted to be.</p

„Absolute liberty is absence of restraint; responsibility is restraint; therefore the ideally free individual is responsible only to himself.“

—  Henry Adams
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904), Context: No one ever seriously affirmed the literal freedom of will. Absolute liberty is absence of restraint; responsibility is restraint; therefore the ideally free individual is responsible only to himself. This principle is the philosophical foundation of anarchism, and, for anything that science has yet proved, may be the philosophical foundation of the Universe; but it is fatal to all society and is especially hostile to the State. Perhaps the Church of the thirteenth century might have found a way to use even this principle for a good purpose; certainly the influence of Saint Bernard was sufficiently unsocial and that of Saint Francis was sufficiently unselfish to conciliate even anarchists of the militant class.

„This mental inertia of science lasted through the eighties before showing signs of breaking up; and nothing short of radium fairly wakened men to the fact, long since evident, that force was inexhaustible.“

—  Henry Adams
Context: Fifty years ago, science took for granted that the rate of acceleration could not last. The world forgets quickly, but even today the habit remains of founding statistics on the faith that consumption will continue nearly stationary. Two generations, with John Stuart Mill, talked of this stationary period, which was to follow the explosion of new power. All the men who were elderly in the forties died in this faith, and other men grew old nursing the same conviction, and happy in it; while science, for fifty years, permitted, or encouraged, society to think that force would prove to be limited in supply. This mental inertia of science lasted through the eighties before showing signs of breaking up; and nothing short of radium fairly wakened men to the fact, long since evident, that force was inexhaustible.

„Their claim led to singular but unavoidable conclusions, with which society has struggled for seven hundred years, and is still struggling.“

—  Henry Adams
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904), Context: p>Where, then,— in what mysterious cave outside of creation — could Man, and his free-will, and his private world of responsibilities and duties, lie hidden? Unless Man was a free agent in a world of his own beyond constraint, the Church was a fraud, and it helped little to add that the State was another. If God was the sole and immediate cause and support of everything in his creation, God was also the cause of its defects, and could not,— being Justice and Goodness in essence,—hold Man responsible for his own omissions. Still less could the State or Church do it in his name.Whatever truth lies in the charge that the schools discussed futile questions by faulty methods, one cannot decently deny that in this case the question was practical and the method vital. Theist or atheist, monist or anarchist must all admit that society and science are equally interested with theology in deciding whether the Universe is one or many, a harmony or a discord. The Church and State asserted that it was a harmony, and that they were its representatives. They say so still. Their claim led to singular but unavoidable conclusions, with which society has struggled for seven hundred years, and is still struggling.</p

„That, two thousand years after Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, a man like Grant should be called — and should actually and truly be — the highest product of the most advanced evolution, made evolution ludicrous. One must be as commonplace as Grant's own commonplaces to maintain such an absurdity. The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.“

—  Henry Adams
Context: What worried Adams was not the commonplace; it was, as usual, his own education. Grant fretted and irritated him, like the Terebratula, as a defiance of first principles. He had no right to exist. He should have been extinct for ages. The idea that, as society grew older, it grew one-sided, upset evolution, and made of education a fraud. That, two thousand years after Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, a man like Grant should be called — and should actually and truly be — the highest product of the most advanced evolution, made evolution ludicrous. One must be as commonplace as Grant's own commonplaces to maintain such an absurdity. The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin.

„The Church alone was universal patron“

—  Henry Adams
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904), Context: The wood-carving, the glass windows, the sculpture, inside and out, were done mostly in workshops on the spot, but besides these fixed objects, precious works of the highest perfection filled the church treasuries. Their money-value was great then; it is greater now. No world's-fair is likely to do better today. After five hundred years of spoliation, these objects fill museums still, and are bought with avidity at every auction [.... ] Royalty and feudality spent their money rather on arms and clothes. The Church alone was universal patron, and the Virgin was the dictator of taste.

„Truth, indeed, may not exist; science avers it to be only a relation; but what men took for truth stares one everywhere in the eye and begs for sympathy.“

—  Henry Adams
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904), Context: The pathetic interest of the drama deepens with every new expression, but at least you can learn from it that your parents in the nineteenth century were not to blame for losing the sense of unity in art. As early as the fourteenth century, signs of unsteadiness appeared, and, before the eighteenth century, unity became only a reminiscence. The old habit of centralising a strain at one point, and then dividing and subdividing it, and distributing it on visible lines of support to a visible foundation, disappeared in architecture soon after 1500, but lingered in theology two centuries longer, and even, in very old-fashioned communities, far down to our own time; but its values were forgotten, and it survived chiefly as a stock jest against the clergy. The passage between the two epochs is as beautiful as the Slave of Michael Angelo; but, to feel its beauty, you should see it from above, as it came from its radiant source. Truth, indeed, may not exist; science avers it to be only a relation; but what men took for truth stares one everywhere in the eye and begs for sympathy.

„In the same way he wills that his creation shall develop itself in time and space and sequence, but he creates these conditions as well as the events. He creates the whole, in one act, complete, unchangeable, and it is then unfolded like a rolling panorama with its predetermined contingencies.“

—  Henry Adams
Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904), Context: Creation was not successive; it was one instantaneous thought and act, identical with the will, and was complete and unchangeabble from end to end, including time as one of its functions. Thomas was as clear as possible on that point:— "Supposing God wills anything in effect, he cannot will not to will it, because his will cannot change." He wills that some things shall be contingent and others necessary, but he wills in the same act that the contingency shall be necessary. "They are contingent because God has willed them to be so, and with this object has subjected them to causes which are so." In the same way he wills that his creation shall develop itself in time and space and sequence, but he creates these conditions as well as the events. He creates the whole, in one act, complete, unchangeable, and it is then unfolded like a rolling panorama with its predetermined contingencies.Man's free choice — liberum arbitrium — falls easily into place as a predetermined contingency. God is the First Cause, and acts in all Secondary Causes directly; but while he acts mechanically on the rest of creation,— as far as is known,— he acts freely at one point, and this free action remains free as far as it extends on that line. Man's freedom derives from this source, but it is simply apparent, as far as he is a cause; it is a [... ] Reflex Action of the complicated mirror [... ] called Mind, and [... ] an illusion arising from the extreme delicacy of the machine.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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