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215 Quotes by Will Durant With Free Shareable Pictures

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Wikipedia Summary for Will Durant

William James Durant (November 5, 1885 – November 7, 1981) was an American writer, historian, and philosopher. He became best known for his work The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife, Ariel Durant, and published between 1935 and 1975. He was earlier noted for The Story of Philosophy (1926), described as "a groundbreaking work that helped to popularize philosophy".

He conceived of philosophy as total perspective or seeing things sub specie totius (i.e. “from the perspective of the whole”)—a phrase inspired by Spinoza's sub specie aeternitatis, roughly meaning "from the perspective of the eternal". He sought to unify and humanize the great body of historical knowledge, which had grown voluminous and become fragmented into esoteric specialties, and to vitalize it for contemporary application.

The Durants were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 1968 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977.

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To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves; let us be above such transparent egotism. If you can't say good and encouraging things, say nothing. Nothing is often a good thing to do, and always a clever thing to say.


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Longer Version:

India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe's languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.


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Science tells us how to heal and how to kill; it reduces the death rate in retail and then kills us wholesale in war; but only wisdom -- desire coordinated in the light of all experience -- can tell us when to heal and when to kill.

To observe processes and to construct means is science; to criticize and coordinate ends is philosophy: and because in these days our means and instruments have multiplied beyond our interpretation and synthesis of ideals and ends, our life is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

For a fact is nothing except in relation to desire; it is not complete except in relation to a purpose and a whole.

Science without philosophy, facts without perspective and valuation, cannot save us from havoc and despair.

Science gives us knowledge, but only philosophy can give us wisdom.



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Longer Version:

Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again.


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A great civilization is not conquered from without, until it has destroyed itself from within. The essential causes of Rome's decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.


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Longer Version:

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly; 'these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions'; we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit: 'the good of man is a working of the soul in the way of excellence in a complete life... for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy.


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