„Mass society destroys the things it is told are its inheritance.“

—  V. S. Pritchett, Context: Mass society destroys the things it is told are its inheritance. It is rarely possible to see the Abbey without being surrounded by thousands of tourists from all over the world. Like St. Peter's at Rome, it has been turned into a sinister sort of railway terminal. The aisles are as crowded as the pavements of Oxford Street or the alleys of a large shop, imagination is jostled, awe dispersed, and the mind never at rest. All great things, in our time, can only be seen in fragments, by fragmentary people. Ch. 5, p. 162
V. S. Pritchett photo
V. S. Pritchett
écrivain britannique 1900 - 1997
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„Every human society possesses a mythology which is inherited, transmitted and diversified by literature.“

—  Northrop Frye Canadian literary critic and literary theorist 1912 - 1991
Words with Power : Being a Second Study of The Bible and Literature (1990), Introduction, p. xiii http://books.google.com/books?id=ZnSJb6PPnBoC&pg=PP81&lpg=PP81&dq=%22which+is+inherited,+transmitted+and+diversified+by+literature%22&source=bl&ots=xJ1cLDaUCI&sig=m6agYWMBlW0qfDYMA7aX9aNM8IE&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PaCqUsiEM-issQT_4oGAAg&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=%22which%20is%20inherited%2C%20transmitted%20and%20diversified%20by%20literature%22&f=false

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Leon Trotsky photo
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„The monks of the earliest days had not counted on the human ability to generate a new cultural inheritance in a couple of generations if an old one is utterly destroyed, to generate it by virtue of lawgivers and prophets, geniuses or maniacs; through a Moses, or through a Hitler, or an ignorant but tyrannical grandfather, a cultural inheritance may be acquired between dusk and dawn, and many have been so acquired. But the new "culture" was an inheritance of darkness, wherein "simpleton" meant the same thing as "citizen" meant the same thing as "slave."“

—  Walter M. Miller, Jr. American fiction writer 1923 - 1996
Context: The monks of the earliest days had not counted on the human ability to generate a new cultural inheritance in a couple of generations if an old one is utterly destroyed, to generate it by virtue of lawgivers and prophets, geniuses or maniacs; through a Moses, or through a Hitler, or an ignorant but tyrannical grandfather, a cultural inheritance may be acquired between dusk and dawn, and many have been so acquired. But the new "culture" was an inheritance of darkness, wherein "simpleton" meant the same thing as "citizen" meant the same thing as "slave." The monks waited. It mattered not at all to them that the knowledge they saved was useless, that much of it was not really knowledge now, was as inscrutable to the monks in some instances as it would be to an illiterate wild-boy from the hills; this knowledge was empty of content, its subject matter long since gone. Still, such knowledge had a symbolic structure that was peculiar to itself, and at least the symbol-interplay could be observed. To observe the way a knowledge-system is knit together is to learn at least a minimum knowledge-of-knowledge, until someday — someday, or some century — an Integrator would come, and things would be fitted together again. So time mattered not at all. The Memorabilia was there, and it was given to them by duty to preserve, and preserve it they would if the darkness in the world lasted ten more centuries, or even ten thousand years... Ch 6

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„If a society system disintegrates or is destroyed by blows from the outside the society ends in chaos, and a completely new society is built upon its ruins, often using the elements of the destroyed system to build the new. That has happened many times in history. But, what also happens is that the society is not simply destroyed but that the system is changed, and a new system emerges which can be considered to be a transformation of the old one.“

—  Erich Fromm German social psychologist and psychoanalyst 1900 - 1980
Context: One will be conducive to cooperation and solidarity another social structure to competition, suspiciousness, avarice; another to child-like receptiveness, another to destructive aggressiveness. All empirical forms or human needs and drives have to be understood as results of the social practice (in the last analysis based on the productive forces, class structure, etc., etc.) but they all have to fulfill the functions which are inherent in man’s nature in general, and that is to permit him to relate himself to others and share a common frame of reference, etc. The existential contradiction within man (to which I would now add also the contradiction between limitations which reality imposes on his life, and the virtually limitless imagination which his brain permits him to follow) is what I believe to be one of the motives of psychological and social dynamics. Man can never stand still. He must find solutions to this contradiction, and ever better solutions to the extent to which reality enables him. The question then arises whether there is an optimal solution which can be inferred from man’s nature, and which constitutes a potential tendency in man. I believe that such optimal solutions can be inferred from the nature of man, and I have recently found it quite useful to think in terms of what in sociology and economy is now often called »system analysis«. One might start with the idea, in the first place, that human personality — just like society — is a system, that is to say, that each part depends on every other, and no part can be changed unless all or most other parts are also changed. A system is better than chaos. If a society system disintegrates or is destroyed by blows from the outside the society ends in chaos, and a completely new society is built upon its ruins, often using the elements of the destroyed system to build the new. That has happened many times in history. But, what also happens is that the society is not simply destroyed but that the system is changed, and a new system emerges which can be considered to be a transformation of the old one.

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„The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.“

—  Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd President of the United States 1882 - 1945
Letter to all State Governors on a Uniform Soil Conservation Law (26 February 1937) http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=15373); this statement has sometimes been paraphrased and prefixed to an earlier FDR statement of 29 January 1935 to read: "A nation that destroys its soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people." Though it approximates 2 separate statements of FDR, no original document in precisely this form has been located.