Arnold Joseph Toynbee CH (April 14, 1889 - October 22 1975) was a British historian whose twelve-volume analysis of the rise and fall of civilizations, A Study of History, 1934–1961, was a synthesis of world history, a metahistory based on universal rhythms of rise, flowering and decline, which examined history from a global perspective. A religious outlook permeates the Study and made it especially popular in the United States, for Toynbee rejected Greek humanism, the Enlightenment belief in humanity's essential goodness, and the "false god" of modern nationalism. Toynbee in the 1918–1950 period was a leading specialist on international affairs, especially regarding the Middle East. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)
A city that outdistances man's walking powers is a trap for man.
A life which does not go into action is a failure.
America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.
Anxiety and conscience are a powerful pair of dynamos. Between them, they have ensured that I shall work hard, but they cannot ensure that one shall work at anything worthwhile.
As human beings, we are endowed with freedom of choice, and we cannot shuffle off our responsibility upon the shoulders of God or nature. We must shoulder it ourselves. It is our responsibility.
Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.
Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.
Civilizations in decline are consistently characterized by a tendency towards standardization and uniformity.
Civilizations, I believe, come to birth and proceed to grow by successfully responding to successive challenges. They break down and go to pieces if and when a challenge confronts them which they fail to meet.
Compassion is the desire that moves the individual self to widen the scope of its self-concern to embrace the whole of the universal self.
I can not think of any circumstances in which advertising would not be an evil.
I do not believe that civilizations have to die because civilization is not an organism. It is a product of wills.
Militarism has been by far the commonest cause of the breakdown of civilizations. The single art of war makes progress at the expense of all the arts of peace.
Of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now.
The art of handling university students is to make oneself appear, and this almost ostentatiously, to be treating them as adults...
The human race's prospects of survival were considerably better when we were defenseless against tigers than they are today when we have become defenseless against ourselves.
The immense cities lie basking on the beaches of the continent like whales that have taken to the land.
The only real struggle in the history of the world... is between the vested interest and social justice.
The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization.
We have been God-like in our planned breeding of our domesticated plants and animals, but we have been rabbit-like in our unplanned breeding of ourselves.
There is a kind of intellectual provincialism in the dogma that 'life is just one damned thing after another.' Human affairs do not become intelligible until they are seen as a whole.
History not used is nothing, for all intellectual life is action, like practical life, and if you don't use the stuff well, it might as well be dead.
Material power that is not counterbalanced by adequate spiritual power, that is, by love and wisdom, is a curse.
Nothing fails like success when you rely on it too much.
The value of the goal lies in the goal itself; and therefore the goal cannot be attained unless it is pursued for its own sake.
We shall have to share out the fruits of technology among the whole of mankind. The notion that the direct and immediate producers of the fruits of technology have a proprietary right to these fruits will have to be forgotten. After all, who is the producer? Man is a social animal, and the immediate producer has been helped to produce by the whole structure of society, beginning with his own education.
Whatever you are from nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent. Be what nature intended you for, and you will succeed; be anything else, and you will be ten thousands times worse than nothing.