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Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest. Emile Zola
Religion is a real danger to the survival of civilisation ... It will be the death of us all. Christopher Hitchens v Tony Blair: Is Religion a Force for Good in the World? Debate 2010
The basis of any truly civilised society, true democracy, is Justice. Truth and Justice. John Pilger, interview Alan Hart
Civilisations are judged by how they treat all their people especially the most vulnerable who are often the bravest. John Pilger, Welcome to Australia, ITV 1999
Give evidence at a Select Committee in the House of Commons … Public Bodies: Quangos: they’re looking at patronage … they’re looking at the appointments’ system. Mark Thomas Comedy Product s6e6, Channel 4 2002
There’s about a 1,000 of them. There’s 30,000 people who sit on them … They’ve got budgets of billions … It’s like the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List … They’ve got more power than MPs … ibid.
They have the ‘Government Wine Committee’ … ibid.
Aztec priests sacrifice thousands of men, women and children a year. Up to 20,000 in one of their most important ceremonies. Mankind: The Story of All of Us VII: New World, History 2012
Mankind is not likely to salvage civilization unless he can evolve a system of good and evil which is independent of heaven and hell. George Orwell
Our civilization is not Christian. It does not come from the skies. It is not a result of ‘inspiration’. It is the child of invention, of discovery, of applied knowledge – that is to say, of science. When man becomes great and grand enough to admit that all have equal rights; when thought is untrammelled; when worship shall consist in doing useful things; when religion means the discharge of obligations to our fellow-men, then, and not until then, will the world be civilized. Robert G Ingersoll
The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was greatest before there was any civilization. Sigmund Freud
Why did civilisation begin so much later in the new world than in the world? Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 3/3: The Grain in the Stone, BBC 1973
Easter Island ... The question about these statues is – why were they all made alike? Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 6/13: The Starry Messenger
A civilisation which failed to take the first step on the ascent of rational knowledge. ibid.
The Ascent of Man will go on, but don’t assume that it will go on carried by Western civilisation as we know it. Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 13/13: The Long Childhood
The Ascent of Man will go on, but don’t assume that it will go on carried by Western civilisation as we know it. ibid.
I should feel it a grave sense of loss, as you would, if a hundred years from now Shakespeare and Newton are historical fossils in the Ascent of Man. ibid.
The personal commitment of a man to his skill, the intellectual commitment and the emotional commitment working together as one, has made the Ascent of Man. ibid.
In the highest civilization, the book is still the highest delight. He who has once known its satisfactions is provided with a resource against calamity. Ralph Waldo Emerson
One day we’ll wake up. If we wake up at all that is. And our so-called civilisation will have vanished overnight. Alan Ayckbourn, Season’s Greetings starring Michael Cashman & Barbara Flynn & Nicky Henson & Anna Massey & Geoffrey Palmer & Peter Vaughan et al, director Michael A Simpson, Harvey to Clive, BBC 1986
Ruskin said, Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts: the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art. Kenneth Clark: Civilisation 1/13 ***** The Skin of Our Teeth, BBC 1969
What is civilisation? I don’t know. I can’t define it in abstract terms yet but I think I can recognise it when I see it. ibid.
The Greco-Roman world: that world must have seemed absolutely indestructible. ibid.
Civilisation: however complex and solid it seems it’s actually quite fragile. ibid.
Civilisation requires a modicum of material prosperity ... Far more it requires confidence. ibid.
All the evidence suggest the boredom of barbarism is far greater. ibid.
It’s arguable that western civilisation was saved by its craftsmen. ibid.
Civilisation means something more than energy and will and creative power, something the early Norsemen hadn’t got. ibid.
A sense of permanence. ibid.
One sometimes feels that the 7th and 8th centuries were like a prolonged western. ibid.
Charlemagne is the first man of action to emerge from the darkness since the collapse of the Roman world. ibid.
Great works of art can be produced in barbarous societies. ibid.
The 10th century produced work as splendid and as technically skilful and even as dedicated as any other age. ibid.
Three or four times in history mankind has made a leap forward that would have been unthinkable under ordinary evolutionary conditions. Kenneth Clark, Civilisation 2/13: The Great Thaw
This internationalism of the 12th century extended to architecture and sculpture. ibid.
The great thaw of the 12th century was not achieved by contemplation alone – that can exist at all times – but by action. ibid.
The majority of people joined the Crusade in a spirit of pilgrimage. ibid.
It was an age of intense intellectual activity. ibid.
Chartres was the centre of a school of philosophy dedicated to Plato. ibid.
The cult of the virgin must have come from the East. ibid.
Great things were to be done in the next centuries of high Gothic. ibid.
I’m in the Gothic world: the world of chivalry, courtesy, and romance ... And where architecture reached a point of extravagance in history ... What Marxists call Conspicuous Waste. Kenneth Clark 3/13: Civilisation: Romance & Reality
Most think that with the pointed arch it came from the East. ibid.
Medieval marriages were entirely about property. ibid.
Florence ... Exploitation was in the hands of a few powerful families. ibid.
The greatest philosophical poet that has ever lived – Dante. ibid.
One book remains: The Very Rich Hours, which is one of the miracles of art history. ibid.
As an aid to realise perspective is of no importance – the realistic painters of Flanders got on very well without it. But as a symbol it means something, and as a symbol it passes into the decorative arts of early renaissance. Kenneth Clark, Civilisation 4/13: Man the Measure of All Things
Realistic portraiture ... Jan van Eyck – no-one has looked at the human face with a dispassionate eye and recorded his findings with a more delicate eye. ibid.