The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.

— Arnold J. Toynbee

The most stunning Arnold J. Toynbee quotes that will transform you to a better person

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.


Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.


The immense cities lie basking on the beaches of the continent like whales that have taken to the land.


The extinction of race consciousness as between Muslims is one of the outstanding achievements of Islam, and in the contemporary world there is, as it happens, a crying need for the propagation of this Islamic virtue.


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 that they fail to meet.


On this showing, the nature of the breakdowns of civilizations can be summed up in three points: a failure of creative power in the minority, an answering withdrawal of mimesis on the part of the majority, and a consequent loss of social unity in the society as a whole.


It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.


Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.


Religion holds the solution to all problems of human relationship, whether they are between parents and children or nation and nation. Sooner or later, man has always had to decide whether he worships his own power or the power of God.


Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, with takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.


Immaturity means self-centeredness, inability to compromise, to rise above hurt feelings, to postpone immediate pleasures in favor of future benefits, or to do unpleasant chores when they need to be done.


Sooner or later, man has always had to decide whether he worships his own power or the power of God.


About Arnold J. Toynbee

Quotes 57 sayings
Nationality British
Profession Historian
Birthday 14 April 1889

The human race's prospects of survival were considerably better when we were defenceless against tigers than they are today when we have become defenceless against ourselves.


Material power that is not counterbalanced by adequate spiritual power, that is, by love and wisdom, is a curse


The only real struggle in the history of the world .

.. is between the vested interest and social justice.


The absolute value of love makes life worth while, and so makes Man's strange and difficult situation acceptable. Love cannot save life from death; but it can fulfill life's purpose.


Write regularly, day in and day out, at whatever times of day you find that you write best. Don't wait till you feel that you are in the mood. Write, whether you are feeling inclined to write or not.


History is a vision of God's creation on the move.


The West has never been all of the world that matters.

The West has not been the only actor on the stage of modern history even at the peak of the West's power (and this peak has perhaps now already been passed)... It has not been the West that has been hit by the world; it has been the world that has been hit - and hit hard - by the West.


America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room.

Every time it wags its tail it knocks over a chair.


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.


The course of human history consists of a series of encounters between individual human beings and God in which each man and woman or child, in turn, is challenged by God to make his free choice between doing God's will and refusing to do it.


The world's greatest need . . . is mutual confidence. No human being ever knows all the secrets of another's heart. Yet there is enough confidence between mother and child, husband and wife, buyer and seller . . . to make social life a practical possibility. Confidence may be risky, but it is nothing like so risky as mistrust.


The last stage but one of every civilisation, is characterised by the forced political unification of its constituent parts, into a single greater whole.


The twentieth century will be chiefly remembered by future generations not as an era of political conflicts or technical inventions, but as an age in which human society dared to think of the welfare of the whole human race as a practical objective.


A city that outdistances man's walking powers is a trap for man.


America is a large friendly dog in a small room. Every time it wags its tail it knocks over a chair.


Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm.


I believe that a religious conversion is the only way to stimulate the peoples of the industrialized nations to be willing to make sacrifices for the sake of esho funi (the oneness of self and environment). ... I wish the entire world would accept as an item of religious faith the concept of esho funi and its moral obligations.


The penalty of affluence is that it cuts one off from the common lot, common experience, and common fellowship. In a sense it outlaws one automatically from one's birthright of membership in the great human family.


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.


Human dignity can be achieved only in the field of ethics, and ethical achievement is measured by the degree in which our actions are governed by compassion and love, not by greed and aggressiveness.


We human beings do have some genuine freedom of choice and therefore some effective control over our own destinies. I am not a determinist. But I also believe that the decisive choice is seldom the latest choice in the series. More often than not, it will turn out to be some choice made relatively far back in the past.


Man's true end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever.


To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization.


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.


Our western science is a child of moral virtues;

and it must now become the father of further moral virtues if its extraordinary material triumphs in our time are not to bring human history to an abrupt, unpleasant and discreditable end.


Do not let yourselves be discouraged or embittered by the smallness of the success you are likely to achieve in trying to make life better. You certainly would not be able, in a single generation, to create an earthly paradise. Who could expect that? But, if you make life ever so little better, you will have done splendidly, and your lives will have been worthwhile.


I can not think of any circumstances in which advertising would not be an evil.


The aim of all education is, or should be, to teach people to educate themselves.


Adversity in the things of this world opens the door for spiritual salvation.


My advice to any traveler who is traveling in order to learn would be: 'Fight tooth and nail to be permitted to travel in what is technically the least efficient way.'


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.


Angkor is perhaps the greatest of Man's essays in rectangular architecture that has yet been brought to life.


Of the twenty or so civilizations known to modern Western historians, all except our own appear to be dead or moribund, and, when we diagnose each case... we invariably find that the cause of death has been either War or Class or some combination of the two.


I do not believe that civilizations have to die because civilization is not an organism. It is a product of wills.


There is no such thing as gratitude in international politics.


Love's way of dealing with us is different from conscience's way.

Conscience commands; love inspires. What we do out of love, we do because we want to.


Nothing fails like success when you rely on it too much.