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.

— Will Durant

The most risky Will Durant quotes that will activate your inner potential

To say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy.


Forget mistakes. Forget failure. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it. Today is your lucky day


Knowledge is the eye of desire and can become the pilot of the soul.


The Islamic conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history.

It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex of order and freedom, culture and peace, can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within.


The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds.


It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to the west, such gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all numerals and the decimal system.


The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority.


So I should say that civilizations begin with religion and stoicism: they end with scepticism and unbelief, and the undisciplined pursuit of individual pleasure. A civilization is born stoic and dies epicurean.


We are living in the excesses of freedom. Just take a look at 42nd Street and Broadway.


If we have never been amazed by the very fact that we exist, we are squandering the greatest fact of all.


Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.


Love one another. My final lesson of history is the same as that of Jesus. You may think that's a lot of lollipop but just try it. Love is the most practical thing in the world. If you take an attitude of love toward everybody you meet, you'll eventually get along.


About Will Durant

Quotes 173 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Historian
Birthday October 16

The only real revolution is in the enlightenment of the mind and the improvement of character, the only real emancipation is individual, and the only real revolutionists are philosophers and saints.


Tired mothers find that spanking takes less time than reasoning and penetrates sooner to the seat of the memory.


Sixty years ago I knew everything. Now I know nothing. Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.


The health of nations is more important than the wealth of nations.


It may be true that you can't fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.


Those who have suffered much become very bitter or very gentle.


In progressive societies the concentration[of wealth] may reach a point where the strength of number in the many poor rivals the strength of ability in the few rich; then the unstable equilibrium generates a critical situation, which history has diversely met by legislation redistributing wealth or by revolution distributing poverty.


Knowledge is power but only wisdom is liberty.


The greatest question of our time is not communism vs.

individualism, not Europe vs. America, not even the East vs. the West; it is whether men can bear to live without God.


Men decided that it was better to pay taxes than to fight among themselves;

better to pay tribute to one magnificent robber than to bribe them all.


Philosophy begins when one learns to doubt -- particularly to doubt one's cherished beliefs, one's dogmas and one's axioms.


From barbarism to civilization requires a century; from civilization to barbarism needs but a day.


In the last analysis civilization is based upon the food supply.


When liberty destroys order the hunger for order will destroy liberty.


Education is the transmission of civilization.


Drunkenness was in good repute in England till "Bloody Mary" frowned upon it;

it remained popular in Germany. The French drank more stably, not being quite so cold.


Inquiry is fatal to certainty.


An emperor knows how to govern when poets are free to make verses, people to act plays, historians to tell the truth, ministers to give advice, the poor to grumble at taxes, students to learn lessons aloud, workmen to praise their skill and seek work, people to speak of anything, and old men to find fault with everything.


Destroy it. There may be a redistribution of the land, but the natural inequality of men soon re-creates an inequality of possessions and privileges, and raises to power a new minority with essentially the same instincts as the old.


Moral codes adjust themselves to environmental conditions.


Nothing is often a good thing to do and always a good thing to say.


Forced to choose, the poor, like the rich, love money more than political liberty; and the only political freedom capable of enduring is one that is so pruned as to keep the rich from denuding the poor by ability or subtlety and the poor from robbing the rich by violence or votes.


Caesar's armies marched on vegetarian foods.


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.


If I were rich I would have many books, and I would pamper myself with bindings bright to the eye and soft to the touch, paper generously opaque, and type such as men designed when printing was very young. I would dress my gods in leather and gold, and burn candles of worship before them at night, and string their names like beads on a string.


Perhaps it is one secret of their power that, having studied the fluctuations of prices, the [bankers] know that history is inflationary.


History reports that the men who can manage men manage the men who can manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all.


If man asks for many laws it is only because he is sure that his neighbor needs them; privately he is an unphilosophical anarchist, and thinks laws in his own case superfluous.


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.


The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes, rather than their minds.


The South creates the civilizations, the North conquers them, ruins them, borrows from them, spreads them: this is one summary of history.


I have tried to be impartial, though I know that a man's past always colors his views, and that nothing else is so irritating as impartiality.


No man who is in a hurry is quite civilized.


The ego is willing but the machine cannot go on.

It's the last thing a man will admit, that his mind ages.


Friends are helpful not only because they will listen to us, but because they will laugh at us; Through them we learn a little objectivity, a little modesty, a little courtesy; We learn the rules of life and become better players of the game


One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.


So prominent was the Jewish role in the foreign commerce of Europe that those nations that received the Jews gained and the countries that excluded them lost in the volume of international trade.