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Top 350 Will Durant Quotes (2022 Update)
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Will Durant Quote: “One proof of the excellence of this amiable woman’s character is that all who loved her loved each other, even jealousy and rivalry submitting to the more powerful sentiment with which she inspired them; and I never saw any of those who surrounded her entertain the least ill will among themselves. Let the reader pause a moment in this encomium, and if he can recollect any other woman who deserves it, let him attach himself to her if he would obtain happiness.”
Will Durant Quote: “The fear of death is strangely mingled with the longing for repose.”
Will Durant Quote: “When Germany defeated Napoleon it was a disastrous to culture as when Luther defeated the Church.”
Will Durant Quote: “Death like style is the removal of rubbish.”
Will Durant Quote: “And then, again, the more distinctly a man knows – the more intelligent he is – the more pain he has; the man who is gifted with genius suffers most of all.”
Will Durant Quote: “In the third and following centuries of our era various Celtic, Teutonic, or Asiatic tribes laid Italy waste and destroyed the classic cultures. The South creates the civilizations, the North conquers them, ruins them, borrows from them, spreads them: this is one summary of history.”
Will Durant Quote: “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.”
Will Durant Quote: “He had the philosopher’s disease of seeing so far ahead that all the little pleasant shapes and colors of existence passed under his nose unseen.”
Will Durant Quote: “To hate is to acknowledge our inferiority and our fear; we do not hate a foe whom we are confident we can overcome.”
Will Durant Quote: “There is no cure for such antipathies except a broadened education.”
Will Durant Quote: “They will learn and grow and love and struggle and create, and lift life up one little notch, perhaps, before they die. And when they pass they will cheat death with their children, with parental care that will make their children a little finer than themselves. Life wins.”
Will Durant Quote: “His wife does not dress for him, only when he has gone away and is no longer in her mind; he sees her in a disheveled negligee, while all through the day he meets women powdered and primped and curled, whose charming knees and inviting frocks and encouraging smiles and aphrodisiac perfumes leave him hovering hourly over the abysses of disloyalty.”
Will Durant Quote: “Our individual separateness is in a sense illusory; we are parts of the great stream of law and cause, parts of God; we are the flitting forms of a being greater than ourselves, and endless while we die. Our bodies are cells in the body of the race, our race is an incident in the drama of life; our minds are the fitful flashes of eternal light.”
Will Durant Quote: “To be great is not to be placed above humanity, ruling others; but to stand above the partialities and futilities of uninformed desire, and to rule one’s self.”
Will Durant Quote: “Water is the usual drink, but everyone has wine, for no civilization has found life tolerable without narcotics or stimulants.”
Will Durant Quote: “Belief in God, said Diderot, is bound up with submission to autocracy; the two rise and fall together; and “men will never be free till the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”
Will Durant Quote: “Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused.”
Will Durant Quote: “It is only charlatans who are certain. We know nothing of first principles. It is truly extravagant to define God, angels, and minds, and to know precisely why God formed the world, when we do not know why we move our arms at will. Doubt is not a very agreeable state, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”
Will Durant Quote: “Morality, like art, is the achievement of unity in diversity; the highest type of man is he who effectively unites in himself the widest variety, complexity, and completeness of life.”
Will Durant Quote: “When I introspect I perceive not merely sensations and ideas but desire, will, ambition, and pride as vital phases of me. Spinoza was right: “desiderium ipsa essentia hominis” – desire is the very essence of man. We are living flames of desire until we admit final defeat. Will is desire expressed in ideas that become actions unless impeded by contrary or substitute desires and ideas. Character is the sum of our desires, fears, propensities, habits, abilities, and ideas.”
Will Durant Quote: “Great gaps occur in the history of the art, because most of the early work was ruined by the climate, and much of the remainder was destroyed by Moslem “idol-breakers” from Mahmud to Aurangzeb.”
Will Durant Quote: “CIVILIZATION is social order promoting cultural creation. Four elements constitute it: economic provision, political organization, moral traditions, and the pursuit of knowledge and the arts. It begins where chaos and insecurity end. For when fear is overcome, curiosity and constructiveness are free, and man passes by natural impulse towards the understanding and embellishment of life.”
Will Durant Quote: “The form of Christianity that developed in Europe and later spread to America and the rest of the world was the last great creation of the ancient pagan world.”
Will Durant Quote: “Where there is no strife there is decay:.”
Will Durant Quote: “Racial” antipathies have some roots in ethnic origin, but they are also generated, perhaps predominantly, by differences of acquired culture – of language, dress, habits, morals, or religion. There is no cure for such antipathies except a broadened education.”
Will Durant Quote: “In philosophy all truth is old and only error is original.”
Will Durant Quote: “The fount and breeding-place of the Semites was Arabia.”
Will Durant Quote: “Economic development specializes functions, differentiates abilities, and makes men unequally valuable to their group.”
Will Durant Quote: “This direct perception, this simple and steady looking-upon a thing, is intuition; not any mystic process, but the most direct examination possible to the human mind.”
Will Durant Quote: “Liberty and equality are enemies: the more freedom men enjoy, the freer they are to reap the results of their natural or environmental superiorities; hence inequality multiplies under governments favoring freedom of enterprise and support of property rights. Equality is an unstable equilibrium, which any difference in heredity, health, intelligence, or character will soon end. Most revolutions find that they can check inequality only by limiting liberty, as in authoritarian lands.”
Will Durant Quote: “The defect of democracy is its tendency to put mediocrity into power; and there is no way of avoiding this except by limiting office to men of “trained skill.”138 Numbers by themselves cannot produce wisdom, and may give the best favors of office to the grossest flatterers.”
Will Durant Quote: “Not as adventitious therefore will the wise man regard the faith that is in him. The highest truth he sees he will fearlessly utter; knowing that, let what may come of it, he is thus playing his right part in the world – knowing that if he can effect the change he aims at – well; if not – well also; though not so well.”
Will Durant Quote: “Seek ye first the good things of the mind,” Bacon admonishes us, “and the rest will either be supplied or its loss will not be felt.”2 Truth will not make us rich, but it will make us free.”
Will Durant Quote: “Nothing could be so injurious to health as the Stoic repression of desire; what is the use of prolonging a life which apathy has turned into premature death?”
Will Durant Quote: “This ridiculous foible is perhaps one of our most fatal characteristics; for is there anything more absurd than to wish to carry continually a burden which one can always throw down?”
Will Durant Quote: “The tragedy of life is that it gives us wisdom only when it has stolen youth. Si jeunesse savait, et vieillesse pouvait! – “If youth knew how, and old age could!”
Will Durant Quote: “The third biological lesson of history is that life must breed. Nature has no use for organisms, variations, or groups that cannot reproduce abundantly.”
Will Durant Quote: “We have always goodly stock in us of that which we condemn: as only similars can be profitably contrasted, so only similar people quarrel, and the bitterest wars are over the slightest variations of purpose or belief.”
Will Durant Quote: “The first lesson that the sages of the Upanishads teach their selected pupils is the inadequacy of the intellect. How can this feeble brain, that aches at a little calculus, ever hope to understand the complex immensity of which it is so transitory a fragment?”
Will Durant Quote: “How could this sense of right survive if it were not that in our hearts we feel this life to be only a part of life, this earthly dream only an embryonic prelude to a new birth, a new awakening;.”
Will Durant Quote: “Social evolution is an interplay of custom with origination.”
Will Durant Quote: “The Englishman does not so much make English civilization as it makes him; if he carries it wherever he goes, and dresses for dinner in Timbuktu, it is not that he is creating his civilization there anew, but that he acknowledges even there its mastery over his soul.”
Will Durant Quote: “Nothing is clearer in history than the adoption by successful rebels of the methods they were accustomed to condemn in the forces they deposed.”
Will Durant Quote: “Evolution in man during recorded time has been social rather than biological: it has proceeded not by heritable variations in the species, but mostly by economic, political, intellectual, and moral innovation transmitted to individuals and generations by imitation, custom, or education.”
Will Durant Quote: “If the human brood is too numerous for the food supply, Nature has three agents for restoring the balance: famine, pestilence, and war.”
Will Durant Quote: “No civilization has found life tolerable without narcotics.”
Will Durant Quote: “In some way the god had to be appeased and satisfied; for his worshipers had made him in the image and dream of themselves, and he had no great regard for human life, or womanly tears.”
Will Durant Quote: “Civilization is always older than we think; and under whatever sod we tread are the bones of men and women who also worked and loved, wrote songs and made beautiful things, but whose names and very being have been lost in the careless flow of time.”
Will Durant Quote: “The object of philosophy, therefore, is to perceive unity in diversity, mind in matter, and matter in mind; to find the synthesis in which opposites and contradictions meet and merge; to rise to that highest knowledge of universal unity which is the intellectual equivalent of the love of God.”
Will Durant Quote: “Since there was no Heaven in ancient Jewish theology,231 virtue had to be rewarded here or never.”
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