Quotes Collected by Ken Knowlton


We do not what we ought; What we ought not, we do;
And lean upon the thought That chance will bring us through.
     — Matthew Arnold

The future ain't what it used to be.
     — Yogi Berra, attributed

When I was young I used to read about the decline of Western civilization, and I decided it was something I would like to make a contribution to.
     — George Carlin

So we may hope ... that one day our age of roaring factories and bulging warehouses will pass away. ... And then our descendants, no longer cluttered up with possessions, will remember what many of us have forgotten that the only things in the world that really matter are such imponderables as beauty and wisdom, laughter and love.
     — Arthur Clarke

Orwell, as well as [Huxley and Zamyatin], is simply implying that the new form of managerial industrialism, in which man builds machines which act like men and develops men who act like machines, is conducive to an era of dehumanization and complete alienation, in which men are transformed into things and become appendices to the process of production and consumption. All three authors imply that this danger exists not only in communism of the Russian or Chinese versions, but that it is a danger inherent in the modern mode of production and organization, and relatively independent of the various ideologies.
     — Erich Fromm, in an Afterword to Orwell's

All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.
     — Edward Gibbon

The wave of the future is coming and there is no fighting it.
     — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"Tomorrow's world Today!"
     — motto of the 1939 New York World's Fair.

Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.
     — George Orwell

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face for ever.
     — George Orwell

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
     —  H. G. Wells

Perhaps, after all, the twentieth century isn't going relentlessly onward, we are going to have a setback to learn again, under simpler conditions, some of these necessary fundamental lessons our race has learnt as yet insufficiently well honesty and brotherhood, social collectivism, and the need for some peace-preserving council for the whole world.
     — H. G. Wells, 1909

The hour is very late and the choice of good and evil knocks at our door.
     — Norbert Wiener

[T]he more we get out of the world the less we leave, and in the long run we shall have to pay out debts at a time that may be very inconvenient for our own survival.
     — Norbert Wiener

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