Talk:Arnold J. Toynbee

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Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable, precise and verifiable source for any quote on this list please move it to Arnold J. Toynbee. --Antiquary 18:29, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

  • 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
  • A city that outdistances man's walking powers is a trap for man.
  • A life which does not go into action is a failure.
  • America is a large friendly dog in a small room. Every time it wags its tail it knocks over a chair.
  • Angkor is not orchestral; it is monumental. It is an epic poem which makes its effect, like the Odyssey and like Paradise Lost, by the grandeur of its structure as well as by the beauty of the details; an epic in rectangular forms imposed upon the Cambodian jungle.
  • Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, which takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.
  • 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.
  • Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.
  • History is a vision of God's creation on the move.
  • I can not think of any circumstances in which advertising would not be an evil.
  • I do not believe that civilizations have to die because civilization is not an organism. It is a product of wills.
  • I don't believe a committee can write a book. It can, oh, govern a country, perhaps, but I don't believe it can write a book.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sooner or later, man has always had to decide whether he worships his own power or the power of God.
  • The equation of religion with belief is rather recent.
  • The immense cities lie basking on the beaches of the continent like whales that have taken to the land.
  • The last stage but one of every civilisation, is characterised by the forced political unification of its constituent parts, into a single greater whole.
  • There is a kind of intellectual provincialism in the dogma that 'life is just one damned thing after another.' Human affairs do not become intelligible until they are seen as a whole.
  • To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When I had got my notes all written out I thought I'd polish it off in two summers, but it took me twenty-seven years.
  • When I was a child, the institution of war, which by then had been in existence for perhaps five thousand years, was still taken for granted by most people in the world as a normal and acceptable fact of life. One small religious community, the Society of Friends, was at this time singular in condemning war as immoral and consequently refusing to have any part or lot in war-making.

The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play[edit]

The entry claims:

(1) "Statement of 1964, as quoted in Mindfulness edited by Ellen J. Langer, p. 133" This is not a primary source for the quotation, maybe someone can find a primary source and add that?

(2) "; also in Social Creativity Vol. 2 (1999) edited by Alfonso Montuori and Ronald E. Purser." There is no contribution by Toynbee in that book, so it is unclear where that quote should be, maybe someone can verify and add the page number?

On India and Hinduism[edit]

  • It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a Western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is not to end in self-destruction of the human race. At this supremely dangerous moment in human history , the only way of salvation is the ancient Hindu way. Here we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together in to a single family.
  • So now we turn to India. This spiritual gift, that makes a man human, is still alive in Indian souls. Go on giving the world Indian examples of it. Nothing else can do so much to help mankind to save itself from destruction.
  • There may or may not be only one single absolute truth and only one single ultimate way of salvation. We do not know. But we do know that there are more approaches to truth than one, and more means of salvation than one.’’‘‘This is a hard saying for adherents of the higher religions of the Judaic family (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), but it is a truism for Hindus. The spirit of mutual good-will, esteem, and veritable love ... is the traditional spirit of the religions of the Indian family. This is one of India’s gifts to the world.

Sourced to "1964 p.3"[edit]

  • The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
    • This one is sourced as (1964, p.3) in this book (Alfonso Montuori, Ronald E. Purser 1999 Social creativity: Volume 2, p.346). I can't access the bibliography section of the book to check to which 1964-published book it is referring to.

1931 Copenhagen address is possibly missing text[edit]

On page twenty-eight in "The Intelligent Man's Way to Prevent War," Norman Angell in his essay "The International Anarchy" quotes Toynbee as saying, after "political allegiance of mankind" and before "It is just because...":

"The surest sign, to my mind, that this ancient and blood-stained fetish of local national sovereignty is our intended victim is the emphasis with which all statesmen and publicists protest with one accord, and over and over again, at every step forward which we take, that, whatever changes we may make in the international situation, the sacred principle of local sovereignty will be maintained inviolable. This, I repeat, is a sure sign that, at each of these steps for- ward, the principle of local sovereignty is really being encroached upon, its sphere of action reduced and its power of evil restricted."


Toynbee is also quoted as such in the first issue of the Social Credit quarterly Fig Tree on page nine: