Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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History of Civilization

By Henry Thomas Buckle

Described as ”the Father of Scientific History,” Buckle worked ten hours a day for 17 years writing this series of historical volumes. He questions the influence typically attributed to government and individuals and postulates that all real change occurs as a result of a people’s general beliefs and culture, their aggregated habits and convictions. He also describes the influence of climate and nature, things like earthquakes, famines and epidemics. He attributes progress to our intellectual efforts and argues that governments, religion, and literature are the result of the evolution of consciousness rather than the cause.

Themes

Themes: History

Quotes from History of Civilization

“Eternal truths survive the shock of empires, outlive the struggles of rival creeds, and witness the decay of successive religions.”

Chapters: 6. The Source

Themes: Religion

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“Every new truth which has ever been propounded has, for a time caused mischief, produced discomfort, and often unhappiness; sometimes disturbing social and religious arrangements... the face of society is disturbed, or perhaps convulsed.”

Chapters:

Themes: Truth Problems

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“First doubt, then inquire, then discover. This has been the process with all our great thinkers…He who knows most believes the least.”

Chapters:

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“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

Chapters: 48. Unlearning

Themes: Philosophy

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“He who knows most believes the least.”

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

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“People become uneasy, the face of society changes, old beliefs are destroyed before new ones can be created… these are the symptoms and precursors of revolution that have preceded all the world’s great changes.”

Chapters:

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“Society prepares the crime, the criminal commits it.”

Chapters: 74. The Great Executioner

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“The actions of individuals are greatly affected by their moral feelings and passions; but these being antagonistic to the passions and feelings of other individuals, are balanced by them, so that their effect is, in the great average of human affairs, nowhere to be seen, and the total actions of mankind, considered as a whole, are left to be regulated by the total knowledge of which mankind is possessed.”

Chapters:

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“The great enemy of civilization is the notion that society cannot prosper, unless the affairs of life are watched over and protected at nearly every turn by the state and the church.”

Chapters: 17. True Leaders

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“The great enemy of knowledge is not error… One error conflicts with another, each destroys its opponent, and truth is evolved.”

Chapters: 43. No Effort, No Trace

Themes: Truth Conflict

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“We frequently meet with men whose erudition ministers to their ignorance, and who, the more they read the less they know.”

Chapters: 19. All Methods Become Obstacles

Themes: Less is More

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“When the gap between the highly educated and the practical, working classes gets too big, the former will have no influence and the latter no benefit.”

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

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“Whenever someone brags about their common sense, you can be sure they have very little, either common or uncommon.”

Chapters: 21. Following Empty Heart

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