A spirit of violence permeates the whole of our science, technology, economics. . . . It makes us think absurdities such as infinite growth in a finite environment were possible; that we could go on finding and burning as much oil every ten years as in all previous history; that science could cure the sickness of the environment; . . . that man’s future was one of little work and endless leisure; that man has moved from the age of scarcity into the age of plenty. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.
A man said to the universe: “Sir I exist!” “However,” replied the universe, “The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation.”
To people who think of themselves as God’s house guests, American enterprise must seem arrogant beyond belief. Or stupid. A nation of amnesiacs, proceeding as if there were no other day but today. Assuming the land could also forget what had been done to it.
The first rule of holes: when you’re in one, stop digging.
Every civilization reaches a moment of crisis. . . . This crisis presents its challenge: smash or go on to higher things. So far no civilization has ever met this challenge successfully. History is the study of the bones of civilizations that failed, as the pterodactyl and the dinosaur failed.
I’m optimistic about the future, but not about the future of this civilization. I’m optimistic about the civilization which will replace this one.
History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.
My neighbor has a circular driveway. He can’t get out.
When man invented the bicycle, he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man’s convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man’s brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.
It wasn’t the Exxon Valdez captain’s driving that caused the Alaskan oil spill. It was yours.
What is called a high standard of living consists in considerable measure of arrangements for avoiding muscular energy, increasing sensual pleasure, and enhancing caloric intake beyond any conceivable nutritional requirement. Nonetheless, the belief that increased production is a worthy social goal is very nearly absolute.
It takes time to ruin a world, but time is all it takes.
I thought how utterly we have forsaken the earth, in the sense of excluding it from our thoughts. There are but few who consider its physical hugeness, its rough enormity. It is still a disparate monstrosity, full of solitudes, barrens, wilds. It still dwarfs, terrifies, crushes. The rivers still roar, the mountains still crash, the winds still shatter. Man is an affair of cities. His gardens, orchards, and fields are mere scrapings. Somehow, however, he has managed to shut out the face of the giant from his windows. But the giant is there, nevertheless.
i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes.
Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn’t burn up any fossil fuel, doesn’t pollute. Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance.
Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.