Lewis Mumford Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf. -Lewis Mumford
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Forget the damned motor car and build the cities for lovers and friends. -Lewis Mumford
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A man of courage never needs weapons, but he may need bail. -Lewis Mumford
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Restore human legs as a means of travel. Pedestrians rely on food for fuel and need no special parking facilities. -Lewis Mumford
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Traditionalists are pessimists about the future and optimists about the past. -Lewis Mumford
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The artist does not illustrate science (but) he frequently responds to the same interests that a scientist does. -Lewis Mumford
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War is the supreme drama of a completely mechanized society. -Lewis Mumford
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Every generation revolts against its fathers and makes friends with its grandfathers -Lewis Mumford
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Don't take the will for the deed; get the deed -Lewis Mumford
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The ultimate gift of conscious life is a sense of the mystery that encompasses it. -Lewis Mumford
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The self holds both a hell and a heaven. -Lewis Mumford
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Life is an art we are required to practice without preparation, a score that we play at sight even before we have mastered our instruments. -Lewis Mumford
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Today, the degradation of the inner life is symbolized by the fact that the only place sacred from interruption is the private toilet. -Lewis Mumford
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Let us fool ourselves no longer. At the very moment Western nations, threw off the ancient regime of absolute government, operating under a once-divine king, they were restoring this same system in a far more effective form in their technology, reintroducing coercions of a military character no less strict in the organization of a factory than in that of the new drilled, uniformed, and regimented army. During the transitional stages of the last two centuries, the ultimate tendency of this system might b e in doubt, for in many areas there were strong democratic reactions; but with the knitting together of a scientific ideology, itself liberated from theological restrictions or humanistic purposes, authoritarian technics found an instrument at hand that h as now given it absolute command of physical energies of cosmic dimensions. The inventors of nuclear bombs, space rockets, and computers are the pyramid builders of our own age: psychologically inflated by a similar myth of unqualified power, boasting through their science of their increasing omnipotence, if not omniscience, moved by obsessions and compulsions no less irrational than those of earlier absolute systems: particularly the notion that the system itself must be expanded, at whatever eventual co st to life. Through mechanization, automation, cybernetic direction, this authoritarian technics has at last successfully overcome its most serious weakness: its original dependence upon resistant, sometimes actively disobedient servomechanisms, still human enough to harbor purposes that do not always coincide with those of the system. Like the earliest form of authoritarian technics, this new technology is marvellously dynamic and productive: its power in every form tends to increase without limits, in quantities that defy assimilation and defeat control, whether we are thinking of the output of scientific knowledge or of industrial assembly lines. To maximize energy, speed, or automation, without reference to the complex conditions that sustain organic life, have become ends in themselves. As with the earliest forms of authoritarian technics, the weight of effort, if one is to judge by national budgets, is toward absolute instruments of destruction, designed for absolutely irrational purposes whose chief by-product would be the mutilation or extermination of the human race. Even Ashurbanipal and Genghis Khan performed their gory operations under normal human limits. The center of authority in this new system is no longer a visible personality, an all-powerful king: even in totalitarian dictatorships the center now lies in the system itself, invisible but omnipresent: all its human components, even the technical and managerial elite, even the sacred priesthood of science, who alone have access to the secret knowledge by means of which total control is now swiftly being effected, are themselves trapped by the very perfection of the organization they have invented. Like the Pharoahs of the Pyramid Age, these servants of the system identify its goods with their own kind of well-being: as with the divine king, their praise of the system is an act of self-worship; and again like the king, they are in the grip of an irrational compulsion to extend their means of control and expand the scope of their authority. In this new systems-centered collective, this Pentagon of power, there is no visible presence who issues commands: unlike job's God, the new deities cannot be confronted, still less defied. Under the pretext of saving labor, the ultimate end of this technics is to displace life, or rather, to transfer the attributes of life to the machine and the mechanical collective, allowing only so much of the organism to remain as may be controlled and manipulated.

Lewis Mumford
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Today, the notion of progress in a single line without goal or limit seems perhaps the most parochial notion of a very parochial century -Lewis Mumford
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Safety razors make it hard to grow beards in America: America would be a better place if there were a few bearded, savage, terrible old men. -Lewis Mumford
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