The widest cause of secularization may be the steady change of thinking so that there is the expectation that reason and a consideration of cause and effect will help with explanations. Supernatural power began to be removed from explanations of the process of life or society in the seventeenth century, and although there may be a nod towards astrology or the crossed finger today, superstition is not seriously used in decision making... Scientific thinking, which similarly developed in the seventeenth century, has been influential in bringing this change. We now see that tornadoes and earthquakes have rational explanations in terms of climatology and seismology rather than as divine punishments. Most people when deciding whether to take a new job, embark on a divorce, or simply plan a holiday will not seek divine guidance, but rather discuss with themselves or others the issues of cause and effect.
Few can contemplate without a sense of exhilaration the splendid achievements of practical energy and technical skill, which, from the latter part of the seventeenth century, were transforming the face of material civilization, and of which England was the daring, if not too scrupulous, pioneer.
E. F. Schumacher
I was recently told, 'You're a liar!' when I said to somebody I walked down the spine of the Andes. Every Spaniard in the sixteenth, seventeenth century did that. The idea that somebody could just walk! He can jog perhaps in the morning, but he can't walk anywhere! The world has become inaccessible because we drive there.
So many able historians have worked over seventeenth-century New England that one would think there was little left to be learned from the people who lived there - fewer than 100,000 at the end of the century. Seldom, apart perhaps from the Greeks and Romans, have so few been studied by so many.
We should have scant notion of the gardens of these New England colonists in the seventeenth century were it not for a cheerful traveller named John Josselyn, a man of everyday tastes and much inquisitiveness, and the pleasing literary style which comes from directness, and an absence of self-consciousness.
Alice Morse Earle
The effect of the discovery of printing was evident in the savage religious wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Application of power to communication industries hastened the consolidation of vernaculars, the rise of nationalism, revolution, and new outbreaks of savagery in the twentieth century.
The Seventeenth Amendment serves not the public's interest but the interests of the governing masterminds and their disciples. Its early proponents advanced it not because they championed 'democracy' or the individual, but because they knew it would be one of several important mechanisms for empowering the federal government and unraveling constitutional republicanism.
How strange it would be if the final theory were to be discovered in our lifetimes! The discovery of the final laws of nature will mark a discontinuity in human intellectual history, the sharpest that has occurred since the beginning of modern science in the seventeenth century. Can we now imagine what that would be like?
Great scientific minds, from Claudius Ptolemy of the second century to Isaac Newton of the seventeenth, invested their formidable intellects in attempts to deduce the nature of the universe from the statements and philosophies contained in religious writings.... Had any of these efforts worked, science and religion today might be one and the same. But they are not.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
It was only as part of the civilizing process that storytelling developed within the aristocratic and bourgeois homes, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries through governesses and nannies, and later in the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries through mothers, who told bedtime stories.
Not having finished high school and having been fairly utilitarian in the way I went about college, I didn't have a deep liberal arts background. So we'd go to lunch and people would talk about their favorite seventeenth-century poets, and I'd be thinking, 'Could I even name five poets? From any century?'
Call yourself "Colonel" and declare that your fortune was left to you by Dutch burghers from the seventeenth century. Now you're a solid citizen, the embodiment of hard work and rugged individualism. You're no criminal. The criminal is the guy who comes up short, who gets caught, who fails to adopt a respectable cover.
The seventeenth century witnessed the birth of modern science as we know it today. This science was something new, based on a direct confrontation of nature by experiment and observation. But there was another feature of the new science-a dependence on numbers, on real numbers of actual experience.
I. Bernard Cohen
I suppose that every age has its own particular fantasy: ours is science. A seventeenth-century man like Blaise Pascal, who thought himself a mathematician and scientist of genius, found it quite ridiculous that anyone should suppose that rational processes could lead to any ultimate conclusions about life, but easily accepted the authority of the Scriptures. With us, it is the other way 'round
He was about to go home, about to return to the place where he had had a family. It was in Godric's Hollow that, but for Voldemort, he would have grown up and spent every school holiday. He could have invited friends to his house... He might even have had brothers and sisters... It would have been his mother who had made his seventeenth birthday cake. The life he had lost had hardly ever seemed so real to him as at this moment, when he knew he was about to see the place where it had been taken from him.
I lay in that tub on the seventeenth floor of this hotel for-women-only, high up over the jazz and push of New York, for near unto an hour, and I felt myself growing pure again. I don't believe in baptism or the waters of Jordan or anything like that, but I guess I feel about a hot bath the way those religious people feel about holy water.
He was about to go home, about to return to the place where he had had a family. It was in Godric's Hollow that, but for Voldemort, he would have grown up and spent every school holiday. He could have invited friends to his house. . . . He might even have had brothers and sisters. . . . It would have been his mother who had made his seventeenth birthday cake. The life he had lost had hardly ever seemed so real to him as at this moment, when he knew he was about to see the place where it had been taken from him.
J. K. Rowling
The imperative to take notes as one read moved the seventeenth century Jesuit scholar Jeremias Drexel to write that, 'reading is useless, vain and silly when no writing is involved, unless you are reading [devotionally] Thomas a Kempis or some such. Although I would not want even that kind of reading to be devoid of all note-taking' (170)
In the seventeenth century, it was held by some that inside a human sperm there was a minute human being - a homunculus - that was planted inside the womb. Development consisted of the miniature homunculus enlarging and passing through birth and on to maturity-just like inflating a balloon.
John Tyler Bonner
The assumption that the laws of nature are eternal is a vestige of the Christian belief system that informed the early postulates of modern science in the seventeenth century. Perhaps the laws of nature have actually evolved along with nature itself, and perhaps they are still evolving. Or perhaps they are not laws at all, but more like habits.
Considering that knowledge of the chemical as well as the optical principles of photography was fairly widespread following Schulze's experiment (in 1725)... the circumstance that photography was not invented earlier remains the greatest mystery in its history... It had apparently never occurred to any of the multitude of artists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries who were in the habit of using the camera obscura to try to fix its image permanently.
I breathe deeply, taking in the fresh spring air. Though Beaufort has changed and I have changed, the air itself has not. It's still the air of my childhood, the air of my seventeenth year, and when I finally exhale, I'm fifty-seven once more. But this is okay. I smile slightly, looking towards the sky, knowing there's one thing I haven't told you: I now believe, by the way, that miracles can happen.
The public execution did not re-establish justice; it reactivated power. In the seventeenth century, and even in the early eighteenth century, it was not, therefore, with all its theatre of terror, a lingering hang-over from an earlier age. Its ruthlessness, its spectacle, its physical violence, its unbalanced play of forces, its meticulous ceremonial, its entire apparatus were inscribed in the political functioning of the penal system.
What a lesson, indeed, is all history and all life to the folly and fruitlessness of pride! The Egyptian kings had their embalmed bodies preserved in massive pyramids, to obtain an earthly immortality. In the seventeenth century they were sold as quack medicines, and now they are burnt for fuel! The Egyptian mummies, which Cambyses or time hath spared, avarice now consumeth. Mummy is become merchandise.
Edwin Percy Whipple
After Bruno's death, during the first half of the seventeenth century, Descartes seemed about to take the leadership of human thought... in promoting an evolution doctrine as regards the mechanical formation of the solar system... but his constant dread of persecution, both from Catholics and Protestants, led him steadily to veil his thoughts and even to suppress them. ...Since Roger Bacon, perhaps, no great thinker had been so completely abased and thwarted by theological oppression.
Andrew Dickson White
The classical argument for why a supposedly decent and moral creature like Homo sapiens can mistreat and even extirpate other species rests upon an extreme position in a continuum. The Cartesian tradition, formulated explicitly in the seventeenth century, but developed in "folk" and other versions throughout human history no doubt, holds that other animals are little more than unfeeling machines, with only humans enjoying "consciousness," however defined.
Stephen Jay Gould
Lest we forget, the birth of modern physics and cosmology was achieved by Galileo, Kepler and Newton breaking free not from the close confining prison of faith (all three were believing Christians, of one sort or another) but from the enormous burden of the millennial authority of Aristotelian science. The scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was not a revival of Hellenistic science but its final defeat.
David Bentley Hart
In the Scotland of the early seventeenth century, an old woman living alone in Kirkcudbrightshire was accused of witchcraft and on conviction was rolled downhill in a blazing tar barrel. One of the charges against her was that she walked withershins round a well near her cottage which was used by other people. The well was afterwards known as the Witch's Well. These episodes must surely serve as cautionary tales to anyone tempted to transgress the usual custom of walking deasil round a holy well.
I never feel so much myself as when I'm in a hot bath. I lay in that tub on the seventeenth floor of this hotel for-women-only, high up over the jazz and push of New York, for near onto an hour, and I felt myself growing pure again. I don't believe in baptism or the waters of Jordan or anything like that, but I guess I feel about a hot bath the way those religious people feel about holy water.
I joined the army on my seventeenth birthday, full of the romance of war after having read a lot of World War I British poetry and having seen a lot of post-World War II films. I thought the romantic presentations of war influenced my joining and my presentation of war to my younger siblings.
Walter Dean Myers
Isaac Watts, of course, is a hymn writer in the tradition of Congregationalism who lived in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century. He is very interesting and important because he was also a metaphysician. He knew a great deal about what was, for him, contemporary science. He was very much influenced by Isaac Newton, for example. There are planets and meteors and so on showing up in his hymns very often. But, again, the scale of his religious imagination corresponds to a very generously scaled scientific imagination.
Few novels truly deserve the description 'rollicking' in the way Mary Novik's Conceit does. A hearty, boiling stew of a novel, served up in rich old-fashioned story-telling. Novik lures her readers into the streets of a bawdy seventeenth-century London with a nudge and a wink and keeps them there with her infectious love of detail and character. A raunchy, hugely entertaining read that will leave you at once satiated and hungry for more.
The seventeenth century is everywhere a time in which the state's power over everything individual increases, whether that power be in absolutist hands or may be considered the result of a contract, etc. People begin to dispute the sacred right of the individual ruler or authority without being aware that at the same time they are playing into the hands of a colossal state power.
The radicals assumed that acting was more important than speaking. Talking and writing books, Winstanley insisted, is 'all nothing and must die; for action is the life of all, and if thou dost not act, thou dost nothing.' It is a thought worth pondering by those who read books about the seventeenth-century radicals, no less than by those who write them. Were you doers or talkers only? Bunyan asked his generation. What canst thou say?
Years ago atheism was an individual phenomenon; today atheism is social, the atheist who once was a curiosity, is now a component part of some of the governments of the world. Once men quarreled because they wanted God worshipped in a certain way; now they quarrel because they do not want God worshipped at all. The wars of religion of the seventeenth century have become the wars against religion of the twentieth century.
Fulton J. Sheen
The Arabs understandably did everything they could to protect their monopoly. Coffee beans were treated before being shipped to ensure they were sterile and could not be used to seed new coffee plants; foreigners were excluded from coffee-producing areas. First to break the Arab monopoly were the Dutch, who displaced the Portuguese as the dominant European nation in the East Indies during the seventeenth century, gaining control of the spice trade in the process and briefly becoming the world's leading commercial power.
Civilization is an active deposit which is formed by the combustion of the present with the past. Neither in countries without a Present nor in those without a Past is it to be encountered. Proust in Venice, Matisse's birdcages overlooking the flower market at Nice, Gide on the seventeenth-century quais of Toulon, Lorca in Granada, Picasso by Saint-Germain-des-Pr?s: there lies civilization and for me it can exist only under those liberal regimes in which the Present is alive and therefore capable of assimilating the Past.
The degeneration of the revolution in Russia does not pass from the revolution for communism to the revolution for a developed kind of capitalism, but to a pure capitalist revo lution. It runs in parallel with world-wide capitalist domination which, by successive steps, eliminates old feudal and Asiatic forms in various zones. While the historical situation in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries caused the capitalist revolution to take liberal forms, in the twentieth century it must have totalitarian and bureaucratic ones.
I took my coffee into the dining room and settled down with the morning paper. A woman in New York had had twins in a taxi. A woman in Ohio had just had her seventeenth child. A twelve-year-old girl in Mexico had given birth to a thirteen-pound boy. The lead article on the woman's page was about how to adjust the older child to the new baby. I finally found an account of an axe murder on page seventeen, and held my coffee cup up to my face to see if the steam might revive me.
But it doesn't happen that way, I keep telling myself knowingly and sadly. Only in our fraternity pledges and masonic inductions, our cowboy movies and magazine stories, not in our real-life lives. For, the seventeenth-century humanist to the contrary, each man is an island complete unto himself, and as he sinks, the moving feet go on around him, from nowhere to nowhere and with no time to lose. The world is long past the Boy Scout stage of its development; now each man dies as he was meant to die, and as he was born, and as he lived: alone, all alone. Without any God, without any hope, without any record to show for his life. ("New York Blues")
Scottish operative lodges began in the seventeenth century to admit non-operative members as accepted or gentleman masons and that by the early eighteenth century in some lodges the accepted or gentleman masons had gained the ascendancy: those lodges became, in turn speculative lodges, whilst others continued their purely operative nature. The speculative lodges eventually combined to form the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736.
By the time of the arrival of Islam in the early seventeenth century CE, what we now call the Middle East was divided between the Persian and Byzantine empires. But with the spread of this new religion from Arabia, a powerful empire emerged, and with it a flourishing civilization and a glorious golden age. Given how far back it stretches in time, the history of the region - and even of Iraq itself - is too big a canvas for me to paint. Instead, what I hope to do in this book is take on the nonetheless ambitious task of sharing with you a remarkable story; one of an age in which great geniuses pushed the frontiers of knowledge to such an extent that their work shaped civilizations to this day.
I see the last two millennia as laid out in columns, like a reverse ledger sheet. It's as if I'm standing at the top of the twenty-first century looking downwards to 2000. Future centuries float as a gauzy sheet stretching over to the left. I also see people, architecture and events laid out chronologically in the columns. When I think of the year 1805, I see Trafalgar, women in the clothes of that era, famous people who lived then, the building, etc. The sixth to tenth centuries are very green, the Middle Ages are dark with vibrant splashes of red and blue and the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are brown with rich, lush colours in the furniture and clothing.
In his 1923 review of James Joyce Ulysses, T. S. Eliot focused on one of his generation's recurrent anxieties-the idea that art might be impossible in the twentieth century. The reasons that art seemed impossible are many and complex, but they were all related to the collapse of ways of knowing that had served the Western mind at least since the Renaissance and that had received canonical formulation in the seventeenth century in the science of Newton and the philosophy of Descartes. In both science and philosophy, the crisis was essentially epistemological; that is, it was related to radical uncertainty about how we know what we know about the real world. This crisis, disorienting even to specialists, was at once a cause of despair and an incentive for innovation in the arts.
Jewel Spears Brooker
The very name of the genre itself - fairy tale - originated during this time, for the French writers coined the term conte de fee during the seventeenth century, and it has stuck to the genre in Europe and North America ever since. This "imprint" is important, because it reveals something crucial about the fairy tale that has remained part of its nature to the present. The early writers of fairy tales placed the power of metamorphosis in the hands of women - the redoubtable fairies. In addition, this miraculous power was not associated with a particular religion or mythology, through which the world was to be explained. It was a secular mysterious power of compassion that could not be explained, and it derived from the creative imagination of the writer. Anyone could call upon the fairies for help, and it is clear that the gifted French women writers of the seventeenth century preferred to address themselves to a fairy and to have a fairy resolve the conflicts in their tales rather than the Church, with its male-dominated hierarchy. After all, it was the Church that had eliminated hundreds of thousands of so-called female witches during the previous two centuries in an effort to curb heretical and nonconformist beliefs. However, those "pagan" notions survived in the tradition of the oral wonder tale and surfaced in published form in France when it became safer to introduce in a symbolical code supernatural powers and creatures other than those officially sanctioned by the Christian code. In short, there was something subversive about the institutionalization of the fairy tale in France during the 1690S, for it enabled writers to create a dialogue about norms, manners, and power that evaded court censorship and freed the fantasy of the writers and readers, while at the same time paying tribute to the French code of civilite and the majesty of the aristocracy. Once certain discursive paradigms and conventions were established, a writer could demonstrate his or her "genius" by rearranging, expanding, deepening, and playing with the known functions of a genre that, by 1715, had already formed a type of canon, which consisted not only of the great classical tales-"Cinderella, " "Sleeping Beauty, " "Rapunzel, " "Rumpelstiltskin, " "Puss in Boots, " "Little Red Riding Hood, " "Beauty and the Beast, " "Blue beard, " "The Golden Dwarf, " "The Blue Bird, " and "The White Cat"-but also the mammoth collection The Arabian Nights.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau defined civilization as when people build fences. A very perceptive observation. And it's true-all civilization is the product of a fenced-in lack of freedom. The Australian Aborigines are the exception, though. They managed to maintain a fenceless civilization until the seventeenth century. They're dyed-in-the-wool free. They go where they want, when they want, doing what they want. Their lives are a literal journey. Walkabout is a perfect metaphor for their lives. When the English came and built fences to pen in their cattle, the Aborigines couldn't fathom it. And, ignorant to the end of the principle at work, they were classified as dangerous and antisocial and were driven away, to the outback. So I want you to be careful. The people who build high, strong fences are the ones who survive the best. You deny that reality only at the risk of being driven into the wilderness yourself.
The careful observations and the acute reasonings of the Italian geologists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; the speculations of Leibnitz in the 'Protogaea' and of Buffon in his 'Theorie de la Terre;' the sober and profound reasonings of Hutton, in the latter part of the eighteenth century; all these tended to show that the fabric of the earth itself implied the continuance of processes of natural causation for a period of time as great, in relation to human history, as the distances of the heavenly bodies from us are, in relation to terrestrial standards of measurement. The abyss of time began to loom as large as the abyss of space. And this revelation to sight and touch, of a link here and a link there of a practically infinite chain of natural causes and effects, prepared the way, as perhaps nothing else has done, for the modern form of the ancient theory of evolution.
Thomas Henry Huxley
The question is, shall it or shall it not be linear history. I've always thought a kaleidoscopic view might be an interesting heresey. Shake the tube and see what comes out. Chronology irritates me. There is no chronology inside my head. I am composed of myriad Claudias who spin and mix and part like sparks of sunlight on water. The pack of cards I carry around is forever shuffled and re-shuffled; there is no sequence, everything happens at once. The machines of the new technology, I understand, perform in much the same way: all knowledge is stored, to be summoned up at the flick of a key. They sound, in theory, more efficient. Some of my keys don't work; others demand pass-words, codes, random unlocking sequences. The collective past, curiously, provides these. It is public property, but it is also deeply private. We all look differently at it. My Victorians are not your Victorians. My seventeenth century is not yours. The voice of John Aubrey, of Darwin, of whoever you like, speaks in one tone to me, in another to you.
They all seem infected with a vivaciousness that isn't common in our compound, and there are more smiles on their faces than I've ever seen at once. And yet as I watch them, I feel more intensely than ever the knowledge that I'm not one of them. For these moral humans, birthdays are a kind of countdown to the end, the ticking clock of a dwindling life. For me, birthdays are notches on an infinite timeline. Will I grow tired of parties one day? Will my birthday become meaningless? I imagine myself centuries from now, maybe at my three-hundredth birthday, looking all the way back to my seventeenth. How will I possibly be happy, remembering the light in my mother's eyes? The swiftness of Uncle Antonio's steps as he dances? The way my father stands on edge of the courtyard, smiling in that vague, absent way of his? The scene shifts and blues in my imagination. As if brushed away by some invisible broom, these people whom I've known my entire life disappear. The courtyard is empty, bare, covered in decaying leaves. I imagine Little Cam deserted, with everyone dead and gone and only me left in the shadows. Forever.