Lewis Mumford

Lewis Mumford

American social philosopher

Lived from: 1895-1990

Category: Philosophers

Quotes: Lewis Mumford

Quotes 1 till 15 of 19.

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    By his very success in inventing labor-saving devices, modern man has manufactured an abyss of boredom that only the privileged classes in earlier civilizations have ever fathomed.
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    Every generation revolts against its fathers and makes friends with its grandfathers.
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    Every new baby is a blind desperate vote for survival: people who find themselves unable to register an effective political protest against extermination do so by a biological act.
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    However far modern science and techniques have fallen short of their inherent possibilities, they have taught mankind at least one lesson: Nothing is impossible.
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    In our entrancement with the motorcar, we have forgotten how much more efficient and how much more flexible the footwalker is.
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    Life is the only art that we are required to practice without preparation, and without being allowed the preliminary trials, the failures and botches, that are essential for training.
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    Only entropy comes easy.
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    The chief function of the city is to convert power into form, energy into culture, dead matter into the living symbols of art, biological reproduction into social creativity.
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    The cities and mansions that people dream of are those in which they finally live.
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    The city is a fact in nature, like a cave, a run of mackerel or an ant-heap. But it is also a conscious work of art, and it holds within its communal framework many simpler and more personal forms of art. Mind takes form in the city; and in turn, urban forms condition mind.
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    The settlement of America had its origins in the unsettlement of Europe. America came into existence when the European was already so distant from the ancient ideas and ways of his birthplace that the whole span of the Atlantic did not widen the gulf.
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    The vast material displacements the machine has made in our physical environment are perhaps in the long run less important than its spiritual contributions to our culture.
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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.
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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.
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    Traditionalists are pessimists about the future and optimists about the past.
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