Will Durant Quotes

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William Durant

William Durant and Ariel Durant (1930)
Born William James Durant
(1885-11-05)November 5, 1885
North Adams, Massachusetts,
United States
Died November 7, 1981(1981-11-07) (aged 96)
Los Angeles, California,
United States
Occupation Historian, writer, philosopher, teacher
Nationality American
Alma mater Saint Peter’s College (B.A., 1907)
Columbia University (PhD, philosophy, 1917)
Genre Non-fiction
Subject History, philosophy, religion
Literary movement Philosophy, etc.
Spouse Ariel Durant
Children Ethel Durant

A statesman cannot afford to be a moralist.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Will Durant
Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance.
Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art.
The family is the nucleus of civilization.
Tired mothers find that spanking takes less time than reasoning and penetrates sooner to the seat of the memory.
Will Durant
Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.
Science gives us knowledge, but only philosophy can give us wisdom.
To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves. Nothing is often a good thing to say, and always a clever thing to say.
Will Durant
There is nothing in socialism that a little age or a little money will not cure.
Will Durant
Most of us spend too much time on the last twenty-four hours and too little on the last six thousand years.
Will Durant
Every form of government tends to perish by excess of its basic principle.
If man asks for many laws it is only because he is sure that his neighbor needs them; privately he is an unphilosophical anarchist, and thinks laws in his own case superfluous.
Will Durant
Education is the transmission of civilization.
To say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy.
In my youth I stressed freedom, and in my old age I stress order. I have made the great discovery that liberty is a product of order.
Will Durant
The love we have in our youth is superficial compared to the love that an old man has for his old wife.
Will Durant
There have been only 268 of the past 3,421 years free of war.
Every vice was once a virtue, and may become respectable again, just as hatred becomes respectable in wartime.
Will Durant
Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.
Will Durant
The most interesting thing in the world is another human being who wonders, suffers and raises the questions that have bothered him to the last day of his life, knowing he will never get the answers.
Will Durant
Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.
Will Durant
When liberty becomes license, dictatorship is near.
Man became free when he recognized that he was subject to law.
We are living in the excesses of freedom. Just take a look at 42nd Street and Broadway.
Will Durant
The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority.
Will Durant
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Will Durant
History is mostly guessing; the rest is prejudice.
Moral codes adjust themselves to environmental conditions.
I am not against hasty marriages, where a mutual flame is fanned by an adequate income.
Will Durant
It may be true that you can't fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.
Will Durant
We Americans are the best informed people on earth as to the events of the last twenty-four hours; we are the not the best informed as the events of the last sixty centuries.
Will Durant
Nature has never read the Declaration of Independence. It continues to make us unequal.
Will Durant
Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty and dies with chaos.
Inquiry is fatal to certainty.
The ego is willing but the machine cannot go on. It's the last thing a man will admit, that his mind ages.
Will Durant
Civilization is the order and freedom is promoting cultural activity.
Woe to him who teaches men faster than they can learn.
The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds.
Will Durant
Bankers know that history is inflationary and that money is the last thing a wise man will hoard.
Will Durant
Knowledge is the eye of desire and can become the pilot of the soul.
Truth always originates in a minority of one, and every custom begins as a broken precedent.
Will Durant
One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.
Will Durant
As soon as liberty is complete it dies in anarchy.