Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Quotes #12

“[E]very boy or girl in this country learns the three R’s. Now, perhaps they would have better minds if they learned the Greek letters and language instead, but they have no choice. This English is their heritage. Long before they could choose, their elders have moulded their minds and made them into English speakers, English readers, English writers, and accountants. The young depend on the choices made for them by their elders. An heir is not somebody who can choose what he shall inherit; if he could make his choice, he would be self-made. But, in so far as his inheritance is determined, he is an heir, and under the laws of heredity. And to his heredity a man may say either yes or no, but he is caught in this one alternative which is not creative. He does, however, determine the background of the next generation.

“Hence, one’s generation’s background is due to the previous generation’s foreground. My father’s values determined my education. And by no action of mine can I cancel out the fact that his education preceded my own judgements. I am more the product of his intent or his omissions than his own life was. I am his heir. Only my own son or students may fully reflect my own choices.”

~from The Christian Future, page 221

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Quotes #11

“Mankind writes its own history long before the historians visit its battlefields; days, festivals, holidays, the order of meals, rest and vacations, together with religiously observed ritual and symbols, are sources of political history, though rarely used by the average political or economic historian…

“It is not necessary to record the everyday life of a nation for a thousand years in order to know its aim and inspiration. The great creations of history do not reveal their deepest sense nor their soul every day. But each has its wedding day; and the words and songs, the promises and laws of this period of a nation’s life express its character viva voce and settle its destiny once and forever.”

~from Out of Revolution, page 8 & 9

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Quotes #10

“We are shareholders in the truth whenever we think. But thought is and must be, by its very essence, dialectical. Being a shareholder, the individual mind never owns the whole capital of truth. We are thrown on others; our thought provokes other and contrary thought! On the bare physical plane one individual or group can easily cope with the life of many other groups and individuals: indifference and peaceful equilibrium are possible at that level. But thought changes the peace of the world. Thought is always provoking its own contradiction. This eternal dialogue of thoughts and principles organizes humanity into schools of thought. The parties of policy, the armies of war, and the classes of interest, are embodiments of this power of the mind to act like a sword, to distinguish and to polarize, to live by paradox and conflict, by dialectical revolutions.”

from Out of Revolution, page 152

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Quotes #9

“The temptations of our time do not arise from heavenly demonism or earthly provincialism. They come from soul erosion. Our life is haunted by boredom and neurosis; it is disintegrated by a mechanized society, and by a mechanizing science which makes man a mere derivation of antecedent causes. Hence we are tempted to worship crude vitality, sensationalism, life at any price.”

Footnote on above quote: “Even man’s lusts and fears have become respectable today because they testify to his vitality. ‘Vital, dynamic, powerful, stirring, stimulating, exciting, thrilling, terrific,’ are the medals which modern man bestows. They are really insults. To call a speaker stimulating, for instance, is a triumph of Pontius Pilate among us. It seems that the truth no longer matters.”

~from The Christian Future, page 121

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy Quotes #8

“[S]cience has replaced magic and superstition in our era only by inheriting from Christianity its faith in progress and its power to fight against the vicious circle of mental habits for an open future, the power to change our minds through suffering…

“Scholars have been complacently sawing off the trunk of Revelation on which their science was but a branch. By refusing to acknowledge their indebtedness to the Christian era for one future, one time common to all men, they lose orientation. Sciences do not give orientation; they presuppose it. The pillars of time are erected by lived lives, not by theories.”

~from The Christian Future, page 84 & 86.

† “Outside of science, progress is simply a myth… Without [progress], will we not despair? Like trembling Victorians terrified of losing their faith … humanists cling to the moth-eaten brocade of progressive hope. Today religious believers are more free-thinking. Driven to the margins of a culture in which science claims authority over all of human knowledge, they have had to cultivate a capacity for doubt. In contrast, secular believers – held fast by the conventional wisdom of the time – are in the grip of unexamined dogmas.”
~John Gray, from Straw Dogs, Forward

“Without the scientist’s feeling that truth is of the utmost concern, truth ceases to be of concern, in the mores of the people…

“Progress is impossible in a society which has lost orientation.”

~TCF, page 89.