Thursday, May 12, 2022

The Sum Total of Civilization

Of course, civilization is not only an attachment to the highest peaks of human achievement. It relies for its maintenance upon an infinitely complex and delicate tissue of relations and activities, some humble and others grand. The man who sweeps the streets plays his part as surely as the great artist or thinker. Civilization is the sum total of all those activities that allow men to transcend mere biological existence and reach for a richer mental, aesthetic, material, and spiritual life.

- From "What We Have to Lose" in Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses  by Theodore Dalrymple

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