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Johan Huizinga Quotes

A superstition which pretends to be scientific creates a much greater confusion of thought than one which contents itself with simple popular practices.

An aristocratic culture does not advertise its emotions. In its forms of expression it is sober and reserved. Its general attitude is stoic.

Culture means control over nature.

Culture must have its ultimate aim in the metaphysical or it will cease to be culture.

Do you know anything that in all its innocence is more humiliating than the funny pages of a Sunday newspaper in America?

Every age yearns for a more beautiful world. The deeper the desperation and the depression about the confusing present, the more intense that yearning.

From whichever angle one looks at it, the application of racial theories remains a striking proof of the lowered demands of public opinion upon the purity of critical judgment.

History can predict nothing except that great changes in human relationships will never come about in the form in which they have been anticipated.

History creates comprehensibility primarily by arranging facts meaningfully and only in a very limited sense by establishing strict causal connections.

History is the interpretation of the significance that the past has for us.

If we are to preserve culture we must continue to create it.

In Europe art has to a large degree taken the place of religion. In America it seems rather to be science.

It is impossible to strive for the heroic life. The title of hero is bestowed by the survivors upon the fallen, who themselves know nothing of heroism.

It is the goal of the American university to be the brains of the republic.

Life is made too easy. Mankind's moral fibre is giving way under the softening influence of luxury.

Physical nature lies at our feet shackled with a hundred chains. What of the control of human nature? Do not point to the triumphs of psychiatry, social services or the war against crime. Domination of human nature can only mean the domination of every man by himself.

Play is a uniquely adaptive act, not subordinate to some other adaptive act, but with a special function of its own in human experience.

Revolution as an ideal concept always preserves the essential content of the original thought: sudden and lasting betterment.

Systematic philosophical and practical anti-intellectualism such as we are witnessing appears to be something truly novel in the history of human culture.

The repudiation of the primacy of understanding means the repudiation of the norms of judgment as well, and hence the abandonment of all ethical standards.