Frases de Arnold J. Toynbee

Arnold J. Toynbee Foto
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Arnold J. Toynbee

Fecha de nacimiento: 14. Abril 1889
Fecha de muerte: 22. Octubre 1975

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Arnold Joseph Toynbee, CH fue un historiador británico.

Especialista en filosofía de la historia, estableció una teoría cíclica sobre el desarrollo de las civilizaciones. Según Toynbee, las civilizaciones son el resultado de la respuesta de un grupo humano a los desafíos que sufre, ya sean naturales o sociales. De acuerdo con esta teoría, una civilización crece y prospera cuando su respuesta a un desafío no sólo tiene éxito, sino que estimula una nueva serie de desafíos; una civilización decae como resultado de su impotencia para enfrentarse a los desafíos que se le presentan. Dio gran importancia a los factores religiosos en la formulación de las respuestas a los desafíos. Fruto de esta teoría, Toynbee negó el determinismo en la evolución de las civilizaciones, negando que éstas deban perecer finalmente y defendiendo que podía esperarse que la moderna civilización occidental pudiera escapar a la norma general de decadencia de las civilizaciones.

Fue un autor prolífico cuya obra más reconocida e influyente es, sin duda, Estudio de la Historia . En esta obra describe y aplica su concepto de desarrollo de las civilizaciones, al igual que en La civilización puesta a prueba.

Frases Arnold J. Toynbee

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„Of the twenty or so civilizations known to modern Western historians, all except our own appear to be dead or moribund, and, when we diagnose each case, in extremis or post mortem, we invariably find that the cause of death has been either War or Class or some combination of the two.“

— Arnold J. Toynbee
Context: Of the twenty or so civilizations known to modern Western historians, all except our own appear to be dead or moribund, and, when we diagnose each case, in extremis or post mortem, we invariably find that the cause of death has been either War or Class or some combination of the two. To date, these two plagues have been deadly enough, in partnership, to kill off nineteen out of twenty representatives of this recently evolved species of human society; but, up to now, the deadliness of these scourges has had a saving limit. Civilization on Trial (1948), chapter 2, p. 23.

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„The local national state, invested with the attributes of sovereignty — is an abomination of desolation standing in the place where it ought not. It has stood in that place now — demanding and receiving human sacrifices from its poor deluded votaries — for four or five centuries.“

— Arnold J. Toynbee
Context: If we are frank with ourselves, we shall admit that we are engaged on a deliberate and sustained and concentrated effort to impose limitations upon the sovereignty and independence of the fifty or sixty local sovereign independent States which at present partition the habitable surface of the earth and divide the political allegiance of mankind. It is just because we are really attacking the principle of local sovereignty that we keep on protesting our loyalty to it so loudly. The harder we press our attack upon the idol, the more pains we take to keep its priests and devotees in a fool’s paradise—lapped in a false sense of security which will inhibit them from taking up arms in their idol’s defense. The local national state, invested with the attributes of sovereignty — is an abomination of desolation standing in the place where it ought not. It has stood in that place now — demanding and receiving human sacrifices from its poor deluded votaries — for four or five centuries. Our political task in our generation is to cast the abomination out, to cleanse the temple and to restore the worship of the divinity to whom the temple rightfully belongs. In plain terms, we have to re-transfer the prestige and the prerogatives of sovereignty from the fifty or sixty fragments of contemporary society to the whole of contemporary society — from the local national states by which sovereignty has been usurped, with disastrous consequences, for half a millennium, to some institution embodying our society as a whole. In the world as it is today, this institution can hardly be a universal Church. It is more likely to be something like a League of Nations. I will not prophesy. I will merely repeat that we are at present working, discreetly but with all our might, to wrest this mysterious political force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local national states of our world. And all the time we are denying with our lips what we are doing with our hands...

„The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.“

— Arnold J. Toynbee
Statement of 1964, as quoted in Mindfulness edited by Ellen J. Langer, p. 133; also in Social Creativity Vol. 2 (1999) edited by Alfonso Montuori and Ronald E. Purser.

„Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.“

— Arnold J. Toynbee
As quoted in Reader's Digest (October 1958). Variation: Civilization is a movement, not a condition. It is a voyage, not a harbor. As quoted in The Social Welfare Forum (1968) by the National Conference on Social Welfare.

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