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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin Quotes

Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin
(15 Jul 1892 - 27 Sep 1940)

German critic and philosopher.

Science Quotes by Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin (1 quote)

With whom [do] the adherents of historicism actually empathize[?] The answer is inevitable: with the victor. And all rulers are the heirs of those who conquered before them. Hence, empathy with the victor invariably benefits the rulers. Historical materialists know what that means. Whoever has emerged victorious participates to this day in the triumphal procession in which the present rulers step over those who are lying prostrate. According to traditional practice, the spoils are carried along in the procession. They are called cultural treasures, and a historical materialist views them with cautious detachment. For without exception the cultural treasures he surveys have an origin which he cannot contemplate without horror. They owe their existence not only to the efforts of the great minds and talents who have created them, but also to the anonymous toil of their contemporaries. There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.
— Walter Bendix Schönflies Benjamin
'Theses on the Philosophy of History' (completed 1940, first published 1950). In Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt and trans. Harry Zohn (1970), 258.
Science quotes on:  |  According (236)  |  Answer (389)  |  Barbarism (8)  |  Benefit (123)  |  Call (781)  |  Civilization (220)  |  Conquer (39)  |  Detachment (8)  |  Do (1905)  |  Effort (243)  |  Empathy (4)  |  Exception (74)  |  Existence (481)  |  Great (1610)  |  Heir (12)  |  Historical (70)  |  History Of Science (80)  |  Horror (15)  |  Inevitable (53)  |  Invariably (35)  |  Know (1538)  |  Lying (55)  |  Mean (810)  |  Means (587)  |  Mind (1377)  |  Origin (250)  |  Owe (71)  |  Practice (212)  |  Present (630)  |  Procession (5)  |  Ruler (21)  |  Step (234)  |  Survey (36)  |  Talent (99)  |  Theory (1015)  |  Time (1911)  |  Toil (29)  |  Treasure (59)  |  View (496)  |  Whoever (42)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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