Archive

Quotes

Just as language no longer has anything in common with the thing it names, so the movements of most of the people who live in cities have lost their connection with the earth; they hang, as it were, in the air, hover in all directions, and find no place where they can settle.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903

One need merely visit the marketplace and the graveyard to determine whether a city is in both physical and metaphysical order.

—Ernst Jünger, 1977

There is a city in which you find everything you desire—handsome people, pleasures, ornaments of every kind—all that the natural person craves. However, you cannot find a single wise person there.

—Rumi, c. 1250

Any city, however small, is in fact divided into two, one the city of the poor, the other of the rich; these are at war with one another.

—Plato, c. 378 BC

If the present be compared with the remote past, it is easily seen that in all cities and in all peoples there are the same desires and the same passions as there always were.

—Niccolò Machiavelli, c. 1513

Towns oftener swamp one than carry one out onto the big ocean of life.

—D.H. Lawrence, 1908

Do you suppose that will change the sense of the morals, the fact that we can’t use morals as a means of judging the city because we couldn’t stand it? And that we’re changing our whole moral system to suit the fact that we’re living in a ridiculous way?

—Philip Johnson, 1965

A large city cannot be experientially known; its life is too manifold for any individual to be able to participate in it.

—Aldous Huxley, 1934

We must consider that we shall be a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.

—John Winthrop, 1630

I even gave up, for a while, stopping by the window of the room to look out at the lights and deep, illuminated streets. That’s a form of dying, that losing contact with the city like that.

—Philip K. Dick, 1972

Cities are the abyss of the human species.

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1762

The seeds of civilization are in every culture, but it is city life that brings them to fruition.

—Susanne K. Langer, 1962

Divine nature gave the fields; human art built the cities.

—Marcus Terentius Varro, c. 70 BC