The human race has had long experience and a fine tradition in surviving adversity. But we now face a task for which we have little experience, the task of surviving prosperity.
What has always made a hell on earth has been that man has tried to make it his heaven.
Armaments, universal debt and planned obsolescence - those are the three pillars of Western prosperity.
~Aldous Huxley, Island
Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.
~Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Satires
Prosperity is not without many fears and distastes, and adversity is not without comforts and hopes.
Fate often puts all the material for happiness and prosperity into a man's hands just to see how miserable he can make himself with them.
We have produced a world of contented bodies and discontented minds.
~Adam Clayton Powell, Keep the Faith, Baby!, 1967
Yes, I am positive that one of the great curatives of our evils, our maladies, social, moral, and intellectual, would be a return to the soil, a rehabilitation of the work of the fields.
So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes, to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between the House of Have and the House of Want, progress is not real and cannot be permanent.
~Henry George, Progress and Poverty, 1879
Men can bear all things except good days.
If living conditions don't stop improving in this country, we're going to run out of humble beginnings for our great men.
~Russell P. Askue
How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young?
Progress imposes not only new possibilities for the future but new restrictions.
~Norbert Wiener, The Human Use of Human Beings, 1950
Man is the animal that intends to shoot himself out into interplanetary space, after having given up on the problem of an efficient way to get himself five miles to work and back each day.
When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.
Everything in the world may be endured except continual prosperity.
Luxury: The lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house as a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master.
~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923
Pearls around the neck - stones upon the heart.
~Hanan J. Ayalti, Yiddish Proverbs, 1949
It is an ironic fact that while half the world's population is dying as a result of diseases of poverty (largely starvation and infection) the other half is succumbing to diseases of affluence.
We cannot get grace from gadgets. In the Bakelite house of the future, the dishes may not break, but the heart can. Even a man with ten shower baths may find life flat, stale and unprofitable.
The American reading his Sunday paper in a state of lazy collapse is perhaps the most perfect symbol of the triumph of quantity over quality.... Whole forests are being ground into pulp daily to minister to our triviality.
Luxury... corrupts at once rich and poor, the rich by possession and the poor by covetousness.
~Rousseau, The Social Contract, 1762
We face the question whether a still higher "standard of living" is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free.
~Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, 1949
If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.
~Frank Lloyd Wright
Human prosperity never rests but always craves more, till blown up with pride it totters and falls. From the opulent mansions pointed at by all passers-by none warns it away, none cries, "Let no more riches enter!"
In general, mankind, since the improvement of cookery, eats twice as much as nature requires.
There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.
~Washington Irving, The Sketch Book, 1820
It is generally agreed, that few men are made better by affluence or exaltation.
A man is insensible to the relish of prosperity 'til he has tasted adversity.
Economic advance is not the same thing as human progress.
~John Clapham, A Concise Economic History of Britain, 1957
We've got the most prosperous culture in human history and we've also got the biggest spiritual hole in human history.
~Mark Victor Hansen
In its broadest ecological context, economic development is the development of more intensive ways of exploiting the natural environment.
It isn't so much that hard times are coming; the change observed is mostly soft times going.
Western society has accepted as unquestionable a technological imperative that is quite as arbitrary as the most primitive taboo: not merely the duty to foster invention and constantly to create technological novelties, but equally the duty to surrender to these novelties unconditionally, just because they are offered, without respect to their human consequences.
I think I should not go far wrong if I asserted that the amount of genuine leisure available in a society is generally in inverse proportion to the amount of labor-saving machinery it employs.
All of the biggest technological inventions created by man - the airplane, the automobile, the computer - says little about his intelligence, but speaks volumes about his laziness.