„To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?“

Variant translation: To be ignorant of the past is to be forever a child.
Chapter XXXIV, section 120
Orator Ad M. Brutum (46 BC)
Original: (la) Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum cum superiorum aetate contexitur? ( 120 http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/cicero/orator.shtml#120)
Variant: Not to know what happened before you were born is to be a child forever. For what is the time of a man, except it be interwoven with that memory of ancient things of a superior age?

Last update Feb. 23, 2021. History
Marcus Tullius Cicero photo
Marcus Tullius Cicero168
Roman philosopher and statesman -106 - -43 BC

Related quotes

Ilana Mercer photo

„The great Roman statesman Cicero observed that, 'Not to know what happened before one was born is to be always a child.' In our ignorance of the Immoral values that form part of our history and heritage, we Americans have become perpetual children.“

—  Ilana Mercer South African writer

“A Burning Dilemma Among America’s Dhimma,” http://www.americandailyherald.com/pundits/ilana-mercer/item/a-burning-dilemma-among-america-s-dhimma American Daily Herald, May 10, 2013.
2010s, 2013

Paul Simon photo
Alex Miller photo
James Nasmyth photo

„Our history begins before we are born. We represent the hereditary influences of our race, and our ancestors virtually live in us.“

—  James Nasmyth Scottish mechanical engineer and inventor 1808 - 1890

p. 1
Context: Our history begins before we are born. We represent the hereditary influences of our race, and our ancestors virtually live in us. The sentiment of ancestry seems to be inherent in human nature, especially in the more civilised races. At all events, we cannot help having a due regard for the history of our forefathers. Our curiosity is stimulated by their immediate or indirect influence upon ourselves. It may be a generous enthusiasm, or, as some might say, a harmless vanity, to take pride in the honour of their name. The gifts of nature, however, are more valuable than those of fortune; and no line of ancestry, however honourable, can absolve us from the duty of diligent application and perseverance, or from the practice of the virtues of self-control and self-help.

P. L. Travers photo

„We pass. But what the bee knows, the wisdom that sustains our passing life — however much we deny or ignore it — that for ever remains.“

—  P. L. Travers Australian-British novelist, actress and journalist 1899 - 1996

What the Bee Knows : Reflections on Myth, Symbol, and Story (1989)
Context: The Sphinx, the Pyramids, the stone temples are, all of them, ultimately, as flimsy as London Bridge; our cities but tents set up in the cosmos. We pass. But what the bee knows, the wisdom that sustains our passing life — however much we deny or ignore it — that for ever remains.

Theodore Roosevelt photo

„The life that is worth living, and the only life that is worth living, is the life of effort, the life of effort to attain what is worth striving for.“

—  Theodore Roosevelt American politician, 26th president of the United States 1858 - 1919

1900s, Address at the Prize Day Exercises at Groton School (1904)
Context: Of course, the worst of all lives is the vicious life; the life of a man who becomes a positive addition to the forces of evil in a community. Next to that and when I am speaking to people who, by birth and training and standing, ought to amount to a great deal, I have a right to say only second to it in criminality comes the life of mere vapid ease, the ignoble life of a man who desires nothing from his years but that they shall be led with the least effort, the least trouble, the greatest amount of physical enjoyment or intellectual enjoyment of a mere dilettante type. The life that is worth living, and the only life that is worth living, is the life of effort, the life of effort to attain what is worth striving for.

Gene Roddenberry photo
Yehudi Menuhin photo
Rick Riordan photo
Kent Hovind photo
Christopher Paolini photo
Milan Kundera photo

„And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself?“

—  Milan Kundera, book The Unbearable Lightness of Being

pg 8
Source: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984), Part One: Lightness and Weight

Jean Paul Sartre photo

„To know what life is worth you have to risk it once in a while.“

—  Jean Paul Sartre French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary cri… 1905 - 1980

Source: No Exit and Three Other Plays

Paulo Coelho photo

„The pattern of life is not woven ahead of time, like cloth to be worn later as a tunic. Rather, life is woven at the very instant you live it.“

—  Brian Bates British academic 1944

The Way of the Wyrd : Tales of an Anglo-Saxon Sorcerer (1983)
Context: All our lives are locked together in the shimmering world of wyrd in which all things are enmeshed and connected to one another by the threads of wyrd. … The wyrd sisters spin the web of wyrd and weave the loom of life, they do not thereby determine it … the wyrd sisters simply express the will of wyrd. And so do we. We cannot control our lives, because we too are inseparable aspects of wyrd and express its will. But this is not the same as saying our life is determined. Rather, it is saying we live like an ocean voyager, trimming our sails to the winds and tides of wyrd as we skim across the waters of life. And cresting the waves of wyrd is something that happens at every instant. The pattern of life is not woven ahead of time, like cloth to be worn later as a tunic. Rather, life is woven at the very instant you live it.

Thomas Lansing Masson photo

„Think of what would happen to us in America if there were no humorists; life would be one long Congressional record.“

—  Thomas Lansing Masson American journalist 1866 - 1934

Thomas Lansing Masson (1922) Our American Humorists. p. ix ; Quoted in: Today's Health, (1957), p. 52.

Related topics