Lewis Mumford

The Myth of the Machine, Volume II

"To have a life that is in any way detached from the megatechnic complex, to say nothing of being cockily independent of it, or recalcitrant to its demands, is regarded as nothing less than a form of sabotage. On megatechnic terms complete withdrawal is heresy and treason, if not evidence of unsound mind. The arch-enemy of the Affluent Economy would not be Karl Marx but Henry Thoreau."

The Condition Of Man

"The great gains that were made in technics during the last few centuries were largely offset by a philosophy that either denied the validity of man's higher needs or that sought to foster only that limited set of interests which enlarged the power of science and gave scope to a power personality. At a moment when a vast surplus was available for the goods of leisure and culture, the very ideals of leisure and culture were cast into disrepute -- except when they could be turned to profit. Here lies the core of the inner crisis that has afflicted our civilization for at least two centuries. In the heyday of expansionism, the middle of the nineteenth century, scarcely a single humane voice could be found to defend either the means or the ideals of a power civilization...Blake, Ruskin, Morris, Arnold, Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, Melville, Dickens, Howells, Hugo, Zola, Mazzini, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Ibsen...denounced the human results of the whole process of mechanization and physical conquest. As with one voice, they protested against the inhuman sacrifices and brutalizations, the tawdry materialisms, the crass neglect of the human personality."

The Condition Of Man

"Nothing that is worth doing in our time will be done easily: that is, without a spiritual re-birth. Unless the blind recover their sight and the crippled learn to walk our very knowledge will slay us. No peace without struggle: no security without risk: no wholeness without simplification: no goods without measure: no love without sacrifice: no full life without the willingness to accept and transcend death in the very process of living. Those who have learned this lesson may build the City of Man."

The Conduct of Life

"The most deadly criticism one could make of modern civilization is that apart from its man-made crises and catastrophes, it is not humanly interesting...In the end, such a civilization can produce only a mass man: incapable of choice, incapable of spontaneous, self-directed activities: at best patient, docile, disciplined to monotonous work to an almost pathetic degree...the ideal type desired, if never quite achieved, by the advertising agency and the sales organization of modern business...The handsomest encomium for such creatures is: 'They do not make trouble.' Their highest virtue is: 'They do not stick their necks out.'"

The Myth Of The Machine (vol. 2)

"The existence in man of a dynamic internal world, whose essential nature cannot be probed by any instrument, and can be known only when it finds expression in gestures and symbols and constructive activities, is a mystery as profound as the forces that bind together the components of the atom and account for the character and behavior of the elements. In man that mystery can be experienced, but not described, still less explained: for the mind cannot mirror itself from within. Only by getting outside itself does it become conscious of its inwardness."

The Conduct Of Life

"Western culture no longer represents man: it is mainly outside him, and in no small measure hostile to his whole self: he cannot take it in. He is like a patient condemned in the interests of X-ray photography to live upon a diet of barium sulphate...In the end, as Samuel Butler satirically prophesied, man may become just a machine's contrivance for reproducing another machine."