Will Durant

About Will Durant

William James Durant (1885 – 1981) was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for The Story of Civilization, eleven volumes written in collaboration with his wife Ariel Durant. He was earlier noted for The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World's Greatest Philosophers, written in 1926, which one observer described as "a groundbreaking work that helped to popularize philosophy." Dr. Durant’s other works include Fallen Leaves: Last Words on Life, Love, War, and God, On the Meaning of Life, The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time, The Lessons of History, and The Heroes of History.

What Is Wisdom?

By |2021-04-07T10:04:19-05:00April 3rd, 2021|Categories: Essential, Family, Featured, Will Durant, Wisdom|

    To the philosopher, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine. — Emerson      What is wisdom? I feel like a droplet of spray which proudly poised for a moment on the crest of a wave, undertakes to analyze the sea. Ideally, wisdom is total [...]

Chaos: The Gestating Principle of Civilization

By |2021-03-21T11:58:54-05:00November 25th, 2015|Categories: Civilization, Family, Featured, Quotation, Will Durant|

A certain tension between religion and society marks the higher stages of every civilization. Religion begins by offering magical aid to harassed and bewildered men; it culminates by giving to a people that unity of morals and belief which seem so favorable to statesmanship and art; it ends by fighting suicidally in the lost cause of the past. [...]

Why Do We Love Plato?

By |2021-03-21T09:19:09-05:00July 15th, 2015|Categories: Books, Family, Featured, Plato, Quotation, Will Durant|

Why do we love Plato? Because Plato himself was a lover: lover of comrades, lover of the intoxication of dialectical revelry, passionate seeker of the elusive reality behind thoughts and things. We love him for his unstinted energy, for the wild nomadic play of his fancy, for the joy which he found in life in [...]

History: The Miracles of Memory and Tradition

By |2021-04-09T16:05:44-05:00September 3rd, 2013|Categories: Family, Featured, History, Quotation, Will Durant, Wisdom|

The very excess of our present paganism may warrant some hope that it will not long endure; for usually excess generates its opposite. One of the most regular sequences in history is that a period of pagan license is followed by an age of puritan restraint and moral discipline. So the moral decay of ancient [...]

The Fall of Rome

By |2021-03-21T11:33:06-05:00November 7th, 2012|Categories: Family, Featured, Rome, Will Durant, Wisdom|

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. The essential cause of Rome’s decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.—Caesar and Christ […]

The Map of Human Character

By |2020-11-04T15:33:33-06:00May 17th, 2012|Categories: Character, Family, Featured, History, Will Durant, Wisdom|

Because of every element of environment that has affected you, every man or woman that has met you, every book that you have read, every experience that you have had; all these are accumulated in your memory, your body, your character, your soul. “History” said Henry Ford, “is bunk.” As one who has written history [...]


By |2021-04-13T16:18:38-05:00May 16th, 2012|Categories: Civilization, Family, Featured, Quotation, Will Durant, Wisdom|

“Civilization is social order promoting cultural creation. Four elements constitute it: economic provision, political organization, moral tradition, and the pursuit of knowledge and the arts. It begins where chaos and insecurity end. For when fear is overcome, curiosity and constructiveness are free, and man passes by natural impulse towards the understanding and embellishment of life.” [...]

This I Believe

By |2021-04-14T12:34:45-05:00February 27th, 2012|Categories: Family, Featured, Quotation, Will Durant, Wisdom|

I find in the Universe so many forms of order, organization, system, law and adjustment of means to ends, that I believe in a cosmic intelligence and I conceive God as the life, mind, order and law of the world. I do not understand my God, and I find in nature and history many instances [...]

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