Robert Ardrey - Man Quotes
11 Sourced Quotes
We were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted to battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses.
Man is a fraction of the animal world. Our history is an afterthought, no more, tacked to an infinite calender. We are not so unique as we should like to believe. And if man in a time of need seeks deeper knowledge concerning himself, then he must explore those animal horizons from which we have made our quick little march.
Man is neither unique nor central nor necessarily here to stay. But he is a product of circumstances special to the point of disbelief. And if man in his current predicament seeks a fair mystique to see him through, then I can only suggest that he consider his genes. For they are marked. They are graven by luck beyond explanation. They are stamped by forces that we shall never know. But even so, in the hieroglyph of the human emergence certain symbols must stand for all to read: Change is the elixir of the human circumstance, and acceptance of challenge the way of our kind. We are bad-weather animals, disaster's fairest children. For the soundest of evolutionary reasons man appears at his best when times are worst.
We may agree, for example, that our societies must provide greater security for the individual; yet if all we succeed in producing is a providing increased anonymity and ever increasing boredom, then we should not wonder if ingenious man turns to such amusements as drugs, housebreaking, vandalism, mayhem, riots, or - at the most harmless - strange haircuts, costumes, standards of cleanliness, and sexual experiments.