Author: E. O. Wilson

Quotations


The Most Dangerous of Devotions

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The most dangerous of devotions, in my opinion, is the one endemic to Christianity: I was not born to be of this world. With a second life waiting, suffering can be endured – especially in other people. The natural environment can be used up. Enemies of the faith can be savaged and suicidal martyrdom praised.

From the book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

— 1998


A Planet-Sized Problem

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Few will doubt that humankind has created a planet-sized problem for itself. No one wished it so, but we are the first species to become a geophysical force, altering Earth's climate, a role previously reserved for tectonics, sun flares, and glacial cycles. We are also the greatest destroyer of life since the ten-kilometer-wide meteorite that landed near Yucatan and ended the Age of Reptiles sixty-five million years ago. Through overpopulation we have put ourselves in danger of running out of food and water. So a very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic.

From the book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

— 1998


True Character

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True character arises from a deeper well than religion. It is the internalization of moral principles of a society, augmented by those tenets personally chosen by the individual, strong enough to endure through trials of solitude and adversity. The principles are fitted together into what we call integrity, literally the integrated self, wherein personal decisions feel good and true. Character is in turn the enduring source of virtue. It stands by itself and excites admiration in others. It is not obedience to authority, and while it is often consistent with and reinforced by religious belief, it is not piety.

From the book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

— 1998


The Real Problem of Humanity

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The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.

From the article Harvard Magazine

— September 10, 2009


The Toxic Mix of Religion and Tribalism

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The toxic mix of religion and tribalism has become so dangerous as to justify taking seriously the alternative view, that humanism based on science is the effective antidote, the light and the way at last placed before us.

From the article New Scientist

— November 2, 2005

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