- I invented something called The Oxford Muse. The Muses were women in mythology. They did not teach or require to be worshipped, but they were a source of inspiration. They taught you how to cultivate your emotions through the different arts in order to reach a higher plane. What is lacking now, I believe, is somewhere you can get that stimulation not information, but stimulation where you can meet just that person, or find just that situation, which will give you the idea of invention, of carrying out some project which interests you, and show how it can become a project of interest to other people.
- The past is what provides us with the building blocks. Our job today is to create new buildings out of them.
- "Theodore Zeldin - historian, philosopher" in History Today (July 1999)
An Intimate History of Humanity (1994)Edit
- The violent have been victorious for most of history because they kindled the fear with which everyone is born.
- The temptation before 1933 was to believe in Hitler as a savior, to believe in a national rebirth. The path to National Socialism led through a wasteland of personal fears, collective anxiety, and resentments. The temptation was to surrender oneself to a dictator, to believe in a miracle. Hitler evoked human will and divine providence. The religious-mystical element in National Socialism was uncannily appealing to unpolitical people, to unrealistic people at odds with their world and accustomed perhaps to the dream of heroic irrationalism. The temptation was to abandon oneself to national delirium— despite (or even because of) the threat of violence.
- Even Gandhi, with all his charisma, did not "melt the hearts" of his oppressors, as he had hoped. After softening, hearts harden again. Asoka too was wrong to think that he was changing the course of history, and that his righteousness would last "as long as the sun and the moon."
- It takes a long time for people to recognize their soul-mates when they have too limited an idea of who they are themselves.
- No history of the world can be complete which does not mention Mary Helen Keller... whose overcoming of her blindness and deafness were arguably victories more important than those of Alexander the Great, because they have implications still for every living person.
- This quote seems to obviously refer to Helen Adams Keller, but why she is referred to as "Mary Helen Keller" is not clear.