- Our knowledge of any past event is incomplete. Most history is guessing and the rest is prejudice.
- Total perspective is an optical illusion. We must operate with partial knowledge.
- Life is competition. Cooperation is the ultimate form of competition.
- Life is selection. We are all born unfree and unequal. Only the man below the average desires equality. Those who are conscious of being above average desire freedom. In the end, superior ability has its way.
- Life must breed. The fertile inherit the earth.
- Humans are essentially what they have been all throughout history. He changes his habits, but not his instincts.
- The hero is just the product of a situation. Not the other way around. If it were not for the situation, we never would have heard of the hero.
- The concentration of wealth in a small portion of the population is a pattern that repeats itself throughout history. The most valuable talents and skills are confined to a few people, which means the most valuable wealth is confined to a few as well. This pattern shows up again and again.
- Liberty is possible when security has been achieved, but until that point you are facing competition. It is only because of competition that we developed the ability to create liberty. The first condition of freedom is limitation. If freedom is absolute, then it dies in chaos. The prime task of government is to establish order.
- All consuming toil is usually the price of genius.
- The goal of democracy is not to make every man equal, but to make his access to opportunity more equal.
- You cannot have freedom without order.
- War seems to be a constant among all civilizations and times. It is a result of competition among groups just as individuals compete as well. War is, paradoxically, the driver of much technological change and cultural change that leads to long periods of peace afterward.
- Revolutions are just surface level changes. Human nature remains the same. The people merely change with the revolution and fall back into the same underlying patterns.
- Every generation rebels against the preceding one. In many ways, it is natural and desirable.
5 factors that contribute to collapse:
- Climate change
- Environmental problems
- Hostile neighbours
- Collapse of essential trading partners
- The society’s response to the forgoing four factors.
“The root problem in all but one of Diamond’s factors leading to collapse is overpopulation relative to the practicable (as opposed to the ideal theoretical) carrying capacity of the environment”