From Faith for Living, 1940
By Lewis Mumford
Man’s chief purpose…is the creation and preservation of values, that is what gives meaning to our civilization, and the participation in this is what gives significance, ultimately, to the individual human life…
The individual contribution, the work of any single generation, is infinitesimal; the power and glory belong to human society at large, and are the long result of selection, conservation, sacrifice, creation, and renewal — the outcome of endless brave efforts to conserve values and ideas, and to hand them on to posterity, along with physical life itself. Each person is a temporary focus of forces, vitalities, and values that carry back into an immemorial past and that reach forward into an unthinkable future.