Socrates and Christ speak to us everlastingly of mankind. ... It belongs to the great, to the greatest men to say how things are with mankind, how they stand in its innerness and which way it is going; it belongs to Socrates and Christ. These absolutely extraordinary, eternally alive people penetrate to the groundless depth of human nature and understand the speech of ordinary people, of those who are scarcely alive from one day to the next.
Now it has appeared to me unfair that humanity should be engaged perpetually in calling all those things bad which have been good enough to make other things better, in everlastingly kicking down the ladder by which it has climbed. It has appeared to me that progress should be something else besides a continual parricide; therefore I have investigated the dust-heaps of humanity, and found a treasure in all of them. I have found that humanity is not incidentally engaged, but eternally and systematically engaged, in throwing gold into the gutter and diamonds into the sea.gilbert keith chesterton