Travel Quote Tuesday | Adventure

“Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.” ~ Alfred North Whitehead

Alfred North Whitehead was a mathematician who became a philosopher. Born in Ramsgate, Kent in 1861 his early work was in the fields of mathematics, logic and physics. From the late 1910s, he turned his attention to the philosophy of science, and onward to metaphysics; his works are considered as foundational texts in the field of process philosophy. During the later part of his career North Whitehead moved to America to join Harvard University as a professor of philosophy, and he remained in the USA until his death in 1947.

His philosophy has been described by theologian C Robert Mesle as the idea that, “there is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have consequences for the world around us.”

The quote I have chosen is from a longer passage from North Whitehead’s Adventure of Ideas (1933) that reads: “A race preserves its vigour so long as it harbours a real contrast between what has been and what may be, and so long as it is nerved by the vigour to adventure beyond the safeties of the past. Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.”

Allowing for differences in the language of the era and today, I would suggest replacing ‘race’ with ‘civilisation’, ‘community’ or ‘people’ to appreciate the point he was making.

The idea that we – by which I mean the many groups that make up humanity – need to retain a link to our individual histories without being limited by them, is a very valid one. Without an openness to change, it is easy to stagnate and from there to fall into decline. Whilst I don’t advocate change for change’s sake, the nature of humanity is to develop ourselves, to develop our understanding of the world, to expand our experience of the world. That is both our history and our future.

Where does travel fit into this? The urge to explore the world is, for many of us, driven by our fascination with seeking out and observing the histories and cultures of others, seeing how they live and love and navigate the vagaries of life. This is a great adventure, not only in the excitement or joy it can bring us, but also in its contribution to the continuous process of developing ourselves and our own way of life.

This is Macau Tower in Macau, which offers amazing views across Macau from the 58th floor all-round viewing deck. You can also take part in some of the adventure activities on the 61st floor such as skywalking the external walkway, shown here, climbing up the mast at the top of the tower, or diving off the walkway via bungee jump or skyjump.

More Kavey Eats Travel Quotes. More Adventure quotes.

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11 Comments to "Travel Quote Tuesday | Adventure"

  1. Mim (@crinolinerobot)

    At the risk of being political, I’d say Britain currently is showing all too much nostalgia for a misremembered past, and is lacking a sense of adventure and willingness to change.

    I sometimes get The Fear before travelling, but that’s why I do it. Too few challenges leads to stagnation.

  2. Maggie

    Great quote! I love travel quotes, there are so many great ones. That view in your photo is amazing, though I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to sit on the edge!

  3. Heidi

    I love good travel quotes although I have to admit I don’t always look up the history or people behind all of them. It’s interesting to read the details on Alfred Whitehead. Love that view in your photo.

  4. Nicola

    I love this. Pinned it to remind myself about it. For me travel, ultimately, is definitely about me developing myself and my understanding of others and the world around me. The more I travel the more I realise people have such different reasons for travelling, but ultimately everyone is developing themselves in some way. I think you, and Alfred Whitehead, were spot on when you said openness is key. If I ever become closed to change I hope someone reminds me of this.

  5. Stella Jane

    I really like that quote from Alfred North Whitehead. I’m a teacher and his ideas have been influential in education. I think it’s true that civilization without adventure decays. Without adventure, people don’t have anything to aspire to!

  6. Denny George

    Very true. Insulated societies, or at times even insulated individuals within traditionally open societies have often been at the forefront of resisting change, and as a result, progress. Travel does open our minds and hearts, to repeat a cliche!

  7. Deeptha

    That is an excellent quote, Kavita. Travelling offers so many benefits. It makes us more mindful, more confident and we learn not only more about our environment but also about ourselves in the process.

  8. Jen

    I couldn’t agree more with the message and how you related it with traveling. It’s one of the reasons why I love to travel. And I must say, your photo from the Macau Tower is fitting for the quote!

  9. Suma Shah

    Beautiful quote! This is truly an inspirational one, traveling should not be seen just as a getaway from our everyday hustle but a way to see something different, learn something new! Macau picture looks stunning and the adventure quite intriguing.. 🙂

  10. Allison J.

    Oh my I would totally do this and probably pee my pants haha. Great quote. A short and sweet yet inspiring post. I loved it.

  11. Suruchi

    Sitting at the edge seems scary but equally adventurous. It is really important to experience adventures in life, without them there will be no fun and actually the civilization will decay. The Quote is so inspiring.


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