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In the final moments of Sir Kenneth Clark's wonderful late 1960s documentary series on Western Civilization and art history, he reminds us why it is so important to preserve and be grateful for The West's history, innovation, and beauty.

“At this point I reveal myself in my true colours, as a stick-in-the-mud, I hold a number of beliefs that have been repudiated by the liveliest intellects of our time I believe that order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven’t changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must still try to learn from history. History is ourselves. I also hold one or two beliefs that are more difficult to put shortly. For example, I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people’s feelings by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are part of a great whole, which for convenience we call nature. All living things are our brothers and sisters. Above all, I believe in the God-given genius of certain individuals, and I value a society that makes their existence possible.”

If interested, the full 13-part documentary series is preserved wonderfully to this day, and is available on many streaming services, including BritBox, Amazon Prime Video, and the Roku Channel. You can also find many of its episodes available on YouTube.

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