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.

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.


Kenneth Clark, Baron Clark (1903 – 1983) was a British art historian, museum director, and broadcaster.

After running two important art galleries in the 1930s and 1940s, he came to wider public notice on television, presenting a succession of programmes on the arts during the 1950s and 1960s, culminating in the Civilisation series in 1969.

The thirteen programmes in the series outline the history of Western art, architecture and philosophy since the Dark Ages.

Clark‘s book of the same title, based on the series, was published in 1969.

Its production standards were generally praised and set the pattern for subsequent television documentary series.

The New Yorker magazine described it as revelatory for the general viewer. The BBC’s DVD issue in 2005 has remained in the catalogues, and the 1969 book has never gone out of print.