I have no faith in human perfectability. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active—not more happy—nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1845), U.S. poet, critic, short-story writer. Letter, July 2, 1844, to poet and critic James Russell Lowell. quoted in Julian Symons, The Tell-Tale Heart: The Life and Works of Edgar Allan Poe, pt. 1, ch. 11 (1978).