Quotations about   humanity

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



Pessimism about man serves to maintain the status quo. It is a luxury for the affluent, a sop to the guilt of the politically inactive, a comfort to those who continue to enjoy the amenities of privilege.

Leon Eisenberg (1922-2009) American psychiatrist and medical educator
“The Human Nature of Human Nature,” Science (14 Apr 1972)
    (Source)

Based on an address at Faculty of Medicine Day, McGill University Sesquicentennial Celebration, Montreal, Canada (1 Oct 1971).
Added on 6-Jul-20 | Last updated 6-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Eisenberg, Leon

With St. Paul it is quite different. He is a saint without a luminous halo. His personal characteristics are too distinct and too human to make idealisation easy. For this reason he has never been the object of popular devotion. Shadowy figures like St. Joseph and St. Anne have been divinised and surrounded with picturesque legends; but St. Paul has been spared the honour or the ignominy of being coaxed and wheedled by the piety of paganised Christianity. No tender fairy-tales are attached to his cult; he remains for us what he was in the flesh. It is even possible to feel an active dislike for him.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“St. Paul” (1914), Outspoken Essays: First Series (1914)
    (Source)
Added on 15-Jun-20 | Last updated 15-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Inge, William Ralph

The brain is only three pounds of blood, dream, and electricity, and yet from that mortal stew come Beethoven’s sonatas. Dizzy Gillespie’s jazz. Audrey Hepburn’s wish to spend the last month of her life in Somalia, saving children.

Diane Ackerman (b. 1948) American poet, author, naturalist
A Natural History of Love, “Brain-Stem Sonata: The Neurophysiology of Love” (1994)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Jun-20 | Last updated 12-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ackerman, Diane

Man proposes, and God disposes.

[Ordina l’uomo e Dio dispone.]

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 46, st. 35 (1532)
    (Source)
Added on 26-May-20 | Last updated 26-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Ariosto, Ludovico

God created man and, finding him not sufficiently alone, gave him a companion to make him feel his solitude more keenly.

Paul Valéry (1871-1945) French poet, critic, author, polymath
“Moralités” (1932), Tel Quel 1 (1941)
Added on 18-May-20 | Last updated 18-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Valéry, Paul

One does not become fully human painlessly.

Rollo May (1909-1994) American psychotherapist
Foreword to Ronald S. Valle and Mark King, Existential-Phenomenological Alternatives for Psychology (1978)
Added on 15-May-20 | Last updated 15-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by May, Rollo

We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us. Ideas of the Stone Age exist side by side with the latest scientific thought. Only a fraction of mankind has emerged from the Dark Ages, and in the most lucid brains, as Logan Pearsall Smith has said, we come upon “nests of woolly caterpillars.”

Bergen Evans (1904-1978) American educator, writer, lexicographer
The Natural History of Nonsense, ch. 1 “Adam’s Navel” (1946)

The Smith reference.
Added on 13-May-20 | Last updated 13-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Evans, Bergen

Leonardo’s Mona Lisa is just a thousand thousand smears of paint. Michelangelo’s David is just a million hits with a hammer. We’re all of us a million bits put together the right way.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Diary (2003)
Added on 12-May-20 | Last updated 12-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Palahniuk, Chuck

The human baby, the human being, is a mosaic of animal and angel.

Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974) Polish-English humanist and mathematician
The Ascent of Man, ch. 1 (1973)
    (Source)
Added on 5-May-20 | Last updated 5-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Bronowski, Jacob

CHORUS [LEADER]:
Ye Children of Man! whose life is a span,
Protracted with sorrow from day to day,
Naked and featherless, feeble and querulous,
Sickly, calamitous creatures of clay!

[ἄγε δὴ φύσιν ἄνδρες ἀμαυρόβιοι, φύλλων γενεᾷ προσόμοιοι,
ὀλιγοδρανέες, πλάσματα πηλοῦ, σκιοειδέα φῦλ᾽ ἀμενηνά,
ἀπτῆνες ἐφημέριοι ταλαοὶ βροτοὶ ἀνέρες εἰκελόνειροι]

Aristophanes (c.450-c.388 BC) Athenian comedic playwright
The Birds, ll. 685-687 (414 BC) [tr. Frere (1839)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "Come now, ye men, in nature darkling, like to the race of leaves, of little might, figures of clay, shadowy feeble tribes, wingless creatures of a day, miserable mortals, dream-like men." [tr. Hickie (1853)]
  • "Weak mortals, chained to the earth, creatures of clay as frail as the foliage of the woods, you unfortunate race, whose life is but darkness, as unreal as a shadow, the illusion of a dream." [tr. O'Neill (1938)]
  • "Come, ye of mortal mould, whose life is spent in darkness, ye who are like to the race of leaves, ye that are weak in action, ye images of clay, ye feeble shadowy tribes, ye wingless creatures of a day, ye miserable mortals, ye men like unto the stuff which dreams are made of ...." [tr. Warter (1830)]
  • "Now then, ye men by nature just faintly alive, like to the race of leaves, do-littles, artefacts of clay, tribes shadowy and feeble, wingless ephemerals, suffering mortals, dreamlike people ...." [tr. Henderson (1998)]
  • "Ye men who are dimly existing below, who perish and fade as the leaf, / Pale, woebegone, shadowlike, spiritless folk, life feeble and wingless and brief, / Frail castings in clay, who are gone in a day, like a dream full of sorrow and sighing ...." [tr. Rogers (1906)]
Added on 22-Apr-20 | Last updated 22-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Aristophanes

CHORUS: Full of wiles, full of guile, at all times, in all ways, are the children of Men.

[δολερὸν μὲν ἀεὶ κατὰ πάντα δὴ τρόπον / πέφυκεν ἄνθρωπος]

Aristophanes (c.450-c.388 BC) Athenian comedic playwright
The Birds, ll. 451-2 (414 BC) [tr. Rogers (1906)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "Man naturally is deceitful, ever indeed, and always, in every one thing." [tr. Warter (1830)]
  • "Man is naturally deceitful ever, in every way!" [tr. Hickie (1853)]
  • "Man is a truly cunning creature." [abridged tr. O'Neill (1938)]
  • "A treacherous thing always in every way is human nature." [tr. Henderson (1998)]
Added on 15-Apr-20 | Last updated 15-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Aristophanes

Art — the one achievement of Man which has made the long trip up from all fours seem well advised.

James Thurber (1894-1961) American cartoonist and writer
Forum and Century (Jun 1939)

Also quoted in Clifton Fadiman, I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Certain Eminent Men and Women of Our Time (1939).
Added on 13-Apr-20 | Last updated 13-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Thurber, James

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) American fabulist [Howard Phillips Lovecraft]
“The Call of Cthulhu,” ch. 1, opening words (1928)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Apr-20 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lovecraft, H. P.

We thus learn that Man is descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in its habits, and an inhabitant of the Old World.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) English naturalist
The Descent of Man, ch. 21 (2nd ed., 1875)
    (Source)
Added on 30-Mar-20 | Last updated 30-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Darwin, Charles

Do not only look
For gentlefolk in castles: everywhere,
In humble dwellings and in haylofts, too,
The hearts of men are often kind and true.

[Che non pur per cittadi e per castella,
Ma per tuguri ancora e per fenili
Spesso si trovan gli uomini gentili.]

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) Italian poet
Orlando Furioso, Canto 14, st. 62 (1532) [tr. Reynolds (1973)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "For not alone dwells Hospitality / In court and city; but ofttimes we find / In loft and cottage men of gentle kind." [tr. Rose (1831)]
Added on 30-Mar-20 | Last updated 30-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Ariosto, Ludovico

Men resemble great deserted palaces: the owner occupies only a few rooms and has closed-off wings where he never ventures.

François Mauriac (1885-1970) French author, critic, journalist
Second Thoughts: Reflections on Literature and on Life (1961)
Added on 23-Mar-20 | Last updated 23-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Mauriac, Francois

Feminism: The radical notion that women are people.

Marie Shear (1940-2017) American writer and feminist activist
“Media Watch: Celebrating Women’s Words,” New Directions for Women (May/Jun 1986)
    (Source)

Often misattributed to Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler, A Feminist Dictionary (1985), which was the subject of Shear's review.
Added on 19-Mar-20 | Last updated 19-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Shear, Marie

My definition of Man is “a Cooking animal.” The beasts have memory, judgment, and all the faculties and passions of our mind, in a certain degree; but no beast is a cook. … Man alone can dress a good dish; and every man whatever is more or less a cook, in seasoning what he himself eats.

James Boswell (1740-1795) Scottish biographer, diarist, lawyer
The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson, Sunday, 15 Aug, footnote (1785)
    (Source)

Unlike most quoted Boswell, this is his own thought, not that of Samuel Johnson, recounting a conversation he had with Edmund Burke.
Added on 16-Mar-20 | Last updated 16-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Boswell, James

In art as in politics we must deal with people as they are, not as we wish them to be. Only by working with the real can you get closer to the ideal.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
In Her Day, Preface, “A Note to the Feminist Reader” (1976)
    (Source)
Added on 24-Feb-20 | Last updated 24-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Brown, Rita Mae

After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. You know, the Stone was really not such a wonderful thing. As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all — the trouble is, humans do have a knack for choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.

Joanne "Jo" Rowling (b. 1965) British novelist [writes as J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith]
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, ch. 17 [Dumbledore] (1997)
Added on 20-Feb-20 | Last updated 20-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Rowling, Jo

Human beings are more alike than unalike. There’s no real mystique. Every human being, every Jew, Christian, back-slider, Muslim, Shintoist, Zen Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, every human being wants a nice place to live, a good place for the children to go to school, healthy children, somebody to love, the courage, the unmitigated gall, to accept love in return, some place to relax on Saturday or Sunday night, and some place to experience their God.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
“The Art of Fiction,” Paris Review, #116, Interview with George Plimpton (1990)
    (Source)

A similar passage, from a speech at Ohio Dominican College (9 Dec 1993): "Humans are wonderfully different and marvelously alike. Human being are more alike than unalike. Whether in Paris, Texas, or Paris, France, we all want to have good jobs where we are needed and respected and paid just a little more than we deserve. We want healthy children, safe streets, to be loved and have the unmitigated gall to accept love. If we are religious, we want a place to perpetuate God. If not, we want a good lecture every once in a while. And everyone wants someplace to party on Saturday nights."
Added on 20-Feb-20 | Last updated 20-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Angelou, Maya

I am a democrat because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that everyone deserved a share in government. The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true. And whenever their weakness is exposed, the people who prefer tyranny make capital out of the exposure. I find that they’re not true without looking further than myself. I don’t deserve a share in governing a hen-roost, much less a nation. Nor do most people — all the people who believe advertisements, and think in catchwords and spread rumours. The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“Equality,” The Spectator (27 Aug 1943)

Reprinted in Present Concerns (1986).

See Lincoln.
Added on 12-Feb-20 | Last updated 12-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lewis, C.S.

I believe in aristocracy, though — if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as for themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure, and they can take a joke.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“What I Believe,” The Nation (16 Jul 1938)
    (Source)
Added on 5-Feb-20 | Last updated 5-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Forster, E. M.

That the beauty of life is a thing of no moment, I suppose few people would venture to assert, and yet most civilized people act as if it were of none, and in so doing are wronging themselves and those that are to come after them; for that beauty, which is what is meant by art, using the word in its widest sense, is, I contend, no mere accident to human life, which people can take or leave as they choose, but a positive necessity of life, if we are to live as nature meant us to; that is, unless we are content to be less than men.

William Morris (1834-1896) British textile designer, writer, socialist activist
“The Beauty of Life,” lecture, Birmingham Society of Arts and School of Design (19 Feb 1880)
    (Source)
Added on 5-Feb-20 | Last updated 5-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Morris, William

I’ve seen the meanness of humans till I don’t know why God ain’t put out the sun and gone away.

Cormac McCarthy (b. 1933) American novelist, playwright, screenwriter
Outer Dark, ch. 17 (1968)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Feb-20 | Last updated 3-Feb-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by McCarthy, Cormac

“And what would humans be without love?”

RARE, said Death.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Sourcery, ch. 1 (1988)
    (Source)
Added on 31-Jan-20 | Last updated 31-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

Do I seem to say, “Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die?” Far from it; on the contrary, I say, “Let us take hands and help, for this day we are alive together.”

William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
“The First and the Last Catastrophe,” Popular Science Monthly (Jul 1875)
    (Source)
Added on 31-Jan-20 | Last updated 31-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Clifford, William Kingdon

Gossip isn’t scandal and it’s not merely malicious. It’s chatter about the human race by lovers of the same. Gossip is the tool of the poet, the shop-talk of the scientist, and the consolation of the housewife, wit, tycoon and intellectual. It begins in the nursery and ends when speech is past.

Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) American author, poet
“A New Year and No Resolutions,” Woman’s Home Companion (Jan 1957)
    (Source)
Added on 29-Jan-20 | Last updated 29-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by McGinley, Phyllis

Mr. Khrushchev says that Communism, the police state, will bury the free ones. He is a smart gentleman, he knows that this is nonsense since freedom, man’s dim concept of and belief in the human spirit is the cause of all his troubles in his own country. But if he means that Communism will bury capitalism, he is correct. That funeral will occur about ten minutes after the police bury gambling. Because simple man, the human race, will bury both of them. That will be when we have expended the last grain, dram, and iota of our natural resources. But man himself will not be in that grave. The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
Speech to the UNESCO Commission, New York (1959)

Quoted in The New York Times (3 Oct 1959)
Added on 28-Jan-20 | Last updated 28-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Faulkner, William

Prudent men are in the habit of saying — and not by chance or without basis — that he who wishes to see what is to come should observe what has already happened, because all the affairs of the world, in every age, have their individual counterparts in ancient times. The reason for this is that since they are carried on by men, who have and always have had the same passions, of necessity the same results appear.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses on Livy, Book 3, ch. 43 (1517) [tr. Gilbert (1958)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "The wise are wont to say, and not without reason or at random, that he who would forecast what is about to happen should look to what has been; since all human events, whether present or to come, have their exact counterpart in the past. And this, because these events are brought about by men, whose passions and dispositions remaining in all ages the same naturally give rise to the same effects." [tr. Thomson]
Added on 27-Jan-20 | Last updated 27-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Machiavelli, Niccolo

I see men assassinated around me every day. I walk through rooms of the dead, streets of the dead, cities of the dead: men without eyes, men without voices; men with manufactured feelings and standard reactions; men with newspaper brains, television souls and high school ideals.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Sunlight Here I Am: Interviews and Encounters, 1963-1993 (2003)
    (Source)

When asked his reaction to the assassination of John Kennedy.
Added on 24-Jan-20 | Last updated 24-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bukowski, Charles

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

H.G. Wells (1866-1946) British writer [Herbert George Wells]
The Outline of History, Vol. 2, ch. 41, sec. 4 (1921)
    (Source)

Also attributed to Wells: "Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have."
Added on 6-Jan-20 | Last updated 6-Jan-20
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Wells, H.G.

Certainly it is presumptuous to say that we cannot improve, and that Man, who has only been in power for a few thousand years, will never learn to make use of his power. All I mean is that, if people continue to kill one another as they do, the world cannot get better than it is, and that, since there are more people than formerly, and their means for destroying one another superior, the world may well get worse. What is good in people — and consequently in the world — is their insistence on creation, their belief in friendship and loyalty for their own sakes; and, though Violence remains and is, indeed, the major partner in this muddled establishment, I believe that creativeness remains too, and will always assume direction when violence sleeps.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“What I Believe,” The Nation (16 Jul 1938)
    (Source)
Added on 30-Oct-19 | Last updated 30-Oct-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Forster, E. M.

Man is a gaming animal. He must be always trying to get the better in something or other.

Charles Lamb (1775-1834) Welsh-English essayist
“Mrs. Battle’s Opinions on Whist,” The Essays of Elia (1823)
Added on 14-Oct-19 | Last updated 14-Oct-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Lamb, Charles

I was often humiliated to see men disputing for a piece of bread, just as animals might have done. My feelings on this subject have very much altered since I have been personally exposed to the tortures of hunger. I have discovered, in fact, that a man, whatever may have been his origin, his education, and his habits, is governed, under certain circumstances, much more by his stomach than by his intelligence and his heart.

François Arago (1786-1853) French Catalan mathematician, physicist, astronomer, politician.
Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men, “The History of My Youth” (1859) [tr. Smyth, Powell, Grant]
    (Source)
Added on 10-Oct-19 | Last updated 10-Oct-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Arago, François

Man is a reasoning animal. Therefore, man’s highest good is attained if he has fulfilled the good for which nature designed him at birth. And what is it which this reason demands of him? The easiest thing in the world — to live in accordance with his nature. But this has turned into a hard task by the general madness of mankind; we push one
another into vice.

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-AD 65) Roman statesman, philosopher, playwright [Lucius Annaeus Seneca]
Letters to Lucilius, Letter 41 (c. 65 AD)
    (Source)
Added on 18-Sep-19 | Last updated 18-Sep-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Seneca the Younger

It is our conviction that if souls were visible to the eyes, we should be able to see distinctly that strange thing, that each one individual of the human race corresponds to some one of the species of the animal creation; and we could easily recognize this truth, hardly perceived by the thinker, that from the oyster to the eagle, from the pig to the tiger, all animals exist in man, and that in each one of them is in a man. Sometimes even several of them at a time.

Animals are nothing else than the figures of our virtues and our vices, straying before our eyes, the visible phantoms of our souls. God shows them to us in order to induce us to reflect.

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
Les Misérables, Part 1, “Fantine,” Book 5, ch. 5 (1862) [tr. Wilbour]
    (Source)

Introducing Javert.

Alt. trans. [Fahnestock/MacAfee]: "It is our belief that if the soul were visible to the eye, every member of the human species would be seen to correspond to some species of the animal world, and a truth scarcely perceived by thinkers would be readily confirmed, namely, that from the oyster to the eagle, from the swine to the tiger, all animals are to be found in men and each of them exists in some man, sometimes several at a time. Animals are nothing but the portrayal of our virtues and vices made manifest to our eyes, the visible reflections of our souls. God displays them to us to give us food for thought."
Added on 31-May-19 | Last updated 31-May-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Hugo, Victor

The security of society lies in custom and unconscious instinct, and the basis of the stability of society, as a healthy organism, is the complete absence of any intelligence amongst its members. The great majority of people being aware of this, rank themselves naturally on the side of that splendid system that elevates them to the dignity of machines, and rage so wildly against the intrusion of the intellectual faculty into any question that concerns life, that one is tempted to define man as a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“The Critic as Artist,” Intentions (1891)
    (Source)
Added on 27-May-19 | Last updated 27-May-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Wilde, Oscar

We are, perhaps uniquely among the earth’s creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take in the idea of dying, unable to sit still.

Lewis Thomas (1913-1993) American physician, poet, essayist, researcher
“The Youngest and Brightest Thing Around,” The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1979)
    (Source)
Added on 23-Apr-19 | Last updated 23-Apr-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Thomas, Lewis

The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should not do and, in addition, will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it, even if this brings down dread consequences to him and those whom he loves. This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people. They say “no” to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their deeds may be small, and almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their willingness to perform great heroic deeds, but in their quiet refusals to commit villainies. In essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not.

Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) American writer
“How To Build A Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later” (1978)
Added on 28-Feb-19 | Last updated 28-Feb-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Dick, Philip K.

People don’t alter history any more than birds alter the sky, they just make brief patterns in it.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Mort (1987)
    (Source)
Added on 28-Dec-18 | Last updated 28-Dec-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

For a conscious being, to exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.

Henri-Louis Bergson (1859-1941) French philosopher
Creative Evolution, ch. 1 (1907) [tr. Mitchell (1911)]
    (Source)
Added on 26-Nov-18 | Last updated 26-Nov-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bergson, Henri-Louis

At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique human being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is ever be put together a second time.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
“Schopenhauer as Educator,” ch. 1 (1874) [tr. Collins]
    (Source)
Added on 26-Nov-18 | Last updated 26-Nov-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Nietzsche, Friedrich

Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours its own kind; for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and to the general prey of the rich upon the poor.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Col. Edward Carrington (16 Jan 1787)
Added on 26-Oct-18 | Last updated 26-Oct-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

It can truly be said: Men are the devils of the earth, and the animals are the tormented souls.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
“On Religion,” Parerga and Paralipomena (1851)
Added on 15-Oct-18 | Last updated 15-Oct-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Schopenhauer, Arthur

Phryne was feeling most displeased with a species to which, she reminded herself, she belonged. She took an egg sandwich and a gulp of tea and strove to adjust her philosophy.

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
Urn Burial (1996)
Added on 4-Oct-18 | Last updated 4-Oct-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Greenwood, Kerry

Tolerance, good temper and sympathy — they are what matter really, and if the human race is not to collapse they must come to the front before long.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
“What I Believe,” The Nation (16 Jul 1938)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Sep-18 | Last updated 12-Sep-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Forster, E. M.

I look at some of the great novelists, and I think the reason they are great is that they’re telling the truth. The fact is they’re using made-up names, made-up people, made-up places, and made-up times, but they’’re telling the truth about the human being — what we are capable of, what makes us lose, laugh, weep, fall down, and gnash our teeth and wring our hands and kill each other and love each other.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
“The Art of Fiction,” Paris Review, #116, Interview with George Plimpton (1990)
    (Source)
Added on 8-Aug-18 | Last updated 8-Aug-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Angelou, Maya

Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind then that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; and while there is a criminal element, I am of it; and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926) American union leader, activist, socialist, politician
Statement to the Court (18 Sep 1918)
    (Source)

On being convicted of Sedition. Often paraphrased: "As long as there is a lower class, I am in it. As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it. As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
Added on 25-May-18 | Last updated 25-May-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Debs, Eugene V.

Man is a clever animal, who behaves like an imbecile.

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) Alsatian theologian, philosopher, physician, philanthropist
(Attributed)
Added on 14-May-18 | Last updated 14-May-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Schweitzer, Albert

Yet there is still this difference between man and all other animals — he is the only animal whose desires increase as they are fed; the only animal that is never satisfied.

Henry George (1839-1897) American economist
Progress and Poverty, Book 2, ch. 3 (1879)
    (Source)
Added on 7-May-18 | Last updated 7-May-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by George, Henry

Man is a successful animal, that’s all.

Remy de Gourmont (1858-1915) French poet, novelist, critic
Promenades Philosophiques (1908)

Alt. trans.: "Man is merely a successful animal."
Added on 9-Apr-18 | Last updated 9-Apr-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Gourmont, Remy de

A virtuous, ordinary life, striving for wisdom but never far from folly, is achievement enough.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 4 “Consolation for Inadequacy” (2000)
    (Source)

Summarizing Montaigne.
Added on 5-Apr-18 | Last updated 5-Apr-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by De Botton, Alain

Man is the only animal who does not feel at home in nature, who can feel evicted from paradise, the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem that he has to solve and from which he cannot escape.

Erich Fromm (1900-1980) American psychoanalyst and social philosopher
The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, ch. 10 (1973)
    (Source)

Sometimes elided, "Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem he has to solve."
Added on 2-Apr-18 | Last updated 2-Apr-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Fromm, Erich

Man is a social animal who dislikes his fellow man.

[L’homme es un animal sociable qui déteste ses semblables.]

Eugène Delacroix (1799-1863) French painter [Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix]
The Journal of Eugène Delacroix, 17 November 1852 (1951)
    (Source)
Added on 26-Feb-18 | Last updated 26-Feb-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Delacroix, Eugene