Quotations about   malice

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I ask you not to hate people who treat you badly. … This is easier to write than it is to live but there are ignorant people. Only a few are truly malicious. Hate is a poison. It can spread through your system. Forgive them if you can. Forget them if you must.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Interview in OutSmart magazine (Jan 1998)
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Added on 20-Nov-17 | Last updated 20-Nov-17
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The ratio of damn fools to villains is high.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
The Puppet Masters, ch. 26 (1951)
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Added on 17-Nov-17 | Last updated 16-Feb-18
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If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.

Russell - happiness unhappiness paradise - wist_info quote

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
New York Times (18 May 1961)
Added on 4-Feb-16 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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And I have again observed, my dear friend, in this trifling affair, that misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness. At all events, the two latter are of less frequent occurrence.

[Und ich habe, mein Lieber, wieder bei diesem kleinen Geschäft gefunden, dass Missverständnisse und Trägheit vielleicht mehr Irrungen in der Welt machen als List und Bosheit. Wenigstens sind die beiden letzteren gewiss seltener.] 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Die Leiden des jungen Werthers [The Sorrows of Young Werther], “Letter from May 4th” (1774)

Alt. trans.: "Misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. At any rate, the last two are certainly much less frequent."
Added on 29-Jan-09 | Last updated 5-Feb-16
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The widespread interest in gossip is inspired, not by a love of knowledge, but by malice: no one gossips about other people’s secret virtues, but only about their secret vices. Accordingly most gossip is untrue, but care is taken not to verify it. Our neighbour’s sins, like the consolations of religion, are so agreeable that we do not stop to scrutinize the evidence closely.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Aims of Education” (1929)
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Usually shortened to "No one gossips about other people's secret virtues."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 6-Nov-15
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Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Other Authors and Sources
Robert J. Hanlon, “Hanlon’s Razor,” Murphy’s Law, Book Two (ed. A. Bloch) (1980)

Cf. Heinlein, Napoleon, and Goethe. See here for more information, including discussion that "Robert J. Hanlon" may be a corruption or obfuscation of "Robert A. Heinlein."

Various variants in combinations with "ascribe," "what can be," and "incompetence."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-Nov-17
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Rascality has limits; stupidity has not.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French emperor, military leader
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-Nov-17
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