Quotes About Human Beings 

Each individual is equipped with sublime emotions, has a natural disposition toward virtue, and is fascinated with eternity. Even the most wretched-looking person has a rainbow-like atmosphere in his or her spirit comprised of the thought of eternity, love of beauty, and virtuous feeling. If people can develop these most basic, inherent elements of their being, they can rise to the highest ranks of humanity and attain eternity. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Human Rights Human Rights Symbol Freedom Equality

People are true human beings not in the mortal, material aspect of their existence, but rather in the attraction of their spirits to eternity and in their efforts to find it. For this reason, those who disregard their innate spiritual aspect and concentrate only on their physical existence will never find true peace and contentment. – M. Fethullah Gulen

The happiest and most fortunate people are those who are always intoxicated with ardent desire for the worlds beyond. Those who confine themselves within the narrow and suffocating limits of their bodily existence are really in prison, even though they may be living in palaces. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Our first and foremost duty is to discover ourselves and then turn toward our Lord through the illuminated prism of our nature. Those who remain unaware of their true nature, and who therefore cannot establish any contact with their Most High Creator, spend their lives like coolies who are ignorant of the treasure they are carrying on their backs. – M. Fethullah Gulen

All human beings are essentially helpless. However, they discover an extraordinary competence by depending on the Infinitely Powerful One, for this dependence transforms them from a drop into a waterfall, a particle into a sun, and a beggar into a king. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Our familiarity with the “book” of existence and events, and our establishment of a unity between ourselves and that book, causes sparks of wisdom to appear in our hearts. We begin to recognize our essential nature and obtain knowledge of God through the light of those sparks. Finally, we reach God. To attain this goal, however, we must not set out this (mental) journeying with a mind conditioned by (biased and prejudiced toward) atheism and materialism. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Those who are truly human interact with other living beings in the consciousness of personal duty to them and within the limits of need. Those who abandon themselves to bodily desire and pleasure go beyond what is allowed, and therefore cannot maintain the proper distance or balance between duty and desire. – M. Fethullah Gulen

Quotations about Humankind

Child of Heaven! Born from the womb of a star! – James Lendall Basford

In each generation the human mind in every man reverts to its starting-point; each new man is a primitive man. – Alexandre Vinet

Jack sighed. “People are pretty stupid, aren’t they, Dad?”
“I wouldn’t say that, son. Remember, we’re people ourselves.” – Gerald Raftery

All kinds of men, herculean, obstinate, petty, profound — men of oak and men of wax — meet you at every move, crowding and jostling through the by-ways of the world. – Mose Velsor (Walt Whitman)

For my part, I am not so sure at bottom that man is, as he says, the king of nature; he is far more its devastating tyrant. I believe he has many things to learn from animal societies, older than his own and of infinite variety. – Romain Rolland

Humanity is the refuse of spirit. – James Lendall Basford

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

I am not a human being; I am a human becoming. – Author Unknown

Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished. – Nelson Mandela

In this century we have made remarkable material progress, but basically we are the same as we were thousands of years ago. Our spiritual needs are still very great. – Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am. – Joseph Baretti

The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because man is disunited with himself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I see one dilemma with Western man, it’s that he can’t accept how beautiful he is. He can’t accept that he is pure light, that he’s pure love, that he’s pure consciousness, that he’s divine. – Ram Dass

Every human being is a repeated question asked to the spirit of the Universe. – Mihai Eminescu

Man is perhaps half mind and half matter in the same way as the polyp is half plant and half animal. The strangest creatures are always found on the border lines of species. – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

The human species is made up of seven billion subspecies each consisting of one specimen. – Robert Brault

Galen had told me that he gathered and kept anything that spoke to the nature of life on the islands. He did not discriminate between the mundane and the vital, the human and the animal, the tragic and the wonderful. He has told me that the greatest illusion of the human experience was the idea that we were outside of nature — that we were not a part of the food chain — that we were not animals ourselves. – Abby Geni

Man is harder than rock and more fragile than an egg. – Yugoslav Proverb

That in man which cannot be domesticated is not his evil but his goodness. – Antonio Porchia

Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is. – Albert Camus

A human being: an ingenious assembly of portable plumbing. – Christopher Morley

The true man walks the earth as the stars walk the heavens, grandly obedient to those laws which are implanted in his nature. – Lemuel K. Washburn

We, the compound of Sovereign, Soul and Sediment! – James Lendall Basford

The universe may have a purpose, but nothing we know suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours. – Bertrand Russell

“‘What a piece of work is man!… And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?’ —Shakespeare.” Ay, there’s the rub! Capable of sublimest thought, world-shaking action, man is still dust. The weakest reed in nature, perhaps, but a thinking reed—one who communicates not only his thoughts but his feelings, hopes, fears, and dreams—all with humor, wit, and—sometimes—defiance, thumbing his nose at the world. – Wesley Douglass Camp

Humans have forgotten so much… It’s so easy for us to live now that our lives have no meaning. So we start looking for something else, something more. Money. A bigger house. A hobby. Church. – Abby Geni

Human life is the probating of God’s will. – James Lendall Basford

Man is rated the highest animal, at least among all animals who returned the questionnaire. – Robert Brault

Ocean: A body of water occupying two-thirds of a world made for man — who has no gills. – Ambrose Bierce

Man is harder than iron, stronger than stone and more fragile than a rose. – Turkish Proverb

I have always wished that one of our great libraries might have on its walls a mural of the dramatic sequence of any man’s progress from birth to death, the cycle of a human being… In its first panel is a garden in the early morning — that background of childhood where everyone of us learned the fascination of plant life, birds, and animals in the changing lights and colors of a day or of the seasons. The path broadens to a highway where friends and assailants too, jostle along in groups bent on undertakings or adventures. The luckiest have one or two sustainers who walk beside them in complete confidence and understanding for wide stretches of the climb. Occasionally, a comrade turns off on a side road and never returns. As the way mounts steeply through heat and storm and rough travel, the vistas widen and peaks of aspiration rise ahead. There are desert stretches. There are bonfires and hilarity. There are storms to battle and weird swamps to cross. There are woods of refreshment. In the end, each of us vanishes into a mist. – Althea Warren

Despise no man, since every one has his place in God’s design. A sheet of brown paper may be better as a wrapper for a loaf of bread than a page from Homer… – Austin O’Malley

Man is the only kind of varmint sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it. – John Steinbeck

There’s a tension to being human… People are the only animals that die in childbirth… on a regular basis, I mean. It’s really common for our species. Even now, with all our modern medicine… It’s because of our brains… It makes you what you are, but it doesn’t fit easily through a tiny birth canal. – Abby Geni

In nature a repulsive caterpillar turns into a lovely butterfly. But with humans it is the other way around: a lovely butterfly turns into a repulsive caterpillar. – Anton Chekhov

Satan becomes a supreme monarch of the mind when seated on the throne of human ambition. – James Lendall Basford

Man is an intelligence in servitude to his organs. – Aldous Huxley

We are perverse creatures and never satisfied. – Nan Fairbrother

Modern man is the missing link between apes and human beings. – Author Unknown

Human consciousness arose but a minute before midnight on the geological clock. Yet we mayflies try to bend an ancient world to our purposes, ignorant perhaps of the messages buried in its long history. Let us hope that we are still in the early morning of our April day. – Stephen Jay Gould

Such is the human race. Often it does seem such a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat. – Mark Twain

Man is the connecting link between dust and Deity. – James Lendall Basford

There are too many people, and too few human beings. – Robert Zend

It would indeed be a tragedy if the history of the human race proved to be nothing more than the story of an ape playing with a box of matches on a petrol dump. – David Ormsby Gore

There are many fools among men; among animals none. – James Lendall Basford

Only on paper has humanity yet achieved glory, beauty, truth, knowledge, virtue, and abiding love. – George Bernard Shaw

If one could but arrive at a normal expression, how infinitely one could trust it. But life the beauteous is compelled into a distortion; life the human is made a beast.
      One does not represent — he misrepresents.
      One does not express — he is a malexpression. – Muriel Strode

      One of the deepest unspoken prayers of our age is to be delivered from the bondage to fragments. We earnestly search for wholeness, for unity, for a sense of universality. Our intense individualism, in contrast with the sense of “one world” which gave even brutish existence in the Middle Ages a quality of security we lack, has left us with a profound sense of alienation and frustration. It is essential for us, at times, to recall and contemplate the unity of mankind throughout the ages, under one God.
      In the words of John Donne, “All mankind is of one Author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice, but God’s hand is in every translation, and His hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.” – Rose Terlin

Men! The only animal in the world to fear. – D.H. Lawrence

The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race. – Don Marquis

Men are cruel, but Man is kind. – Rabindranath Tagore

[T]ake time to see the humor in it all. The world is a funny place, and funniest of all are the creatures who walk about upright on two legs, believing that they run the place. – Richard E. Turner

Man embraces in his makeup all the natural orders; he’s a squid, a mollusk, a sucker and a buzzard; sometimes he’s a cerebrate. – Martin H. Fischer

Humanity is on the march, earth itself is left behind. – David Ehrenfeld

Human nature, if healthy, demands excitement; and if it does not obtain its thrilling excitement in the right way, it will seek it in the wrong. God never makes bloodless stoics; He makes no passionless saints. – Oswald Chambers

Cabbage: a familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head. – Ambrose Bierce

Monkeys are superior to men in this: When a monkey looks into a mirror, he sees a monkey. – Malcolm de Chazal

The idea of human equality — a hopeful gloss of lipstick on the snout of truth. – Dr. Idel Dreimer

It is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing. – Mariane Moore

If man were relieved of all superstition, and all prejudice, and had replaced these with a keen sensitivity to his real environment, and moreover had achieved a level of communication so simplified that one syllable could express his every thought, then he would have achieved the level of intelligence already achieved by his dog. – Robert Brault

I have not read Nietzsche or Isben, nor any other philosopher, and have not needed to do it, and have not desired to do it; I have gone to the fountain-head for information—that is to say, to the human race. Every man is in his own person the whole human race, with not a detail lacking. I am the whole human race without a detail lacking; I have studied the human race with diligence and strong interest all these years in my own person; in myself I find in big or little proportion every quality and every defect that is findable in the mass of the race. I knew I should not find in any philosophy a single thought which had not passed through my own head, nor a single thought which had not passed through the heads of millions and millions of men before I was born; I knew I should not find a single original thought in any philosophy, and I knew I could not furnish one to the world myself, if I had five centuries to invent it in. Nietzsche published his book, and was at once pronounced crazy by the world—by a world which included tens of thousands of bright, sane men who believed exactly as Nietzsche believed, but concealed the fact, and scoffed at Nietzsche. What a coward every man is! and how surely he will find it out if he will just let other people alone and sit down and examine himself. The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner. – Mark Twain

Adam ate the apple, and our teeth still ache. – Hungarian Proverb

Why was man created on the last day? So that he can be told, when pride possesses him: God created the gnat before thee. – The Talmud

Man was made at the end of the week’s work, when God was tired. – Mark Twain

God pulled an all-nighter on the sixth day. – Author Unknown

I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated His ability. – Oscar Wilde

Human pride is a strange thing; it cannot easily be suppressed, and if you stop up hole A will peep forth again in a twinkling from another hole B, and if this is closed it is ready to come out at hole C, and so on. – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Life challenges each of us with an enigmatic and unyielding alchemy — making sense of the human experience. – Dr. Idel Dreimer

O poor mortals, how ye make this earth bitter for each other. – Thomas Carlyle

Not every great man is a grand human being. – Marie Dubsky

Nature is now.
Humans are a tangled mess of past, present, and future. – Terri Guillemets

What is man but a painful wart on the heel of time. – John Collins

What is man but a species of vermin crawling upon the bare skin of Mother Nature? – James Lendall Basford

Zoo: An excellent place to study the habits of human beings. – Evan Esar

Man — a being in search of meaning. – Plato

Ultimately, aren’t we all just talking monkeys with an attitude problem? – “Uncle” Ben

The more humanity advances, the more it is degraded. – Gustave Flaubert

Nothing feebler does earth nurture than man,
Of all things breathing and moving. – Homer

Nature, or that sacred and supreme Cause of all Things, which we term God, has furnished his Creatures with such Guides as may best conduct them to the several Ends of their Beings. To the Birds, Beasts, and other Animals, which we generally hold inferiour to Mankind, he gave Instinct, as sufficient to direct them to all that is necessary for them…. But in Man…. the Things from which the Mind must gather, and of which compose all these, are so vast in Number, and so various and obscure in their Natures, that without the help of a very good Guide, it may make a Collection of Poisons instead of Medicines, and reap its Destruction, not Satisfaction; but the omnipotent Cause, that had so well furnished Brutes, left not the Mind of Man without its Director in this Maze and Lottery of Things; he gave it Reason, and its sovereign Rule and Touch-stone to examine them by, and to fit our Choice to our double Advantage of Body and Mind. Reason is the Light, that brings Day to those Things, that will contribute to, or oppose our Happiness; without which we should in vain grope in the dark; and we should owe entirely to Chance what we obtained. It is true, Reason is not sufficient to bring us to a perfect Knowledge of all Things, but it is able to furnish us with enough to make us happy, and that is as much as we need care for. – Thomas Burnet

Everyone is as God made him, and often a good deal worse. – Miguel de Cervantes

Man is a strange animal, he doesn’t like to read the handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it. – Adlai Stevenson

God doesn’t measure His bounty, but oh how we do! – Mignon McLaughlin

The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness. – Joseph Conrad

The human race is governed by its imagination. – Napoleon

Man uses his intelligence less in the care of his own species than he does in his care of anything else he owns or governs. – Abraham Meyerson

Human beings cling to their delicious tyrannies and to their exquisite nonsense, till death stares them in the face. – Sydney Smith

“So it took an eight-year-old child to bring ’em to their senses, didn’t it?” said Atticus. “That proves something — that a gang of wild animals can be stopped, simply because they’re still human. Hmp, maybe we need a police force of children…” – Harper Lee

Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him? – Pierre Troubetzkoy

The small percentage of dogs that bite people is monumental proof that the dog is the most benign, forgiving creature on earth. – W.R. Koehler

We have no choice but to be guilty.
God is unthinkable if we are innocent. – Archibald MacLeish

Human beings invent just as many ways to sabotage their lives as to improve them. – Mark Goulston

On the Sixth Day, God created man, the sort of result you often get when you go in to work on a Saturday. – Robert Brault

As I know more of mankind I expect less of them, and am ready now to call a man a good man upon easier terms than I was formerly. – Samuel Johnson

What is man’s greatest bane? His brother man alone. – Bias of Priene

      “I think I’ll be a clown when I get grown,” said Dill… “Yes sir, a clown,” he said. “There ain’t one thing in this world I can do about folks except laugh, so I’m gonna join the circus and laugh my head off.”
      “You got it backwards, Dill,” said Jem. “Clowns are sad, it’s folks that laugh at them.”
      “Well, I’m gonna be a new kind of clown. I’m gonna stand in the middle of the ring and laugh at the folks.” – Harper Lee

Acedia is not in every dictionary; just in every heart. – Mignon McLaughlin

We are living relics of our birth,
Keepsakes of Mother Earth. – James Lendall Basford

The study of crime begins with the knowledge of oneself. – Henry Miller

God has given a great deal to man, but man would like something from man. – Antonio Porchia

Man is the only trained animal who expects his reward before he does his trick. – Robert Brault

I was surprised just now at seeing a cobweb around a knocker; for it was not on the door of heaven. – Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare

Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman—a rope over an abyss. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal. – Friedrich Nietzsche

I sometimes think of what future historians will say of us. A single sentence will suffice for modern man: He fornicated and read the papers. – Albert Camus

Man, when he is merely what he seems to be, is almost nothing. – Antonio Porchia

Give a man secure possession of a bleak rock, and he will turn it into a garden; give him nine years’ lease of a garden, and he will convert it into a desert. – Arthur Young

Perhaps this is an age when men think bravely of the human spirit; for surely they have a strange lust to lay it bare. – Christopher Morley

That’s it! When you come to know men, that’s how they are: too sensitive in the wrong place. – D.H. Lawrence

Occident: The part of the world lying west (or east) of the Orient. It is largely inhabited by Christians, a powerful subtribe of the Hypocrites, whose principal industries are murder and cheating, which they are pleased to call “war” and “commerce.” These, also, are the principal industries of the Orient. – Ambrose Bierce

Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be. – William Hazlitt

It is curious to note the old sea-margins of human thought! Each subsiding century reveals some new mystery; we build where monsters used to hide themselves. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Nature is neutral. Man has wrested from nature the power to make the world a desert or to make the deserts bloom. There is no evil in the atom; only in men’s souls. – Adlai Stevenson

Vain man sits in judgment on Nature’s wisdom, and thinks to determine its merits or assumes to point out its demerits—as much as if he were omniscient. – James Lendall Basford

We are each of us born into the arms of mortality, the Lord recognizing our need to be held. – Robert Brault

It is the fancy of every mortal that being cradled in the arms of mortality is a safe place for the time being. – Robert Brault

Man talks about everything, and he talks about everything as though the understanding of everything were all inside him. – Antonio Porchia

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. – Stephen Hawking

We may be the intelligent species, but we are certainly not the smartest! – Kyle Short

I have seen Tasmanian devils battle over a carcass. I have seen lionesses crowding a kill, dingoes on the trail of a feral piglet, and adult croc thrashing its prey to pieces. But never, in all the animal world, have I witnessed anything to match the casual cruelty of the human being. – Terri Irwin

The doctors tell us of a physical disease called fatty degeneration of the heart… there is a moral malady—fatty degeneration of the soul; sooner or later it attacks every man, however noble his career, who puts self forward in his aims; who values fame because a personal possession. – Frank Lee Benedict

My dog is usually pleased with what I do, because she is not infected with the concept of what I “should” be doing. – Lonzo Idolswine

Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied. – Mark Twain

We humans are the greatest of the earth’s parasites. – Martin H. Fischer

Often what we take for a kindness is just someone acting in their capacity as a human being. – Robert Brault

I have often had the impression that, to penguins, man is just another penguin — different, less predictable, occasionally violent, but tolerable company when he sits still and minds his own business. – Bernard Stonehouse

Suppose some mathematical creature from the moon were to reckon up the human body; he would at once see that the essential thing about it was that it was duplicate. A man is two men, he on the right exactly resembling him on the left. Having noted that there was an arm on the right and one on the left, a leg on the right and one on the left, he might go further and still find on each side the same number of fingers, the same number of toes, twin eyes, twin ears, twin nostrils, and even twin lobes of the brain. At last he would take it as a law; and then, where he found a heart on one side, would deduce that there was another heart on the other. And just then, where he most felt he was right, he would be wrong. – G.K. Chesterton

Every man is a volume, if you know how to read him. – William Ellery Channing

Every human being is a volume, worthy to be studied. – William Ellery Channing

Humans have an odd ecology. – Terri Guillemets

It is the nature of mortals to kick a fallen man. – Aeschylus

God is less careful than General Motors, for He floods the world with factory rejects. – Mignon McLaughlin

Man’s greed for power and for money
Has strangled, within his own soul,
The richness and beauty of Truth
That would help him to reach his goal! – Gertrude Tooley Buckingham

Man’s highest merit always is, as much as possible, to rule external circumstances and as little as possible to let himself be ruled by them. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So there he is at last. Man on the moon. The poor magnificent bungler! He can’t even get to the office without undergoing the agonies of the damned, but give him a little metal, a few chemicals, some wire and twenty or thirty billion dollars and vroom! there he is, up on a rock a quarter of a million miles up in the sky. – Russell Baker

Every human being is a problem in search of a solution. – Ashley Montagu

Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve. – Erich Fromm

When freedom from want and freedom from fear are achieved, man’s remains will be in rigor mortis. – Martin H. Fischer

Man is nature’s sole mistake. – W.S. Gilbert

The people are the greatest master of error. – Francis Bacon

Every man is a millionaire in some part of his nature, and a pauper in others. – James Lendall Basford

Society has always seemed to demand a little more from human beings than it will get in practice. – George Orwell

Our behavior is human with a sliver of animal, our souls animal with a sliver of human. – Terri Guillemets

The average man’s judgment is so poor, he runs a risk every time he uses it. – E.W. Howe

First God created time; then God created man that man might, in the course of time, perfect himself; then God decided that He’d better create eternity. – Robert Brault

Man — a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal. – Alexander Hamilton

I viewed my fellow man not as a fallen angel, but as a risen ape. – Desmond Morris

The question is this: Is man an ape or an angel? I am on the side of the angels. – Benjamin Disraeli

Men prefer to believe that they are degenerated angels, rather than elevated apes. – William Winwood Reade
Man was created a little lower than the angels, and has been getting lower ever since. – Josh Billings

Men are created like upright angels, but too often behave like downright devils. – James Lendall Basford

Perchance God will pity a race that sought the better angels of its nature and found only its lesser demons. – Robert Brault

Is man a savage at heart, skinned o’er with fragile Manners? Or is savagery but a faint taint in the natural man’s gentility, which erupts now and again like pimples on an angel’s arse? – John Barth

We’re animals. We’re born like every other mammal and we live our whole lives around disguised animal thoughts. – Barbara Kingsolver

Man may be excused for feeling some pride at having risen, though not through his own exertions, to the very summit of the organic scale; and the fact of his having thus risen, instead of having been aboriginally placed there, may give him hopes for a still higher destiny in the distant future. But we are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with the truth as far as our reason allows us to discover it. I have given the evidence to the best of my ability; and we must acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man, with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system—with all these exalted powers—Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin. – Charles Darwin

Grant fretted and irritated him…. He had no right to exist. He should have been extinct for ages…. That, two thousand years after Alexander the Great and Julius Cæsar, a man like Grant should be called—and should actually and truly be—the highest product of the most advanced evolution, made evolution ludicrous…. The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence enough to upset Darwin. – Henry Adams

Evolution: that last step was a doozy! – Terri Guillemets

The disastrous history of our species indicates the futility of all attempts at a diagnosis which do not take into account the possibility that homo sapiens is a victim of one of evolution’s countless mistakes. – Arthur Koestler

Evolution is individual — devolution is collective. – Martin H. Fischer

In creating the human brain, evolution has wildly overshot the mark. – Arthur Koestler

Evolution: one small step for man, one giant leap backward for mankind. – Terri Guillemets

The next evolutionary step for humankind is to move from human to kind. – Author unknown

Man, after all, may be but one of God’s discarded experiments. – James Lendall Basford

Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment. – R. Buckminster Fuller

Human nature is just about the only nature some people experience. – Terri Guillemets

Be a good animal, true to your animal instincts. – David Herbert Lawrence

Man desired concord; but nature knows better what is good for his species; she desires discord. Man wants to live easy and content; but nature compels him to leave ease… and throw himself into roils and labors. – Immanuel Kant

The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. – T.H. Huxley

Many people believe that they are attracted by God, or by Nature, when they are only repelled by man. – William Ralph Inge

People are like birds: on the wing, all beautiful; up close, all beady little eyes. – Mignon McLaughlin

A strong, brave man is born each month,
     each year God gives a sage to men,
A poet each ten years, perhaps,
     but an unselfish person,—when? – Frederic Ridgely Torrence

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d. I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition…. Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth. – Walt Whitman

As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities. – Voltaire

I demand of you, and of the whole world, that you show me a generic character… by which to distinguish between Man and Ape. I myself most assuredly know of none. – Carl Linnaeus

We have a world for each one, but we do not have a world for all. – Antonio Porchia, Voces

We are survival machines — robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. – Richard Dawkins

I do not value any view of the universe into which man and the institutions of man enter very largely and absorb much of the attention. Man is but the place where I stand, and the prospect hence is infinite. – Henry David Thoreau

Nature does not deceive us; it is we who deceive ourselves. – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles. – Niccolò Machiavelli

Infinitely will I trust nature’s instincts and promptings, but I will not call my own perversions nature. – Muriel Strode

Are we marionettes, or are we creatures of free will who just happen to have a lot of jerky reflexes? – Robert Brault

Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everybody agrees that it is old enough to know better. – Author Unknown

Mankind Quotes

Mankind Quotes

  • Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
    • Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See (1990).
  • You are the descendant of a tiny cell of primordial protoplasm washed up on an empty beach three and a half billion years ago. You are the blind and arbitrary product of time, chance, and natural forces. You are a mere grab-bag of atomic particles, a conglomeration of genetic substance. You exist on a tiny planet in a minute solar system in an empty corner of a universe. You are a purely biological entity, different only in degree but not in kind from a microbe, virus, or amoeba. You have no essence beyond your body, and at death you will cease to exist entirely. In short you come from nothing and are going to nowhere.
    • Randy Alcorn, quoted in Dinesh D’Souza, What’s so Great About Christianity (Regnery, 2007), p. 15
  • You are the special creation of a good and all-powerful God. You are created in His image; with capacities to think, feel, and worship that set you above all other life forms. You differ from the animals not simply in degree but in kind. Not only is your kind unique, but you are unique among you kind. Your Creator loves you so much and so intensely desires you companionship and affection that he has a perfect plan for you life. In addition God gave the life of His only son that you might spend eternity with Him. If you are willing to accept his gift of salvation, you can become a child of God.
    • Randy Alcorn, quoted in Dinesh D’Souza, What’s so Great About Christianity (Regnery, 2007), pp. 15-16
  • Humans are proud of themselves. The guiding principle of the modern age is “Man is the measure of all things.” And our bodies have excited physiologists and philosophers to a profound awe of the basic mammalian design. But the history of the dinosaurs should teach us some humility… If our fundamental mammalian mode of adaptation was superior to the dinosaurs’, then history should record the meteoric rise of the mammals and the eclipse of the dinosaurs. Our own Class Mammalia did not seize the dominant position in life on land. Instead, the mammal clan was but one of many separate evolutionary families that succeeded as species only by taking refuge in small body size during the Age of Dinosaurs. As long as there were dinosaurs, a full 130 million years, remember, the warm-blooded league of furry mammals produced no species bigger than a cat.
    • Robert T. Bakker (1986), The Dinosaur Heresies: A Revolutionary View of Dinosaurs, Longman Scientific & Technical, p. 17
  • I judge people by what they might be, — not are, nor will be.
    • Robert Browning, English poet. A Soul’s Tragedy, Act II.
  • As long as his strength permits, the poor mortal must always climb new mountains.
    • Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Quotes we cherish. Quotations from Fausto Cercignani, 2014, p. 33.
  • Perhaps it is true that every human being is a potential monster, but if we disregard potentialities, then humankind can be divided into two main categories: human beings and human beasts.
    • Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Writings by Fausto Cercignani, 2014, quote 41.
  • Someday, somehow, I am going to do something useful, something for people. They are, most of them, so helpless, so hurt and so unhappy.
    • Edith Cavell, as quoted in The Economist (15 October 2010), p. 107.
  • Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. As a solitary being, he attempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him, to satisfy his personal desires, and to develop his innate abilities. As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. Only the existence of these varied, frequently conflicting, strivings accounts for the special character of a man, and their specific combination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an inner equilibrium and can contribute to the well-being of society.
    • Albert Einstein, Why Socialism? (1949), Monthly Review [1] New York (May 1949)
  • Mankind. That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We’re fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice: We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!
    • Thomas J. Whitmore, interpreted by Bill Pullman in the film Independence Day (1996), written by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin.
  • What they [the Cactus Bristle gang] discovered is that people were not influenced by principles, such as the difference between democracy and communism, Judaism versus Islam, or even rich versus poor. They found people did not generally comprehend or like abstract principles. All people wanted was a place they called their own, a good job, and the ability to make life decisions with ample access to television.
    • Michael Scott Gallegos, “Lid: A Desert Shanty Town” (Nov 5, 2011) in “Cactus Bristle”
  • I’ve helped him into an act of humanity. Anyone else like the sound of that: act of humanity?
    • Matthew Graham, The Almost People episode of Doctor Who (28 May 2011), character of The Doctor, speaking of his inspiration of a replicant of a human being to care about the fate of the original human.
  • The sick in soul insist that it is humanity that is sick, and they are the surgeons to operate on it. They want to turn the world into a sickroom. And once they get humanity strapped to the operating table, they operate on it with an ax.
    • Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955), Section 124.
  • It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one’s neighbor. … Some of the worst tyrannies of our day genuinely are “vowed” to the service of mankind, yet can function only by pitting neighbor against neighbor. The all-seeing eye of a totalitarian regime is usually the watchful eye of the next-door neighbor. In a Communist state love of neighbor may be classed as counter-revolutionary.
    • Eric Hoffer, The Ordeal of Change (1963), Ch. 11: Brotherhood.
  • In this unexpected scenario, the UFO occupants — despite their obvious technological superiority — are desperate for both human genetic material and the ability to feel human emotions — particularly maternal emotions. Unlikely though it may seem, it is possible that the very survival of these extraterrestrials depends upon their success in absorbing chemical and psychological properties received from human abductees.
    • Budd Hopkins, in Intruders: The Incredible Visitations at Copley Woods , p. 190
  • With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
    • John the Evangelist, Revelation 21:3-4
  • Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.
    • Immanuel Kant, Idea for a General History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose (1784), Proposition 6.
  • Show me a man or a woman alone and I’ll show you a saint. Give me two and they’ll fall in love. Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call ‘society’. Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid. Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast. Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.
    • Stephen King, The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition (1990), 3rd paragraph of Chapter 42, Glen Bateman speaking.
  • Society is composed only of various conditions, professions, functions, and ways of life, among those who form what we call a Nation; of proprietors of the soil, and proprietors of houses; of investments, of handicrafts, of merchants, of manufacturers, of formers; of day-laborers becoming fanners, manufacturers, merchants, or possessors of houses or capital, in their turn; of the rich, of those in easy circumstances, of the poor, of workmen with their hands, workmen with their minds; of day-laborers, of those in need, of a small number of men enjoying considerable acquired or inherited wealth, of others of a smaller fortune painfully increased and improved, of others with property only sufficient for their needs; there are some, finally, without any personal possession but their hands, and gleaning for themselves and for their families, in the workshop, or the field, and at the threshold of the homes of others on the earth, the asylum, the wages, the bread, the instruction, the tools, the daily pay, all those means of existence which they have neither inherited, saved, nor acquired. These last are what have been improperly called the People.
    • Alphonse de Lamartine, Atheism Among the People, (1850) p. 19-20.
  • You know what I want to think of myself? As a human being. Because, I mean I don’t want to be like “As Confucius say,” but under the sky, under the heavens there is but one family. It just so happens man that people are different.
    • Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee: The Lost Interview (1971)
  • Every human heart is human.
    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha (1855), Introduction, line 91.
  • Laborin’ man an’ laborin’ woman
    Hev one glory an’ one shame;
    Ev’ythin’ thet’s done inhuman
    Injers all on ’em the same.

    • James Russell Lowell, The Biglow Papers (1848), First Series. No. 1, Stanza 10.
  • I don’t think that corporations are these big bogeymen that a lot of people paint them to be.  …  A corporation is a group of people, and if you want to come together for profit or nonprofit, that’s your business—whatever you want to do.
    • Krist Novoselic, interviewed by Nick Gillespie, “Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic on Punk, Politics, & Why He Dumped the Dems”, ReasonTV (19 June 2014), 15:30–15:37, 17:10–17:20.
  • Man and woman cease to be humans
    once they get lost into crowds.

    • Suman Pokhrel, Standing in a Market
  • It seems that every life form on this planet strives toward its maximum potential…except human beings. A tree does not row to half its potential size and then say, “l guess that will do.” A tree will drive its roots as deep as possible. It will soak up as much nourishment as it can, stretch as high and as wide as nature will allow, and then look down as if to remind us of how much each of us could become if we would only do all that we can.
    • Jim Rohn, Five Major Pieces To the Life Puzzle (1991).
  • A person’s lifeworm is a tangle of atomic worldlines. A braid. The dotty little atoms trace out smooth lines in spacetime: you are the pattern that these lines make up. There is no one single atom that is exclusively yours. I breathe an atom out, you breathe it in. Your garbage helps my tomatoes grow. And so the little spacetime threads weave us all together. The human race is a single vast tapestry, linked by our shared food and air. There are larger links as well: sperm, egg and umblilicus. Each family tree is an organic whole. Your spacetime body tapers back to the threads of mother’s egg and father’s sperm. And children, if you have them, are forever rooted in your flesh.
    • Rudy Rucker in The Sex Sphere, p. 108.
  • Humankind has become so much one family that we cannot ensure our own prosperity except by ensuring that of everyone else. If you wish to be happy yourself, you must resign yourself to seeing others also happy.
    • Bertrand Russell, “The Science to Save Us from Science”, The New York Times Magazine (19 March 1950).
  • “I swear that what I went through, no animal would have gone through.” This sentence, the noblest ever spoken, this sentence that defines man’s place in the universe, that honors him, that re-establishes the true hierarchy, floated back into my thoughts.
    • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French writer. Wind, Sand and Stars
  • The people will live on.
    The learning and blundering people will live on.

    • Carl Sandburg, The People, Yes (1936).
  • Der Mensch kann tun was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will.
    • Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.
      • Arthur Schopenhauer On The Freedom Of The Will (1839), as translated in The Philosophy of American History : The Historical Field Theory (1945) by Morris Zucker, p. 531
    • Variant translations:
      • Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.
        • As quoted in The Motivated Brain : A Neurophysiological Analysis of Human Behavior (1991) by Pavel Vasilʹevich Simonov, p. 198.
  • I think the destiny of all men is not to sit in the rubble of their own making but to reach out for an ultimate perfection which is to be had. At the moment, it is a dream. But as of the moment we clasp hands with our neighbor, we build the first span to bridge the gap between the young and the old. At this hour, it’s a wish. But we have it within our power to make it a reality. If you want to prove that God is not dead, first prove that man is alive.
    • Rod Serling, Speech at Moorpark College, Moorpark, California (3 December 1968)
  • Agent K: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it.
    • Ed Solomon, Men in Black (1997).
  • Not only did the lord make the world appear in its correct form, the lord who never changes the destinies which he determines – Enlil – who will make the human seed of the Land come forth from the earth – and not only did he hasten to separate heaven from earth, and hasten to separate earth from heaven, but, in order to make it possible for humans to grow in “where flesh came forth” [the name of a cosmic location], he first raised the axis of the world at Dur-an-ki. He did this with the help of the hoe — and so daylight broke forth. By distributing the shares of duty he established daily tasks, and for the hoe and the carrying-basket wages were even established. … Here, in ‘Where Flesh Came Forth’, he set this very hoe to work; he had it place the first model of mankind in the brick mould. His Land started to break through the soil towards Enlil. He looked with favour at his black-headed people. Now the Anuna gods stepped forward to him, and did obeisance to him. They calmed Enlil with a prayer, for they wanted to demand the black-headed people from him. Ninmena, the lady who had given birth to the ruler, who had given birth to the king, now set human reproduction going.
    • Sumerian creation myth, Song of the Hoe (3rd millennium BCE). [2]
  • Social science means inventing a certain brand of human we can understand.
    • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (2010) The Sage, the Weak, and the Magnificent, p. 95.
  • Thomas: My mistakes are my own, but over the ages humans have proven to be violent, short sighted and hostile. Is this really something I can do anything about?
    • James Wong, The Event (2010-2011). Thomas is the leader of an alien species which lives on Earth.
  • I have learned
    To look on nature, not as in the hour
    Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
    The still, sad music of humanity,
    Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
    To chasten and subdue.
     And I have felt
    A presence that disturbs me with the joy
    Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
    Of something far more deeply interfused,
    Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
    And the round ocean and the living air,
    And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
    A motion and a spirit, that impels
    All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
    And rolls through all things.

    • William Wordsworth, in Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey (1798).
  • Love, hope, fear, faith — these make humanity;
    These are its sign and note and character.

    • Robert Browning, Paracelsus, scene 3.
  • W’en you see a man in woe,
    Walk right up and say “hullo.”
    Say “hullo” and “how d’ye do,”
    “How’s the world a-usin’ you?”
    . . . . .
    W’en you travel through the strange
    Country t’other side the range,
    Then the souls you’ve cheered will know
    Who you be, an’ say “hullo.”

    • Sam Walter Foss, Hullo.
  • He held his seat; a friend to human race.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book VI, line 18. Pope’s translation.
  • Respect us, human, and relieve us, poor.
    • Homer, The Odyssey, Book IX, line 338. Pope’s translation.
  • Over the brink of it
    Picture it—think of it,
    Dissolute man.
    Lave in it—drink of it
    Then, if you can.

    • Thomas Hood, Bridge of Sighs.
  • Oh, God! that bread should be so dear,
    And flesh and blood so cheap!

    • Thomas Hood, Song of a Shirt.
  • For He, who gave this vast machine to roll,
    Breathed Life in them, in us a Reasoning Soul;
    That kindred feelings might our state improve,
    And mutual wants conduct to mutual love.

    • Juvenal, Satire XV, line 203.
  • It is good to be often reminded of the inconsistency of human nature, and to learn to look without wonder or disgust on the weaknesses which are found in the strongest minds.
    • Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, Warren Hastings.
  • For nothing human foreign was to him.
    • James Thomson, To the Memory of Lord Talbot, translation of “Humani nihil a me alienum puto”.
  • For the interesting and inspiring thing about America, gentlemen, is that she asks nothing for herself except what she has a right to ask for humanity itself.
    • Woodrow Wilson, speech at the luncheon of the Mayor of New York, May 17, 1915.
  • Never to blend our pleasure or our pride
    With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels.

    • William Wordsworth, Hart-leap Well, Part II.
  • We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.
    • Malcolm X Interview (January 1965?); quoted in By Any Means Necessary
  • There are people in our society who should be separated and discarded. I think it’s one of the tendencies of the liberal community to feel that every person in a nation of over 200 million people can be made into a productive citizen.
    I’m realist enough to believe this can’t be. We’re always going to have our prisons, we’re always going to have our places of preventive detention for psychopaths, and we’re always going to have a certain number of people in our community who have no desire to achieve or who have no desire to even fit in an amicable way with the rest of society.
    And these people should be separated from the community, not in a callous way but they should be separated as far as any idea that their opinions shall have any effect on the course we follow.

    • Spiro T. Agnew, comments during interview for European audiences which was recorded in Washington, D.C., then broadcast over British Independent Television on June 30, 1970, as reported by The Washington Post, July 2, 1970, p. A3.
  • Where there is no vision, the people perish.
    • The Bible, Proverbs 29:18.
  • I can not wish you success in your effort to reject the treaty because while it may win the fight it may destroy our cause. My plan cannot fail if the people are with us and we ought not to succeed unless we do have the people with us.
    • William Jennings Bryan, letter to Andrew Carnegie, January 13, 1899. Bryan papers, Library of Congress. Andrew Carnegie, working to defeat the treaty of peace with Spain, unsuccessfully sought Bryan’s help.
  • I am a child of the House of Commons. I was brought up in my father’s house to believe in democracy. “Trust the people”—that was his message.
    • Winston Churchill, speech to a joint session of Congress, Washington, D.C., December 26, 1941. Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963, ed. Robert Rhodes James, vol. 6, p. 6536 (1974).
  • Your people, sir, is nothing but a great beast!
    • Attributed to Alexander Hamilton, in a political argument with Thomas Jefferson. David S. Muzzey, An American History, p. 192 (1911). For similar expressions of this idea going back to Horace, see Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 15th ed., p. 108, no. 19 and footnotes (1982), and The Home Book of Quotations, ed. Burton Stevenson, 9th ed., p. 1483–84, section 7 (1964).
  • Would yee both eat your cake, and have your cake?
    • John Heywood, The Proverbs of John Heywood, part 2, chapter 9, p. 162 (1598, reprinted 1874, 1978). The idea that if you spend a thing you cannot have it goes back much further than Heywood’s original 1546 work. Plautus wrote c. 194 B.C. in Trinummus (act II, scene iv, line 414), “Non tibi illud apparere si sumas potest” (if you spend a thing you cannot have it), translated as “You cannot eat your cake and have it too” by one Englishman. Comedies of Plautus, trans. Bonnell Thornton, 2d ed., rev., vol. 2, p. 29 (1769).
  • People don’t eat in the long run—they eat every day.
    • Attributed to Harry L. Hopkins, who headed the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in 1933. Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History, p. 52 (1948).
  • The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body. It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.
    • Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, query 19, reprinted in Andrew A. Lipscomb, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 2 (1903), p. 230.
  • A sense of this necessity, and a submission to it, is to me a new and consolatory proof that wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Price (January 8, 1789); in Julian P. Boyd, ed., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (1958), vol. 14, p. 420.
  • The President to-night has a dream:—He was in a party of plain people, and, as it became known who he was, they began to comment on his appearance. One of them said:—”He is a very common-looking man”. The President replied:—”The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is the reason he makes so many of them”.
    • Attributed to President Abraham Lincoln, December 23, 1863. John Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, vol. 1, p. 142–43 (1908, reprinted 1969).
  • No democracy has ever long survived the failure of its adherents to be ready to die for it…. My own conviction is this, the people must either go on or go under.
    • David Lloyd George, address, conference of trade union delegates, London, January 18, 1918, as reported by The Times (London), January 19, 1918, p. 8.
  • I do not want the voice of the people shut out.
    • Huey Long, remarks in the Senate, May 16, 1932, Congressional Record, vol. 75, p. 10297.
  • Your country is calling you. Our people are calling us. The people of America are calling us to relieve them from the distress that has infested this entire Nation as the result of following the Cabinet officers of the present administration. Your people are asking you to deliver them from this condition that now exists. They are asking relief.
    • Huey Long, remarks in the Senate, May 16, 1932, Congressional Record, vol. 75, p. 10307.
  • If I were to attempt to put my political philosophy tonight into a single phrase, it would be this: Trust the people. Trust their good sense, their decency, their fortitude, their faith. Trust them with the facts. Trust them with the great decisions. And fix as our guiding star the passion to create a society where people can fulfill their own best selves—where no American is held down by race or color, by worldly condition or social status, from gaining what his character earns him as an American citizen, as a human being and as a child of God.
    • Adlai Stevenson, speech at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, September 13, 1956. Stevenson, The New America, ed. Seymour E. Harris, Jr., p. 13–14 (1971).
  • No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.
    • George Washington, first inaugural address, April 30, 1789. The Writings of George Washington, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, vol. 30, p. 293 (1939).
  • People are not an interruption of our business. People are our business.
    • Walter E. Washington, mayor of Washington, D.C., c. 1971.
  • In the last analysis, my fellow countrymen, as we in America would be the first to claim, a people are responsible for the acts of their government.
    • Woodrow Wilson, address, Columbus, Ohio, September 4, 1919. The Messages and Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed. Albert Shaw, vol. 2, p. 728 (1924).

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