We have collected and put the best Humanity Quotes. Enjoy reading these insights and feel free to share this page on your social media to inspire others.
May these Humanity Quotes on many subjects inspire you to never give up and keep working towards your goals. Who knows—success could be just around the corner.
See also: Human Being Quotes
Humanity is a term which commonly refers to the human species, mankind as a whole, or sets of qualities which are used to define human nature, the human condition, or to refer to any of the academic disciplines known as the humanities which study human culture. Humanity is defined as; compassionate, sympathetic, or generous behavior or disposition: the quality or state of being humane; the quality or state of being human. May these quotes inspire you to be a more humane individual so that you may make the world a better place.
See also: Humanity As A Virtue
Humanity is a tree, and nations are its branches. Events that appear as heavy winds hurl them against each other and cause them to clash. Of course, the resulting harm is felt by the tree. This is the meaning of: “Whatever we do, we do it to ourselves.”– M. Fethullah Gulen
When interacting with others, always regard whatever pleases and displeases yourself as the measure. Desire for others what your own ego desires, and do not forget that whatever conduct displeases you will displease others. If you do this, you will be safe not only from misconduct and bad behavior, but also from hurting others. – M. Fethullah Gulen
Considering that favors received make you feel a liking, affection, and attachment for those who bestowed the favor upon you, you should understand how to make others like you, and feel affection and attachment for you. It is said that “people are the slaves of the favors done to them.” Therefore, doing others a favor and being good to them is a reliable defence against any harm that may come from them. – M. Fethullah Gulen
Maturity and perfection of spirit is being just in your treatment of others, especially with those who have done you an injustice. Answer their evil with good. Do not stop doing good, even to those who have harmed you. Rather, treat them with humanity and nobility, for harming someone is brutish behavior. Returning evil with evil implies a deficiency in character; returning good for evil is nobility. – M. Fethullah Gulen
There is no limit to doing good to others. Those who have dedicated themselves to the good of humanity can be so altruistic that they will even sacrifice their lives for others. However, such altruism is a great virtue only if it originates in sincerity and purity of intention, and if it does not define the “others” by racial preferences. – M. Fethullah Gulen
Our humanity and nobility are directly proportional to our closeness to our friends and our maintenance of these friendships. Talking of nobility and kindness without expressing warmth and intimacy in relationships is mere assertion. Doing good in return only for good received, or sometimes ceasing to do good to others in order to punish them, implies moral imperfection and immaturity. – M. Fethullah Gulen
It is a sign of great generosity and goodness to others if you ignore some of their faults, improprieties, or bad manners, and tolerate their imperfections. Prying into others’ affairs and finding fault is rude and uncivil, and publicizing such affairs is unforgivable. Declaring them to the other’s face is a severe blow to the bonds of unity between people, a blow from which, sadly, it is almost impossible for friendship to recover fully. – M. Fethullah Gulen
Those who regard even the greatest good they have done for others as insignificant, while greatly appreciating even the least favor done to themselves, are perfected ones who have acquired the Divine standards of behavior and found peace in their conscience. Such individuals never remind others of the good they have done for them, and never complain when others appear to be indifferent to them. – M. Fethullah Gulen
People usually complain of time and space, whereas the fault always lies in ignorance. Time and fate are innocent, whereas humanity is ungrateful and ignorant. – M. Fethullah Gulen
Nights are like arenas in which people discover, develop, and prepare for human happiness and serenity. Great ideas and works always developed in the womb’s darkness and were offered for the benefit of humanity. – M. Fethullah Gulen
- Only by being a man or woman for others does one become fully human.
- Pedro Arrupe, ‘Men for Others’, 1973, Valencia, Spain
- To suffer with the other and for others; to suffer for the sake of truth and justice; to suffer out of love and in order to become a person who truly loves—these are fundamental elements of humanity, and to abandon them would destroy man himself.
- Pope Benedict XVI, in Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi (30 November 2007), Ch. 39.
- The definition of humanity typically extols our cultural brilliance as manifest through millennia of mythology, religion, philosophy, art, music, literature, dance, architecture, and science. The praise of humanity’s multifaceted achievements is well deserved, but this stunning radiance also has a macabre and dark side that is an inseparable part of human history and nature. This underbelly of “civilization” is barbarism–the unbroken timeline involving hierarchy, domination, colonization, violence, war, genocide, extinctions, and environmental ruination.
- Steven Best, The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century (2014), pp. 131-132. ISBN 978-1349500864
- Love, hope, fear, faith — these make humanity;
These are its sign and note and character.
- Robert Browning, Paracelsus, scene 3.
- A poor Irish Widow, her husband having died in one of the Lanes of Edinburgh, went forth with her three children, bare of all resource, to solicit help from the Charitable Establishments of that City. At this Charitable Establishment and then at that she was refused; referred from one to the other, helped by none;— till she had exhausted them all; till her strength and heart failed her: she sank down in typhus-fever; died, and infected her Lane with fever, so that ‘seventeen other persons’ died of fever there in consequence. The humane Physician asks thereupon, as with a heart too full for speaking, Would it not have been economy to help this poor Widow? She took typhus-fever, and killed seventeen of you!—Very curious. The forlorn Irish Widow applies to her fellow-creatures, as if saying, “Behold I am sinking, bare of help: ye must help me! I am your sister, bone of your bone; one God made us: ye must help me!” They answer, “No; impossible: thou art no sister of ours.” But she proves her sisterhood; her typhus-fever kills them: they actually were her brothers, though denying it! Had man ever to go lower for a proof?For, as indeed was very natural in such case, all government of the Poor by the Rich has long ago been given over to Supply-and-demand, Laissez-faire and such like, and universally declared to be ‘impossible.’ “You are no sister of ours; what shadow of proof is there? Here are our parchments, our padlocks, proving indisputably our money-safes to be ours, and you to have no business with them. Depart! It is impossible!”
- Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present (1843)
- An inadvertent step may crush the snail
That crawls at evening in the public path.
But he that has humanity, forewarned,
Will turn aside and let the reptile live.
- William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book VI.
- You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
- Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World (1954), by Louis Fischer, p. 177
- In all respects, we are one humanity, one human family. Limitations arise from political beliefs and world leaders who hold thinking to time, place and culture, thereby creating differences and separateness. The birthright of all mankind is to love and follow God. Limitations arise from erroneous human beliefs.
- Haidakhan Babaji, The Teachings of Babaji, 30 October 1982.
- One can follow any religion, one can follow any practice or path, but one must be humane.
- Haidakhan Babaji, The Teachings of Babaji, 22 January 1983.
- The world now is in a state of turmoil. It is suffering from three kinds of pain – physical, mental, spiritual – and there is only one way of being cured from these. We have to root out inhumanity and replace it with humanity. (…) There are people in this world who, when they see someone else’s house burning, are happy. There are people who want to live in comfort at the expense of the labor of others. There is only one God, who created all men in His image. This is why we have to re-establish humanity.
- Haidakhan Babaji, The Teachings of Babaji, 23 September 1983.
- 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.
- The impulse of power is to turn every variable into a constant, and give to commands the inexorableness and relentlessness of laws of nature. Hence absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep. The taint inherent in absolute power is not its inhumanity but its anti-humanity.
- Eric Hoffer, The Ordeal of Change (1963), Ch. 15 : The Unnaturalness Of Human Nature.
- A man discovers what he is actually worth in this world when he faces society as a man, without money, name, or powerful connections, stripped of all but his native potentialities. He soon finds that nothing has less weight than his human qualities. They are prized so low that the market does not even list them. Strict science, which acknowledges man only as a biological concept, reflects man’s lot in the actual world; in himself, man is nothing more than a member of a species. In the eyes of the world, the quality of humanity confers no title to existence, nay, not even a right of sojourn. Such title must be certified by special social circumstances stipulated in documents to be presented on demand.
- Max Horkheimer, “The latest attack on metaphysics,” Critical Theory: Selected Essays (1982), p. 137
- I have written for all, with a profound love for my own country, but without being engrossed by France more than by any other nation. In proportion as I advance in life, I grow more simple, and I become more and more patriotic for humanity.
- Victor Hugo, in a letter To M. Daelli, publisher of the Italian translation of Les Misérables (18 October 1862).
- The … sentiment of the equality before God of all his creatures … tends to nullify man’s usual acquisitiveness. Those who have it spurn dignities and honors, privileges and advantages, preferring … to grovel on the common level before the face of God. It is not exactly the sentiment of humility, though it comes so close to it in practice. It is humanity, rather, refusing to enjoy anything that others do not share.
- William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), p. 324
- 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.
- Man isn’t a noble savage, he’s an ignoble savage. He is irrational, brutal, weak, silly, unable to be objective about anything where his own interests are involved—that about sums it up. I’m interested in the brutal and violent nature of man because it’s a true picture of him. And any attempt to create social institutions on a false view of the nature of man is probably doomed to failure.
- Stanley Kubrick, The New York Times Film Review, 30th January 1972
- To us who regard [Jesus]as the unique revelation of God, the unfolding of the divine life under human forms, he is the ultimate standard of moral and spiritual life, the perfect expression of the will of God for humanity, the categorical imperative with a human heart. But very many who do not hold this belief in a formulated way or who feel compelled to deny it, including an increasing portion of our Jewish fellow-citizens, will still consent that in Jesus our race has reached one of its highest points, if not its crowning summit thus far, so that Jesus Christ is a prophecy of the future glory of humanity, the type of Man as he is to be. Christianizing means humanizing in the highest sense.
- Walter Rauschenbusch, Christianizing the Social Order (1912), p. 125
- Mimzy returned to her own time, as if time had stopped. It was what the scientist had hoped for — to find a soul in the past not contaminated by the pollutants that filled our bodies and minds. Our precious quality of humanity had been turned off, but in Emma’s tears was the instruction for an awakening; and it spread like wildflowers. People shed their protective suits. And over time humanity blossomed again. Our world was saved by a child, very much like you. Emma was our mother, the mother of us all.
- “Lena”, in The Last Mimzy (2007), loosely adapted from “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” (1943) by Lewis Padgett, by screenplay authors, Bruce Joel Rubin, Toby Emmerich, James V. Hart, and Carol Skilken.
- Superman stands alone. Superman did not become Superman, Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he is Superman. His alter ego Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He’s weak. He’s unsure of himself. He’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.
- Quentin Tarantino, in lines written for “Bill”, in Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)
- There are no “human” oppressors. Oppressors have lost their humanity.
- Bernie Sanders, “Man – and Woman” in Vermont Freeman (Mid-February 1972)
- How could we be were it not for this planet that provided our very shape? Two conditions—gravity and livable temperature range between freezing and boiling—have given us fluids and flesh. The trees we climb and the ground we walk on have given us five fingers and toes. The “place”… gave us far-seeing eyes, the streams and breezes gave us versatile tongues and whorly ears. The land gave us a stride, and the lake a dive. The amazement gave us our kind of mind.
- Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild (1990)
- When we speak of man, we have a conception of humanity as a whole, and before applying scientific methods to the investigation of his movement we must accept this as a physical fact. But can anyone doubt to-day that all the millions of individuals and all the innumerable types and characters constitute an entity, a unit? Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them. I cut myself in the finger, and it pains me: this finger is a part of me. I see a friend hurt, and it hurts me, too: my friend and I are one. And now I see stricken down an enemy, a lump of matter which, of all the lumps of matter in the universe, I care least for, and it still grieves me. Does this not prove that each of us is only part of a whole?
- Nikola Tesla The Problem of Increasing Energy, p. 6, ISBN 1564598446
- 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 (17 May 1915).
- 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).
- Social science and humanities … have a mutual contempt for one another, the former looking down on the latter as unscientific, the latter regarding the former as philistine. … The difference comes down to the fact that social science really wants to be predictive, meaning that man is predictable, while the humanities say that he is not.
- Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (New York: 1988), p. 357
- What do you believe was on the mind of the ancient Romans that they called the arts of speaking humanity? They judged that, indisputably, by the study of these disciplines not only was the tongue refined, but also the wildness and barbarity of people’s minds was amended.
- Philip Melanchthon, Praise of Eloquence (1523), p. 66
- If the passion for truthfulness is merely controlled and stilled without being satisfied, it will kill the activities it is supposed to support. This may be one of the reasons why, at the present time, the study of the humanities runs a risk of sliding from professional seriousness, through professionalization, to a finally disenchanted careerism.
- Bernard Williams, Truth and Truthfulness (2002)
Human nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that humans tend to have naturally, independently of the influence of culture.
- All men by nature desire to know; the proof of this is the pleasure caused by sensations, for even apart from the usefulness, we enjoy them for themselves, and visual sensations more than the others.
- Aristotle, Metaphysics 980b22, in Complete Works, vol. 2, p. 1552
- Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of.
- Jane Austen (1841) Emma: A Novel. p. 159
- Everyone who achieves strives for totality, and the value of his achievement lies in that totality—that is, in the fact that the whole, undivided nature of a human being should be expressed in his achievement. But when determined by our society, as we see it today, achievement does not express a totality; it is completely fragmented and derivative. It is not uncommon for the community to be the site where a joint and covert struggle is waged against higher ambitions and more personal goals. … The socially relevant achievement of the average person serves in the vast majority of cases to repress the original and nonderivative, inner aspirations of the human being.
- Walter Benjamin, “The Life of Students” (1915), as translated by R. Livingstone, in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings – vol. 1: 1913-1926, ed. Michael William Jennings, Harvard University Press, 1996, p. 39
- In fact the core of Darwin’s thinking, and his revolutionary contribution to human history, was to put humans on the same level as every other species, and to say that the fundamental evolutionary process was exactly the same for all species. Yet however clear and simple this thought may have been, humans have never quite wanted to accept it.
- Rod Caird, Ape Man ISBN 978-0-85766-478-5 Chapter 7, “Still Evolving” (p. 165)
- Different aspects of our biology and our behavior evolved at different times. There is no mystical moment at which we became human. As Robert Foley says: “We accumulated during our evolution a bundle of characteristics which we now think of as being human.”
- Rod Caird, Ape Man ISBN 978-0-85766-478-5 Chapter 7, “Still Evolving” (p. 168)
- One man talks continually about the particular actions of this or another neighbor; whilst another looks beyond the acts to the inward principle from which they spring, and gathers from them larger views of human nature. In a word, one man sees all things apart and in fragments, whilst another strives to discover the harmony, connection, unity of all. One of the great evils of society is, that men, occupied perpetually with petty details, want general truths, want broad and fixed principles.
- William Ellery Channing, “Self-Culture”
- Before all other things, man is distinguished by his pursuit and investigation of Truth. And hence, when free from needful business and cares, we delight to see, to hear, and to communicate, and consider a knowledge of many admirable and abstruse things necessary to the good conduct and happiness of our lives: whence it is clear that whatsoever is True, simple, and direct, the same is most congenial to our nature as men. Closely allied with this earnest longing to see and know the truth, is a kind of dignified and princely sentiment which forbids a mind, naturally well constituted, to submit its faculties to any but those who announce it in precept or in doctrine, or to yield obedience to any orders but such as are at once just, lawful, and founded on utility. From this source spring greatness of mind and contempt of worldly advantages and troubles.
- Cicero, De Officiis, Book 1, § 13
- It is essential to every inquiry about duty that we keep before our eyes how far superior man is by nature to cattle and other beasts: they have no thought except for sensual pleasure and this they are impelled by every instinct to seek; but man’s mind is nurtured by study and meditation.
- Cicero, De Officiis, Book 1, § 105
- Nature outweighing art begets roughness; art outweighing nature begets pedantry. Art and nature well blent make a gentleman.
- Confucius, Analects, 6.16
- He lit a lamp in broad daylight and said, as he went about, “I am looking for a human.”
- Diogenes of Sinope, as reported by Diogenes Laërtius, vi. 41.
- Also translated as “I am looking for an honest man.”
- Diogenes of Sinope, as reported by Diogenes Laërtius, vi. 41.
- The nonchalance of boys who are sure of a dinner and would disdain as much as a lord to do or say aught to conciliate one is the healthy attitude of human nature.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance,” Essays: First Series (1883), p. 50
- Thus we discover that this blind and impersonal process produced humans not in a lightning flash, not in a sudden instant of creation, but as the result of accumulation. The origin of humans is not something that can be pinpointed at five million years, or one million years, or 100,000 years in the past, but, rather, occurs continuously over time. Our origin is the whole pattern of evolution, although there are key events that we must discover and identify. The things that make us human are acquired as a complex mosaic—we became upright four million years ago; we began to make tools two million years ago; we began to live all over the earth less than one million years ago; and possibly we only acquired language in the last 100,000 years or so.
Each of these factors is an essential part of the process of becoming human. What makes human evolution such an endlessly fascinating story is trying to visualize the stages, imagining what sort of a creature could walk upright but not talk, make tools but not use fire, survive the rigors of the Ice Age but know nothing of agriculture and a settled way of life.
- Robert Foley, Introduction, in Rod Caird, Ape Man ISBN 978-0-85766-478-5 (p. 12)
- Il est dans la nature humaine de penser sagement et d’agir d’une façon absurde.
- It is human nature to think wisely and to act in an absurd fashion.
- Anatole France Le livre de mon ami (1885): Le livre de Pierre, part I, ch. II: La dame en blanc
- It is human nature to think wisely and to act in an absurd fashion.
- History often reproduces without reference to nationality some particular human type or class which becomes active and predominant for a time, and fades away when its task is finished. It is, however, not utterly lost, for the germ of it lies dormant yet ready to re-appear when the exigencies of the moment recall it. The reserve forces of human nature are inexhaustible and inextinguishable.
- Gale and Polden, A Handbook of the Boer War, p. 152 (1910)
- Human nature is intractable stuff, hard jagged stuff, the kind of stuff that dreams are wrecked on.
- Elizabeth Goudge, The White Witch (1958), Part I, Chapter XII.2
- Goudge alludes to the well-known line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Act 4, scene 1: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on.”
- The fate of the Jewish people is the fate of Macbeth who stepped out of nature itself, clung to alien beings, and so in their service had to trample and slay everything holy in human nature.
- Hegel, The Spirit of Christianity and its Fate (1799)
- There is a startling similarity between Bacon’s prescription for mastering nature—“Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed”—and Loyola’s formula for manipulating men—“Follow the other man’s course to your own goal.”
- Eric Hoffer, Between the Devil and the Dragon (New York: 1951), p. 13
- In the course of evolution nature has gone to endless trouble to see that every individual is unlike every other individual. … Physically and mentally, each one of us is unique. Any culture which, in the interests of efficiency or in the name of some political or religious dogma, seeks to standardize the human individual, commits an outrage against man’s biological nature.
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited (1958), Chapter 3, p. 21
- Human nature, as manifested in tribalism and nationalism, provides the momentum of the machinery of human evolution.
- Arthur Keith, (1946) Essays on Human Evolution. p. 68
- Someone who thinks well of himself is said to have a healthy self-concept and is envied. Someone who thinks well of his country is called a patriot and is applauded. But someone who thinks well of his species is regarded as hopelessly naïve and is dismissed.
- Alfie Kohn, The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life, 1990.
- Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed.
- Abraham Lincoln, Cooper Union Address (27 February 1860), New York
- Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing.
- John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (Henry Holt, New York: 1895), Chapter 3, pp. 106-107
- Human nature is not of itself vicious.
- Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man: 1779 – 1792, p. 149 (2007)
- Nature … has born and reared all men alike, and created them genuine brothers, not in mere name, but in very reality, though this kinship has been put to confusion by the triumph of malignant covetousness, which has wrought estrangement instead of affinity and enmity instead of friendship.
- Philo, Every Good Man is Free, 79
- The needs of man, if life is to survive, are usually said to be four — air, water, food, and in the severe climates, protection. But it is becoming clear today that the human organism has another absolute necessity… This fifth need is the need for novelty — the need, throughout our waking life, for continuous variety in the external stimulation of our eyes, ears, sense organs, and all our nervous network.
- John R. Platt, (1959) “The Fifth Need of Man,” in: Horizon 1 (July 1959), p. 109.
- Humane nature I always thought the most useful object of humane reason, and to make the consideration of it pleasant and entertaining, I always thought the best employment of humane wit: other parts of philosophy may perhaps make us wiser, but this not only answers to that end, but makes us better too. Hence it was that the Oracle pronounced Socrates the wisest of all men living, because he judiciously made choice of human nature for the object of his thoughts; an enquiry into which as much exceeds all other learning, as it is of more consequence to adjust the true nature and measures of right and wrong, than to settle the distance of the planets, and compute the times of their circumvolutions.
- Alexander Pope, “On Reason and Passion,” Prose works of Alexander Pope (1936), vol. 1 p. 44
- Therapeutic re-education … teaches the patient-student how to live with the contradictions that combine to make him into a unique personality; this is does in contrast to the older moral pedagogies, which tried to re-order the contradictions into a hierarchy of superior and inferior, good and evil. … What hope there is derives from Freud’s assumption that human nature is not so much a hierarchy of high-low, and good-bad, as his predecessors believed, but rather a jostling democracy of contending predispositions, deposited in every nature in roughly equal intensities. … Psychoanalysis if full of such mad logic; it is convincing only if the student of his own life accepts Freud’s egalitarian revision of the traditional idea of a hierarchical human nature.
- Philip Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic (1966), chapter 2
- Human nature is governed by general self-interest and affected by genetic predisposition, which implies that there are likely to be limits to our moral sensitivities.
- Nayef Al-Rodhan (2008) “emotional amoral egoism:” A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications. Berlin: LIT, p. 15
- Natural desires are limited; but those which spring from false opinion can have no stopping-point. The false has no limits. When you are travelling on a road, there must be an end; but when astray, your wanderings are limitless. Recall your steps, therefore, from idle things, and when you would know whether that which you seek is based upon a natural or upon a misleading desire, consider whether it can stop at any definite point. If you find, after having travelled far, that there is a more distant goal always in view, you may be sure that this condition is contrary to nature.
- Seneca, Moral Letters, R. Gummere, trans. (1917)
- Once the increase of empirical knowledge, and more exact modes of thought, made sharper divisions between the sciences inevitable, and once the increasingly complex machinery of the state necessitated a more rigorous separation of ranks and occupations, then the inner unity of human nature was severed too.
- Friedrich Schiller, The Aesthetic Education of Man, Sixth Letter
- Human nature is the same now as when Adam hid from the presence of God; the consciousness of wrong makes us unwilling to meet those whom we have offended.
- Matthew Simpson, (1885) Sermons. p. 202
- It belongs to human nature to hate those you have injured.
- Tacitus as cited in: William Shepard Walsh (1909) Handy-book of Literary Curiosities. p. 392
- You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around and why his parents will always wave back.
- William D. Tammeus, Attributed in Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes (1997), p. 58
- We’re just like other people: We love to sing, we love to dance, we admire beautiful women. We are human, and sometimes very human.
- Professor Siletsky in To Be or Not to Be (1942)
- Ancestral humans behaved like Bonobos. Later, when we developed the family system, the use of sex for this sort of purpose became more limited, mainly occurring within families. A lot of the things we see, like pedophilia and homosexuality, may be leftovers that some now consider unacceptable in our particular society.
- Frans de Waal ethologist at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center at Emory University Discover (1992)
- God consecrates us with His Spirit; whom He adopts, He anoints; whom He makes sons, He makes saints; He doth not only give them a new name, but a new nature. God turns the wolf into a lamb; He makes the heart humble and gracious; He works such a change as if another soul did dwell in the same body.
- Thomas Watson, as cited in Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 159
- Human nature is evil; its goodness derives from conscious activity. Now it is human nature to be born with a fondness for profit. Indulging this leads to contention and strife, and the sense of modesty and yielding with which one was born disappears. One is born with feelings of envy and hate, and, by indulging these, one is led into banditry and theft, so that the sense of loyalty and good faith with which he was born disappears. One is born with the desires of the ears and eyes and with a fondness for beautiful sights and sounds, and, by indulging these, one is led to licentiousness and chaos, so that the sense of ritual, rightness, refinement, and principle with which one was born is lost. Hence, following human nature and indulging human emotions will inevitably lead to contention and strife, causing one to rebel against one’s proper duty, reduce principle to chaos, and revert to violence. Therefore one must be transformed by the example of a teacher and guided by the way of ritual and rightness before one will attain modesty and yielding, accord with refinement and ritual, and return to order.
- Xun Zi, “Human Nature is Evil,” Sources of Chinese Tradition (1999), vol. 1, pp. 179-180