It is when we detect our own weaknesses that we come to pity or despise mankind. The human nature from which we then turn away is the human nature we have discovered in the depths of our own being. The evil is so well screened, the secret so universally kept, that in this case each individual is the dupe of all: however severely we may profess to judge other men, at bottom we think them better than ourselves. On this happy illusion much of our social life is grounded.
Graceful, particularly in youth, is the tear of sympathy, and the heart that melts at the tale of woe; we should not permit ease and indulgence to contract our affections, and wrap us up in selfish enjoyment. But we should accustom ourselves to think of the distresses of human life, of the solitary cottage, the dying parent, and the weeping orphan. Nor ought we ever to sport with pain and distress in any of our amusements, or treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty.
The prevailing manners of an age depend, more than we are aware of, or are willing to allow, on the conduct of the women: this is one of the principal things on which the great machine of human society turns.
Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.
Part of human nature resents change, loves equilibrium, while another part welcomes novelty, loves the excitement of disequilibrium. There is no formula for the resolution of this tug-of-war, but it is obvious that absolute surrender to either of them invites disaster.
The full-grown modern human being who seeks but refuge finds instead boredom and mental dissolution, unless he can be, even in his withdrawal, creative. He can find the quality of happiness in the strain and travail only of achievement and growth. And he is conscious of touching the highest pinnacle of fulfillment which his life-urges demand when his is consumed in the service of an idea, in the conquest of the goal pursued.
All the sin that has darkened human life an saddened human history began in believing in a falsehood.
The ability to make love frivolously is the thing which distinguishes human beings from the beasts.
The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.
Do good. This should be the aim of every human being, to make the world better for their having lived.
Personal liberty is the paramount essential to human dignity and human happiness.
Rarest of all things on earth is the union in which both, by their contrasts, make harmonious their blending; each supplying the defects of the helpmate, and completing, by fusion, one strong human soul.
To judge human character rightly, a man may sometimes have very small experience, provided he has a very large heart.
One of the saddest experiences which can ever come to a human being is to awaken, gray-haired and wrinkled near the close of an unproductive career, to the fact that all through the years he has been using only a small part of himself!
One of the mistakes in the conduct of human life is to suppose that other men's opinions are to make us happy.
Learn to laugh. And most of all, learn to laugh at yourself. The person who can give a riotous account of his own faux pas, will never have to listen to another's embarrassing account of it. He will rarely know the sting of humiliation. His a delight to be with, but more important, he is enjoying his own life, and applying to his ills and errors the most soothing balm the human spirit has devised - laughter.
The fairest action of our human life is scorning to revenge an injury; for who forgives without a further strife, his adversary’s heart to him doth tie: and ‘tis a firmer conquest, truly said, to win the heart than overthrow the head.
The human heart is a mirror of the things that are near and far.
Benevolence is not in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth. It is a business with men as they are, and with human life as drawn by the rough hand of experience. It is a duty which you must perform at the call of principle; though there be no voice of eloquence to give splendor to your exertions, and no music of poetry to lead your willing footsteps through the bowers of enchantment. It is not the impulse of high and ecstatic emotion. It is an exertion of principle. :You must go to the poor man’s cottage, though no verdure flourish around it, the gentleness of its murmurs. If you look for the romantic simplicity of fiction you will be disappointed; but it is your duty to persevere in spite of every discouragement. Benevolence is not merely a feeling but a principle; not a dream of rapture for the fancy to indulge in, but a business for the hand to execute.
The human mind feels restless and dissatisfied under the anxieties of ignorance. It longs for the repose of conviction; and to gain this repose it will often rather precipitate its conclusions than wait for the tardy lights of observation and experiment. There is such a thing, too, as the love of simplicity and system, a prejudice of the understanding which disposes it to include al the phenomena of nature under a few sweeping generalities, and indolence which loves to repose on the beauties of a theory rather than encounter the fatiguing detail of its evidences.