Instinct

The sex instinct is one of the three or four prime movers of all that we do and are and dream, both individually and collectively.

The inner and unconscious ideal which guides [the parents’] lives is precisely what touches the child; their words, their remonstrances, their punishments, their bursts of feeling even, are for him merely thunder and comedy; what they worship, that it is which his instinct divines and reflects.

We are impelled by a hidden instinct to reunion with the parts of the larger heart of the universe.

I believe that the more we think, the more we become convinced that the instinct which asks for equality is a low one, and that equality if it were completely brought out, would furnish play for the lower instincts and impulses of man.

All the great – the permanently great – things that have been achieved in the world have been so achieved by individuals, working from the instinct of genius or goodness.

Ultimately our moral sense or conscience becomes a highly complex sentiment – originating in the social instinct, largely guided by the approbation of our fellow men, ruled by reason, self-interest, and in alter times by deep religious feelings, and confirmed by instruction and habit.

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.

Morality is herd instinct in the individual.

Man is unique in that he knows nothing. He can learn nothing without being taught. He can neither speak nor walk nor eat, in fact he can do nothing by natural instinct alone except weep.

Even scholars of audacious spirit and fine instinct can be obstructed in the interpretation of facts by philosophical prejudices.

Life itself appears to me as an instinct for growth, for survival, for the accumulation of forces, for power. Whenever the will to power fails there is disaster.

Married love is a creative enterprise. It is not achieved by accident or instinct. Perfunctory coitus is a confession of lack of intelligence and character. There is a profound beauty and even holiness in the act of fecundation.

The collector walks with blinders on; he sees nothing but the prize. In fact, the acquisitive instinct is incompatible with true appreciation of beauty.

The press is not only free; it is powerful. That power is ours. It is the proudest that man can enjoy. It was not granted by monarchs, it was not gained for us by aristocracies; but it sprang from the people, and, with an immortal instinct, it has always worked for people.

The instinct of conventionality, horror of uncertainty, and vested interests, all militate against the acceptance of a new idea.

Two things instruct man about his whole nature; instinct and experience.

If sensuality be our only happiness, we ought to envy the brutes; for instinct is a surer, shorter, safer guide to such happiness than reason.

Telling us to obey instinct is like telling us to obey "people." People say different things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war.... Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of the rest....

There are people who want to keep our sex instinct inflamed in order to make money out of us. Because, of course, a man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales-resistance.

The love of glory, the fear of disgrace, the incentive to succeed, the desire to live in comfort, and the instinct to humiliate others are often the cause of that courage so renowned among men.