Beneficence is a duty. He who frequently practices it, and sees his benevolent intentions realized, at length, comes really to love him to whom he has done good. When, therefore, it is said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” it is not meant, thou shalt love him first and do him good in consequence of that love, but thou shalt do good to thy neighbor; and this thy beneficence will engender in thee that love to mankind which is the fullness and consummation of the inclination to do good.
It has been my experience that people who are at cross-purposes with nature are cynical about mankind and ill at ease with themselves.
Commerce links all mankind in one common brother hood of mutual dependence and interests.
All the grand agencies which the progress of mankind evolves are the aggregate result of countless wills, each of which, thinking merely of its own end, and perhaps fully gaining it, is at the same time enlisted by Providence in the secret service of the world.
The first party of painted savages who raised a few huts upon the Thames did not dream of the London they were creating, or know that in the lighting the fire on their hearth they were kindling one of the great foci of Time... All the grand agencies which the progress of mankind evolves are formed in the same unconscious way. They are the aggregate results of countless single wills, each of which, thinking merely of its own end, and perhaps fully gaining it, is at the same time enlisted by Providence in the secret service of the world.
Nature has placed mankind under the government of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand, the standard of right, and wrong; on the other, the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne.
Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign asters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think: every effort we can make to throw off our subjection will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it. In words a man may pretend to abjure their empire: but in reality he will remain subject to it all the while. The principle of utility recognizes this subjection, and assumes it for the foundation of that system, the object of which is to rear the fabric of felicity by the hands of reason and law. Systems which attempt to question it deal in sounds instead of sense, in caprice instead of reason, in darkness instead of light.
Nature has placed mankind under the government of two sovereign masters, Pain and Pleasure - they govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think; every effort we can make to throw off our subjection, will serve but to demonstrate and confirm it.
Never before has man had such capacity to control his own environment, to end thirst and hunger, to conquer poverty and disease, to banish illiteracy and massive human misery. We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world – or to make it the last.
How little of our knowledge of mankind is derived from intentional accurate observation! Most of it has, unsought, found its way into the mind from the continual presentations of the objects to our unthinking view. It is a knowledge of sensation more than of reflection.
The political problem of mankind is to combine three things: Economic Efficiency, Social Justice, and Individual Liberty.
The passions of mankind are partly protective, partly beneficent, like the chaff and grain of the corn, but none without their use, none without nobleness when seen in balanced unity with the rest of the spirit which they are charged to defend.
Boredom is ... a vital problem for the moralist, since half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.
As soon as mankind have unanimously accepted a truth, does the truth perish within them? The highest aim and best result of improved intelligence, is has hitherto been thought, is to unite mankind more and more in the acknowledgment of all important truths; and does the intelligence only last as long as it has not achieved its object? Do the fruits of conquest perish by the very completeness of the victory?
If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection... The only purpose of which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.
Hitherto it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being. They have enabled a greater population to live the same life of drudgery and imprisonment, and an increased number of manufacturers and others to make fortunes. They have increased the comforts of the middle classes. But they have not yet begun to effect those great changes in human destiny, which it is in their nature and in their futurity to accomplish. Only when, in addition to just institutions, the increase of mankind shall be under the deliberate guidance of judicious foresight, and the conquests made form the powers of nature by the intellect and energy of scientific discoverers, become the common property of the species, and the means of improving and elevating the universal lot.
When the “sacredness of property” is talked of, it should always be remembered, that any such sacredness does not belong in the same degree to landed property. No man made the land. It is the original inheritance of the whole species. Its appropriation is wholly a question of general expediency. When private property in land is not expedient, it is unjust. It is no hardship to any one, to be excluded from what others have produced: they were not bound to produce it for his use, and he loses nothing by not sharing in what otherwise would not have existed at all. But it is some hardship to be born into a world and to find all nature’s gifts previously engrossed, and no place left for the new-comer. To reconcile people to this, after they have once admitted into their minds the idea that any moral rights belong to them as human beings, it will always be necessary to convince them that the exclusive appropriation is good for mankind as a whole, themselves included. But this is what no sane human being could be persuaded of.
No great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible, until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought.
So natural to mankind is intolerance in whatever they really care bout, that religious freedom has hardly anywhere been practically realized, except where religious indifference, which dislikes to have its peace disturbed by theological quarrels, has added its weight to the scale.