Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Mankind

"The best way of worshipping God is in allaying the distress of the times and improving the condition of mankind." -

"There is no unmixed good in human affairs; the best principles, if pushed to excess, degenerate into fatal vices. Generosity is nearly allied to extravagance; charity itself may lead to ruin; the sternness of justice is but one step removed from the severity of oppression. It is the same in the political world; the tranquillity of despotism resembles the stagnation of the Dead Sea; the fever of innovation the tempests of the ocean It would seem as if, at particular periods, from causes inscrutable to human wisdom, a universal frenzy seizes mankind; reason, experience, prudence, are alike blinded; and the very classes who are to perish in the storm are the first to raise its fury." - Archibald Alison

"A rational nature admits of nothing but what is serviceable to the rest of mankind." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Few consider how much we are indebted to government, because few can represent how wretched mankind would be without it." - Francis Atterbury

"An inability to stay quiet... is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind." - Walter Bagehot

"Dress has a moral effect upon the conduct of mankind." - Jonah Barrington, Sir Jonah Barrington

"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." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"The greatest part of mankind employ their first years to make their last miserable." - Jean de La Bruyère

"We meet with few utterly dull and stupid souls: the sublime and transcendent are still fewer; the generality of mankind stand between these two extremes: the interval is filled with multitudes of ordinary geniuses, but all very useful, and the ornaments and supports of the commonwealth." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Some there are who are clear-sighted and do not need my teachings, and some whose eyes are clouded with dust who will not heed it though given, but between these two there are also some with but little dust in their eyes, who can be helped to see; and for the sake of these I will go back among mankind and teach." - Buddha, Gautama Buddha, or The Buddha, also Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and Buddha Śākyamuni NULL

"Strike from mankind the principle of faith, and men would have no more history than a flock of sheep." -

"Night is the Sabbath of mankind, to rest the body and the mind." - Samuel Butler

"I see nothing worth living for but the divine virtue which endures and surrenders all things for truth, duty, and mankind." - William Ellery Channing

"The great duty of God’s children is to love one another. This duty on earth takes the name and form of the law of humanity. We are to recognize all men as brethren, no matter where born, or under what sky, or institution or religion they may live. Every man belongs to the race, and owes a duty to mankind... Men cannot, by combining themselves into narrower or larger societies, sever the sacred, blessed bond which joins them to their kind... The law of humanity must reign; over the assertion of all human rights." - William Ellery Channing

"No wild enthusiast ever yet could rest, till half mankind were like himself possess’d." - William Cowper

"Mankind is at its best when it is most free. This will be clear if we grasp the principle of liberty. We must realize that the basic principle of our freedom is freedom to choose, which saying many have on their lips but few in their minds." - Alighieri Dante

"Any power must be an enemy of mankind which enslaves the individual by terror and force whether it arises under the Fascist or the Communist flag. All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded to the individual." - Albert Einstein

"Laziness is the one common deficiency in mankind that blocks the establishment of a perfect world in which everyone leads a happy life." - William Feather

"Mankind worships success, but thinks too little of the means by which it is attained,--what days and nights of watching and weariness; how year after year has dragged on, and seen the end still far off: all that counts for little, if the long struggle do not close in victory." - Henry Martyn Field

"Let no man be sorry he has done good, because others concerned with him have done evil! If a man has acted right, he has done well, though alone; if wrong, the sanction of all mankind will not justify him." - Henry Fielding

"Perhaps the summary of good-breeding may be reduced to this rule. “Behave unto all men as you would they should behave to you.” This will most certainly oblige us to treat all mankind with the utmost civility and respect, there being nothing that we desire more than to be treated so by them." - Henry Fielding

"We should not be too hasty in bestowing either our praise or censure on mankind, since we shall often find such a mixture of good and evil in the same character, that it may require a very accurate judgment and a very elaborate inquiry to determine on which side the balance turns." - Henry Fielding

"Do people love truth? On the contrary, mankind has employed its subtlest ingenuity and intelligence in efforts to evade or conceal it... Do human beings love justice? The sordid travesties in our courts year after year suggest that they love justice only for themselves. Do they love peace? Can anyone seriously ask the question? Do they love freedom? Only for those who share their views. Love of peace, freedom, justice, truth - this is a myth that has been created by the folk mind, and if the artist does not look behind the myth to the reality, he will indeed wander amid the phantoms which he creates." - Vardis Fisher, fully Vardis Alvero Fisher

"He would really benefit mankind must reach them through their work." - Henry Ford

"Our best hope for the future is that the intellect - the scientific spirit, reason - should in time establish a dictatorship over the human mind. The very nature of reason is a guarantee that it would not fail to concede to human emotions, and to all that is determined by them, the position to which they are entitled. But the common pressure exercised by such a domination of reason would prove to be the strongest unifying force among men, and would prepare the way for further unifications. Whatever, like the ban laid upon thought by religion, opposes such a development is a danger for the future of mankind." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Countless the various species of mankind; countless the shades which separate mind from mind." - O. P. Gifford

"What our deepest self craves is not mere enjoyment, but some supreme purpose that will enlist all our powers and will give unity and direction to our life. We can never know the profoundest joy without a conviction that our life is significant - not a meaningless episode. The loftiest aim of human life is the ethical perfecting of mankind - the transfiguration of humanity." - Henry J. Golding

"The opportunities of making great sacrifices for the good of mankind are of rare occurrence; and he who remains inactive till it is in his power to confer signal benefits or yield important services is in imminent danger of incurring the doom of the slothful servant." - Robert Hall

"Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"Moral philosophy is nothing else but the science of what is good and evil in the conversation and society of mankind. God and evil are names that signify our appetites and aversions, which in different tempers, customs and doctrines of men are different." - Thomas Hobbes

"It is one of the deepest lessons of history that men do not need to be the slaves of their surroundings. They can master them. Every exodus in the history of mankind has been led by a Moses who was stronger than his environment." -

"A dimension is missing from ourselves and our culture which is reflected in our inability to reconcile the competing demands of our inner and outer lives. As a result, most of us make use of a very small portion of our possible consciousness and of our soul’s resources... The destiny of mankind depends on something as personal and intimate as the way each one of us chooses to live, think and behave." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"Delicacy of taste has the same effect as delicacy of passion; it enlarges the sphere both of our happiness and misery, and makes us sensible to pain as well as pleasures, which escape the rest of mankind." - David Hume

"It is universally acknowledged that there is a great uniformity among the actions of men, in all nations and ages, and that human nature remains still the same, in its principles and operations. The same motives always produce the same actions: the same events follow the same causes. Ambition, avarice, self-love, vanity, friendship, generosity, public spirit: these passions, mixed in various degrees, and distributed through society, have been from the beginning of the world, and still are, the source of all the actions and enterprises, which have ever been observed among mankind." - David Hume

"Mankind are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity and are in a perpetual flux and movement." - David Hume

"The greater part of mankind are naturally apt to be affirmative and dogmatical in their opinions; and while they see objects only on one side, and have no idea of any counterpoising argument, they throw themselves precipitately into the principles, to which they are inclined; nor have they any indulgence for those who entertain opposite sentiments. To hesitate or balance perplexes their understanding, checks their passion, and suspends their action." - David Hume

"The only difference betwixt the natural vices and justice lies in this, that the good, which results from the former, arises from every single act, and is the object of some natural passion: whereas a single act of justice, consider’d in itself, may often be contrary to the public good; and ‘tis only the concurrence of mankind, in a general scheme or system of action, which is advantageous." - David Hume

"Gaming corrupts our dispositions, and teaches us a habit of hostility against all mankind." - Thomas Jefferson

"Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor, but, even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it." -

"We frequently fall into error and folly, not because the true principles of action are not known, but because for a time they are not remembered; he may, therefore, justly be numbered among the benefactors of mankind who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences that may early be impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to occur habitually to the mind." -

"Maturity is achieved when a person accepts life as full of tension; when he does not torment himself with childish guilt feelings, but avoids tragic adult sins; when he postpones immediate pleasures for the sake of long-term values... Our generation must be inspired to search for that maturity which will manifest itself in the qualities of tenacity, dependability, co-operativeness and the inner drive to work and sacrifice for a nobler future of mankind." - Joshua L. Liebman, fully Joshua Loth Liebman

"Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided." - John Locke

"Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm, eloquence produces conviction for the moment; but it is only by truth to Nature and the everlasting institutions of mankind that those abiding influences are won that enlarge from generation to generation." - James Russell Lowell

"For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities and are often more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are." - Niccolò Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

"Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison to the second. By that law of our nature which makes food necessary to the life of man, the effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal. This implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence. This difficulty must fall somewhere and must necessarily be severely felt by a large portion of mankind." - Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

"Refrain from seeing and speaking of the vices of mankind, which you know are in yourself." -

"If you are serious about the sufferings of mankind, you must perfect the only source of help you have - yourself." - Nisargadatta Maharaj, fully Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, born Maruti Shivrampant Kambli

"No virtue fades out of mankind. No over-hopeful by inborn temperament, cautious by long experience, I yet never despair of human virtue." - Joseph Parker

"Mankind never loses any good thing, physical, intellectual, or moral, till it finds a better, and then the loss is a gain. No steps backward, is the rule of human history. What is gained by one man is invested in all men, and is a permanent investment for all time." - Theodore Parker

"The lust of avarice has so totally seized upon mankind that their wealth seems rather to possess them than they possess their wealth." - Pliny the Elder, full name Casus Plinius Secundus NULL