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- Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
- Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See (1990).
- Humans are proud of themselves. The guiding principle of the modern age is "Man is the measure of all things." And our bodies have excited physiologists and philosophers to a profound awe of the basic mammalian design. But the history of the dinosaurs should teach us some humility... If our fundamental mammalian mode of adaptation was superior to the dinosaurs', then history should record the meteoric rise of the mammals and the eclipse of the dinosaurs. Our own Class Mammalia did not seize the dominant position in life on land. Instead, the mammal clan was but one of many separate evolutionary families that succeeded as species only by taking refuge in small body size during the Age of Dinosaurs. As long as there were dinosaurs, a full 130 million years, remember, the warm-blooded league of furry mammals produced no species bigger than a cat.
- Robert T. Bakker (1986), The Dinosaur Heresies: A Revolutionary View of Dinosaurs, Longman Scientific & Technical, p. 17
- I judge people by what they might be, — not are, nor will be.
- Robert Browning, English poet. A Soul’s Tragedy, Act II.
- "I swear that what I went through, no animal would have gone through." This sentence, the noblest ever spoken, this sentence that defines man's place in the universe, that honors him, that re-establishes the true hierarchy, floated back into my thoughts.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French writer. Wind, Sand and Stars
- As long as his strength permits, the poor mortal must always climb new mountains.
- Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Quotes we cherish. Quotations from Fausto Cercignani, 2014, p. 33.
- Perhaps it is true that every human being is a potential monster, but if we disregard potentialities, then humankind can be divided into two main categories: human beings and human beasts.
- Fausto Cercignani in: Brian Morris, Simply Transcribed. Quotations from Writings by Fausto Cercignani, 2014, quote 41.
- I've helped him into an act of humanity. Anyone else like the sound of that: act of humanity?
- Someday, somehow, I am going to do something useful, something for people. They are, most of them, so helpless, so hurt and so unhappy.
- Edith Cavell, as quoted in The Economist (15 October 2010), p. 107.
- With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
- What they [the Cactus Bristle gang] discovered is that people were not influenced by principles, such as the difference between democracy and communism, Judaism versus Islam, or even rich versus poor. They found people did not generally comprehend or like abstract principles. All people wanted was a place they called their own, a good job, and the ability to make life decisions with ample access to television.
- Michael Scott Gallegos, "Lid: A Desert Shanty Town" (Nov 5, 2011) in "Cactus Bristle"
- 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.
- 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.
- Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.
- Every human heart is human.
- Laborin' man an' laborin' woman
Hev one glory an' one shame;
Ev'ythin' thet's done inhuman
Injers all on 'em the same.
- James Russell Lowell, The Biglow Papers (1848), First Series. No. 1, Stanza 10.
- I don't think that corporations are these big bogeymen that a lot of people paint them to be. … A corporation is a group of people, and if you want to come together for profit or nonprofit, that's your business—whatever you want to do.
- Krist Novoselic, interviewed by Nick Gillespie, "Nirvana's Krist Novoselic on Punk, Politics, & Why He Dumped the Dems", ReasonTV (19 June 2014), 15:30–15:37, 17:10–17:20.
- It seems that every life form on this planet strives toward its maximum potential...except human beings. A tree does not row to half its potential size and then say, “l guess that will do.” A tree will drive its roots as deep as possible. It will soak up as much nourishment as it can, stretch as high and as wide as nature will allow, and then look down as if to remind us of how much each of us could become if we would only do all that we can.
- Jim Rohn, Five Major Pieces To the Life Puzzle (1991).
- A person's lifeworm is a tangle of atomic worldlines. A braid. The dotty little atoms trace out smooth lines in spacetime: you are the pattern that these lines make up. There is no one single atom that is exclusively yours. I breathe an atom out, you breathe it in. Your garbage helps my tomatoes grow. And so the little spacetime threads weave us all together. The human race is a single vast tapestry, linked by our shared food and air. There are larger links as well: sperm, egg and umblilicus. Each family tree is an organic whole. Your spacetime body tapers back to the threads of mother's egg and father's sperm. And children, if you have them, are forever rooted in your flesh.
- Rudy Rucker in The Sex Sphere, p. 108.
- Humankind has become so much one family that we cannot ensure our own prosperity except by ensuring that of everyone else. If you wish to be happy yourself, you must resign yourself to seeing others also happy.
- Bertrand Russell, "The Science to Save Us from Science", The New York Times Magazine (19 March 1950).
- The people will live on.
The learning and blundering people will live on.
- Carl Sandburg, The People, Yes (1936).
- Der Mensch kann tun was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will.
- Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.
- Variant translations:
- Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.
- As quoted in The Motivated Brain : A Neurophysiological Analysis of Human Behavior (1991) by Pavel Vasilʹevich Simonov, p. 198.
- Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.
- I think the destiny of all men is not to sit in the rubble of their own making but to reach out for an ultimate perfection which is to be had. At the moment, it is a dream. But as of the moment we clasp hands with our neighbor, we build the first span to bridge the gap between the young and the old. At this hour, it’s a wish. But we have it within our power to make it a reality. If you want to prove that God is not dead, first prove that man is alive.
- A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it.
- My mistakes are my own, but over the ages humans have proven to be violent, short sighted and hostile. Is this really something I can do anything about?
- 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.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 380.
- Love, hope, fear, faith — these make humanity;
These are its sign and note and character.
- W'en you see a man in woe,
Walk right up and say "hullo."
Say "hullo" and "how d'ye do,"
"How's the world a-usin' you?"
. . . . .
W'en you travel through the strange
Country t'other side the range,
Then the souls you've cheered will know
Who you be, an' say "hullo."
- Sam Walter Foss, Hullo.
- He held his seat; a friend to human race.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book VI, line 18. Pope's translation.
- Respect us, human, and relieve us, poor.
- Homer, The Odyssey, Book IX, line 338. Pope's translation.
- Over the brink of it
Picture it—think of it,
Lave in it—drink of it
Then, if you can.
- Thomas Hood, Bridge of Sighs.
- Oh, God! that bread should be so dear,
And flesh and blood so cheap!
- Thomas Hood, Song of a Shirt.
- For He, who gave this vast machine to roll,
Breathed Life in them, in us a Reasoning Soul;
That kindred feelings might our state improve,
And mutual wants conduct to mutual love.
- Juvenal, Satire XV, line 203.
- It is good to be often reminded of the inconsistency of human nature, and to learn to look without wonder or disgust on the weaknesses which are found in the strongest minds.
- Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, Warren Hastings.
- For nothing human foreign was to him.
- James Thomson, To the Memory of Lord Talbot, translation of "Humani nihil a me alienum puto".
- 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, May 17, 1915.
- Never to blend our pleasure or our pride
With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels.
- William Wordsworth, Hart-leap Well, Part II.
Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)
- There are people in our society who should be separated and discarded. I think it's one of the tendencies of the liberal community to feel that every person in a nation of over 200 million people can be made into a productive citizen.
I'm realist enough to believe this can't be. We're always going to have our prisons, we're always going to have our places of preventive detention for psychopaths, and we're always going to have a certain number of people in our community who have no desire to achieve or who have no desire to even fit in an amicable way with the rest of society.
And these people should be separated from the community, not in a callous way but they should be separated as far as any idea that their opinions shall have any effect on the course we follow.
- Spiro T. Agnew, comments during interview for European audiences which was recorded in Washington, D.C., then broadcast over British Independent Television on June 30, 1970, as reported by The Washington Post, July 2, 1970, p. A3.
- Where there is no vision, the people perish.
- The Bible, Proverbs 29:18.
- I can not wish you success in your effort to reject the treaty because while it may win the fight it may destroy our cause. My plan cannot fail if the people are with us and we ought not to succeed unless we do have the people with us.
- William Jennings Bryan, letter to Andrew Carnegie, January 13, 1899. Bryan papers, Library of Congress. Andrew Carnegie, working to defeat the treaty of peace with Spain, unsuccessfully sought Bryan's help.
- I am a child of the House of Commons. I was brought up in my father's house to believe in democracy. "Trust the people"—that was his message.
- Winston Churchill, speech to a joint session of Congress, Washington, D.C., December 26, 1941. Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963, ed. Robert Rhodes James, vol. 6, p. 6536 (1974).
- Your people, sir, is nothing but a great beast!
- Attributed to Alexander Hamilton, in a political argument with Thomas Jefferson. David S. Muzzey, An American History, p. 192 (1911). For similar expressions of this idea going back to Horace, see Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 15th ed., p. 108, no. 19 and footnotes (1982), and The Home Book of Quotations, ed. Burton Stevenson, 9th ed., p. 1483–84, section 7 (1964).
- Would yee both eat your cake, and have your cake?
- John Heywood, The Proverbs of John Heywood, part 2, chapter 9, p. 162 (1598, reprinted 1874, 1978). The idea that if you spend a thing you cannot have it goes back much further than Heywood's original 1546 work. Plautus wrote c. 194 B.C. in Trinummus (act II, scene iv, line 414), "Non tibi illud apparere si sumas potest" (if you spend a thing you cannot have it), translated as "You cannot eat your cake and have it too" by one Englishman. Comedies of Plautus, trans. Bonnell Thornton, 2d ed., rev., vol. 2, p. 29 (1769).
- People don't eat in the long run—they eat every day.
- Attributed to Harry L. Hopkins, who headed the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in 1933. Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History, p. 52 (1948).
- The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body. It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.
- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, query 19, reprinted in Andrew A. Lipscomb, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 2 (1903), p. 230.
- A sense of this necessity, and a submission to it, is to me a new and consolatory proof that wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Price (January 8, 1789); in Julian P. Boyd, ed., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (1958), vol. 14, p. 420.
- The President to-night has a dream:—He was in a party of plain people, and, as it became known who he was, they began to comment on his appearance. One of them said:—"He is a very common-looking man". The President replied:—"The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is the reason he makes so many of them".
- Attributed to President Abraham Lincoln, December 23, 1863. John Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, vol. 1, p. 142–43 (1908, reprinted 1969).
- No democracy has ever long survived the failure of its adherents to be ready to die for it…. My own conviction is this, the people must either go on or go under.
- David Lloyd George, address, conference of trade union delegates, London, January 18, 1918, as reported by The Times (London), January 19, 1918, p. 8.
- I do not want the voice of the people shut out.
- Huey Long, remarks in the Senate, May 16, 1932, Congressional Record, vol. 75, p. 10297.
- Your country is calling you. Our people are calling us. The people of America are calling us to relieve them from the distress that has infested this entire Nation as the result of following the Cabinet officers of the present administration. Your people are asking you to deliver them from this condition that now exists. They are asking relief.
- Huey Long, remarks in the Senate, May 16, 1932, Congressional Record, vol. 75, p. 10307.
- If I were to attempt to put my political philosophy tonight into a single phrase, it would be this: Trust the people. Trust their good sense, their decency, their fortitude, their faith. Trust them with the facts. Trust them with the great decisions. And fix as our guiding star the passion to create a society where people can fulfill their own best selves—where no American is held down by race or color, by worldly condition or social status, from gaining what his character earns him as an American citizen, as a human being and as a child of God.
- Adlai Stevenson, speech at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, September 13, 1956. Stevenson, The New America, ed. Seymour E. Harris, Jr., p. 13–14 (1971).
- No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.
- George Washington, first inaugural address, April 30, 1789. The Writings of George Washington, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, vol. 30, p. 293 (1939).
- People are not an interruption of our business. People are our business.
- Walter E. Washington, mayor of Washington, D.C., c. 1971.
- In the last analysis, my fellow countrymen, as we in America would be the first to claim, a people are responsible for the acts of their government.
- Woodrow Wilson, address, Columbus, Ohio, September 4, 1919. The Messages and Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed. Albert Shaw, vol. 2, p. 728 (1924).