Humanity is a term which commonly refers to the human species, mankind as a whole, or sets of qualities which are used to define human nature, the human condition, or to refer to any of the academic disciplines known as the humanities which study human culture.
- See also:
- Love, hope, fear, faith — these make humanity;
These are its sign and note and character.
- A poor Irish Widow, her husband having died in one of the Lanes of Edinburgh, went forth with her three children, bare of all resource, to solicit help from the Charitable Establishments of that City. At this Charitable Establishment and then at that she was refused; referred from one to the other, helped by none;— till she had exhausted them all; till her strength and heart failed her: she sank down in typhus-fever; died, and infected her Lane with fever, so that 'seventeen other persons' died of fever there in consequence. The humane Physician asks thereupon, as with a heart too full for speaking, Would it not have been economy to help this poor Widow? She took typhus-fever, and killed seventeen of you!—Very curious. The forlorn Irish Widow applies to her fellow-creatures, as if saying, "Behold I am sinking, bare of help: ye must help me! I am your sister, bone of your bone; one God made us: ye must help me!" They answer, "No; impossible: thou art no sister of ours." But she proves her sisterhood; her typhus-fever kills them: they actually were her brothers, though denying it! Had man ever to go lower for a proof?
- For, as indeed was very natural in such case, all government of the Poor by the Rich has long ago been given over to Supply-and-demand, Laissez-faire and such like, and universally declared to be 'impossible.' "You are no sister of ours; what shadow of proof is there? Here are our parchments, our padlocks, proving indisputably our money-safes to be ours, and you to have no business with them. Depart! It is impossible!"
- Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present (1843)
- I've helped him into an act of humanity. Anyone else like the sound of that: act of humanity?
- To suffer with the other and for others; to suffer for the sake of truth and justice; to suffer out of love and in order to become a person who truly loves—these are fundamental elements of humanity, and to abandon them would destroy man himself.
- An inadvertent step may crush the snail
That crawls at evening in the public path.
But he that has humanity, forewarned,
Will turn aside and let the reptile live.
- William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book VI.
- 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.
- The impulse of power is to turn every variable into a constant, and give to commands the inexorableness and relentlessness of laws of nature. Hence absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep. The taint inherent in absolute power is not its inhumanity but its anti-humanity.
- Eric Hoffer, The Ordeal of Change (1963), Ch. 15 : The Unnaturalness Of Human Nature.
- A man discovers what he is actually worth in this world when he faces society as a man, without money, name, or powerful connections, stripped of all but his native potentialities. He soon finds that nothing has less weight than his human qualities. They are prized so low that the market does not even list them. Strict science, which acknowledges man only as a biological concept, reflects man’s lot in the actual world; in himself, man is nothing more than a member of a species. In the eyes of the world, the quality of humanity confers no title to existence, nay, not even a right of sojourn. Such title must be certified by special social circumstances stipulated in documents to be presented on demand.
- Max Horkheimer, “The latest attack on metaphysics,” Critical Theory: Selected Essays (1982), p. 137
- I have written for all, with a profound love for my own country, but without being engrossed by France more than by any other nation. In proportion as I advance in life, I grow more simple, and I become more and more patriotic for humanity.
- 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.
- Mimzy returned to her own time, as if time had stopped. It was what the scientist had hoped for — to find a soul in the past not contaminated by the pollutants that filled our bodies and minds. Our precious quality of humanity had been turned off, but in Emma's tears was the instruction for an awakening; and it spread like wildflowers. People shed their protective suits. And over time humanity blossomed again. Our world was saved by a child, very much like you. Emma was our mother, the mother of us all.
- Superman stands alone. Superman did not become Superman, Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he is Superman. His alter ego Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He's weak. He's unsure of himself. He's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race.
- 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 (17 May 1915).
- 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.