"Most men are within a finger's
breadth of being mad."
"There is no genius free from some
tincture of madness."
"Great wits are to madness near allied
And thin partitions do their bounds divide."
"The madman who knows that he is mad
is close to sanity."
"I saw the best minds of my generation
destroyed by madness."
"Hain't we got all the fools in town
on our side? And hain't that a big enough majority in any town?"
"It is proof of a low and base mind
for one to think with the masses or majority, merely because the
majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is
not, believed by a majority of the people."
"There is nothing more odious than the
majority. It consists of a few powerful men who lead the way; of
accommodating rascals and submissive weaklings; and of a mass of men
who trot after them without in the least knowing their own minds."
"The vast majority of human beings
dislike and even actually dread all notions with which they are not
familiar... Hence it comes about that at their first appearance
innovators have generally been persecuted, and always derided as fools
Huxley, Proper Studies)
"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."
"The fickle disposition of the
multitude almost reduces those who have experience of it to despair;
for it is governed solely by emotions, and not by reason."
Spinoza, Theologico-Political Treatise)
"The minority is sometimes right; the
majority always wrong."
"Malice is pleasure derived from
another's evil which brings no advantage to oneself.
"[W]e commonly pervert
our adversary’s conduct, by imputing malice or injustice to him, in
order to give vent to those passions, which arise from self-love and
"We never hurt
each other but by error or by malice."
Robert Chambers, possibly inspired by Dr. Johnson)
"Men are so perverse that the mere
hope, and indeed even the desire to correct them and see them become
reasonable and honest, is an absurdity, a romantic notion which is
excusable only in the simplicity of extreme youth.
"If mankind had wished for what is
right, they might have had it long ago".
"Man only plays when in the full
meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when
"Man is a make-believe animal - he is
never so truly himself as when he is acting a part."
"Man is the only animal that laughs
and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck by the difference
between what things are and what they might have been."
"The best lesson we can learn from
witnessing the folly of mankind is not to irritate ourselves against
"It is only by the help of reason and
logical inference, according to Hobbes, that "man becomes excellently
wise, or excellently foolish"."
"It is well that there is no one
without a fault; for he would have no friend in the world. He would
seem to belong to a different species."
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet
"L'honnête homme, détrompé des toutes
les illusions, est l'homme par excellence."
"Most men who inhabit the world do it
so vacantly, think so little, that they are quite ignorant of the world
that is before their eyes."
"Not to be worked by anyone's hand,
to be no one's man, to draw one's principles, one's feelings, from no
one else, this is the rarest thing I have seen."
"The condition of man ... is a
condition of war of everyone against everyone.'"
"My opinion of mankind is founded
upon the mournful fact that, so far as I can see, they find within
themselves the means of believing in a thousand times as much as there
is to believe in, judging by experience."
"Man is a political animal."
"Either a beast or a god."
"We must not hate men but teach them
quoted in Edwards, lemma Cyrenaics)
"One half of the world cannot
understand the pleasures of the other."
"And what are you reading, Miss ---?
Oh! it is only a novel... or, in short, only some work in which the
most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of
its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour are conveyed
to the world in the best chosen language.
"It is unfortunate, considering that
enthusiasm moves the world, that so few enthusiasts can be trusted to
speak the truth."
"Elles doivent avoir les défauts de
"There's a sucker born every minute."
"Man appears on earth for a little
while, but we know nothing of what went on before this life, and
"Man is born unto trouble, as the
sparks fly upward."
"Man that is born of a woman is of
few days, and full of trouble."
"Thou hast made him a little lower
than the angels."
"It can be shown that a mathematical
web of some kind can be woven about any universe containing several
"The most important existence theorem
in mathematics is the existence of people."
(quoted without attribution in
Griffiths & Hilton)
Pity, a human face:
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.
And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk or jew.
Where Mercy, Love & Pity dwell,
There God is dwelling too.
money is the great test of small natures, but only a small test of
"Money is like muck, not good except
it be spread."
"There are two classifications of
moralists and statesmen: those who have seen human nature only from its
odious and ridiculous side, and they are the greater number: Lucian,
Montaigne, La Bruyère, La Rochefoucauld, Swift, Mandeville, Helvétius,
etc. Those who have seen it only from its admirable side; Shaftesbury
and certain others. The first are ignorant of the palace, of which they
have seen only latrines. The second are enthusiasts who turn away their
eyes from what offends them but none the less exists. Est in medeo
Enjoy and give pleasure, without
doing harm to yourself or to anyone else - that, I think, is the whole
"A person has
advanced far in the study of morals who has mastered the difference
between pride and vanity."
"Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more:
si fueris alibi, vivito sicut ibi."
Ambrose to St. Augustine, usually translated as "If in Rome, do as
the Romans do".)
"A beast, but a just beast."
said of Dr. Temple, headmaster of Rugby.)
Greek, written in the temple at Delphi.)
"Nothing to excess."
Greek, written in the temple at Delphi.)
"Let us live and be glad")
"Quidquid agas, prudenter agas, et
"Whatever you do, do it careful and mind your end")
"Love, and do what you will."
"All good moral philosophy is but the
handmaid to religion."
"The greatest happiness of the
greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation."
"Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand
for hand, foot for foot."
"Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
"Mysteries are not necessarily
"Miracles do not happen."