Quotations About
humanity

“I know it. I know everything.”
She waited a moment. “What do you know?”
“No use making more people. People die.”
His voice was very calm and quiet and almost sad.
“That’s everything.”

Jenner: This is our extinction.

TS-19 (season 1, episode 6)
Posted in: The Walking Dead

I have been haunted by that swim through the whale graveyard and haven’t been able to get the image of the bones out of my head. Man hunted whales almost to the point of extinction, not seeming to care that we would lose one of the wonders of the sea world forever. It is the coldness of the water in Antarctica that preserves the bones and makes it look like they were left there yesterday but I like to think they are there as a reminder of man’s potential for folly.

Achieving The Impossible - A Fearless Leader. A Fragile Earth. (2010)

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.

As reported in The Huffington Post, July 27 2012.
Posted in: Wilma Rudolph

Ah, my dear brother, sometimes I know so clearly what I want. In life and in painting too, I can easily do without the dear Lord, but I can’t, suffering as I do, do without something greater than myself, which is my life, the power to create.
And if frustrated in this power physically, we try to create thoughts instead of children; in that way, we’re part of humanity all the same.

Posted in: Vincent van Gogh

Geometry is one and eternal shining in the mind of God. That share in it accorded to humans is one of the reasons that humanity is the image of God.

Harmonices Mundi (1618)
Posted in: Johannes Kepler

Mankind is a rope tied between beast and superman—a rope over an abyss.

Zarathustra, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, First Part, "Prologue," section 4 (1883).

When you’re famous you kind of run into human nature in a raw kind of way. It stirs up envy, fame does. People you run into feel that, well, who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe? They feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, of any kind of nature — and it won’t hurt your feelings — like it’s happening to your clothes not you.

quoted in Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress (1993) by Carl E. Rollyson
Posted in: Marilyn Monroe

Thus they let their anger and fury take from them the sense of humanity, and demonstrated that no beast is more savage than man when possessed with power answerable to his rage.

The Life of Cicero
Posted in: Plutarch

John Teller: The concept was pure, simple, true, it inspired me, led a rebellious fire, but ultimately I learned the lesson that Goldman, Prudot and the others learned. That true freedom requires sacrifice and pain. Most human beings only think they want freedom. In truth they yearn for the bondage of social order, rigid laws, materialism, the only freedom man really wants, is the freedom to become comfortable.

Posted in: Sons of Anarchy

Loki: Kneel before me. I said kneel! Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.
Old German: Not to men like you.
Loki: There are no men like me.
Old German: There are always men like you.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;
It may be that we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are —
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Ulysses (1842)
Posted in: Alfred Tennyson

Science had better not free the minds of men too much, before it has tamed their instincts.

The substance of men (1962)
Posted in: Jean Rostand

Science has made us gods even before we are worthy of being men.

Thoughts of a Biologist (1939)
Posted in: Jean Rostand

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
Posted in: Howard Zinn

Man knows so little about his fellows. In his eyes all men or women act upon what he believes would motivate him if he were mad enough to do what the other man or woman is doing.

Light in August (1932)
Posted in: William Faulkner

Poor man. Poor mankind.

Light in August (1932)
Posted in: William Faulkner

I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet’s, the writer’s, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet’s voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Speech at the Nobel Prize Banquet after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature (10 December 1950)
Posted in: William Faulkner

Mr. Khrushchev says that Communism, the police state, will bury the free ones. He is a smart gentleman, he knows that this is nonsense since freedom, man’s dim concept of and belief in the human spirit is the cause of all his troubles in his own country. But if he means that Communism will bury capitalism, he is correct. That funeral will occur about ten minutes after the police bury gambling. Because simple man, the human race, will bury both of them. That will be when we have expended the last grain, dram, and iota of our natural resources. But man himself will not be in that grave. The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next.

Speech to the UNESCO Commission, as quoted in The New York Times (3 October 1959)
Posted in: William Faulkner

Everything tends towards catastrophe and collapse. I am interested, geared up and happy. Is it not horrible to be made like this?

In a letter to his wife Clemmie, during the build up to World War I.

Progress is
The law of life: man is not Man as yet.

Paracelsus (1835)
Posted in: Robert Browning

A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.

A Tale of Two Cities
Posted in: Charles Dickens

We are not makers of history. We are made by history.

Strength to Love (1963)

Jack: I wonder what it is that everybody wants from me?
Peter: You know that is the first question I have ever heard you ask that sounds like you don’t know the answer.
Jack: Oh, is that good? Is that what you want? Ignorance? Confusion?
Peter: Look, I just don’t think I see my way ahead as clearly as you do.
Jack: Shadows.
Peter: What?
Jack: It’s one of my stories. We live in the Shadowlands. The sun is always shining somewhere else. Round a bend in the road. Over the bough of a hill.

Posted in: Shadowlands

Arguably, we are the most intellectual species that’s ever walked on planet Earth. So how come, then, that this intellectual being is destroying its only home?… because we have just the one home. Maybe one day, people will be on Mars, but for the moment, we’ve got planet Earth, and we are destroying, we are polluting, we are damaging the future of our own species, which is very counterproductive from an evolutionary perspective.

Surviving Progress
Posted in: Jane Goodall

I hate to be near the sea, and to hear it roaring and raging like a wild beast in its den. It puts me in mind of the everlasting efforts of the human mind, struggling to be free, and ending just where it began.

"Common Places," No. 60, The Literary Examiner (September - December 1823)
Posted in: William Hazlitt

Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.

Lectures on the English Comic Writers (1819)
Posted in: William Hazlitt

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

Pilote de Guerre (1942) (Flight to Arras)

We all are born mad. Some remain so.

William Adama: The Cylon War is long over, yet we must not forget the reasons why so many sacrificed so much in the cause of freedom. The cost of wearing the uniform can be high … sometimes it’s too high. You know, when we fought the Cylons, we did it to save ourselves from extinction. But we never answered the question, why? Why are we as a people worth saving? We still commit murder because of greed, spite, jealousy. And we still visit all of our sins upon our children. We refuse to accept the responsibility for anything that we’ve done. Like we did with the Cylons. We decided to play God, create life. When that life turned against us, we comforted ourselves in the knowledge that it really wasn’t our fault, not really. You cannot play God then wash your hands of the things that you’ve created. Sooner or later, the day comes when you can’t hide from the things that you’ve done anymore.

Miniseries, Part 1

Snatching the eternal out of the desperately fleeting is the great magic trick of human existence.

The Timeless World of Play, an introductory essay to The Rose Tattoo (1951)

Exploration really is the essence of the human spirit, and to pause, to falter, to turn our back on the quest for knowledge, is to perish.

This quote is attributed / unsourced.
Posted in: Frank Borman

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.

Cosmos (1980)
Posted in: Carl Sagan

Music is the universal language of mankind — poetry their universal pastime and delight.

Outre-Mer