Human Life Quotes

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About Human Life Quotes

Keyword: Human Life

Quotes: 506 total. 1 Misattributed. 1 Disputed. 22 About.

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" [They] revealed to me the most important truth concerning human life. Which is that a shared, a loyal, love between two people is the most beautiful, the most numinous, the most valuable thing of all."
David Myatt
• Source: Myatt, David. Myngath - Some Recollections of the Wyrdful Life of David Myatt, Thormynd Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-557-56804-8
• Source: Wikiquote: "David Myatt" (Sourced)
"In us or through us the Primal Mind will have contemplated and enjoyed its own works and will continue to do so as long as human life endures on this planet." (p.111)
The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe--the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.
The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.
Thomas Jefferson
• "To the Republican Citizens of Washington County, Maryland" (March 31, 1809).
• Source: Wikiquote: "Thomas Jefferson" (Quotes, 1800s, Post-Presidency (1809))
When the Judgment Day comes civilization will have an alibi, "I never took a human life, I only sold the fellow the gun to take it with."
I wish that every human life might be pure transparent freedom.
A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.
The old lady Felderal had long railed at the emperor for not declaring war. She pretended that he feared to call on his subjects for the requisite means, lest their avarice, stronger than their patriotism, should depose him. When, however, war was declared, and the emperor's forces were victorious, she became enamoured of peace, and maintained that a moral and religious people ought not to rejoice at victories purchased by the sacrifice of human life. She invented a song, whose burden was "the golden days of commercial prosperity," and she organized a peace society, whose tenets compelled the members not to fight even an invading army. Finally, as these expedients failed to destroy the emperor, she collected the most desperate of her adherents, to concert means for tying his hands behind his back, "peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must," and delivering him to the king of Glanden.
Alexander Bryan Johnson
• Source: Wikiquote: "Alexander Bryan Johnson" (Quotes, The Philosophical Emperor, a Political Experiment, or, The Progress of a False Position: (1841): dedicated to the Whigs, Conservatives, Democrats, Loco Focos, individually and collectively of the United States)
Human life is everywhere a state in which much is to be endured and little to be enjoyed.
The greatest sweetener of human life is Friendship. To raise this to the highest pitch of enjoyment, is a secret which but few discover.
Disputed quote by Joseph Addison
• As quoted in Hugs for Girlfriends : Stories, Sayings, and Scriptures to Encourage and Inspire (2001) by Philis Boultinghouse and LeAnn Weiss, p. 7; there seem to be no published sources available for this statement prior to 2001.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Joseph Addison" (Disputed)
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.
"Yet only through communication can human life hold meaning."
The real question today is not when human life begins, but, What is the value of human life?
Capital punishment is our society's recognition of the sanctity of human life.
To make a happy fireside clime To weans and wife, That's the true pathos and sublime Of human life.
• Robert Burns, Epistle to Dr. Blacklock.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Home" (Sourced, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 369-71.)
How very paltry and limited the normal human intellect is, and how little lucidity there is in the human consciousness, may be judged from the fact that, despite the ephemeral brevity of human life, the uncertainty of our existence and the countless enigmas which press upon us from all sides, everyone does not continually and ceaselessly philosophize, but that only the rarest of exceptions do.
Arthur Schopenhauer
• Vol. 2, Ch. 3, § 39
• Source: Wikiquote: "Arthur Schopenhauer" (Quotes, Parerga and Paralipomena (1851): Various portions of this large work have been translated and published in English under various titles. It is here divided up into sections corresponding to those of the original volumes and some of the cited translations. , Counsels and Maxims: Counsels and Maxims, as translated by T. Bailey Saunders (also on Wikisource: Counsels and Maxims).)
Cats and monkeys, monkeys and cats - all human life is there.
Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical...
Cats and monkeys — monkeys and cats — all human life is there!
It's the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy.
We know it because democracy alone has constructed an unlimited civilization capable of infinite progress in the improvement of human life.
Sex, a great and mysterious motive force in human life, has indisputably been a subject of absorbing interest to mankind through the ages.
The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things which lifts human life a little above the level of farce and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.
All polite letters are nothing but pictures of human life in various attitudes and situations; and inspire us with different sentiments of praise or blame, admiration or ridicule, according to the qualities of the object, which they set before us.
Hungry men have no respect for law, authority or human life.
Marcus Garvey
• Reported in Ashton Applewhite, Tripp Evans, and Andrew Frothingham, And I Quote: The Definitive Collection of Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary Speechmaker (St. Martin's Press, 2003), p. 84. ISBN 0312307446.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Marcus Garvey" (Sourced)
Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap.
Of what use is genius, if the organ is too convex or too concave and cannot find a focal distance within the actual horizon of human life?
By religion, then, I understand a propitiation or conciliation of powers superior to man which are believed to direct and control the course of nature and of human life.
James Frazer
• Chapter 4, Magic and Religion.
• Source: Wikiquote: "James Frazer" (Sourced, The Golden Bough (1890): There were several editions of The Golden Bough, which used varying chapter numerations, paginations and sub-titles. Those used here currently conform to the edition of 1922 )
The business of the law is to make sense of the confusion of what we call human life—to reduce it to order but at the same time to give it possibility, scope, even dignity.
Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not or of what sort they may be, because of the obscurity of the subject, and the brevity of human life.
The fact that astronomies change while the stars abide is a true analogy of every realm of human life and thought, religion not least of all. No existent theology can be a final formulation of spiritual truth.
Alas! it is not till time, with reckless hand, has torn out half the leaves from the Book of Human Life to light the fires of passion with from day to day, that man begins to see that the leaves which remain are few in number.
The frightful casualties appalled me. The so-called "good fighting generals" of the war appeared to me to be those who had a complete disregard for human life. There were of course exceptions and I suppose one was Plumer; I had only once seen him and I had never spoken to him.
What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.
Orthodoxy gave away the earth into the hands of the state because of its own non-belief in man and mankind, because of its nihilistic attitude towards the world. Orthodoxy does not believe in the religious ordering of human life upon the earth, and it compensates for its own hopeless pessimism by a call for the forceful ordering of it by state authority.
The question is — and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer — is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says "no". Well if that person — human life is not a person — then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, "we're going to decide who are people and who are not people".
No human face is exactly the same in its lines on each side, no leaf perfect in its lobes, no branch in its symmetry. All admit irregularity as they imply change; and to banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality. All things are literally better, lovelier, and more beloved for the imperfections which have been divinely appointed, that the law of human life may be Effort, and the law of human judgment, Mercy.
Prarabdha is that portion of the past karma which is responsible for the present body. That portion of the sanchita karma which influences human life in the present incarnation is called prarabdha. It is ripe for reaping. It cannot be avoided or changed. It is only exhausted by being experienced. You pay your past debts. Prarabdha karma is that which has begun and is actually bearing fruit. It is selected out of the mass of the sanchita karma.
A state of human life vaguely defined by the term "Universal Peace," while a result of cumulative effort through centuries past, might come into existence quickly, not unlike a crystal suddenly forms in a solution which has been slowly prepared. But just as no effect can precede its cause, so this state can never be brought on by any pact between nations, however solemn. Experience is made before the law is formulated, both are related like cause and effect. So long as we are clearly conscious of the expectation, that peace is to result from such a parliamentary decision, so long have we a conclusive evidence that we are not fit for peace. Only then when we shall feel that such international meetings are mere formal procedures, unnecessary except in so far as they might serve to give definite expression to a common desire, will peace be assured.
To judge from current events we must be, as yet, very distant from that blissful goal. It is true that we are proceeding towards it rapidly. There are abundant signs of this progress everywhere. The race enmities and prejudices are decidedly waning.
Human life begins on the far side of despair.
The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or to evil.
• Variant translation: The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or evil.
• As quoted in Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, as translated by Robert Drew Hicks (1925)
  • As quoted in Ionia, a Quest (1954) by Freya Stark, p. 94
• Source: Wikiquote: "Pythagoras" (Quotes)
Our puny sentimentalism has caused us to forget that a human life is sacred only when it may be of some use to itself and to the world.
I compare human life to a large mansion of many apartments, two of which I can only describe, the doors of the rest being as yet shut upon me.
Es bildet ein Talent sich in der Stille, Sich ein Charakter in dem Strom der Welt. Talent develops in quiet places, character in the full current of human life.
With regard to the duration of human life, there does not appear to have existed from the earliest ages of the world to the present moment the smallest permanent symptom or indication of increasing prolongation.
I have a horror of tags and labels. I don't understand, for instance, how people can talk about Bergman's "symbolism". Far from being symbolic, be seems to me, through and almost biological naturalism, to arrive at the spiritual truth about human life that is important to him.
Human life in common is only made possible when a majority comes together which is stronger than any separate individual and which remains united against all separate individuals. The power of this community is then set up as “right” in opposition to the power of the individual, which is condemned as “brute force.”
As the days of spring arouse all nature to a green and growing vitality, so when hope enters the soul it makes all things new. It insures the progress which it predicts. Rooted in faith, growing up into love; these make the three immortal graces of the gospel, whose intertwined arms and concurrent voices shed joy and peace over our human life.
James Freeman Clarke
• P. 328.
• Source: Wikiquote: "James Freeman Clarke" (Sourced, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895): Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).)
It will not be denied by anybody, that originality is a valuable element in human affairs. There is always need of persons not only to discover new truths, and point out when what were once truths are true no longer, but also to commence new practices, and set the example of more enlightened conduct, and better taste and sense in human life.
The great decisions of human life have as a rule far more to do with the instincts and other mysterious unconscious factors than with conscious will and well-meaning reasonableness. The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases. Each of us carries his own life-form—an indeterminable form which cannot be superseded by any other.
There seems to be a kind of order in the universe, in the movement of the stars and the turning of the earth and the changing of the seasons, and even in the cycle of human life. But human life itself is almost pure chaos. Everyone takes his stance, asserts his own rights and feelings, mistaking the motives of others, and his own.
The man who acquires easily things for which he feels only a very moderate desire concludes that the attainment of desire does not bring happiness. If he is of a philosophic disposition, he concludes that human life is essentially wretched, since the man who has all he wants is still unhappy. He forgets that to be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
there are but few persons, in comparison with the whole of mankind, whose experiments, if adopted by others, would be likely to be any improvement on established practice. But these few are the salt of the earth; without them, human life would become a stagnant pool. Not only is it they who introduce good things which did not before exist; it is they who keep the life in those which already existed.
It is possible that he might be guided in some good path, and kept out of harm's way, without any of these things. But what will be his comparative worth as a human being? It really is of importance, not only what men do, but also what manner of men they are that do it. Among the works of man, which human life is rightly employed in perfecting and beautifying, the first in importance surely is man himself.
We must therefore glean up our experiments in this science from a cautious observation of human life, and take them as they appear in the common course of the world, by men’s behaviour in company, in affairs, and in their pleasures. Where experiments of this kind are judiciously collected and compared, we may hope to establish on them a science, which will not be inferior in certainty, and will be much superior in utility to any other of human comprehension.
The uniting of Orthodoxy with state absolutism came about on the soil of a non-belief in the Divineness of the earth, in the earthly future of mankind; Orthodoxy gave away the earth into the hands of the state because of its own non-belief in man and mankind, because of its nihilistic attitude towards the world. Orthodoxy does not believe in the religious ordering of human life upon the earth, and it compensates for its own hopeless pessimism by a call for the forceful ordering of it by state authority.
I believe the term ‘serial killer’ is highly misleading, in that it implicitly suggests to the general public that murder is the paramount object or motivating urge in the mind of the killer … They naturally attribute this motivation partly because they value human life above all else, and partly because, as their endless fascination with the subject suggests, they have a vague conception of murder as being somehow mystical, highly dramatic, or even a nebulously romantic experience, replete with unimaginable connotations of eroticism. And guilt for it must be paid for in full.
The difficulty in understanding the Russian is that we do not take cognizance of the fact that he is not a European, but an Asiatic, and therefore thinks deviously. We can no more understand a Russian than a Chinaman or a Japanese, and from what I have seen of them, I have no particular desire to understand them, except to ascertain how much lead or iron it takes to kill them. In addition to his other Asiatic characteristics, the Russian have no regard for human life and is an all out son of bitch, barbarian, and chronic drunk.
George S. Patton
• Statement (8 August 1945), as quoted in General Patton : A Soldier's Life (2002) by Stanley P. Hirshson, p. 650
• Source: Wikiquote: "George S. Patton" (Quotations)
Mr. Malthus says, " It has been justly observed by Adam Smith that no equal quantity of productive labour employed in manufactures can ever occasion so great a reproduction as in agriculture. " If Adam Smith speaks of value, he is correct; but if he speaks of riches, which is the important point, he is mistaken; for he has himself defined riches to consist of the necessaries, conveniences, and enjoyments of human life. One set of necessaries and conveniences admits of no comparison with another set; value in use cannot be measured by any known standard; it is differently estimated by different persons.
It appears that there are enormous differences of opinion as to the probability of a failure with loss of vehicle and of human life. The estimates range from roughly 1 in 100 to 1 in 100,000. The higher figures come from the working engineers, and the very low figures from management. What are the causes and consequences of this lack of agreement? Since 1 part in 100,000 would imply that one could put a Shuttle up each day for 300 years expecting to lose only one, we could properly ask "What is the cause of management's fantastic faith in the machinery?" We have also found that certification criteria used in Flight Readiness Reviews often develop a gradually decreasing strictness. The argument that the same risk was flown before without failure is often accepted as an argument for the safety of accepting it again. Because of this, obvious weaknesses are accepted again and again, sometimes without a sufficiently serious attempt to remedy them, or to delay a flight because of their continued presence.
The goal of human life is not death but resurrection.
How short is human life! the very breath Which frames my words accelerates my death.
• Hannah More, King Hezekiah.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Death" (Quotes: Alphabetized by author or source , Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 163-81.)
For men to tell how human life began Is hard; for who himself beginning knew?
There is no human life so poor and small as not to hold many a divine possibility.
• James Martineau, p. 382.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Life" (Anonymous, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895): Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).)
Human life began in flight and fear. Religion rose from rituals of propitiation, spells to lull the punishing elements.
We must put an end once and for all to the Papist-Quaker babble about the sanctity of human life.
• Leon Trotsky, The Russian Revolution (1930), quoted in Orlando Figes, A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891–1924 (1996), p. 641.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Christianity" (The twentieth century)
Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is wholesale death.
The highest perfection of human life consists in the mind of man being detached from care, for the sake of God.
Regrettably, we live at a time when some persons do not value all human life. They want to pick and choose which individuals have value.
A birthday:—and now a day that rose With much of hope, with meaning rife— A thoughtful day from dawn to close: The middle day of human life.
• Jean Ingelow, A Birthday Walk.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Birthday" (Sourced, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 70.)
You do not quite get what I mean. Herr Frankenstein was interested only in human life. First to destroy it, then recreate it. There you have his mad dream.
The killing of another, except in defense of human life, is archistic, authoritarian, and therefore, no Anarchist can commit such deeds. It is the very opposite of what Anarchism stands for.
The science of political economy is essentially practical, and applicable to the common business of human life. There are few branches of human knowledge where false views may do more harm, or just views more good.
Thomas Malthus
• Book I, Introduction, p. 9.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Thomas Malthus" (Sourced, Principles of Political Economy (Second Edition 1836): PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY CONSIDERED WITH A VIEW TO THEIR PRACTICAL APPLICATION Second Edition
With Considerable Additions From The Author's Own Manuscript And An Original Memoir
From my point of view the killing of another, except in defense of human life, is archistic, authoritarian, and therefore, no Anarchist can commit such deeds. It is the very opposite of what Anarchism stands for.
God help us! it is a foolish little thing, this human life, at the best; and it is half ridiculous and half pitiful to see what importance we ascribe to it, and to its little ornaments and distinctions.
• Francis Jeffrey, p. 381.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Life" (Anonymous, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895): Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).)
I believe that one ought to have only as much market efficiency as one needs, because everything that we value in human life is within the realm of inefficiency — love, family, attachment, community, culture, old habits, comfortable old shoes.
Every time a man is begotten and born, the clock of human life is wound up anew to repeat once more its same old tune that has already been played innumerable times, movement by movement and measure by measure, with insignificant variations.
The fact of the religious vision, and its history of persistent expansion, is our one ground for optimism. Apart from it, human life is a flash of occasional enjoyments lighting up a mass of pain and misery, a bagatelle of transient experience.
Stop all your attachments to false values. In an ever changing world, there is nothing worthwhile for us to desire or weep for. Joys and sorrows are bound come in human life; they are just like the two sides of the same coin.
The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me not the State but the creative, sentient individual, the personality; it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains dull in thought and dull in feeling.
Albert Einstein
• Source: Wikiquote: "Albert Einstein" (Quotes, Mein Weltbild (My World-view) (1931): "Mein Weltbild" (1931) ["My World-view", or "My View of the World" or "The World As I See It"], translated as the title essay of the book The World As I See It (1949). Various translated editions have been published of this essay; or portions of it, including one titled "What I Believe"; another compilation which includes it is Ideas and Opinions (1954) )
A strange persuasion came upon me that, save for the grossness of the line, the grotesqueness of the forms, I had here before me the whole balance of human life in miniature, the whole interplay of instinct, reason, and fate in its simplest form.
It is true that the Muslim world is not totally mistaken when it reproaches the West of Christian tradition of moral decadence and the manipulation of human life. … Islam has also had moments of great splendor and decadence in the course of its history.
I grew up in a family of peasants, and it was there that I saw the way that, for example, our wheat fields suffered as a result of dust storms, water erosion and wind erosion; I saw the effect of that on life- on human life.
I have a horror of tags and labels. I don't understand, for instance, how people can talk about Bergman's "symbolism." Far from being symbolic, he seems to me, through and almost biological naturalism, to arrive at the spiritual truth about human life that is important to him.
But what if man had eyes to see the true beauty—the divine beauty, I mean, pure and clear and unalloyed, not clogged with the pollutions of mortality and all the colours and vanities of human life—thither looking, and holding converse with the true beauty simple and divine?
Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase.
We live in a highly competitive society, each of us trying to outdo the other in wealth, in popularity or social prestige, in dress, in scholastic grades or golf scores... One is often tempted to say that conflict, rather than cooperation, is the great governing principle of human life.
We live in a highly competitive society, each of us trying to outdo the other in wealth, in popularity or social prestige, in dress, in scholastic grades or golf scores. [...] One is often tempted to say that conflict, rather than cooperation, is the great governing principle of human life.
In countries with a properly functioning legal system, the mob continues to exist, but it is rarely called upon to mete out capital punishment. The right to take human life belongs to the state. Not so in societies where weak courts and poor law enforcement are combined with intractable structural injustices.
Thou mayest foresee... the things which will be. For they will certainly be of like form, and it is not possible that they should deviate from the order of things now: accordingly to have contemplated human life for forty years is the same as to have contemplated it for ten thousand years.
Marcus Aurelius
• VII, 49
• Source: Wikiquote: "Marcus Aurelius" (Quotes, Meditations (c. 161–180 CE): These were writings of Aurelius as reminders to himself of ideas to bear in mind. There are many different translations of these, often with different nuances of interpretation (and sometimes different arrangements)., Book VII)
From Plato: the man who has an elevated mind and takes a view of all time and of all substance, dost thou suppose it possible for him to think that human life is anything great? It is not possible, he said. Such a man then will think that death also is no evil.
Marcus Aurelius
• VII, 35
• Source: Wikiquote: "Marcus Aurelius" (Quotes, Meditations (c. 161–180 CE): These were writings of Aurelius as reminders to himself of ideas to bear in mind. There are many different translations of these, often with different nuances of interpretation (and sometimes different arrangements)., Book VII)
The only index by which to judge a government or a way of life is by the quality of the people it acts upon. No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion — it is an evil government.
Evolution isn't just a story about where we came from. It's an epic at the center of life itself. Far from robbing our lives of meaning, it instills an appreciation for the beautiful, enduring, and ultimately triumphant fabric of life that covers our planet. Understanding that doesn't demean human life - it enhances it.
Anxiety is the poison of human life ; the parent of many sins and of more miseries. – In a world where everything is doubtful, and where we may be disappointed, and be blessed in disappointment, why this restless stir and commotion of mind? – Can it alter the cause, or unravel the mystery of human events?
Hugh Blair
• Quoted in A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient and Modern, ed. Tryon Edwards, F. B. Dickerson Company (1908), p. 23.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Hugh Blair" (Quotes)
Of the gladest moments in human life, methinks is the departure upon a distant journey to unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares and the Slavery of Home, man feels once more happy. The blood flows with the fast circulation of childhood....afresh dawns the morn of life...
Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen. On the farm the weather was the great fact, and men's affairs went on underneath it, as the streams creep under the ice. But in Black Hawk the scene of human life was spread out shrunken and pinched, frozen down to the bare stalk.
The fact itself, of causing the existence of a human being, is one of the most responsible actions in the range of human life. To undertake this responsibility—to bestow a life which may be either a curse or a blessing—unless the being on whom it is to be bestowed will have at least the ordinary chances of a desirable existence, is a crime against that being.
Human life itself may be almost pure chaos, but the work of the artist — the only thing he's good for — is to take these handfuls of confusion and disparate things, things that seem to be irreconcilable, and put them together in a frame to give them some kind of shape and meaning. Even if it's only his view of a meaning. That's what he's for — to give his view of life.
To be able to read and write, therefore, is to learn to profit by and take part in the greatest of human achievements -- that which makes all other achievements possible --namely, the pooling of our experiences in great cooperative stores of knowledge, available to all. From the warning cry of primitive man to the latest newsflash or scientific monograph, language is social. Cultural and intellectual cooperation is the great principle of human life.
To be able to read and write, therefore, is to learn to profit by and take part in the greatest of human achievements -- that which makes all other achievements possible --namely, the pooling of our experiences in great cooperative stores of knowledge, available [...] to all. From the warning cry of primitive man to the latest newsflash or scientific monograph, language is social. Cultural and intellectual cooperation is the great principle of human life.
Every time is a time for comedy in a world of tension that would languish without it. But I cannot confine myself to lightness in a period of human life that demands light ... We all know that, as the old adage has it, "It is later than you think." ..., but I also say occasionally: "It is lighter than you think." In this light let's not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness.
In the 21st Century I believe the mission of the United Nations will be defined by a new, more profound, awareness of the sanctity and dignity of every human life, regardless of race or religion. This will require us to look beyond the framework of States, and beneath the surface of nations or communities. We must focus, as never before, on improving the conditions of the individual men and women who give the state or nation its richness and character.
Phenomena unfold on their own appropriate scales of space and time and may be invisible in our myopic world of dimensions assessed by comparison with human height and times metered by human lifespans. So much of accumulating importance at earthly scales […] is invisible by the measuring rod of a human life. So much that matters to particles in the microscopic world of molecules […] either averages out to stability at our scale or simply stands below our limits of perception.
Stephen Jay Gould
• "The Golden Rule: A Proper Scale for Our Environmental Crisis", pp. 41–42
• Source: Wikiquote: "Stephen Jay Gould" (Sourced, Eight Little Piggies (1993): Citations are from the W.W. Norton hardcover edition.)
I think that natural truths will cease to be spat at us like insults, that aesthetics will once more be linked with ethics, and that people will become aware that in casting out aesthetics that they also cast out a respect for human life, a respect for creation, a respect for spiritual values. Aesthetics was an expression of man's need to be in love with his world. The cult of ugliness is a regression. It destroys our appetite, our love for our world.
One realizes that human relationships are the tragic necessity of human life; that they can never be wholly satisfactory, that every ego is half the time greedily seeking them, and half the time pulling away from them. In those simple relationships of loving husband and wife, affectionate sisters, children and grandmother, there are innumerable shades of sweetness and anguish which make up the pattern of our lives day by day, though they are not down in the list of subjects from which the conventional novelist works.
The Ganges front is the supreme showplace of Banares. Its tall bluffs are solidly caked from water to summit, along a stretch of three miles, with a splendid jumble of massive and picturesque masonry, a bewildering and beautiful confusion of stone platforms, temples, stair flights, rich and stately palaces...soaring stairways, sculptured temples, majestic palaces, softening away into the distances; and there is movement, motion, human life everywhere, and brilliantly costumed - streaming in rainbows up and down the lofty stairways, and massed in metaphorical gardens on the mile of great platforms at the river's edge.
Both security and development ultimately depend on respect for human rights and the rule of law.
— Although increasingly interdependent, our world continues to be divided — not only by economic differences, but also by religion and culture. That is not in itself a problem. Throughout history, human life has been enriched by diversity, and different communities have learnt from each other. But, if our different communities are to live together in peace we must stress also what unites us: our common humanity, and our shared belief that human dignity and rights should be protected by law.
As a nation today, we have not rejected the sanctity of human life. The American people have not had an opportunity to express their view on the sanctity of human life in the unborn. I am convinced that Americans do not want to play God with the value of human life. It is not for us to decide who is worthy to live and who is not. Even the Supreme Court's opinion in Roe v. Wade did not explicitly reject the traditional American idea of intrinsic worth and value in all human life; it simply dodged this issue.
Such complicated and apparently unnecessary behavior leads philosophers, both amateur and professional, to ask over and over again, "Why can't human beings live simply and naturally?" Often the complexity of human life makes us look enviously at the relative simplicity of such lives as dogs and cats lead. But the symbolic process, which makes possible the absurdities of human conduct, also makes possible language and therefore all the human achievements dependent upon language. The fact that more things can go wrong with motorcars than with wheelbarrows is no reason for going back to wheelbarrows. Similarly, the fact that the symbolic process makes complicated follies possible is no reason for wanting to return to a cat-and-dog existence. A better solution is to understand the symbolic process so that instead of being its victims we become, to some degree at least, its masters.
Such complicated and apparently unnecessary behavior leads philosophers, both amateur and professional, to ask over and over again, "Why can't human beings live simply and naturally?" Often the complexity of human life makes us look enviously at the relative simplicity of such lives as dogs and cats lead. But the symbolic process, which makes possible the absurdities of human conduct, also makes possible language and therefore all the human achievements dependent upon language. The fact that more things can go wrong with motorcars than with wheelbarrows is no reason for going back to wheelbarrows. Similarly, the fact that the symbolic process makes complicated follies possible is no reason for wanting to return to a cat-and-dog existence. A better solution is to understand the symbolic process so that instead of being its victims we become, to some degree at least, its masters. (p.26)
The "holy year" invented by Bonifacius VIII brought in a huge income from the sale of indulgences. But the jubilee absolution could only be purchased in Rome. At first the ANNVS SANCTVS was to be celebrated every 100 years. Then it was held every 50, every 33, finally every 25 years, to obtain large sums of money more frequently. The first "holy year" brought the pope 200,000 foreign visitors and 15 million golden guldens. In 1350 the Vatican took in 22 million. One therefore understands why, after the 33 years celebrated in remembrance of Jesus' s years of life (as the festival was called after the second shortening of the interval between holy years), an interval lasting only 25 years was introduced on account of the "brevity of human life". One sees that even the martyr's death of Jesus can be good for furthering the business of his "representative".
Alfred Rosenberg
• Viele Ablasseinkünfte brachte das "Heilige Jahr", erfunden von Bonifaz VI II. Der JubiläumsAblass war nur in Rom zu erwerben. Anfänglich sollte alle 100 Jahre das "Anno sankro" gefeiert werden. Dann wurde die Jubelfeier alle 50, dann alle 33, schließIich alle 25 Jahre begangen, um häufiger große Summen zu erhalten. Das erste "Heilige Jahr" (1300) brachte dem Papst 200000 Fremde und 15 Millionen Goldgulden. 1350 nahm der Vatikan 22 Millionen ein, man versteht also, warum nach den 33 Jahren "zum Andenken an die Lebensjahre" Jesu (wie es bei der zweiten Kürzung der Zeitspanne hieß), die nur 25jährige pause eingeführt wurde:"wegen der Kürze des menschlichen Lebens". Man sieht, selbst Jesus’ Martertod kann gut für Begründung der Geschäfte seines "Stellvertreters" sein. ("The Myth of the Twentieth Century") - Page 171 - 1930.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Alfred Rosenberg" (Sourced)
For what imaginable purpose was man made, if not to be "happy"? By victorious Analysis, and Progress of the Species, happiness enough now awaits him. Kings can become philosophers; or else philosophers Kings. Let but Society be once rightly constituted,—by victorious Analysis. The stomach that is empty shall be filled; the throat that is dry shall be wetted with wine. Labour itself shall be all one as rest; not grievous, but joyous Wheat-fields, one would think, cannot come to grow untilled; no man made clayey, or made weary thereby;—unless indeed machinery will do it? Gratuitous Tailors and Restaurateurs may start up, at fit intervals, one as yet sees not how. But if each will, according to rule of Benevolence, have a care for all, then surely—no one will be uncared for. Nay, who knows but by sufficiently victorious Analysis, "human life may be indefinitely lengthened," and men get rid of Death, as they have already done of the Devil? We shall then be happy in spite of Death and the Devil.
I should like to say two things. One intellectual and one moral. The intellectual thing I should want to say to them is this: "When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only: What are the facts, and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted, either by what you wish to believe, or what you think could have beneficent social effects if it were believed; but look only and solely at what are the facts." That is the intellectual thing that I should wish to say. The moral thing I should wish to say to them is very simple; I should say: "Love is wise – Hatred is foolish." In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other. We have to learn to put up with the fact, that some people say things we don't like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital, to the continuation of human life on this planet.
• Bertrand Russell, Response to the question "Suppose Lord Russell, this film were to be looked at by our descendants, like a dead sea scroll in a thousand years time. What would you think it's worth telling that generation about the life you've lived and the lessons you've learned from it?" in a BBC interview on "Face to Face" (1959).
• Source: Wikiquote: "Love" (R)
I should like to say two things. One intellectual and one moral. The intellectual thing I should want to say to them is this: "When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only: What are the facts, and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted, either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed; but look only and solely at what are the facts." That is the intellectual thing that I should wish to say. The moral thing I should wish to say to them is very simple; I should say: "Love is wise – Hatred is foolish." In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other. We have to learn to put up with the fact, that some people say things we don't like. We can only live together in that way. But if we are to live together, and not die together, we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital, to the continuation of human life on this planet.
Bertrand Russell
• Response to the question "Suppose Lord Russell, this film were to be looked at by our descendants, like a dead sea scroll in a thousand years time. What would you think it's worth telling that generation about the life you've lived and the lessons you've learned from it?" in a BBC interview on "Face to Face" (1959).
• Source: Wikiquote: "Bertrand Russell" (Quotes, 1950s)
Talent develops in tranquility, character in the full current of human life.
For crude classifications and false generalisations are the curse of all organised human life.
Human life without some form of poetry is not human life but animal existence.
Randall Jarrell
• "The Obscurity of the Poet", p. 22
• Source: Wikiquote: "Randall Jarrell" (Quotes, Poetry and the Age (1953): A book of essays; pagination conforms to the Vintage paperback (1955) )
Nothing but the infinite Pity is sufficient for the infinite pathos of human life.
Of earthly goods, the best is a good wife; A bad, the bitterest curse of human life.
• Simonides.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Wives" (Quotes, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 868-71.)
Passivity, like the passivity of India induced by religion, is destructive both to human life and to art.
We must rid ourselves once and for all of the Quaker-Papist babble about the sanctity of human life.
The form most contradictory to human life that can appear among the human species is the "self-satisfied man."
What is Anarchism? It is logical human liberty. It is the ideal of human life without a master.
Politics is the activity by which the framework of human life is sustained; it is not life itself.
Kenneth Minogue
• Foreword
• Source: Wikiquote: "Kenneth Minogue" (Quotes, Politics: A Very Short Introduction: Politics: A Very Short Introduction (c. 1995), Minogue, Oxford University Press (reprint 2000), ISBN 0192853880)
To make a happy fireside clime To weans and wife,— That is the true pathos and sublime Of human life.
Robert Burns
Epistle to Dr. Blacklock.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Robert Burns" (Quotes, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919): John R. Bartlett)
Longevity and short life, suffering and happiness - all aspects of human life depend on modesty in food and drink."
Namboku Mizuno
• introduction, p. 20
• Source: Wikiquote: "Namboku Mizuno" (Sourced, Food governs your destiny: translated by Michio and Avelyn Kushi and Alex Jack in 1991)
Longevity and short life, suffering and happiness — all aspects of human life depend on modesty in food and drink.
Military cemeteries in every corner of the world are silent testimony to the failure of national leaders to sanctify human life.
In the great flood of human life that is spawned upon the earth, it is not often that a man is born.
In the nature of things, I must soon lose sight of this sense of constant metamorphosis whose limits bound our human life.
Realm of parables cover: The Spiritual Realm, Natural Phenomena, Animate Nature, and Human Life (aspects of physical, domestic, pastoral, commercial, civil, social and religious).
The impact of space activities is nothing less than the galvanizing of hope and imagination for human life continuum into a future of infinite possibility.
• Vanna Bonta, The Impact of Space Activities Upon Society (ESA Br) European Space Agency (2005)
• Source: Wikiquote: "Space" (Quotes)
Genius is a will-o'-the-wisp if it lacks a solid foundation of perseverence and fanatical tenacity. This is the most important thing in all of human life...
Adolf Hitler
• quoted by Richard Overy in How the Allies Won (1995)
• citing P.E. Schramm, Hitler: The Man and the Military Leader (1972).
• Source: Wikiquote: "Adolf Hitler" (Quotes, Other remarks)
Every leader, and every regime, and every movement, and every organization that steps across the line to terrorism must be banished from the discourse of civilized human life.
Character, courage, industry and perseverance are the four pillars on which the whole edifice of human life can be built and failure is a word unknown to me.
Nothing is far and nothing is near, if one desires. The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing — desire.
It is beyond dispute that the state exercises very great power over human life and it always shows a tendency to go beyond the limits laid down for it.
Each man has in him the potential to realize the truth through his own will and endeavour and to help others to realize it. Human life therefore is infinitely precious.
Without effort and change, human life cannot remain good. It is not a finished Utopia that we ought to desire, but a world where imagination and hope are alive and active.
There is a strong religious commitment to the sanctity of human life, but, paradoxically, some of the most fervent protectors of microscopic stem cells are the most ardent proponents of the death penalty.
I'd say that it's one short step from 'Wizards first' to 'Purebloods first,' and then to 'Death Eaters'. 'We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.'
It is because human needs are contradictory that no human life can be perfect. That does not mean that human life is imperfect. It means that the idea of perfection has no meaning.
This was Shakespeare's form; Who walked in every path of human life, Felt every passion; and to all mankind Doth now, will ever, that experience yield Which his own genius only could acquire.
About William Shakespeare
• Mark Akenside, Inscription, IV.
• Source: Wikiquote: "William Shakespeare" (Quotes about Shakespeare: Alphabetized by author, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 700-02.)
In human life, you will find players of religion until the knowledge and proficiency in religion will be cleansed from all superstitions, and will be purified and perfected by the enlightenment of real science.
It would be frightening to think that in all the cosmos, which is so harmonious, so complete and equal to itself, that only human life is happening randomly, that only one's destiny lacks meaning.
Mircea Eliade
• Attributed in The Little Book of Romanian Wisdom (2011) edited by Diana Doroftei and Matthew Cross.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Mircea Eliade" (Quotes)
Moral philosophy is very largely a branch of fiction. Despite this, a philosopher has yet to write a great novel. The fact should not be surprising. In philosophy the truth about human life is of no interest.
John Gray (philosopher)
• The Vices of Morality: Immoral Amorality (p. 109)
• Source: Wikiquote: "John Gray (philosopher)" (Sourced, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (2002): Granta Books, 2003, ISBN 1-862-07596-4. 246 pages.)
Each day of human life contains joy and anger, pain and pleasure, darkness and light, growth and decay. Each moment is etched with nature’s grand design—do not try to deny or oppose the cosmic order of things.
The Sanskrit term kama also refers to one of the four proper aims of human life—pleasure and love. A classic textbook on erotic love and human pleasure, the Kama-sutra (5th century CE), is attributed to the sage Vatsyayana.
When the record of any human life is set down, there are three pairs of eyes who see it in a different light. There is the life as I see it. as others see it, and as God sees it.
Fulton J. Sheen
Treasure in Clay: the Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen, (New York, NY: Image Books/Doubleday, 1980).
• Source: Wikiquote: "Fulton J. Sheen" (Sourced)
When all is done, human life is, at the greatest, and the best, but like a froward child, that must be played with and humored a little to keep it quiet till it falls asleep, and then the care is over.
Ah! what is human life? How, like the dial's tardy-moving shade, Day after day slides from us unperceiv'd! The cunning fugitive is swift by stealth; Too subtle is the movement to be seen; Yet soon the hour is up—and we are gone.
The fairest action of our human life
Is scorning to revenge an injury
For who forgives without a further strife,
His adversary's heart to him doth tie:
And 'tis a firmer conquest, truly said,
To win the heart than overthrow the head.
• Lady Elizabeth Carew, chorus from "Maxiam".
• Source: Wikiquote: "Forgiveness" (Quotes, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 288-89.)
I believe the family is the foundation of America -- and that we must fight to protect and strengthen it. I believe in the sanctity of human life. I believe that people and their elected representatives should make our laws, not unelected judges.
Bella's sacrifice is a heavy price, and we will all recognize that. It is against everything we stand for to take a human life. Making an exception to that code is a bleak thing. We will all mourn for what we do tonight.
Breaking Dawn
• Sam Uley to the werewolf pack, p. 202
• Source: Wikiquote: "Breaking Dawn" (Book Two — Jacob, 10. Why Didn't I Just Walk Away? Oh Right, Because I'm an Idiot.)
I was in that ultimate moment of terror that is the beginning of life. It is nothing. Simple, hideous nothing. The final truth of all things is that there is no final Truth. Truth is what's transitory. It's human life that is real.
She said that all the history of human life has been a struggle between wisdom and stupidity. She and the rebel angels, the followers of wisdom, have always tried to open minds; the Authority and his churches have always tried to keep them closed.
Every human life involves an unfathomable mystery, for man is the riddle of the universe, and the riddle of man is his endowment with personal capacities. The stars are not so strange as the mind that studies them, analyzes their light, and measures their distances.
Alas! it is not till Time, with reckless hand, has torn out half the leaves from the Book of Human Life to light the fires of human passion with, from day to day, that man begins to see that the leaves which remain are few in number.
• Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion (1839), Book IV, Chapter VIII
• Source: Wikiquote: "Time" (Z, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 792-801.)
Those who try to make room for sex as mere casual enjoyment pay the penalty: they become shallow. At any rate the talk that reflects and commends this attitude is always shallow. They dishonour their own bodies; holding cheap what is naturally connected with the origination of human life.
Consider a person firmly wedged into a subsidiary, and only one, cancel the complex interweaving of multiple groups and multiple loyalty by replacing the full richness of human life circumscribed by a formula that insists that every person is "located" only in a single compartment staff. (Chapter II: p. 23)
Human life is basically a comedy. Even its tragedies often seem comic to the spectator, and not infrequently they actually have comic touches to the victim. Happiness probably consists largely in the capacity to detect and relish them. A man who can laugh, if only at himself, is never really miserable.
The attacks of September 11 were intended to break our spirit, instead we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than every to live our lives in freedom
I also think living in the country gives you faith. All you have to do is get up and look at the mountains and look at the other animals to realize that your problems are mostly made up or exacerbated by humans. But human life isn't necessarily life. There's so much more out there.
This is Heaven, when pain and evil cease, and when the Benignant Principle, untrammelled and uncontrolled, visits in the fulness of its power the universal frame of things. Human life, with all its unreal ills and transitory hopes, is as a dream, which departs before the dawn, leaving no trace of its evanescent lines.
Why do not words, and kiss, and solemn pledge, And nature that is kind in woman's breast, And reason that in man is wise and good, And fear of Him who is a righteous Judge,— Why do not these prevail for human life, To keep two hearts together, that began Their spring-time with one love.
• William Wordsworth, Excursion, Book VI.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Marriage" (Quotes, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 495-500.)
Nature offers simply the germs which education is to develop and perfect. The peculiarity of truly human life is that man has to create himself by his own voluntary efforts; he has to make himself a truly moral, rational, and free being. This creative effort is carried on by the educational activities of slow generations.
In order to correctly define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and consider it as one of the conditions of human life. ...Reflecting on it in this way, we cannot fail to observe that art is one of the means of affective communication between people.
In order to correctly define art, it is necessary, first of all, to cease to consider it as a means to pleasure and consider it as one of the conditions of human life. ...Reflecting on it in this way, we cannot fail to observe that art is one of the means of effective communication between people.
What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life. Good and Evil
Time is the most precious gift in our possession, for it is the most irrevocable. This is what makes it so disturbing to look back upon the time which we have lost. Time lost is time when we have not lived a full human life, time unenriched by experience, creative endeavor, enjoyment, and suffering. Time lost is time not filled, time left empty.
Today, the picture is more black. War would riot only mean a threat to our independence, it may mean the end of civilisation and even of human life. There is a force loose in the world whose potentiality for evil no man truly knows. Even in practice and rehearsal for war the effects may well be building up into something of unknown horror.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Sukarno" (Speech at the Opening of the Bandung Conference: Selected Documents: Some Aspects Concerning Progress & Principles of the Indonesian Revolution, Book 1, p. 14, April 18 1955)
In regard to man’s final end, all the higher religions are in complete agreement. The purpose of human life is the discovery of Truth, the unitive knowledge of the Godhead. The degree to which this unitive knowledge is achieved here on earth determines the degree to which it will be enjoyed in the posthumous state. Contemplation of truth is the end, action the means.
Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends. And whoever has sole control of the means must also determine which ends are to be served, which values are to be rated higher and which lower, in short, what men should believe and strive for.
For Immanuel Kant, the term anthropology embraced all the human sciences, and laid the foundation of familiar knowledge we need, to build solidly grounded ideas about the moral and political demands of human life. Margaret Mead saw mid-twentieth-century anthropology as engaged in a project no less ambitious than Kant's own, and her Terry Lectures on Continuities in Cultural Evolution provide an excellent point to enter into her reflections.
Margaret Mead
• p. xii
• Source: Wikiquote: "Margaret Mead" (Quotes, 1960s, Continuities in Cultural Evolution, 1964: Source: Margaret Mead (1964) Continuities in Cultural Evolution.)
The outer ring of Christianity is a rigid guard of ethical abnegations and professional priests; but inside that inhuman guard you will find the old human life dancing like children, and drinking wine like men; for Christianity is the only frame for pagan freedom. But in the modern philosophy the case is opposite; it is its outer ring that is obviously artistic and emancipated; its despair is within.
In its broad sense, civilization means not only comfort in daily necessities but also the refining of knowledge and the cultivation of virtue so as to elevate human life to a higher plane... It refers to the attainment of both material well-being and the elevation of the human spirit, [but] since what produces man’s well-being and refinement is knowledge and virtue, civilization ultimately means the progress of man’s knowledge and virtue.
As long as we are not actually destroyed, we can work to gain greater understanding of other peoples and to try to present to the peoples of the world the values of our own beliefs. We can do this by demonstrating our conviction that human life is worth preserving and that we are willing to help others to enjoy benefits of our civilization just as we have enjoyed it. (20 December 1961)
The moonlight flooded that great, silent land. The reaped fields lay yellow in it. The straw stacks and poplar windbreaks threw sharp black shadows. The roads were white rivers of dust. The sky was a deep, crystalline blue, and the stars were few and faint. Everything seemed to have succumbed, to have sunk to sleep, under the great, golden, tender, midsummer moon. The splendour of it seemed to transcend human life and human fate.
Because we cannot discover God's throne in the sky with a radiotelescope or establish (for certain) that a beloved father or mother is still about in a more or less corporeal form, people assume that such ideas are "not true." I would rather say that they are not "true" enough, for these are conceptions of a kind that have accompanied human life from prehistoric times, and that still break through into consciousness at any provocation.
The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their "vital interests" are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the "sanctity" of human life, or the "conscience" of the civilized world.
James Baldwin
• From chapter one of The Devil Finds Work (orig. pub. 1976), reprinted in The Price of the Ticket: Collected Nonfiction, 1948-1985
• Source: Wikiquote: "James Baldwin" (Quotes)
Man, therefore, according to the Vedanta philosophy, is the greatest being that is in the universe, and this world of work the best place in it, because only herein is the greatest and the best chance for him to become perfect. Angels or gods, whatever you may call them, have all to become men, if they want to become perfect. This is the great centre, the wonderful poise, and the wonderful opportunity — this human life.
I must tell you that in this moment all doubt as to my attested worth went out of me, who had redeemed a kingdom, and begotten a king, and created a god. So you waste time, my friend, in trying to convince me of all human life's failure and unimportance, for I am not in sympathy with this modern morbid pessimistic way of talking. It has a very ill sound, and nothing whatever is to be gained by it.
The karma principle can be explained easily with the help of the lotus. The flower signifies human life as being governed by cause and effect. Every cause produces an imprint leading to an effect that can be experienced during the doer's lifetime or in his future life....Any person who dedicates all his karma to the Supreme, and carries them out without clinging to the result, remains unblemished by karmas just as the lotus is untouched and undrenched by water.
A time will come when the picture will no longer be enough. Its immobility will become an archaism with the vertiginous movement of human life. The eye of man will perceive colours as feelings within itself. Multiplied colours will not need form to be understood and paintings will be swirling musical compositions of great coloured gases, which, on the scene of a free horizon, will move and electrify the complex soul of a crowd that we cannot yet conceive of.
Umberto Boccioni
• In: his lecture at the Associazione Artistica Internationale, Rome May 1911; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008, p. 55.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Umberto Boccioni" (Quotes, the lecture 'La Pittura Futurista', 1911: Boccioni, in his lecture 'La Pittura Futurista' in Rome, May 1911; as quoted in Futurism, ed. By Didier Ottinger; Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, Milan, 2008.)
Knowledge of the truth I may perhaps have attained to; happiness certainly not. What shall I do? Accomplish something in the world, men tell me. Shall I then publish my grief to the world, contribute one more proof for the wretchedness and misery of existence, perhaps discover a new flaw in human life, hitherto unnoticed? I might then reap the rare reward of becoming famous, like the man who discovered the spots on Jupiter. I prefer, however, to keep silent.
• Soren Kierkegaard Either/Or Part I, Swenson p. 34, 1843.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Knowledge" (Quotes, modern history, 19th century)
What a power has Death to awe and hush the voices of this earth! How mute we stand when that presence confronts us, and we look upon the silence he has wrought in a human life! We can only gaze, and bow our heads, and creep with our broken, stammering utterances under the shelter of some great word which God has spoken, and in which we see through the history of human sorrow the outstretching and overshadowing of the eternal arms.
• Walton W. Battershall, p. 174.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Death" (Quotes: Alphabetized by author or source , Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895): Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).)
When Hobbes referred to the dire state of human beings in having ‘nasty, brutish and short’ lives, he also pointed, in the same sentence, to the disturbing adversity of being ‘solitary’. Escape from isolation may not only be important for the quality of human life, it can also contribute powerfully to understanding and responding to the other deprivations from which human beings suffer. There is surely a basic strength here which is complementary to the engagement in which theories of justice are involved.
This passion for form is a way of trying to find and constitute meaning in life. And this is what genuine creativity is. Imagination, broadly defined, seems to me to be a principle in human life underlying even reason, for the rational functions, according to our definitions, can lead to understanding — can participate in the constituting of reality — only as they are creative. Creativity is thus involved in our every experience as we try to make meaning in our self-world relationship.
It is of course not sufficient to appeal to the authority of Marx, Hegel, or any of their contemporaries follower to establish the validity of the direction of History. In the century and a half since they wrote, their intellectual legacy has been relentlessly assaulted from all directions. The most profound thinkers of the twentieth century have directly attacked the idea that history is a coherent of intelligible process; indeed, they have denied the possibility that any aspect of human life is philosophically intelligible.
God's irony: that in order to fight and defeat the threat of terrorism, we shall have to be clear about the principle of justice that allows us to understand what is evil in terrorism. And that principle of justice is the claim of justice that is inherent in every innocent human life. But if that claim was there in the Twin Towers, if it was there on the airplanes that those terrorists attacked, you explain to me why it is not there in the womb!
Spirituality is much wider than any particular religion, and in the larger ideas of it that are now coming on us even the greatest religion becomes no more than a broad sect or branch of the one universal religion, by which we shall understand in the future man's seeking for the eternal, the divine, the greater self, the source of unity and his attempt to arrive at some equation, some increasing approximation of the values of human life with the eternal and the divine values.
We are all murderers and prostitutes — no matter to what culture, society, class, nation, we belong, no matter how normal, moral, or mature we take ourselves to be.
Humanity is estranged from its authentic possibilities.
This basic vision prevents us from taking any unequivocal view of the sanity of common sense, or of the madness of the so-called madman. … Our alientation goes to the roots. The realisation of this is the essential springboard for any serious reflection on any aspect of present inter-human life.
Every human being is tried this way in the active service of expectancy. Now comes the fulfillment and relieves him, but soon he is again placed on reconnaissance for expectancy; then he is again relieved, but as long as there is any future for him, he has not yet finished his service. And while human life goes on this way in very diverse expectancy, expecting very different things according to different times and occasions and in different frames of mind, all life is again one nightwatch of expectancy.
Søren Kierkegaard
Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses: "Patience in Expectancy" (1844)
• Source: Wikiquote: "Søren Kierkegaard" (Quotes: Quotes are arranged in chronological order, 1840s, Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses)
We are indomitable in our power of independent action and can in no circumstances consent to live in a world governed by intrigue and force. We believe that our own desire for a new international order under which reason and justice and the common interests of mankind shall prevail is the desire of enlightened men everywhere. Without that new order the world will be without peace and human life will lack tolerable conditions of existence and development. Having set our hand to the task of achieving it, we shall not turn back.
It is not only possible to say a great deal in praise of play; it is really possible to say the highest things in praise of it. It might reasonably be maintained that the true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground. To be at last in such secure innocence that one can juggle with the universe and the stars, to be so good that one can treat everything as a joke — that may be, perhaps, the real end and final holiday of human souls.
Revolution is indeed a violent process. But if it is to result only in a change of dictatorship, in a shifting of names and political personalities, then it is hardly worth while. It is surely not worth all the struggle and sacrifice, the stupendous loss in human life and cultural values that result from every revolution. If such a revolution were even to bring greater social well being (which has not been the case in Russia) then it would also not be worth the terrific price paid: mere improvement can be brought about without bloody revolution.
I acknowledge, that, in the present order of things, virtue is attended with more peace of mind than vice, and meets with a more favorable reception from the world. I am sensible, that, according to the past experience of mankind, friendship is the chief joy of human life, and moderation the only source of tranquility and happiness. I never balance between the virtuous and the vicious course of life; but am sensible, that, to a well-disposed mind, every advantage is on the side of the former. And what can you say more, allowing all your suppositions and reasonings?
It is, in fact, the essence of technique to compel the qualitative to become quantitative, and in this way to force every stage of human activity and man himself to submit to its mathematical calculations. Ellul gives examples of this at every level. Thus, technique forces all sociological phenomena to submit to the clock, for Ellul the most characteristic of all modern technical instruments. The substitution of the tempus mortuum of the mechanical clock for the biological and psychological time "natural" to man is in itself sufficient to suppress all the traditional rhythms of human life in favor of the mechanical.
About Jacques Ellul
• John Wilkinson, in the translator's introduction to The Technological Society (1964), p. xvi
• Source: Wikiquote: "Jacques Ellul" (Quotes about Ellul)
The ceremonial inferiority or uncleanness in consumable goods due to "commonness," or... slight cost of production, has been taken very seriously by many persons. The objection to machine products is often formulated as an objection to the commonness of such goods. What is common is within the (pecuniary) reach of many people. Its consumption is therefore not honorific, since it does not serve the purpose of a favorable invidious comparison with other consumers. Hence... the sight of such goods, is inseparable from an odious suggestion of the lower levels of human life... a pervading sense of meanness that is extremely distasteful and depressing.
Quite aware that the criteria of value in mathematical work are, to some extent, purely aesthetic, he once expressed an apprehension that the values put on abstract scientific achievement in our present civilization might diminish: "The interests of humanity might change, the present curiosities in science may cease, and entirely different things may occupy the human mind in the future." One conversation centered on the ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.
Quite aware that the criteria of value in mathematical work are, to some extent, purely aesthetic, he [von Neumann] once expressed an apprehension that the values put on abstract scientific achievement in out present civilization might diminish: "The interests of humanity might change, the present curiosities in science may cease, and entirely different things may occupy the human mind in the future." One conversation centered on the ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.
Up till now human life has generally been, as Hobbes described it, "nasty, brutish and short"; the great majority of human beings (if they have not already died young) have been afflicted with misery in one form or another — poverty, disease, ill-health, over-work, cruelty, or oppression. They have attempted to lighten their misery by means of their hopes and their ideals. The trouble has been that the hopes have generally been unjustified, the ideals have generally failed to correspond with reality. The zestful but scientific exploration of possibilities and of the techniques for realizing them will make our hopes rational, and will set our ideals within the framework of reality, by showing how much of them are indeed realizable.
The legacy of the Greeks is under assault today thus deserves defence and celebration for the simple reason that much of what we are is the result of that brilliant examination of human life first begun by the Greeks: as Jacob Burckhardt says, "We see with the eyes of the Greeks and use their phrases when we speak." We must listen to the Greeks not because they will give us answers, but because they first identified the questions and problems, and they knew too where the answers must come from: the minds of free human beings who have control over their own lives. And this, finally, is the greatest good we have received from the Greeks: the gift of freedom.
While the war was still in progress, I was visited by a sudden feeling of the cruel and unnecessary character of the contest. It seemed to me a return to barbarism, the issue having been one which might easily have been settled without bloodshed. The question forced itself upon me, "Why do not the mothers of mankind interfere in these matters, to prevent the waste of that human life of which they alone bear and know the cost?" I had never thought of this before. The august dignity of motherhood and its terrible responsibilities now appeared to me in a new aspect, and I could think of no better way of expressing my sense of these than that of sending forth an appeal to womanhood throughout the world, which I then and there composed.
The Translator has ventured to entitle a "Lay of the Higher Law" the following composition, which aims at being in advance of its time; and he has not feared the danger of collision with such unpleasant forms as the "Higher Culture." The principles which justify the name are as follows: —The Author asserts that Happiness and Misery are equally divided and distributed in the world.He makes Self-cultivation, with due regard to others, the sole and sufficient object of human life.He suggests that the affections, the sympathies, and the "divine gift of Pity" are man's highest enjoyments.He advocates suspension of judgment, with a proper suspicion of "Facts, the idlest of superstitions."Finally, although destructive to appearance, he is essentially reconstructive.For other details concerning the Poem and the Poet, the curious reader is referred to the end of the volume.
" No human being can give an eternal resolution to another or take it from him; If someone objects to that then one might just as well be silent if there is no probability of winning others, he thereby has merely shown that although his life very likely thrived and prospered in probability and everyone of his undertakings in the service of probability went forward, he has never really ventured and consequently has never had or given himself the opportunity to consider that probability is an illusion, but to venture the truth is what gives human life and the human situation pith and meaning, to venture is the fountainhead of inspiration, whereas probability is the sworn enemy of enthusiasm, the mirage whereby the sensate person drags out time and keeps the eternal away, whereby he cheats God, himself, and his generation: cheats God of the honor, himself of liberating annihilation, and his generation of the equality of conditions."
Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
Four Upbuilding Discourses (31 August 1844) in Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses p. 382
• Source: Wikiquote: "Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1844" (Quotes: As translated in Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Soren Kierkegaard 1843-1844 (1990) by Howard V. Hong, One Who Prays Aright Struggles in Prayer and Is Victorious—in That God Is Victorious)
[W]e prefer not to countenance the kinds of sacrifices the professional-grade athlete has made to get so good at one particular thing. . . . We prefer not to consider the shockingly vapid and primitive comments uttered by athletes in postcontest interviews, or to imagine what impoverishments in one's mental life would allow people actually to think in the simplistic way great athletes seem to think. Note the way "up-close and personal profiles" of professional athletes strain so hard to find evidence of rounded human life—outside interests and activities, charities, values beyond the sport. We ignore what's obvious, that most of this straining is farce. It's farce because the realities of top-level athletics today require an early and total commitment to one pursuit. An almost ascetic focus. A subsumption of almost all other features of human life to their one chosen talent and pursuit. A consent to life in a world that, like a child's world, is very serious and very small.
David Foster Wallace
Tennis Player Michael Joyce's Professional Artistry as a Paradigm of Certain Stuff about Choice, Freedom, Discipline, Joy, Grotesquerie, and Human Completeness
• Source: Wikiquote: "David Foster Wallace" (Essays)
Often the other side of the coin of intolerance is insecurity. Insecure people tend to be intolerant, and their intolerance unleashes forces that threaten the security of others. And where there is no security there can be no lasting peace. In its "Human Development Report" for last year the UNDP noted that human security "is not a concern with weapons -- it is a concern with human life and dignity." The struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma is a struggle for life and dignity. It is a struggle that encompasses our political, social and economic aspirations. The people of my country want the two freedoms that spell security: freedom from want and freedom from fear. It is want that has driven so many of our young girls across our borders to a life of sexual slavery where they are subject to constant humiliation and ill-treatment. It is fear of persecution for their political beliefs that has made so many of our people feel that even in their own homes they cannot live in dignity and security.
"You fought for the knife?"
"Yes, but — "
"Then you're a warrior. That's what you are. Argue with anything else, but don't argue with your own nature."
Will knew that the man was speaking the truth. But it wasn't a welcome truth. It was heavy and painful. The man seemed to know that, because he let Will bow his head before he spoke again.
"There are two great powers," the man said, "and they've been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit."
"And now those two powers are lining up for battle. And each of them wants that knife of yours more than anything else. You have to choose, boy. We've been guided here, both of us — you with the knife, and me to tell you about it."
What is human life but a game of cricket?
Of all the affections which attend human life, the love of glory is the most ardent.
A callous disregard for the claims of innocent human life is the heart and soul of the evil of terrorism.
Men are alive on this earth, only because the imperative human desire is to attack the enemies of human life. -viii.
We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life — the unborn — without diminishing the value of all human life.
Central to America's rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition with the vision of the goodness and possibilities of every human life.
There is clearly a sacred dimension to our existence, and coming to terms with it could well be the highest purpose of human life.
Depend upon it, my younger brethren, the bright, self-sacrificing enthusiasms of early manhood are among the most precious things in the whole course of human life.
Henry Liddon
• P. 209.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Henry Liddon" (Sourced, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895): Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).)
‘Do not burden yourself with problems that you do not understand,’ he said. ‘If you do, then only the problems win. Human life becomes a tragedy.’
Believe in no triumph which is won by the deadening of human faculty or the dwarfing of human life. Strive for truth and love, not for victory.
Human life is like that clay on the wheel. If there is too much of any one thing, life will be out of balance; it will fall.
• Robert Fulghum, in “A Physician's Guide to Coping with Death and Dying” p. 221.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Balance" (F)
I used to work in this building for years and on returning here I intend to do everything possible to secure normal human life for the Armenian people.
I paced the floor, knowing that all I possessed were words and dim knowledge that my country had shown me no examples of how to live a human life.
Faith is a marvel, and yet no human being is excluded from it; for that which unites all human life is passion, and faith is a passion. p. 67
it will never be outmoded as long as the systole and diastole of human life survives, and men fluctuate between progress and reaction, growth and decline, hope and illusion.
Poetry interprets the chaos of human life and tries to bestow meaning on it. Without imagination there could be no poetry; and imagination chained by ideology produces only propaganda.
For an earth-bound soul, the Gita can fruitfully reconcile the dark problems of human life. For a Heaven-seeking soul, the Gita can awaken a new consciousness of ever-increasing Bliss.
We must free ourselves from the sacralization of the social as the only reality and stop regarding as superfluous something so essential in human life and human relations as thought.
• Michel Foucault, “Practicing criticism, or, is it really important to think?”, interview by Didier Eribon, May 30-31, 1981, in Politics, Philosophy, Culture, ed. L. Kriztman (1988), p. 155
• Source: Wikiquote: "Thought" (F)
The moral of human life is never simple, and the moral of a story which aims only at being true to human life cannot be expected to be any more so.
Islam is a complete, self-contained ideology which regards all aspects of our existence—moral and physical, spiritual and intellectual, personal and communal—as parts of the indivisible whole which we call "human life."
Muhammad Asad
• Chapter 6: Conclusion, p 95
• Source: Wikiquote: "Muhammad Asad" (Quotes, The Principles of State and Government in Islam (1961): Page numbers refer to the 1961 edition published by Islamic Book Trust)
Our reason tells us that a community based on ideas held in common is a far more advanced manifestation of human life than a community resulting from race or language or geographical location.
Muhammad Asad
• Chapter 6: Conclusion, p 96
• Source: Wikiquote: "Muhammad Asad" (Quotes, The Principles of State and Government in Islam (1961): Page numbers refer to the 1961 edition published by Islamic Book Trust)
It is justice, not love, that will one day give life to the children of the future. The battle for justice is the one thing which gives human life rational meaning. - Örn Úlfar
New shoots, old roots make a tree look beautiful New approaches and old principles give us true Dharma Sayings of sages and findings of scientists come together Human life is then truly splendid –Mankuthimma.
Human life suffers steep inclines on the way through the world. If you don’t keep “endurance” was your watchword as go along, how will you tolerate the thorny undergrowth and the pits and ditches.
I hope, that in our archives and historical filings of the future, we do not allow the techie traditions of hierarchy and false regularity to be superimposed to the teeming, fantastic disorderlyness of human life.
Education is a set of analogies to a genuinely human existence, of which the arts are the model. Merely human life is of course a demonic analogy or parody of genuinely human life. (p. 149)
Northrop Frye
• Source: Wikiquote: "Northrop Frye" (Quotes, Notebooks and Lectures on the Bible and Other Religious Texts (2003): Edited by Robert D. Denham)
Moksha, the fourth purushartha, stands for the spiritual principle and is a state of bliss. It marks the consummation of the process of our moral development and is therefore the ultimate goal of human life.
And see the rivers how they run Through woods and meads, in shade and sun, Sometimes swift, sometimes slow,— Wave succeeding wave, they go A various journey to the deep, Like human life to endless sleep!
As touching the gods, I do not know whether they exist or not, nor how they are featured; for there is much to prevent our knowing: the obscurity of the subject and the brevity of human life.
Our minds are finite, and yet even in these circumstances of finitude we are surrounded by possibilities that are infinite, and the purpose of human life is to grasp as much as we can out of the infinitude.
Alfred North Whitehead
• Ch. 21, June 28, 1941.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Alfred North Whitehead" (Quotes, Attributed from Attributed from posthumous publications, Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead (1954): Lucien Price (1954). Dialogues of Alfred North Whitehead)
As a brave man goes into fire or flood or pestilence to save a human life, so a generous mind follows after truth and love, and is not frightened from the pursuit by danger or toil or obloquy.
The facts, indeed, connected with this gloomy department of statistics show that the most valuable period of human life—that in which a man is producing more than he is consuming—is that which provides the greatest number of victims.
Beauty, which is what is meant by art, using the word in its widest sense, is, I contend, no mere accident to human life, which people can take or leave as they choose, but a positive necessity of life.
I have great respect for human life. My decision to take human life at the Murrah Building – I did not do it for personal gain. I ease my mind in that... I did it for the larger good.
One has got to choose between the two evils, also between the lesser of the two evils in the matter of food, and therefore vegetarian food has got to be taken by man in order to sustain human life
Custom... is the great guide of human life. It is that principle alone which renders our experience useful to us, and makes us expect, for the future, a similar train of events with those which have appeared in the past.
The judgment that human life is worth living, or rather can and ought to be made worth living, … underlies all intellectual effort; it is the a priori of social theory, and its rejection (which is perfectly logical) rejects theory itself.
To tell the history of debt, then, is also necessarily to reconstruct how the language of the marketplace has come to pervade every aspect of human life—even to provide the terminology for the moral and religious voices ostensibly raised against it.
A human life is defined by its relationship with others: by its duty to its species. In the face of this duty, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are meaningless. What you call individual rights are merely the cultural fantasy of a failed civilization.
The field of mechanical engineering is frankly as old as human life itself. Fire, the wheel, the printing press, and many of the life- changing discoveries and inventions of the past few centuries are simply applications of mechanical engineering in order to solve everyday problems.
Mechanical engineering
• ‎Dr. Vook Ph.D and Charles River Editors (2011) Mechanical Engineering 101: The TextVook
• Source: Wikiquote: "Mechanical engineering" (Quotes: Quotes are arranged in chronological order, 21th century)
What is the end of human life? It is not, believe me, the chief end of man that he should make a fortune and beget children whose end is likewise to make a fortune, but it is, in few words, that he should explore himself.
We physicians who shepherd human life from birth to death have a moral imperative to resist with all our being the drift toward the brink. The threatened inhabitants on this fragile planet must speak out for those yet unborn, for posterity has no lobby with politicians.
The heart is like an instrument whose strings Steal nobler music from Life's many frets: The golden threads are spun thro' Suffering's fire, Wherewith the marriage-robes for heaven are woven: And all the rarest hues of human life Take radiance, and are rainbow'd out in tears.
He [the Pyrrhonian] must acknowledge... that all human life must perish, were his principles universally and steadily to prevail. All discourse, all action would immediately cease; and men remain in a total lethargy, till the necessities of nature, unsatisfied, put an end to their miserable existence.
The difference between a parable and an apologue is, that the former, being drawn from human life, requires probability in the narration, whereas the apologue, being taken from inanimate things or the inferior animals, is not confined strictly to probability. The fables of Æsop are apologues.
It really is of importance, not only what men do, but also what manner of men they are that do it. Among the works of man, which human life is rightly employed in perfecting and beautifying, the first in importance surely is man himself. (p. 73)
Although science is well qualified to make us progressively comprehend something of the world around us and of the life within us, it is neither able nor called upon to pronounce a judgment regarding the spiritual goal of human life and thus to provide us with ethical guidance.
Muhammad Asad
• Chapter: Answers of Islam, Answer to Question # 3, p 142
• Source: Wikiquote: "Muhammad Asad" (Quotes, This Law of Ours and Other Essays (1987): Page numbers refer to 2001 edition published by Islamic Book Trust, Kuala Lumpur)
Optimism draws its strength from what it perceives as the underlying themes of human life rather than from the incidental if frequent and hateful discords of particular notes—from the depth and persistence of dreams compared with the sheer meaninglessness of the miscellaneous evils which may mark our daily experience.
The impulsive desire to save human life when in peril is one of the most beneficial instincts of humanity, and is nowhere more salutary in its results than in bringing help to those who, exposed to destruction from the fury of winds and waves, would perish if left without assistance.
• , Scaramanga v. Stamp (1880), L. R. 5 Com. PI. Div. 304.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Ships" (Quotes, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904): Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 223.)
The reason of this international repute of Ramayana is based on its propagation of an ideal for individual, social, political and cultural values of human life. It teaches religion, ethics and morality. It serves as a source of inspiration for creative art. It inspires one and all to a noble life.
The term "history" can refer to a variety of things. "History" can refer simply to the flow of events in the past that are perceived to have had some sort of ongoing significance. It is taken for granted that not everything that happens in a human life is of "historic" significance.
The most important, the most fundamental and the deepest investigations are those that affect human life and activities most profoundly. Only those scientists who have laboured, not with the aim of producing this or that, but with the sole desire to advance knowledge ultimately prove to be the greatest benefactors of humanity.
Cross and resurrection, suffering and the overcoming of death were central themes in Dietrich Bonhoeffer's exegetical and theological work. Again and again during his lifetime … he focused on these themes, trying to disclose their relevance for human life and actions, and to answer the question regarding just what Christian life really is.
To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.
From the days of the Greek philosophers to the present, a degree of leisure and of exemption from contact with such industrial processes as serve the immediate everyday purposes of human life has ever been recognized by thoughtful men as a prerequisite to a worthy or beautiful, or even a blameless, human life.
Need a... a minute. She could've killed me. [Giles: No, she couldn't. Never. And sooner or later Glory will re-emerge, and... make Buffy pay for that mercy. And the world with her. Buffy even knows that... and still she couldn't take a human life. She's a hero, you see. She's not like us.] Us?
Last words in Buffy the Vampire Slayer media
• Who: Glorificus (Clare Kramer) / Ben Wilkinson (Charlie Weber)
• Source: Episode 5.22 "The Gift"
• Note: Glorificus and Ben share the same body, shifting between the appearance of the one who is in control at that moment. The first line is spoken by Glorificus as she is being attacked by Buffy, after which she transforms back into Ben. The last line is spoken by him. He is then asphyxiated by Giles, which kills them both.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Last words in Buffy the Vampire Slayer media" (TV series)
For anyone who grew up with Sunday school images of the Three Wise Men from the East arriving astride camels at the manger in Bethlehem, whatever uncertainties there may be of that story, at least one thing is clear: By then the camel in the service of human life was no longer an anachronism.
Christianity has found its triumphs and shown its fruits in every nation and tribe upon the globe; and its results have been in every case the same. Virtue, social order, prosperity, blessedness, the elevation and improvement, in all respects, of the human life, are the uniform and exclusive inheritance of those who receive the gospel.
I have sought it, finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is - at last what – I have found.
Our desire to conserve wildlife for our children and our children's children forces us to bring out into the open conservation's secret question : Does God give a prize for the maximum number of human beings? Put another way, which shall we bequeath to our grandchildren : human life with nature, or human life without nature?
Garrett Hardin
• Source: Wikiquote: "Garrett Hardin" (Quotes, Naked Emperors : Essays of a Taboo-Stalker (1982): Garrett Hardin. Naked Emperors : Essays of a Taboo-Stalker (1982))
As the party of Lincoln, we stand for freedom. We stand for the freedom of families and individuals to have good schools, good health care, and affordable housing and services. We stand for the freedom that comes with a good paying job in a growing economy. We stand for the freedom and dignity of every human life..
Experimental inference and reasoning concerning the actions of others enters so much into human life that no man, while awake, is ever a moment without employing it. Have we not reason, therefore, to affirm that all mankind have always agreed in the doctrine of necessity?... Nor have philosophers even entertained a different opinion and explication of it.
I wish to hearby announce that Wikipedia represents the highest, greatest, achievements of human life to date. I shall henceforth replace the phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread" with the phrase "the greatest thing since Wikipedia." That is so long as what it posts about me is accurate or at least inaccurately extremely flattering. (June 16, 2005)
Tragedy dramatizes human life as potentiality and fulfillment. Its virtual future, or Destiny, is therefore quite different from that created in comedy. Comic Destiny is Fortune—what the world will bring, and the man will take or miss, encounter or escape; tragic Destiny is what the man brings, and the world will demand of him. That is his Fate.
...the dark emotions hiding in very human life, whereas in association with others one easily forgets, so easily evades this, is easily stopped in so many ways get the opportunity to begin afresh - thought alone, conceived with due deference, could, I believe, chastise many a man in our day who believes he has already attained the highest.
As Jung worked with patients from all over the world, he began to study the mythologies of different peoples... Folklore and mythology... appeared as the collective dreams of a people, expressing for the group what poetic imagination, phantasies, visions and dreams express for the individual. Both the individual and collective types of experience are vital to human life.
Whenever a man talks he lies, and so far as he talks to himself — that is to say, so far as he thinks, knowing that he thinks — he lies to himself. The only truth in human life is that which is physiological. Speech — this thing that they call a social product — was made for lying.
Immaterial evidences of past leisure are quasi-scholarly or quasi-artistic accomplishments and a knowledge of processes and incidents which do not conduce directly to the furtherance of human life. ...unless these accomplishments had approved themselves as serviceable evidence of an unproductive expenditure of time, they would not have survived and held their place as conventional accomplishments of the leisure class.
When our brother Fire was having his dog's day Jumping the London streets with millions of tin cans Clanking at his tail, we heard some shadow say 'Give the dog a bone' - and so we gave him ours; Night after night we watched his slaver and crunch away The beams of human life, the tops of topless towers.
In general, grammar includes phonology, morphology and syntax. But Classical Tamil tradition seems to differ from this. The earliest grammar Tholkappiyam deals not only with phonology, morphology and syntax but also with personal and impersonal, internal and external dialects of life, beauty of literature, behavioral dialects of human life, Tamil linguistic traditions, etc., and this portion is termed Porulathikaram.
Tamil language
• Source: Wikiquote: "Tamil language" (Quotes, Tamil Language, History and Literature: [[File:திருவள்ளுவர்_சிலை.JPG|right|thumb|Many of the poems [in Tamil] seem to belong to the post-Sangham Age. It is widely accepted that among these, Thirukkural was composed before the second century CE. The Thirukkural consists of 1330 Kural, which are short verses of seven words. Thiruvalluvar is the author of this book. ]] Tamil in: ''[ Tamil Language, History and Literature]'', South Asia Studies At Penn! - University Of Pennsylvania.)
I must before I die, find some way to say the essential thing that is in me, that I have never said yet – a thing that is not love or hate or pity or scorn, but the very breath of life, fierce and coming from far away, bringing into human life the vastness and fearful passionless force of non-human things...
Forcible coercion is not necessarily a violation of the law of love, but I find it impossible to reconcile the intentional slaughter of any human being with the religious principle of reverence for personality, that is, respect for the personality of the dead man. Nor does active goodwill or the principle of mutuality justify the willful taking of a human life.
And so with us, she thought. We come, we go, and, as individuals, we are forgotten. But the stream of human life goes on, ever changing, but ever the same, and as the stream is fed by well-springs hoarded by Nature so the stream of humanity is fed by the store of accumulated wisdom and effort and hard-won experience of past generations.
The best aphorisms are pointed expressions of the results of observation, experience, and reflection. They are portable wisdom, the quintessential extracts of thought and feeling. They furnish the largest amount of intellectual stimulus and nutriment in the smallest compass. About every weak point in human nature, or vicious spot in human life, there is deposited a crystallization of warning and protective proverbs.
The grass grows over the graves, time overgrows the pain. The wind blew away the traces of those who had departed; time blows away the bloody pain and the memory of those who did not live to see their dear ones again—and will not live, for brief is human life, and not for long is any of us granted to tread the grass.
When writers with the reputation of intelligent and perceptive critics of human life teach us, day in and day out, that vileness is distinguishable from decency only in respect of being less hypocritical , … it is small wonder that ordinary people come to disbelieve in any objective principles by appeal to which one form of conduct can be regarded as morally better than another.
In my view, the composer, just as the poet, the sculptor or the painter, is in duty bound to serve Man, the people. He must beautify human life and defend it. He must be a citizen first and foremost, so that his art might consciously extol human life and lead man to a radiant future. Such is the immutable code of art as I see it.
Sergei Prokofiev
• Page 136; from his "Music and Life" (1951).
• Source: Wikiquote: "Sergei Prokofiev" (Sourced, Sergei Prokofiev: Autobiography, Articles, Reminiscences (1960): Edited by S. Shlifstein and translated by Rose Prokofieva.)
[I call for] imagination and courage in the endless endeavor to make human life more meaningful and significant, more nearly expressive of the values we cherish... A national policy for the family will earn affirmation and as such should give re-direction to what we are now doing in our social life, and new hope and inspiration to individual men and women and new promise to youth.
Lawrence K. Frank
• Cited in: Ruth H. Jewson, James Walters (1988) The National Council on Family Relations: a fifty year history. p. 15
• Source: Wikiquote: "Lawrence K. Frank" (Quotes, National Policy for the Family (1948): L.K. Frank (1948) "National Policy for the Family" Marriage and Family Living. Vol. 10, No. 1, Feb., 1948;)
The regime maintains its suffocating grip over the citizens by using brute force and repression of dissent. Gruesome acts of public executions are barbaric methods and chilling reminders of the fate of dissenters in Iran. Through fear and humiliation, the regime commands submission. Public stoning of women and the execution of underage youth are revolting reminders of the regime’s callous disregard for human life, dignity and civility.
The outward appearance of every object I make is the equivalent of some aspect of inner human life... My feelings then had this special kind of darkness – almost black like this mixture of rubber and tar. It is certainly an equivalent of the pathological state mentioned before, and expresses the need to create a space in the mind from which all disturbances were moved: an empty insulated space.
Joseph Beuys
• As cited in: Joseph Beuys, Dia Art Foundation. Joseph Beuys, Dia Art Foundation, 1988. p. 23 ; Statement about the "Rubberized Box" by Joseph Beuys 1957
• Source: Wikiquote: "Joseph Beuys" (Quotes, 1970s, Interviews with Caroline Tisdall, 1974 and 1978)
Christ has lifted woman to a new place in the world. And just in proportion as Christianity has sway, will she rise to a higher dignity in human life. What she has now, and what she shall have, of privilege and true honor, she owes to that gospel which took those qualities peculiarly and which had been counted weak and unworthy, and gave them a Divine glory in Christ.
Herrick Johnson
• P. 618.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Herrick Johnson" (Sourced, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895): Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).)
How can anyone think so insanely that the human life has the same value and mankind, the same morality, independent of numbers? It is lucid to me that everytime a new child is born, the value of every human in world decreases slightly. It is obvious to me that the morality of the population explosion is wholly unlike than when man was a sparse, noble species in its beginning.
The birth of a sand grain is a microscopic event, a flap of butterfly’s wings heralding greater change and a larger creation. Each grain carries the equivalent of the DNA of its parents and develops a character through its life and is moulded partly by its environment. Compared to the scale of a human life, however, the sand grains’ story is never ending, and rebirth is a regular event.
The modern anti-myth reduced human life to a story without a point, a tale told by an idiot, a process without a purpose, a journey without a goal, an affair without a climax (Godot never comes), an accidental collision of mindless atoms. … We have hardly noticed that economics, technology and politics have become the new myth and metaphysic. We haven’t avoided myth and metaphysics, only created demeaning ones.
The sheer magnificence and vastness of the coastal environment — an epitome of the true wilderness of the world — stood as a reminder that all human life is a mere flicker within something unimaginably greater. Jeffer's western wilderness was a key to perceiving the essential wildness of the universe as a whole, in which human personality is only something like a lichen on a rock. No tall heroics for Jeffers.
About Robinson Jeffers
• Thomas J. Lyon, as quoted in The Oxbow Man : A Biography of Walter Van Tilburg Clark (2006) by Jackson J. Benson, p. 77
• Source: Wikiquote: "Robinson Jeffers" (Quotes about Jeffers: Alphabetized by author )
Though none but a fool or a madman will ever pretend to dispute the authority of experience, or to reject that great guide to human life, it may surely be allowed a philosopher to have so much curiosity at least as to examine the principle of human nature, which gives this mighty authority to experience, and makes us draw advantage from that similarity which nature has placed among different objects.
The possibility that one aspect of human life may be so exaggerated as to overshadow and... atrophy every other, has been made familiar... by... "Prussian militarism." ...political institutions and social arrangements and intellect and morality and religion are crushed into a mould made to fit one activity, which in a sane society is a subordinate activity... but which in a militarist state is a kind of mystical epitome of society itself.
Any change in men's views as to what is good and right in human life make its way but tardily at the best. Especially is this true of any change in the direction of what is called progress; that is to say, in the direction of divergence from the archaic position—from the position which may be accounted the point of departure at any step in the social evolution of the community.
Illustration from the late-1900s up through the middle of the 20th century was absolutely amazing. In general, American culture was at its highest skill wise in every aspect of human life in the 1940s. It’s all been downhill since then. You just open an old magazine from the 1930s and ’40s and look at the illustrations in it. There’s nobody alive that could touch the way they could draw back then.
Devotion as an expression of gratitude to God can turn into a social force and bring about transformative changes in all aspects of human life and at all levels of society. - Acceptance speech while receiving the 1997 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, from HRH Prince Philip at a public ceremony held in Westminster Abbey, May 6, 1997Leader of Spiritual Movement Wins $1.2 Million Religion Prize New York Times, March 6, 1997..
There are individuals who are haunted by self-doubt, whose attitude to life is negative and distrustful, or who exist in a state of confusion about what they are and what they can become. … Unlike physical deprivation or obvious social injustice, evils like these strike at the very roots of human life. When men can no longer picture themselves as worthy of existing, it scarcely matters whether they have the means of existing.
The test to which all expenditure must be brought... is the question whether it serves directly to enhance human life on the whole-whether it furthers the life process taken impersonally. For this is the basis of award of the instinct of workmanship, and that instinct is the court of final appeal in any question of economic truth or adequacy. It is a question as to the award rendered by a dispassionate common sense.
Throughout the entire evolution of conspicuous expenditure, whether of goods or of services or human life, runs the obvious implication that in order to effectually mend the consumer's good fame it must be an expenditure of superfluities. In order to be reputable it must be wasteful. No merit would accrue from the consumption of the bare necessaries of life, except by comparison with the abjectly poor who fall short even of the subsistence minimum.
Consider that nothing in human life is stable; for then you will not exult overmuch in prosperity, nor grieve overmuch in adversity. Rejoice over the good things which come to you, but grieve in moderation over the evils which befall you, and in either case do not expose your heart to others; for it were strange to hide away one's treasure in the house, and yet walk about laying bare one's feelings to the world.
The ultimate goal of human life is to attain spiritual perfection (moksha), or freedom from transmigration of the atman. The social existence of an individual is means for attaining this supreme goal. Since an individual cannot attain moksha without fulfilling his (her) individual and social duties, responsibilities and obligations, Hindu social philosophy...includes the essential social principles and practices, goals of human life: dharma (moral law), artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), and moksha (spiritual perfection, the ultimate goal).
There are so many different roles that the rat plays in human life. When it is an object of admiration it is usually in, say, the show cage at an exhibition, or in a laboratory cage (where is has often been described as a hero/heroine or martyr to science). In the wild, or in the margins of human life, the rat is commonly loathed, the object of vermin control. Either way, one could say that it loses.
Human life will no longer be regarded with the kind of superstitious awe which it is accorded in traditional thought, and the lives of non-humans will no longer be a matter of indifference. This means that human life will, in a sense, be devalued, while the value granted to non-human life will be increased. A revised view of such matters as suicide and euthanasia, as well as a revised view of how we should treat animals, will result.
Contraception is to be judged objectively so profoundly illicit that it can never, for any reason, be justified. To think, or to day, anything to the contrary is tantamount to saying that in human life there can be situations where it is legitimate not to recognize God as God. Users of contraception attribute to themselves a power that belongs only to God, the power to decide in the final instance the coming into existence of a human being.
Birth control
• Pope John Paul II, September 17, 1983, Address on Responsible Procreation.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Birth control" (Quotes, Against birth control, Catholic, theology)
Creativity — like human life itself — begins in darkness. We need to acknowledge this. All too often, we think only in terms of light: "And then the lightbulb went on and I got it!" It is true that insights may come to us as flashes. It is true that some of these flashes may be blinding. It is, however, also true that such bright ideas are preceded by a gestation period that is interior, murky, and completely necessary.
What had really caused the women’s movement was the additional years of human life. At the turn of the century women’s life expectancy was forty-six; now it was nearly eighty. Our groping sense that we couldn’t live all those years in terms of motherhood alone was “the problem that had no name.” Realizing that it was not some freakish personal fault but our common problem as women had enabled us to take the first steps to change our lives.
The weed crushed and pressed by the heavy rock may slowly and gently grow up anew helped by the fresh air, sunshine, and sympathetic rain. On the other hand, the rock is often broken through exposure to nature and weathering. Life is a strong power to grow in tenderness; this fact may be considered as having a close relation with human life. At the same time tenderness has sometimes stronger power against stiffness or hardening due to extreme strain.
But if there has been on this earth no real, perfect human life, no love that never cooled, no faith that never failed, which may shine as a loadstar across the darkness of our experience, a light to light amidst all convictions of our own meanness and all suspicions of other's littleness, why, we may have a religion, but we have not a Christianity. For if we lose Him as a Brother, we cannot feel Him as a Saviour.
Frederick William Robertson
• P. 55.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Frederick William Robertson" (Sourced, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895): Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).)
A lot of the arguments about religion going on at the moment spring from a rather inept understanding of religious truth … Our notion changed during the early modern period when we became convinced that the only path to any kind of truth was reason. That works beautifully for science but doesn't work so well for the humanities. Religion is really an art form and a struggle to find value and meaning amid the ghastly tragedy of human life.
An analysis of the history of mankind shows that from the year 1496 B.C. to the year 1861 of our era, that is, in a cycle of 3357 years, were but 227 years of peace and 3130 years of war: in other words, were thirteen years of war for every year of peace. Considered thus, the history of the lives of peoples presents a picture of uninterrupted struggle. War, it would appear, is a normal attribute to human life.
It is utterly impossible to measure the influence of Jesus upon the moral and spiritual progress of the world. The greater value put on human life, the more honored place of womanhood, the nobler attitude toward childhood, the abolition of many giant evils, are founded upon the spirit and teaching of Jesus. Our new world-ideal of democracy and human brotherhood is a direct outgrowth of his example and teaching. Much has been accomplished. Much more is still to be done.
Kirby Page
• p. 58
• Source: Wikiquote: "Kirby Page" (Sourced, Something More, A Consideration of the Vast, Undeveloped Resources of Life (1920))
A credulous, religious-minded fool, as I've pointed out! And he carried his credulity into the next period of his life, where he believed in one social or philosophical Ism after another, always on the trail of Truth! He was never courageous enough to face what he really knew was true, that there is no truth for men, that human life in unimportant and meaningless. No. He was always grasping at some absurd new faith to find an excuse for going on!
I headed toward home alone, really alone now, telling myself that in all the sprawling immensity of our mighty continent the least-known factor of living was the human heart, the least-sought goal of being was a way to live a human life. Perhaps, I thought, out of my tortured feelings I could fling a spark into this darkness. I would try, not because I wanted to but because I felt that I had to if I were to live at all.
Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized – the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old....When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.
Consider also our approach to the sanctity and value of human life. In the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, we all grieved deeply, and expressed outrage at this heinous crime — and rightly so. But many people today are unaware that, as the result of civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 3.8 million people have lost their lives since 1998.
Are we to conclude that our priorities are skewed, and our approaches uneven?
Every basic doctrine of Christianity is nullified to the degree that we accept the ideas and practices of atomic war: the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, the inestimable value of human life, the kinship of all peoples, the duty and privilege of of sympathy and compassion and affection, the responsibility of the strong to bear the burdens of the weak, the overcoming of evil with goodness, the redemptive power of self-giving love, the supremacy of spiritual forces over material might.
On our way home she would not utter a single word. I walked anxiously beside her, looking at her tired old white face, the wrinkles that lined her neck, the deep, waiting black eyes, and the frail body, and I knew more than she thought I knew about the meaning of religion, the hunger of the human heart for that which is not and can never be, the thirst of the human spirit to conquer and transcend the implacable limitations of human life.
A geologist should be well versed in chemistry, natural philosophy, mineralogy, zoology, comparative anatomy, botany; in short, in every science relating to organic and inorganic nature. ...But the brief duration of human life, and our limited powers, are so far from permitting us to aspire to such extensive acquisitions, that excellence even in one department is within the reach of few, and those individuals most effectually promote the general progress, who concentrate their thoughts on a limited portion of the field of inquiry.
Culture, when it loses its sacred sense, loses all sense. With the disappearance of the sacred, which imposed limits to the perfection which could be attained by the profane, arises one of the most dangerous illusions of our civilization—the illusion that there are no limits to the changes that human life can undergo, that society is 'in principle' an endlessly flexible thing, and that to deny this flexibility and this perfectibility is to deny man's total autonomy and thus to deny man himself.
As the Deity has given us Greeks all other blessings in moderation, so our moderation gives us a kind of wisdom which is timid, in all likelihood, and fit for common people, not one which is kingly and splendid. This wisdom, such as it is, observing that human life is ever subject to all sorts of vicissitudes, forbids us to be puffed up by the good things we have, or to admire a man's felicity while there is still time for it to change.
In an old Veda is found the mantra, ‘I am the empress of all that lives, the power in everything. ’Mother-worship is a distinct philosophy in itself. Power is the first of our ideas. It impinges upon man at every step; power felt within is the soul; without, nature. And the battle between the two makes human life. All that we know or feel is but the resultant of these two forces. Man saw that the sun shines on the good and evil alike.
As citizens of Cheon Il Guk, please have the wisdom to protect and love nature. Return to nature and enjoy a life of liberation and complete freedom. To love nature is to love God and humanity. When human life resonates with nature, human character can blossom in perfection. The flowers of a true culture of heart, a true artistic world, will bloom. It will be the Garden of Eden, the original ideal where human beings and all creation live in complete harmony and express their original nature.
But whoever thinks that beauty is something he can enjoy exclusively for himself just by abandoning other people and closing his eyes to the human life of which he is part—he is not the friend of beauty. He ends up either as Pétur Þríhross's poet, or his secretary. He who doesn't fight every day of his life to the last breath against the representatives of evil, against the living images of evil who rule Sviðinsvík—he blasphemes by taking the word beauty into his mouth. - Örn Úlfar
George W. Bush has said he wants to change things in Washington. On this President's Day, we find him attempting this change in a most profound way. President Bush is to be commended for his recent Proclamation of National Sanctity of Human Life Day, in which he reminds his fellow citizens of the true principles of free government. But those principles today are usually ignored, or scorned. By taking up the challenge of defending these principles, President Bush aligns himself with the greatest President of our nation's history.
Harry V. Jaffa
• Source: Wikiquote: "Harry V. Jaffa" (Quotes, 2000s, Bush's Lincolnian Challenge (2002): Full text of "Bush's Lincolnian Challenge" (15 February 2002), by Harry Victor Jaffa, The Claremont Institute, The Claremont Institute.)
Spinoza thought that the nature of the world and of human life could be logically deducted from self-evident axioms...The whole of this metaphysic is impossible to accept; it is incompatible with modern logic and with scientific method. Facts have to be discovered by observation, not by reasoning; when we successfully infer the future, we do so by means of principles which are not logically necessary, but are suggested by empirical data. And the concept of substance, upon which Spinoza relies, is one which neither science nor philosophy can nowadays accept.
Once we know what we need to do, our nanotechnologies should enable us to construct replacement bodies and brains that won't be constrained to work at the crawling pace of "real time." The events in our computer chips already happen millions of times faster than those in brain cells. Hence, we could design our "mind-children" to think a million times faster than we do. To such a being, half a minute might seem as long as one of our years, and each hour as long as an entire human lifetime.
Islamic law protects human life. While we condemn the killing of any Muslim and of any believer, whether Muslim or not, we also condemn manifestations of aggression against the peaceful and innocent, anywhere in the world. What happened in London, the attacks against peaceful and innocent people, among them Muslims and believers... This does not mean that the killing of non-Muslims — peaceful and innocent men, women, and children — is allowed. Allah forbade any man from striking fear in another man's heart, from killing another man, and from oppressing another man.
Love is our true essence. Love has no limitations such as religion, race, nationality, or caste. We are all beads strung together on the same thread of love. To awaken this unity and to spread the love that is our inherent nature to others—this is the true aim of human life. Indeed, love is the only religion that can help humanity rise to great and glorious heights. And love should be the one thread on which all religions and philosophies are strung together. The beauty of society lies in the unity of hearts.
Mata Amritanandamayi
• Source: Wikiquote: "Mata Amritanandamayi" (Quotes, May Peace & Happiness Prevail (2004): Quotes of Mata Amritanandamayi from ''May Peace & Happiness Prevail: Keynote Address by Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi during the Closing Plenary Session of the Parliament of World's Religions in Barcelona, Spain, on July 13th, 2004." Copyright © 2004 by Mata Amritanandamayi Mission Trust. )
Scientific inventions, at all conceivable levels should enrich human life, not threaten existence. Science should be the greatest ally, not the worst enemy of mankind. Only so can the world, not only respond to the worthy efforts of Nobel, but also ensure itself against self-destruction. Indeed the challenge is for us to ensure the world from self-destruction. In our contribution to peace we are resolved to end such evils as oppression, white supremacy and race discrimination, all of which are incompatible with world peace and security. There is indeed a threat to peace.
We are already justified in the conviction that human life as we know it in history is a wretched makeshift, rooted in ignorance; and that it could be transcended by a state of existence based on the illumination of knowledge and comprehension, just as our modern control of physical nature based on science transcends the tentative fumblings of our ancestors, that were rooted in superstition and professional secrecy. To do this, we must study the possibilities of creating a more favourable social environment, as we have already done in large measure with our physical environment.
You, your families, your friends and your countries are to be exterminated by the common decision of a few brutal but powerful men. To please these men, all the private affections, all the public hopes, all that has been achieved in art, and knowledge and thought and all that might be achieved hereafter is to be wiped out forever. Our ruined lifeless planet will continue for countless ages to circle aimlessly round the sun unredeemed by the joys and loves, the occasional wisdom and the power to create beauty which have given value to human life.
If in one way or another a person is afraid of being unable to maintain an overview of something that is multifarious and prolix, he tries to make or acquire a brief summary of the whole for the sake of a full view. For example, death is the briefest summary of life, or life traced back to its briefest form. This is also why it has always been very important to those who truly think about human life to test again and again, with the help of the briefest summary, what they have understood about life.
It is human life you value isn't it? Not its worth. Just human life. As if it were gold and could be neither good nor bad nor worth more nor worth less but must always be worth the same no matter what. One human life is one human life to you. You are absurd! Like your democracy, which you imagine you got from the Greeks, who had slaves. One vote for each person. What a stupid idea! The worst in your eyes possess the same value as the best. You have no way of differentiating between them.
If "safeguards of individual liberty" do not have "any intrinsic worth," then neither does individual liberty. And if individual liberty has no intrinsic worth, neither does individual life. It is impossible to imagine a more complete denial of President Bush's proclamation of the sanctity of human life, or of his assertion of an "essential human dignity attached to all persons by virtue of their very existence." This is not only legal positivism, it is nihilism. It is not only a denial of any moral foundation of constitutionalism, it is a denial of any moral foundation of political community.
Harry V. Jaffa
• Source: Wikiquote: "Harry V. Jaffa" (Quotes, 2000s, Bush's Lincolnian Challenge (2002): Full text of "Bush's Lincolnian Challenge" (15 February 2002), by Harry Victor Jaffa, The Claremont Institute, The Claremont Institute.)
Having eliminated the soul, modern science cannot understand the body in its most important aspect, which is its capacity for self-importance. Modern biology, particularly the theory of evolution, is based on the overriding concern for survival in all life. This is surely wrong in regard to human life. If you cannot look around you and must insist on indulging a taste for the primitive, you have only to visit the ruins of an ancient people and ponder how much of its GNP was devoted to religion, to its sense of the meaning of human life rather than mere survival.
I would appreciate it if they would call a halt on all their devoted efforts to find a way to abolish war or eliminate disease or run trains with atoms or extend the span of human life to a couple of centuries, and everybody concentrate for a while on how to wake me up in the morning without my resenting it. It may be that a bevy of beautiful maidens in pure silk yellow very sheer gowns, barefooted, singing Oh, What a Beautiful Morning and scattering rose petals over me would do the trick, but I'd have to try it.
What are the ingredients of the most creatively meaningful image of human existence that the mind can conceive? Remove human frailty--as grass, as a sigh, as dust, as moth-crushed--and the estimate becomes romantic. Remove grandeur--a little lower than God--and aspiration recedes. Remove sin-the tendency to miss the mark--and sentimentality threatens. Remove freedom--choose ye this day!--and responsibility goes by the board. Remove, finally, divine parentage and life becomes estranged, cut loose and adrift on a cold, indifferent sea. With all that has been discovered about human life in the intervening 2,500 years, it is difficult to find a flaw in this assessment.
If it is a question of seeking formal contradictions, then obviously we must do so on the side of the White Terror, which is the weapon of classes which consider themselves “Christian,” patronize idealist philosophy, and are firmly convinced that the individuality (their own) is an end-in-itself. As for us, we were never concerned with the Kantian-priestly and vegetarian-Quaker prattle about the “sacredness of human life.” We were revolutionaries in opposition, and have remained revolutionaries in power. To make the individual sacred we must destroy the social order which crucifies him. And this problem can only be solved by blood and iron.
Man who preys both on the vegetable and animal species, is himself a prey to neither. He too possesses the reproductive principle far beyond the degree requisite for the bare continuance of his species. What becomes of the surplus of human life to which this principle is competent? It is either, 1st. destroyed by infanticide, as among the Chinese and Lacedemonians; or 2d. it is stifled or starved, as among other nations whose population is commensurate to its food; or 3d. it is consumed by wars and endemic diseases; or 4th. it overflows, by emigration, to places where a surplus of food is attainable.
With the passage of time, whatever a man had done, whether for good or evil, with the man's bodily organs, left the man's parish unaffected: only a man's thoughts and dreams could outlive him, in any serious sense, and these might survive with perhaps augmenting influence: so that Kennaston had come to think artistic creation in words — since marble and canvas inevitably perished — was the one, possibly, worth-while employment of human life. But here was a crude corporal deed which bluntly destroyed thoughts, and annihilated dreams by wholesale. To Kennaston this seemed the one real tragedy that could be staged on earth....
… those who support targeted killings argue that the killing of a terrorist who is personally responsible for serious, mass casualty attacks and who is still capable of spilling the blood of innocents is not only justified and moral, it is even essential for saving human lives. Supporters of this approach also cite the value of human life, and claim that in the name of the sanctity of life, decision makers must be allowed to do everything they can to prevent the few from harming the many – terrorists killing civilians and endangering world peace – and therefore individual attacks are permitted, moral, and justified.
Targeted killing
• Ganor, Boaz (2005), The Counter-Terrorism Puzzle: A Guide for Decision Makers page: 113, publisher: Transaction Publishers, ISBN: 0765802988
• Source: Wikiquote: "Targeted killing" (Quotes)
Custom, then, is the great guide of human life. It is that principle alone which renders our experience useful to us, and makes us expect, for the future, a similar train of events with those which have appeared in the past. Without the influence of custom, we should be entirely ignorant of every matter of fact beyond what is immediately present to the memory and senses. We should never know how to adjust means to ends, or to employ our natural powers in the production of any effect. There would be an end at once of all action, as well as of the chief part of speculation.
David Hume
• Variant (perhaps a paraphrase of this passage): It is not reason which is the guide of life, but custom.
• Source: Wikiquote: "David Hume" (Quotes, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748): First published as Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding in 1748, revised numerous times, and retitled in 1758.
also see a fuller rendition of quotes at An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding)
I left everything, I renounced everything, I set out, I flew, and, arriving in all the transports of my early youth, found myself again at her feet. Ah! I should have died for joy, if I had found again in her reception, in her eyes, in her caresses, or, lastly in her heart, one quarter of that which I had formerly found there, and which I myself still brought back to her. Alas for the terrible illusions of human life! She received me with the same excellent heart, which could only die with her; but I sought in vain the past which was gone, never to return.
Its first ethical precept is the identity of means used and aims sought. The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and wellbeing. Unless this be the essential aim of revolution, violent social changes would have no justification. For external social alterations can be, and have been, accomplished by the normal processes of evolution. Revolution, on the contrary, signifies not mere external change, but internal, basic, fundamental change. That internal change of concepts and ideas, permeating ever-larger social strata, finally culminates in the violent upheaval known as revolution.
Now, you think it's a coincidence that on September 11, 2001, we were struck by terrorists an evil that has at its heart the disregard of innocent human life? We who have for several decades killed not thousands but scores of millions of our own children, in disregard of the principle of innocent human life — I don't think that's a coincidence, I think that's a warning. I don't think that's a coincidence, I think that's a shot across the bow. I think that's a way of Providence telling us, "I love you all; I'd like to give you a chance. Wake up! Would you please wake up?"
There is a kind of second law of cultural dynamics which states simply that when anything has been done, it cannot be done again. In other words, we start off any system with a potential for novelty which is gradually exhausted. We see this in every field of human life, in the arts as well as the sciences. Once Beethoven has written the Ninth Symphony, nobody else can do it. Consequently, we find that in any evolutionary process, even in the arts, the search for novelty becomes corrupting. The "entropy trap" is perhaps the most subtle and the most fundamental of the obstacles toward realising the developed society...
Kenneth Boulding
• Boulding (1970) "The Science Revelation". In: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. (Sept 1970) Vol. 26, nr. 7. p. 16
• Source: Wikiquote: "Kenneth Boulding" (Quotes, 1970s)
The use of the term "waste" the speech of everyday life the word carries an undertone of deprecation. It is here used for want of a better term... and it is not to be taken in an odious sense, as implying an illegitimate expenditure of human products or of human life. In the view of economic theory the expenditure in question is no more and no less legitimate than any other expenditure. It is here called "waste" because this expenditure does not serve human life or human well-being on the whole... Whatever form of expenditure the consumer chooses... has utility to him by virtue of his preference.
I bow before the authority of special men because it is imposed upon me by my own reason. I am conscious of my inability to grasp, in all its details and positive developments, any very large portion of human knowledge. The greatest intelligence would not be equal to a comprehension of the whole. Thence results, for science as well as for industry, the necessity of the division and association of labor. I receive and I give — such is human life. Each directs and is directed in his turn. Therefore there is no fixed and constant authority, but a continual exchange of mutual, temporary, and, above all, voluntary authority and subordination.
Shaun: Well just how uncaring can some people be? We sent Ros Hammond out with a six-month-old baby and left it on a median strip in busy traffic. As you can see nobody stopped to help. Roz, an incredibly lack of concern for human life.
Roz: Ah, well, disturbing isn't it?
Shaun: Mmm, mmm... What on Earth are people thinking these days?
Roz: Well I don't think people are thinking and I think that's the problem.
Shaun: Any word on the baby?
Roz: Ah, no. As far as I know the baby is still out there, so, we can really just pray for it at this stage.
Shaun: Mmm. Staggering thoughtlessness.
The best advice possible on any legal matter is (1) maintain your cool and temper, (2) keep your mouth shut, (3) get a good lawyer and call your family, and (4) never forget what you have been through. Allow the fear and loneliness, and hatred to build inside you, rather than diminish with time. Allow your passions to fertilize the seeds of constructive revolution. Allow your love of freedom to overcome the false values placed on human life. For the only method to communicate with the enemy is to speak on his own level, using his own terms. Freedom is based on respect, and respect is earned by the spilling of blood.
May I venture at this point to state the greatest, the most important, the most useful rule of education? It is: Do not save time, but lose it. I hope that every-day readers will excuse my paradoxes; you cannot avoid paradox if you think for yourself, and whatever you may say I would rather fall into paradox than into prejudice. The most dangerous period in human life lies between birth and the age of twelve. It is the time when errors and vices spring up, while as yet there is no means to destroy them; when the means of destruction are ready, the roots have gone too deep to be pulled up.
The Negro constitutes half the poor of the nation. Like all poor, Negro and white, they have many unwanted children. This is a cruel evil they urgently need to control. There is scarcely anything more tragic in human life than a child who is not wanted. That which should be a blessing becomes a curse for parent and child. There is nothing inherent in the Negro mentality which creates this condition. Their poverty causes it. When Negroes have been able to ascend economically, statistics reveal they plan their families with even greater care than whites. Negroes of higher economic and educational status actually have fewer children than white families in the same circumstances.
Another thing wherein they shew their love of dominion, is, their desire to have things to be theirs: They would have propriety and possession, pleasing themselves with the power which that seems to give, and the right that they thereby have, to dispose of them as they please. He that has not observ's these two humours working very betimes in children, has taken little notice of their actions: And he who thinks that these two roots of almost all the injustice and contention that so disturb human life, are not early to be weeded out, and contrary habits introduc'd, neglects the proper season to lay the foundations of a good and worthy man.
Human life is thus only a perpetual illusion; men deceive and flatter each other. No one speaks of us in our presence as he does of us in our absence. Human society is founded on mutual deceit; few friendships would endure if each knew what his friend said of him in his absence, although he then spoke in sincerity and without passion. Man is then only disguise, falsehood, and hypocrisy, both in himself and in regard to others. He does not wish any one to tell him the truth; he avoids telling it to others, and all these dispositions, so removed from justice and reason, have a natural root in his heart. 100
Peu d'amitiés subsisteraient, si chacun savait ce que son ami dit de lui lorsqu'il n'y est pas.
• Few friendships would remain, if each knew what his friend said of him when he wasn't there. [Variant Translation]
• Source: Wikiquote: "Pensées" (Brunschvicg Edition, Section II: The Misery of Man without God (60-183))
Now, almost one hundred years later [in 1916 when Einstein began to apply his theory to describe the universe as a whole], it is difficult to fully appreciate how much our picture of the universe has changed in the span of a single human lifetime. As far as the scientific community in 1917 was concerned, the universe was static and eternal, and consisted of a one single galaxy, our Milky Way, surrounded by vast, infinite, dark, and empty space This is, after all, what you would guess by looking up at the night sky with your eyes, or with a small telescope, and at the time there was little reason to suspect otherwise.
Often, on that eventful day, did recollections of the French Revolution pass through my mind. Armijo I could not look upon but as a second Robespierre, only requiring a field of equal extent to make him equally an assassin, a murderer, a bloodthirsty tyrant. His power, I knew, had been purchased by blood—I saw that it was sustained by blood. Human life he regarded not, so that his base ends were attained; and he would not shrink from sacrificing one man on the altar of his sanguinary ambition, if by so doing he could impress another with a due sense of his boundless authority and power to do whatever might seem meet unto him.
Materialistic people are sometimes called sudras, or descendants of monkeys, due to their monkey like intelligence. They do not care to know how the evolutionary process is taking place, nor are they eager to know what will happen after they finish their small human life span. This is the attitude of sudras. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission, this Krishna consciousness movement, is trying to elevate sudras to the brahmana platform so that they will know the real goal of life. Unfortunately, being overly attached to sense gratification, materialists are not serious in helping this movement. Instead, some of them try to suppressit. Thus it is the business of monkeys to disturb the activities of the brahmanas.
The Constitution contains no right to abortion. It is not to be found in the longstanding traditions of our society, nor can it be logically deduced from the text of the Constitution - not, that is, without volunteering a judicial answer to the nonjusticiable question of when human life begins. Leaving this matter to the political process is not only legally correct, it is pragmatically so. That alone - and not lawyerly dissection of federal judicial precedents - can produce compromises satisfying a sufficient mass of the electorate that this deeply felt issue will cease distorting the remainder of our democratic process. The Court should end its disruptive intrusion into this field as soon as possible.
We can all agree–it has already been a measure of the debate–that Saddam Hussein is an evil tyrant with no regard for the sanctity of human life, for either his own citizens or the people of other countries. We all agree that he is in flagrant breach of a series of UN resolutions, and in particular those relating to his duty to allow the inspection, and indeed participate in the destruction, of his weapons of mass destruction. We can also agree that he most certainly has chemical and biological weapons and is working towards a nuclear capability. The dossier contains confirmation of information that we either knew or most certainly should have been willing to assume.
All my life I have been attracted by Catholicism. But what attracted me was not its Christianity, but its paganism. The Scholastic Philosophers entertained me not because they were apologists for Jesus but because they were refinements of Aristotle. The liturgical life of the Church moved me because it echoes the most ancient responses to the turning of the year and the changing seasons, and the rhythms of animal and human life. For me the Sacraments transfigured the rites of passage, the physical facts of the human condition — birth, adolescence, sexual intercourse, vocation, sickness and death, communion, penance. Catholicism still provides a structure of acts, individual and at the same time communal, physical responses to life.
Kenneth Rexroth
"Monastic Interlude"
• Source: Wikiquote: "Kenneth Rexroth" (Quotes, An Autobiographical Novel (1991): Originally published in 1966, with an additional chapter included in 1978 and further recollections published as Excerpts from a Life in 1981. A posthumous edition, incorporating all of this material, was then printed by New Directions in 1991)
Now, pure comradeship is another of those broad and yet bewildering things. We all enjoy it; yet when we come to talk about it we almost always talk nonsense, chiefly because we suppose it to be a simpler affair than it is. It is simple to conduct; but it is by no means simple to analyze. Comradeship is at the most only one half of human life; the other half is Love, a thing so different that one might fancy it had been made for another universe. And I do not mean mere sex love; any kind of concentrated passion, maternal love, or even the fiercer kinds of friendship are in their nature alien to pure comradeship.
Witness the tragic condition of Russia. The methods of State centralization have paralysed individual initiative and effort; the tyranny of the dictatorship has cowed the people into slavish submission and all but extinguished the fires of liberty; organized terrorism has depraved and brutalized the masses and stifled every idealistic aspiration; institutionalized murder has cheapened human life, and all sense of the dignity of man and the value of life has been eliminated; coercion at every step has made effort bitter, labour a punishment, has turned the whole of existence into a scheme of mutual deceit, and has revived the lowest and most brutal instincts of man. A sorry heritage to begin a new life of freedom and brotherhood.
No artist can develop without increasing his self-knowledge; but self-knowledge supposes a certain preoccupation with the meaning of human life and the destiny of man. A definite set of beliefs — Methodist Christianity, for example — may only be a hindrance to development; but it is not more so than Beckett's refusal to think at all. Shaw says somewhere that all intelligent men must be preoccupied with either religion, politics, or sex. (He seems to attribute T. E. Lawrence's tragedy to his refusal to come to grips with any of them.) It is hard to see how an artist could hope to achieve any degree of self-knowledge without being deeply concerned with at least one of the three.
Why has it [the Church] never done what it was sent to do? Others ...will say it has done so. Has it not lifted woman to equality and companionship with man, secured the sanctity and stability of marriage, changed parental despotism to parental service, and eliminated unnatural vice, the abandonment of children, blood revenge, and the robbery of the shipwrecked from the customs of Christian nations? Has it not abolished slavery, mitigated war, covered all lands with a network of charities to uplift the poor and the fallen, fostered the institutions of education, aided the progress of civil liberty and social justice, and diffused a softening tenderness throughout human life? It has done all that, and vastly more.
Walter Rauschenbusch
• p. 147
• Source: Wikiquote: "Walter Rauschenbusch" (Sourced, Christianity and the Social Crisis (1907): All page numbered quotes are from the 1913 edition of the book., Ch.4 Why Has Christianity Never Undertaken the Work of Social Reconstruction?)
There is no history of mankind, there is only an indefinite number of histories of all kinds of aspects of human life. And one of these is the history of political power. This is elevated into the history of the world. But this, I hold, is an offence against every decent conception of mankind. It is hardly better than to treat the history of embezzlement or of robbery or of poisoning as the history of mankind. For the history of power politics is nothing but the history of international crime and mass murder (including it is true, some of the attempts to suppress them). This history is taught in schools, and some of the greatest criminals are extolled as heroes.
• Vol 2, Ch. 25 "Has History any Meaning?" Variant: There is no history of mankind, there are only many histories of all kinds of aspects of human life. And one of these is the history of political power. This is elevated into the history of the world.
Just as we teach children to avoid being destroyed by motor cars if they can, so we should teach them to avoid being destroyed by cruel fanatics, and to this end we should seek to produce independence of mind, somewhat sceptical and wholly scientific, and to preserve, as far as possible, the instinctive joy of life that is natural to healthy children. This is the task of a liberal education: to give a sense of the value of things other than domination, to help create wise citizens of a free community, and through the combination of citizenship with liberty in individual creativeness to enable men to give to human life that splendour which some few have shown that it can achieve.
Another thing that they have tried to get us to believe in the last 150 years... is that the nation as the repository of sovereignty can be both a state and a community. ...Why did the English, the French, the Castilians, the Hohenzollerns, and others become the repository of sovereignty as nations... They did so because... weapons made it possible to compel obedience over areas which were approximately the size of these national groups... nationalism is an episode in history, and it fit a certain power structure and a certain configuration in human life in our civilization. Now... They all want autonomy. ...The nation or the state, as we now have it as the structure of power, cannot be a community.
What is the face but a mask to conceal the man behind it? … What is social position, what are offices, titles, dignities, degrees, but mantles in which men wrap themselves to hide, from themselves even more than from others, the banality of their lives? … What is a human life but a role that a man enacts, as different from his hidden self as the role of an actor is from his part in ordinary life? What are words but means of disguising thought? What is life itself but a play for which most of the players are miscast, a masquerade at which only a few of the rarest and most heroic, or the most brutal and cynical, ever unmask?
I must interpret the life about me as I interpret the life that is my own. My life is full of meaning to me. The life around me must be full of significance to itself. If I am to expect others to respect my life, then I must respect the other life I see, however strange it may be to mine. And not only other human life, but all kinds of life: life above mine, if there be such life; life below mine, as I know it to exist. Ethics in our Western world has hitherto been largely limited to the relations of man to man. But that is a limited ethics. We need a boundless ethics which will include the animals also.
Albert Schweitzer
• Source: Wikiquote: "Albert Schweitzer" (Quotes, Kulturphilosophie (1923): Translated by C. T. Campion as Philosophy of Civilisation (1949) , Vol. 2 : Civilization and Ethics: Preface:.)
Without encroaching upon grounds appertaining to the theologian and the philosopher, the domain of natural sciences is surely broad enough to satisfy the wildest ambition of its devotees. In other departments of human life and interest, true progress is rather an article of faith than a rational belief; but in science a retrograde movements is, from the nature of the case, almost impossible. Increasing knowledge brings with it increasing power, and great as are the triumphs of the present century, we may well believe that they are but a foretaste of what discovery and invention have yet in store for mankind. … The work may be hard, and the discipline severe; but the interest never fails, and great is the privilege of achievement.
If they are unwilling to give, they should at least lend with all readiness and alacrity, not with the prospect of receiving anything back except the principal. … In place of the interest which they determine not to accept they receive a further bonus of the fairest and most precious things that human life has to give, mercy neighborliness, charity, magnanimity, a good report and good fame. And what acquisition can rival these? Nay, even the great king will appear as the poorest of men if compared with a single virtue. For his wealth is soulless, buried deep in store-houses and recesses of the earth, but the wealth of virtue lies in the sovereign part of the soul, and the purest part of existence.
Our whole strength will be put into this war of emancipation, -- emancipation from the threat and attempted mastery of selfish groups of autocratic rulers, -- whatever the difficulties and present partial delays. We are indomitable in our power of independent action and can in no circumstances consent to live in a world governed by intrigue and force. We believe that our own desire for a new international order under which reason and justice and the common interests of mankind shall prevail is the desire of enlightened men everywhere. Without that new order the world will be without peace and human life will lack tolerable conditions of existence and development. Having set our hand to the task of achieving it, we shall not turn back.
After all there is the two edged sword that will never fail you, with enthusiasm for one of its edges and irony for the other. However mired and weedy be the current of life there will be always joy and loyalty enough left to keep you unwavering in the faith that politics is not as it seems in clouded moments, a mere gabble and squabble of selfish interests, but that it is the State in action. And the State is the name by which we call the great human conspiracy against hunger and cold, against loneliness and ignorance; the State is the foster-mother and warden of the arts, of love, of comradeship, of all that redeems from despair that strange adventure which we call human life.
The self is made up, on its growing edge, of the models, forms, metaphors, myths, and all other kinds of psychic content which give it direction in its self-creation. This is a process that goes on continuously. As Kierkegaard well said, the self is only that which it is in the process of becoming. Despite the obvious determinism in human life — especially in the physical aspect of ones self in such simple things as color of eyes, height relative length of life, and so on — there is also, clearly, this element of self-directing, self-forming. Thinking and self-creating are inseparable. When we become aware of all the fantasies in which we see ourselves in the future, pilot ourselves this way or that, this becomes obvious.
Slowly, slowly,
the autumn draws to its close.
Cruelly cold
the wind congeals the dew.
Vines and grasses
will not be green again—
The trees in my garden
are withering forlorn.
The pure air
is cleansed of lingering lees
And mysteriously,
Heaven's realms are high.

Nothing is left
of the spent cicada's song,
A flock of geese
goes crying down the sky.
The myriad transformations
unravel one another
And human life
how should it not be hard?
From ancient times
there was none but had to die,
Remembering this
scorches my very heart.
What is there I can do
to assuage this mood?
Only enjoy myself
drinking my unstrained wine.
I do not know
about a thousand years,
Rather let me make
this morning last forever.
T'ao Ch'ien
• Written on the Ninth Day of the Ninth Month of the Year yi-yu (A.D. 409)
• Translated by William Acker
• Source: Wikiquote: "T'ao Ch'ien" (Quotes)
We must abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue weapons of mass destruction yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security — and indeed to continue to refine their capacities and postulate plans for their use.
Similarly, we must abandon the traditional approach of defining security in terms of boundaries — city walls, border patrols, racial and religious groupings. The global community has become irreversibly interdependent, with the constant movement of people, ideas, goods and resources. In such a world, we must combat terrorism with an infectious security culture that crosses borders — an inclusive approach to security based on solidarity and the value of human life. In such a world, weapons of mass destruction have no place.
The fact is, there were all kinds of Puritans. There were dismal precisians, like William Prynne, illiberal and vulgar fanatics, the Tribulation Wholesomes, Hope-on-high Bombys, and Zeal-of-the-land Busys, whose absurdities were the stock in trade of contemporary satirists from Johnson to Butler. But there were also gentlemen and scholars, like Fairfax, Marvell, Colonel Hutchinson, Vane, whose Puritanism was consistent with all elegant tastes and accomplishments. Was Milton’s Puritanism hurtful to his art? No and yes. It was in many ways an inspiration; it gave him zeal, a Puritan word much ridiculed by the Royalists; it gave refinement, distinction, selectness, elevation to his picture of the world. But it would be uncritical to deny that it also gave a certain narrowness and rigidity to his view of human life.
• Henry A. Beers "Milton’s Tercentenary", in The Connecticut Wits and Other Essays (1920), p. 230.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Puritanism" (Sourced)
During the Middle Ages, human life was generally held in small respect; various judicial institutions—if not altogether secret, at least more or less enveloped in mystery—were remarkable for being founded on the monstrous right of issuing the most severe sentences with closed doors, and of executing these sentences with inflexible rigour on individuals who had not been allowed the slightest chance of defending themselves. While passing judgment in secret, they often openly dealt blows as unexpected and terrible as they were fatal. Therefore, the most innocent and the most daring trembled... terrible as these mysterious institutions were, the general credulity, the gross ignorance of the masses, and the love of the marvellous, helped not a little to render them even more outrageous and alarming than they really were.
The only sound way to appraise the state of the world is to count. How many violent acts has the world seen compared with the number of opportunities? And is that number going up or down? [...] To be sure, adding up corpses and comparing the tallies across different times and places can seem callous, as if it minimized the tragedy of the victims in less violent decades and regions. But a quantitative mindset is in fact the morally enlightened one. It treats every human life as having equal value, rather than privileging the people who are closest to us or most photogenic. And it holds out the hope that we might identify the causes of violence and thereby implement the measures that are most likely to reduce it.
• Steven Pinker and Andrew Mack, "The World Is Not Falling Apart", Slate, December 22, 2014
• Source: Wikiquote: "Violence" (Quotes: Arranged alphabetically by author.)
I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.
Continued unrestricted testing by the nuclear powers, joined in time by other nations which may be less adept in limiting pollution, will increasingly contaminate the air that all of us must breathe. Even then, the number of children and grandchildren with cancer in their bones, with leukemia in their blood, or with poison in their lungs might seem statistically small to some, in comparison with natural health hazards. But this is not a natural health hazard -- and it is not a statistical issue. The loss of even one human life, or the malformation of even one baby -- who may be born long after we are gone -- should be of concern to us all. Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent.
A morbid pleasure nourished, tracing here An emblem of his own unfruitful life: And, lifting up his head, he then would gaze On the more distant scene,— how lovely 'tis Thou seest,—and he would gaze till it became Far lovelier, and his heart could not sustain The beauty, still more beauteous! Nor, that time, When nature had subdued him to herself, Would he forget those Beings to whose minds, Warm from the labours of benevolence, The world and human life appeared a scene Of kindred loveliness: then he would sigh, Inly disturbed, to think that others felt What he must never feel: and so, lost Man! On visionary views would fancy feed, Till his eye streamed with tears. In this deep vale He died, — this seat his only monument.
William Wordsworth
• Source: Wikiquote: "William Wordsworth" (Quotes, Lines (1795): Lines — Left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree, which stands near the Lake of Esthwaile, on a desolate part of the Shore, commanding a beautiful Prospect.)
Long gone is the time when we opposed the notion that we all looked alike and talked alike. Somehow we have come to exalt the new black stereotype above all and to demand conformity to that norm. It is this notion — that our race defines us -- that Ralph Ellison so eloquently rebuts in his essay, "The World and the Jug." He sees the lives of black people as more than a burden, but also a discipline, just as any human life which has endured so long is a discipline, teaching its own insights into the human condition, its own strategies of survival. There's a fullness and even a richness here. And here despite the realities of politics, perhaps, but nevertheless here and real because it is human life.
It appears that mankind in this life are not agents of trial for eternity, but that they will eternally remain agents of trial. To suppose that our eternal circumstances will be unalterably fixed in happiness or misery, in consequence of the agency or transactions of this temporary life, is inconsistent with the moral government of God, and the progressive and retrospective knowledge of the human mind. God has not put it into our power to plunge ourselves into eternal woe and perdition; human liberty is not so extensive, for the term of human life bears no proportion to eternity succeeding it; so that there could be no proportion between a momentary agency, (which is liberty of action,) or probation, and any supposed eternal consequences of happiness or misery resulting from it.
With the fullness of time, God has sent one person to this earth to resolve the fundamental problems of human life and the universe. His name is Sun Myung Moon. For several decades he wandered through the spirit world so vast as to be beyond imagining. He trod a bloody path of suffering in search of the truth, passing through tribulations that God alone remembers. Since he understood that no one can find the ultimate truth to save humanity without first passing through the bitterest of trials, he fought alone against millions of devils, both in the spiritual and physical worlds, and triumphed over them all. Through intimate spiritual communion with God and by meeting with Jesus and many saints in Paradise, he brought to light all the secrets of Heaven.
It has been fashionable in the twentieth century not only to debunk myth, … but to pretend that that reasonable and educated people could avoid the embarrassment of religion and the risk of metaphysics by sticking close to demonstrable facts and testable hypotheses. However, in the course of reducing our beliefs and hopes to certainties and proofs, we impoverished and deluded ourselves. The modern anti-myth reduced human life to a story without a point, a tale told by an idiot, a process without a purpose, a journey without a goal, an affair without a climax (Godot never comes), an accidental collision of mindless atoms. … We have hardly noticed that economics, technology and politics have become the new myth and metaphysic. We haven’t avoided myth and metaphysics, only created demeaning ones.
The purblind majority quite honestly believed that literature was meant to mimic human life, and that it did so. And in consequence, their love-affairs, their maxims, their so-called natural ties and instincts, and above all, their wickedness, became just so many bungling plagiarisms from something they had read, in a novel or a Bible or a poem or a newspaper. People progressed from the kindergarten to the cemetery assuming that their emotion at every crisis was what books taught them was the appropriate emotion, and without noticing that it was in reality something quite different. Human life was a distorting tarnished mirror held up to literature: this much at least of Wilde's old paradox — that life mimicked art — was indisputable. Human life, very clumsily, tried to reproduce the printed word.
But, as we consider the totality of similarly broad and fundamental aspects of life, we cannot defend division by two as a natural principle of objective order. Indeed, the “stuff” of the universe often strikes our senses as complex and shaded continua, admittedly with faster and slower moments, and bigger and smaller steps, along the way. Nature does not dictate dualities, trinities, quarterings, or any “objective” basis for human taxonomies; most of our chosen schemes, and our designated numbers of categories, record human choices from a cornucopia of possibilities offered by natural variation from place to place, and permitted by the flexibility of our mental capacities. How many seasons (if we wish to divide by seasons at all) does a year contain? How many stages shall we recognize in a human life?
Stephen Jay Gould
The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox: Mending the Gap between Science and the Humanities (Harmony, 2003), p. 82
• Source: Wikiquote: "Stephen Jay Gould" (Sourced)
Once we understand the fundamentals of Mr. Cabell's artistic aims, it is not easy to escape the fact that in Figures of Earth he undertook the staggering and almost unsuspected task of rewriting humanity's sacred books, just as in Jurgen he gave us a stupendous analogue of the ceaseless quest for beauty. For we must accept the truth that Mr. Cabell is not a novelist at all in the common acceptance of the term, but a historian of the human soul. His books are neither documentary nor representational; his characters are symbols of human desires and motives. By the not at all simple process of recording faithfully the projections of his rich and varied imagination, he has written thirteen books, which he accurately terms biography, wherein is the bitter-sweet truth about human life.
About James Branch Cabell
• Burton Rascoe, in the Introduction to Chivalry (1921) by James Branch Cabell, later published in Prometheans : Ancient and Modern (1933), p. 279
• Source: Wikiquote: "James Branch Cabell" (Quotes about Cabell)
World order will be secured only when the whole world has laid down these weapons which seem to offer us present security but threaten the future survival of the human race. That armistice day seems very far away. The vast resources of this planet are being devoted more and more to the means of destroying, instead of enriching, human life.
But the world was not meant to be a prison in which man awaits his execution. Nor has mankind survived the tests and trials of thousands of years to surrender everything--including its existence--now. This Nation has the will and the faith to make a supreme effort to break the log jam on disarmament and nuclear tests--and we will persist until we prevail, until the rule of law has replaced the ever dangerous use of force.
Poor and naked as this aspiring ape must seem to the eye of reason, asks Mr. Cabell, is there not something magnificent about his imaginings? Does the course of human life not singularly resemble the dance of puppets in the hands of a Supreme Romancer? How, then, may any one declare that romance has become antiquated or can ever cease to be indispensable to mortal character and mortal interest? The difference between Mr. Cabell and the popular romancers who in all ages clutter the scene and for whom he has nothing but amused contempt is that they are unconscious dupes of the demiurge whereas he, aware of its ways and its devices, employs it almost as if it were some hippogriff bridled by him in Elysian pastures and respectfully entertained in a snug Virginian stable.
Art is the one form of human energy in the whole world, which really works for union, and destroys the barriers between man and man. It is the continual, unconscious replacement, however fleeting, of oneself by another; the real cement of human life; the everlasting refreshment and renewal. For, what is grievous, dompting, grim, about our lives is that we are shut up within ourselves, with an itch to get outside ourselves. And to be stolen away from ourselves by Art is a momentary relaxation from that itching, a minute's profound, and as it were secret, enfranchisement. The active amusements and relaxations of life can only rest certain of our faculties, by indulging others; the whole self is never rested save through that unconsciousness of self, which comes through rapt contemplation of Nature or of Art.
How can the Universe tell its own story save by making use of human speech; how convey its meanings to finite minds save by employing a thinker to declare them? So long as the story remains unspoken, unwritten, can we say it exists at all? Does not the significance of things become a story by the very process which ends in the movement of an intelligently guided pen over a sheet of paper, in the reading of printed types, in the utterance of recognised vocables; and until this process has been accomplished is not the “meaning” a mere promise or unrealized potency? Can we learn the history of the world, and of human life, otherwise than by reading, or hearing it spoken? How, then, can we receive it without the intermediation of a writer, a speaker?
Art is the great and universal refreshment. For Art is never dogmatic; holds no brief for itself; you may take it, or you may leave it. It does not force itself rudely where it is not wanted. It is reverent to all tempers, to all points of view. But it is wilful — the very wind in the comings and goings of its influence, an uncapturable fugitive, visiting our hearts at vagrant, sweet moments; since we often stand even before the greatest works of Art without being able quite to lose ourselves! That restful oblivion comes, we never quite know when — and it is gone! But when it comes, it is a spirit hovering with cool wings, blessing us from least to greatest, according to our powers; a spirit deathless and varied as human life itself.
To those who live and toil and lowly die,
Who past beyond and leave no lasting trace
To those from whom our queen Prosperity
Has turned away her fair and fickle face;
To those frail craft upon the restless Sea
Of Human Life, who strike the rocks uncharted,
Who loom, sad phantoms, near us, drearily,
Storm-driven, rudderless, with timbers started;
To those poor Casuals of the way-worn earth,
The feckless wastage of our cunning schemes,
This book is dedicate, their hidden worth
And beauty I have seen in vagrant dreams!

The things we touch, the things we dimly see,
The stiff strange tapestries of human thought,
The silken curtains of our fantasy
Are with their sombre histories o'erwrought.
And yet we know them not, our skill is vain to find
The mute soul's agony, the visions of the blind.
The incident in the temple when Jesus used the scourge of small cords (John 2:13-17) is often cited as indicating Jesus sanction of war. The very most that can be said in this regard is that Jesus' sanctions the use of force. To say this is not proof that Jesus sanctions war War. ...If Jesus had used force in such a way as to give supremacy to military necessity, to destroy human life, to break down reverence for personality, to retaliate with evil for evil, to compel the surrender of his moral freedom, we might then well believe that he sanctions war. The use of force is one problem, the morality of war as a means to an end involves so many additional factors as to be quite a different problem. Each should be judged on its own merits.
Kirby Page
• Ch.4 p. 62-63
• Source: Wikiquote: "Kirby Page" (Sourced, The Sword or the Cross, Which Should be the Weapon of the Christian Militant? (1921))
Ignorance or disregard of our evolutionary heritage, and of the fundamental biological, emotional, cognitive, and social similarities on which much in everyday human life and thought depend, can lead to speculative philosophies and empirical programs that misconstrue the natural scope and limits of our species-specific abilities and competencies. The intellectual and moral consequences of this misconstrual have varying significance, both for ourselves and for others, for example, in the ways relativism informs currently popular notions of "separate but equal" cultural worlds whose peoples are in some sense incommensurably different from ourselves and from one another. Relativism aspires directly to mutual tolerance of irreducible differences. Naturalism-the evolutionary-based biological and cognitive understanding of our common nature and humanity-aims first to render cultural diversity comprehensible. If anything, evolution teaches us that from one or a few forms wondrously many kinds will arise.
Scott Atran
• Introduction: an evolutionary riddle, p. 17
• Source: Wikiquote: "Scott Atran" (Quotes, In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion (2002))
There are two tyrants in human life who domineer in all nations, in Indians and Negroes, in Tartars and Arabs, in Hindoos and Chinese, in Greeks and Romans, in Britons and Gauls, as well as in our simple, youthful, and beloved United States of America. These two tyrants are fashion and party. They are sometimes at variance, and I know not whether their mutual hostility is not the only security of human happiness. But they are forever struggling for an alliance with each other; and, when they are united, truth, reason, honor, justice, gratitude, and humanity itself in combination are no match for the coalition. Upon the maturest reflection of a long experience, I am much inclined to believe that fashion is the worst of all tyrants, because he is the original source, cause, preserver, and supporter of all others.
At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life....[P]eople have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail…. We conclude the line should be drawn at viability, so that, before that time, the woman has a right to choose to terminate her pregnancy....[T]here is no line other than viability which is more workable. To be sure, as we have said, there may be some medical developments that affect the precise point of viability, but this is an imprecision within tolerable limits....A husband has no enforceable right to require a wife to advise him before she exercises her personal choices.
Let's run it on down. White males are most responsible for the destruction of human life and environment on the planet today. Yet who is controlling the supposed revolution to change all that? White males (yes, yes, even with their pasty fingers back in black and brown pies again). It just could make one a bit uneasy. It seems obvious that a legitimate revolution must be led by, made by those who have been most oppressed: black, brown, and white women–with men relating to that as best they can. A genuine Left doesn't consider anyone's suffering irrelevant, or titillating; nor does it function as a microcosm of capitalist economy, with men competing for power and status at the top, and women doing all the work at the bottom (and functioning as objectified prizes or "coin" as well). Goodbye to all that.
Robin Morgan
• "Goodbye to All That", 1970 in Going Too Far: The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist, p 123.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Robin Morgan" (Sourced)
It has been among the visions of some dreaming philosophers that human life is capable of almost indefinite extension. The great Condorcet was one of these. He thought that by the removal of the two causes of evil—poverty and superfluity—by destroying prejudices and superstitions, and by various other operations, which he considered the purification of mankind, but which other people would call their pollution, the approach of death would by degrees be farther and farther indefinitely protracted. It is desirable that the practical views entertained by sanitary reformers should be kept widely distinct from any such theories, the character of which has been well drawn by Malthus when he says—"...Though I may not be able in the present instance to mark the limit at which further improvement will stop I can very easily mention a point at which it will not arrive."
At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life…. people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail…. We conclude the line should be drawn at viability, so that, before that time, the woman has a right to choose to terminate her pregnancy…. there is no line other than viability which is more workable. To be sure, as we have said, there may be some medical developments that affect the precise point of viability, but this is an imprecision within tolerable limits.... A husband has no enforceable right to require a wife to advise him before she exercises her personal choices.
There have been the most terrible, shocking events taking place in the United States of America within the last hour or so, including two hi-jacked planes being flown deliberately into the World Trade Centre. I am afraid we can only imagine the terror and the carnage there and the many, many innocent people who will have lost their lives. I know that you would want to join with me in sending the deepest condolences to President Bush and to the American people on behalf of the British people at these terrible events. This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world today. It is perpetrated by fanatics who are utterly indifferent to the sanctity of human life and we, the democracies of this world, are going to have to come together to fight it together and eradicate this evil completely from our world.
The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then, we may learn: 1st, Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action … 2nd, Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action:—the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations; … 3rd, Caution, not to make our moves too hastily...
The moral improvement of the nations and their individual components has not kept pace with the march of intellect and the advance of industry. Before the assaults of criticism many ancient strongholds of faith have given way, and doubt is fast spreading even into circles where its expression is forbidden. Morality, long accustomed to the watchful tutelage of faith, finds this connection loosened or severed, while no new protector has arisen to champion her rights, no new instruments been created to enforce her lessons among the people. As a consequence we behold a general laxness in regard to obligations the most sacred and dear. An anxious unrest, a fierce craving desire for gain has taken possession of the commercial world, and in instances no longer rare the most precious and permanent goods of human life have been madly sacrificed in the interests of momentary enrichment.
None of the Gospel writers, nor the missionary Paul, nor the formulators of the Tradition, possess the psychological, sociological, and sexological knowledge which now inform our theological reflections about human sexuality. They knew nothing of sexual orientation or of the natural heterosexual-bisexual-homosexual continuum that exists in human life. They did not postulate that persons engaging in same-gender sex acts could have been expressing their natural sexuality. They presumed that persons engaged in same-gender acts were heterosexual, presumed only one purpose for for sexuality (procreation) and presumed that anyone engaged in same-gender sex acts was consciously choosing perversion of what was assumed to be natural sexuality (i.e., heterosexuality). We now know that same-gender sex acts have been observed in a multitude of species from sea gulls to porcupines... We know that same-gender oriented persons can experience deep love with one another and can nurture meaningful, long-lasting relationships.
• William R. Johnson, Positively Gay: New Approaches to Gay and Lesbian Life, ed. Betty Berzon, 1992.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Homosexuality" (Quotes, Modern people)
The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it. By playing at Chess then, we may learn: 1st, Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action … 2nd, Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: — the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations; … 3rd, Caution, not to make our moves too hastily...
“To imitate Socrates” meant, in other words, to staunchly refuse imitation; refuse imitation of the person “Socrates”—or any other person, however worthy. The model of life Socrates selected, painstakingly composed and laboriously cultivated for himself might have perfectly suited his kind of person, but it would not necessarily suit all those who made a point of living as Socrates did. A slavish imitation of the specific mode of life that Socrates constructed on his own, and to which he remained unhesitatingly, steadfastly loyal throughout, would amount to a betrayal of his legacy, to the rejection of his message—a message calling people first and foremost to listen to their own reason, and calling thereby for individual autonomy and responsibility. Such an imitation could suit a copier or a scanner, but it will never result in an original artistic creation, which (as Socrates suggested) human life should strive to become.
Recently I have gone back to church regularly with a new focus to understand as best I can what it is that makes Christianity so vital and powerful in the lives of billions of people today, even though almost 2000 years have passed since the death and resurrection of Christ. Although I suspect I will never fully understand, I now think the answer is very simple: it's true. God did create the universe about 13.7 billion years ago, and of necessity has involved Himself with His creation ever since. The purpose of this universe is something that only God knows for sure, but it is increasingly clear to modern science that the universe was exquisitely fine-tuned to enable human life. We are somehow critically involved in His purpose. Our job is to sense that purpose as best we can, love one another, and help Him get that job done.
Richard Smalley
• May 2005, letter sent to the Hope College 2005 Alumni Banquet where he was awarded a distinguished alumni award; his illness prevented him from attending in person
• Source: Wikiquote: "Richard Smalley" (Sourced)
Language, that is to say, is the indispensable mechanism of human life -- of life such as ours that is molded, guided, enriched, and made possible by the accumulation of the past experience of members of our own species. Dogs and cats and chimpanzees do not, so far as we can tell, increase their wisdom, their information, or their control over their environment from one generation to the next. But human beings do. The cultural accomplishment of the ages, the invention of cooking, [...] and the discovery of all the arts and sciences come to us as free gifts from the dead. These gifts, which none of us has done anything to earn, offer us not only the opportunity for a richer life than our forebears enjoyed but also the opportunity to add to the sum total of human achievement by our own contributions, however small they may be.
The notion of being an “enlightened” person does not reduce simply to that of being a person who has highly developed cognitive abilities or disposes of a vast stock of knowledge; neither does it reduce to the idea of being a morally good or socially useful person. “Enlightenment” is not a value-free concept because it is connected with some idea of devoting persistent, focused attention to that which is genuinely important in human life, rather than to marginal or subsidiary phenomena, to drawing the “correct” conclusions from attending to these important features—whatever they are—and to embodying these conclusions concretely in one’s general way of living. It involves a certain amount of sheer knowledge, an ability to concentrate and reflect, inventiveness in restructuring one’s psychic, personal, and social habits; but to be enlightened is not to “have” any bit of doctrine, but to have been (re)structured in a certain way.
The flight of time, the transitoriness of all things, the empire of death, are the foundations of tragic feeling. Ever since men began to reflect deeply upon human life, they have sought various ways of escape: in religion, in philosophy, in poetry, in history – all of which attempt to give eternal value to what is transient. While personal memory persists, in some degree, it postpones the victory of time and gives persistence, at least in recollection, to the momentary event. The same impulse carried further causes kings to engrave their victories on monuments of stone, poets to relate old sorrows in words whose beauty (they hope) will make them immortal, and philosophers to invent systems providing that time is no more than illusion. Vain effort! The stone crumbles, the poet's words become unintelligible, and the philosopher's system are forgotten. Nonetheless, striving after eternity has ennobled the passing moment.
The whole tenor of the opposition to him and the circumstances of his trial and execution show clearly that to his contemporaries he seemed to propose plainly and did propose plainly to change and fuse and enlarge all human life. But even his disciples did not grasp the profound and comprehensive significance of that proposal. They were ridden by the old Jewish dream of a king, a Messiah to overthrow the Hellenized Herods and the Roman overlord, and restore the fabled glories of David. They disregarded the substance of his teaching, plain and direct though it was; evidently they thought it was merely his mysterious and singular way of setting about the adventure that would at last put him on the throne of Jerusalem. They thought he was just another king among the endless succession of kings, but of a quasi-magic kind, and making quasi-magic profession of an impossible virtue.
Every man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniences, and amusements of human life. But after the division of labour has once thoroughly taken place, it is but a very small part of these with which a man's own labour can supply him. The far greater part of them he must derive from the labour of other people, and he must be rich or poor according to the quantity of that labour which he can command, or which he can afford to purchase. The value of any commodity, therefore, to the person who possesses it, and who means not to use or consume it himself, but to exchange it for other commodities, is equal to the quantity of labour which it enables him to purchase or command. Labour, therefore, is the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities.
Adam Smith
• Chapter V.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Adam Smith" (Quotes, The Wealth of Nations (1776): References are to book, chapter, subdivisions and (in some cases), paragraph, as given in the Glasgow edition (see below). Other editions include book and chapter only. Page numbers are included as a locational help., Book I)
In its origin, liberalism had no ambition to be universal either in the sense of claiming to be valid for everyone and every human society or in the sense of purporting to give an answer to all the important questions of human life. … The ideal of liberalism is a practically engaged political philosophy that is both epistemically and morally highly abstemious. That is, at best, a very difficult and possibly a completely hopeless project. It is therefore not surprising that liberals succumb again and again to the temptation to go beyond the limits they would ideally like to set for themselves and try to make of liberalism a complete philosophy of life. … In the middle of the twentieth century, Kantianism presented itself as a “philosophical foundation” for a version of liberalism, and liberals at that time were sufficiently weak and self-deceived (or strong and opportunistic) to accept the offer.
Because machines could be made progressively more and more efficient, Western man came to believe that men and societies would automatically register a corresponding moral and spiritual improvement. Attention and allegiance came to be paid, not to Eternity, but to the Utopian future. External circumstances came to be regarded as more important than states of mind about external circumstances, and the end of human life was held to be action, with contemplation as a means to that end. These false and historically, aberrant and heretical doctrines are now systematically taught in our schools and repeated, day in, day out, by those anonymous writers of advertising copy who, more than any other teachers, provide European and American adults with their current philosophy of life. And so effective has been the propaganda that even professing Christians accept the heresy unquestioningly and are quite unconscious of its complete incompatibility with their own or anybody else’s religion.
In everything that lives, if one looks searchingly, is limned the shadow line of an idea — an idea, dead or living, sometimes stronger when dead, with rigid, unswerving lines that mark the living embodiment with the stern immobile cast of the non-living. Daily we move among these unyielding shadows, less pierceable, more enduring than granite, with the blackness of ages in them, dominating living, changing bodies, with dead, unchanging souls. And we meet, also, living souls dominating dying bodies — living ideas regnant over decay and death. Do not imagine that I speak of human life alone. The stamp of persistent or of shifting Will is visible in the grass-blade rooted in its clod of earth, as in the gossamer web of being that floats and swims far over our heads in the free world of air.
Regnant ideas, everywhere! Did you ever see a dead vine bloom? I have seen it.
I feel pleased with the rate of progress of interest in life-extension that is now developing. I am more concerned about the rate of growth of interest in cryonics — since this is the "first aid" which may be necessary for some of us to reach the time when biological aging is no longer a part of normal human life. The decision to include cryonics in a program of life extension requires a great stride beyond the more usual methods of safe and health-conscious living. Cryonics may be an advanced form of medicine that can greatly extend lifespan. Cryonics is not anti-religious or a means to prevent ultimate death. I hope that those who deeply care about their lives and the lives of their loved-ones will increasingly learn to be open to the life-saving potential of cryonics and other practical strategies for survival — and not be distracted by fantasies of physical immortality.
Carbon dioxide, Mister Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature. Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can't even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that's on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that — that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth...There isn't one such study because carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural. It is not harmful. It is part of Earth's life cycle...And yet we're being told that we have to reduce this natural substance and reduce the American standard of living to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occuring in the earth.
It is not by wearing down into uniformity all that is individual in themselves, but by cultivating it and calling it forth, within the limits imposed by the rights and interests of others, that human beings become a noble and beautiful object of contemplation; and as the works partake the character of those who do them, by the same process human life also becomes rich, diversified, and animating, furnishing more abundant aliment to high thoughts and elevating feelings, and strengthening the tie which binds every individual to the race, by making the race infinitely better worth belonging to. In proportion to the development of his individuality, each person becomes more valuable to himself, and is therefore capable of being more valuable to others. There is a greater fulness of life about his own existence, and when there is more life in the units there is more in the mass which is composed of them.
We love those who hate our enemies, and if we had no enemies there would be very few people whom we should love.
All this, however, is only true so long as we are concerned solely with attitudes towards other human beings. You might regard the soil as your enemy because it yields reluctantly a niggardly subsistence. You might regard Mother Nature in general as your enemy, and envisage human life as a struggle to get the better of Mother Nature. If men viewed life in this way, cooperation of the whole human race would become easy. And men could easily be brought to view life in this way if schools, newspapers, and politicians devoted themselves to this end. But schools are out to teach patriotism; newspapers are out to stir up excitement; and politicians are out to get re-elected. None of the three, therefore, can do anything towards saving the human race from reciprocal suicide.
If the whole of natural theology, as some people seem to maintain, resolves itself into one simple, though somewhat ambiguous, at least undefined proposition, that the cause or causes of order in the universe probably bear some remote analogy to human intelligence: If this proposition be not capable of extension, variation, or more particular explication: If it affords no inference that affects human life, or can be the source of any action or forbearance: And if the analogy, imperfect as it is, can be carried no farther than to the human intelligence, and cannot be transferred, with any appearance of probability, to the other qualities of the mind; if this really be the case, what can the most inquisitive, contemplative, and religious man do more than give a plain, philosophical assent to the proposition, as often as it occurs, and believe that the arguments on which it is established exceed the objections which lie against it?
Darwin grasped the philosophical bleakness with his characteristic courage. He argued that hope and morality cannot, and should not, be passively read in the construction of nature. Aesthetic and moral truths, as human concepts, must be shaped in human terms, not “discovered” in nature. We must formulate these answers for ourselves and then approach nature as a partner who can answer other kinds of questions for us—questions about the factual state of the universe, not about the meaning of human life. If we grant nature the independence of her own domain—her answers unframed in human terms—then we can grasp her exquisite beauty in a free and humble way. For then we become liberated to approach nature without the burden of an inappropriate and impossible quest for moral messages to assuage our hopes and fears. We can pay our proper respect to nature's independence and read her own ways as beauty or inspiration in our different terms.
Stephen Jay Gould
• "Art Meets Science in The Heart of the Andes", p. 109
• Source: Wikiquote: "Stephen Jay Gould" (Sourced, I Have Landed (2002): Page references are to the original Harmony Books hardcover edition.)
No human being can give an eternal resolution to another or take it from him; If someone objects that then one might just as well be silent if there is no probability of winning others, he thereby has merely shown that although his life very likely thrived and prospered in probability and everyone of his undertakings in the service of probability went forward, he has never really ventured and consequently has never had or given himself the opportunity to consider that probability is an illusion, but to venture the truth is what gives human life and the human situation pith and meaning, to venture is the fountainhead of inspiration, whereas probability is the sworn enemy of enthusiasm, the mirage whereby the sensate person drags out time and keeps the eternal away, whereby he cheats God, himself, and his generation: cheats God of the honor, himself of liberating annihilation, and his generation of the equality of conditions.
• Søren Kierkegaard, Four Upbuilding Discourses (31 August 1844) in Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses p. 382.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Probability" (Quotes)
Like Christianity, Buddhism explained suffering. In forms that established themselves in China, Buddhism offered the same sort of comfort to bereaved survivors and victims of violence or of disease as Christian faith did in the Roman world. Buddhism of course originated in India, where disease incidence was probably always very high as compared with civilizations based in cooler climates; Christianity, too, took shape in the urban environments of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria where the incidence of infectious disease was certainly very high as compared to conditions in cooler and less crowded places. From their inception, therefore, both faiths had to deal with sudden death by disease as one of the conspicuous facts of human life. Consequently, it is not altogether surprising that both religions taught that death was a release from pain, and a blessed avenue of entry upon a delightful afterlife where loved ones would be reunited, and earthly injustices and pains amply compensated for.
The universe is represented in every one of its particles. Every thing in nature contains all the powers of nature. Every thing is made of one hidden stuff; as the naturalist sees one type under every metamorphosis, and regards a horse as a running man, a fish as a swimming man, a bird as a flying man, a tree as a rooted man. Each new form repeats not only the main character of the type, but part for part all the details, all the aims, furtherances, hindrances, energies, and whole system of every other. Every occupation, trade, art, transaction, is a compend of the world, and a correlative of every other. Each one is an entire emblem of human life; of its good and ill, its trials, its enemies, its course and its end. And each one must somehow accommodate the whole man, and recite all his destiny. The world globes itself in a drop of dew.
Hence, the real solution of the problem (over-population) is not to be found in expedients which offend against the divinely established moral order or which attack human life at its very source, but in a renewed, scientific and technical effort on man’s part to deepen and extend his dominion over nature… The transmission of human life is the result of a personal and conscious act, and, as such, is subject to the all-holy, inviolable and immutable laws of God, which no man may ignore or disobey. He is not therefore, permitted to use certain ways and means which are allowable in the propagation of plant and animal life. Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact. From its inception it reveals the creating hand of God. Those who violate his laws not only offend the Divine Majesty and degrade themselves and humanity, they also sap the vitality of the political community of which they are the members.
Birth control
• Pope John XXIII, Mater et Magistra, 1961, par. 189, 193, 194
• Source: Wikiquote: "Birth control" (Quotes, Against birth control, Catholic, ex cathedra)
The inherent contradiction of human life has now reached an extreme degree of tension: on the one side there is the consciousness of the beneficence of the law of love, and on the other the existing order of life which has for centuries occasioned an empty, anxious, restless, and troubled mode of life, conflicting as it does with the law of love and built on the use of violence. This contradiction must be faced, and the solution will evidently not be favourable to the outlived law of violence, but to the truth which has dwelt in the hearts of men from remote antiquity: the truth that the law of love is in accord with the nature of man. But men can only recognize this truth to its full extent when they have completely freed themselves from all religious and scientific superstitions and from all the consequent misrepresentations and sophistical distortions by which its recognition has been hindered for centuries.
A severe morality holds that intercourse (and may hold this of eating, too) has something wrong about it if it is ever done except explicitly as being required for that preservation of human life which is what makes intercourse a good kind of action. But this involves thoroughly faulty moral psychology. God gave us our physical appetite, and its arousal without our calculation is part of the working of our sort of life. Given moderation and right circumstances, acts prompted by inclination can be taken in a general way to accomplish what makes them good in kind and there's no need for them to be individually necessary or useful for the end that makes them good kinds of action. Intercourse is a normal part of married life through the whole life of the partners in a marriage and is normally engaged in without any distinct purpose other than to have it, just as such a part of married life.
Everything in the universe has a nature, which means limits as well as potentials, a truth well known by people who work daily with the things of the world. … Engineering involves more than telling materials what they must do. If the engineer does not honor the nature of the steel or the wood or the stone, his or her failure will go well beyond aesthetics: the bridge or the building will collapse and put human life in peril. The human self also has a nature, limits as well as potentials. If you seek vocation without understanding the material you are working with, what you build with your life will be ungainly and may well put lives in peril, your own and some of those around you. “Faking it” in the service of high values is no virtue and has nothing to do with vocation. It is an ignorant, sometimes arrogant, attempt to override one’s nature, and it will always fail.
Like other poor astronomers of the time, Kepler found in astrology a kind of service he could render which people without astronomical zeal were willing to pay for, a situation which he regarded as quite providential. But this does not at all mean that he did not thoroughly believe in astrology. Those who so maintain can hardly have read his essay De Funiamentis Aslrologiae Certioribus... there had been in the sixteenth century a powerful revival of interest and belief in astrology, and Kepler was prepared by his general philosophy of science to give it a comprehensive philosophical basis. When the planets in their revolutions happen to fall in certain unusual relations, portentous consequences might very well ensue for human life—mighty vapours are perhaps projected from them, penetrate the animal spirits of men, stir their passions to an uncommon heat, with the result that wars and revolutions follow. ...the mathematical entities with which he is concerned are these larger astronomical harmonies rather than the elementary atoms.
The Book of Job and the 19th Psalm, which even the Church admits to be more ancient than the chronological order in which they stand in the book called the Bible, are theological orations conformable to the original system of theology. The internal evidence of those orations proves to a demonstration that the study and contemplation of the works of creation, and of the power and wisdom of God, revealed and manifested in those works, made a great part in the religious devotion of the times in which they were written; and it was this devotional study and contemplation that led to the discovery of the principles upon which what are now called sciences are established; and it is to the discovery of these principles that almost all the arts that contribute to the convenience of human life owe their existence. Every principal art has some science for its parent, though the person who mechanically performs the work does not always, and but very seldom, perceive the connection.
When I talk of the purpose of life, I am thinking not only of human life, but of all life on Earth and of the life which must exist upon other planets throughout the universe. It is only of life on Earth, however, that one can speak with any certainty. It seems to me that all life on Earth, the sum total of life upon the Earth, has purpose. If the means were available, we could trace our ancestry — yours and mine — back to the first blob of life-like material that came into being on the planet. The same thing could be done for the spider that spun his web in the grass, and of the grass in which the web was spun, the bird sitting in the tree and the tree in which he sits, the toad waiting for the fly beneath the bush, and for the fly and bush. We are all genetic brothers. The chain of life, tracing back to that primordial day of life's beginning, is unbroken...
By use and wont, in the Liberal scheme of statecraft as well as in the scheme of freely competitive business, implicit faith has hitherto been given to the remedial effect of punitive competition and the punitive correction of excesses by law and custom. It has been a system of adjustment by punitive afterthought. All of which may once have been well enough in its time, so long as the rate and scale of the movement of things were slow enough and small enough to be effectually overtaken and set to rights by afterthought. The modern -- eighteenth-century -- point of view presumes an order of things which is amenable to remedial adjustment after the event. But the new order of industry, and that sweeping equilibrium of material forces that embodies the new order, is not amenable to afterthought. Where human life and human fortunes are exposed to the swing of the machine system, or to the onset of national ambitions that are served by the machine industry, it is safety first or none.
There are moments in human life which can never be forgotten. Such is the time when Emile receives the instruction of which I have spoken; its influence should endure all his life through. Let us try to engrave it on his memory so that it may never fade away. It is one of the faults of our age to rely too much on cold reason, as if men were all mind. By neglecting the language of expression we have lost the most forcible mode of speech. The spoken word is always weak, and we speak to the heart rather through the eyes than the ears. In our attempt to appeal to reason only, we have reduced our precepts to words, we have not embodied them in deed. Mere reason is not active; occasionally she restrains, more rarely she stimulates, but she never does any great thing. Small minds have a mania for reasoning. Strong souls speak a very different language, and it is by this language that men are persuaded and driven to action.
It has been extremely edifying to hear of the good theories of duty and morality and piety which the various religions advocate. I will put them all on one basis, Christian and Jewish and ethnic, which they all promulgate to mankind. But what I think we want now to do is to inquire why the practice of all nations, our own as well as any other, is so much at variance with these noble precepts? These great founders of religion have made the true sacrifice. They have taken a noble human life, full of every human longing and passion and power and aspiration, and they have taken it all to try and find out something about this question of what God meant man to be and does mean him to be. But while they have made this great sacrifice, how is it with the multitude of us? Are we making any sacrifice at all? We think it was very well that those heroic spirits should study, should agonize and bled for us. But what do we do?
Julia Ward Howe
• Source: Wikiquote: "Julia Ward Howe" (Quotes, What is Religion? (1893): Speech at the "Parliament of World Religions", Columbian Exposition, Chicago World's Fair (1893))
We talk about spreading democracy and freedom all over the world, but they are to us words rather than conditions. We haven't even got them here in America, and the farther we get into this war the farther we get away from democracy and freedom. Where is it leading us to, and when will it end? The war might stop this winter, but that is improbable. It may go on for fifty years or more. That also is improbable. The elements are too conflicting and confused to form any accurate judgment of its length. There may be a series of wars, one after another, going on indefinitely.
Possibly the world will come to its senses sooner than I expect. But, as I have often said, the environment of human life has changed more rapidly and more extensively in recent years than it has ever changed before. When environment changes, there must be a corresponding change in life. That change must be so great that it is not likely to be completed in a decade or in a generation.
I don't necessarily see the elements that I invoke on the cover and in the songs as being in binary opposition. I know certain binary tensions emerge between these elements, but a lot of times they're more like archetypal elements; these free-standing, huge forces. Mortality, standing alone, as a thing; as opposed to, "Over here's life; over here's death. Here's bad luck, but here's blessing and redemption. Here's water; here's fire." Certainly those things come up again and again in the songs, but it's not intentional, and probably has more to do with the fact that those things emerge in real life, without any effort on our part whatsoever, than they are derived from any classical tradition. I think classicism in general might reflect more closely the natural order of human life, while postmodernism is somehow removed from the natural order, more cerebral and sterile, removed from real life on some level. So what seems like classicism in some of these songs might be just what I view as an accurate reflection of real life on this planet.
Martin Luther once observed that your “god” is that which you most fear to lose. More recently, Paul Tillich defined a “god” as an “Ultimate Concern.” For the influential citizens and decision makers of the Late Bronze Age, the “Ultimate Concerns” they most feared losing were power and prosperity, and the political apparatus that was believed to guarantee both. For the elite, these concerns took precedence over almost every other consideration. Like many modern folk, they found it impossible to conceive of the reality of the divine apart from some social system of coercion and force. To worship Baal and Asherah was to affirm the supreme value that power and wealth played in making all human life and experience meaningful.This sort of pagan religious ideology almost inevitably sows the seeds of its own demise. Where power and wealth are the predominant concerns and sacred ends, society dissolves into a self-destructive struggle to obtain them. And the more widely held such a religious ideology, the more widespread the violence will likely be, destroying especially those who most faithfully embrace it.
A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship for the face of earth, for the labours men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakeable difference amidst the future widening of knowledge: a spot where the definiteness of early memories may be inwrought with affection, and kindly acquaintance with all neighbours, even to the dogs and donkeys, may spread not by sentimental effort and reflection, but as a sweet habbit of the blood. At five years old, mortals are not prepared to be citizens of the world, to be stimulated by abstract nouns, to soar above preference into impartiality; and that prejudice in favour of milk with which we blindly begin, is a type of the way body and soul must get nourished at least for a time. The best introduction to astronomy is to think of the nightly heavens as a little lot of stars belonging to one's own homestead.
Socrates had taught him to take nothing for granted, not even the common relations of husband and wife or parent and child. His Republic, the first of all Utopian books, is a young man's dream of a city in which human life is arranged according to a novel and a better plan; his last unfinished work, the Laws, is a discussion of the regulation of another such Utopia. There is much in Plato at which we cannot even glance here, but it is a landmark in this history, it is a new thing in the development of mankind, this appearance of the idea of willfully and completely recasting human conditions. So far mankind has been living by tradition under the fear of the gods. Here is a man who says boldly to our race, and as if it were a quite reasonable and natural thing to say, "Take hold of your lives. Most of these things that distress you, you can avoid; most of these things that dominate you, you can overthrow. You can do as you will with them".
Perhaps the greatest personality who has ever devoted herself to developing the art of the dance …  Her interests ranged over a wide field of activities. There was a time when she wished to initiate a reform of human life in its least details of costume, of hygiene, of morals. But gradually she came to concentrate her interest upon the dance. For her the dance is not merely the art which permits the spirit to express itself in movement; it is the base of a whole conception of life, a life flexible, harmonious, natural. In the development of the dance she found herself confronted by the dilemma which has just been alluded to. On the one hand was the limited technique of the ballet, on the other the unnatural contortions of the eccentric school. To return to the unconscious gesture of the people — that is to say, the crude, stereotyped gestures of the street — offered no way of escape. She found the solution in a return to the natural gesture of human life as represented in Greek art.
About Isadora Duncan
• John Ernest Crawford Flitch, in Modern Dancing and Dancers (1912), Ch. 8 : The Revival of Classical Dancing, p. 105.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Isadora Duncan" (Quotes about Duncan: Alphabetized by author )
The idea that women are the choosier sex is one of the best-known claims associated with EP [evolutionary psychology]. Ironically, another of the best-known claims associated with EP is an exception to this rule: On average, men are choosier than women when it comes to the physical attractiveness of a prospective mate. Even if we put this counterexample aside, though, the statement “females are choosier than males,” although true of many species, does not apply easily to our own. It is true that men may sometimes be more willing than women to lower their standards for a casual sexual partner. However, when it comes to the most important mating decisions of a man’s life — who he will marry, who he will have children with — the difference in choosiness is much smaller and maybe nonexistent. This fact of human life is even implicit in everyday folk psychology; the stereotype is that men will “sleep with anything that moves,” not that they will marry or have children with anything that moves. In long-term, committed relationships, men are about as choosy as women.
Steve Stewart-Williams
• (p. 157)
• Source: Wikiquote: "Steve Stewart-Williams" (Quotes, The Ape that Thought It Was a Peacock: Does Evolutionary Psychology Exaggerate Human Sex Differences? (2013): Stewart-Williams, S., & Thomas, A. G. (2013). The ape that thought it was a peacock: Does evolutionary psychology exaggerate human sex differences? Psychological Inquiry, 24, 137-168.)
Human beings do not live forever, Reuven. We live less than the time it takes to blink an eye, if we measure our lives against eternity. So it may be asked what value is there to a human life. There is so much pain in the world. What does it mean to have to suffer so much, if our lives are nothing more than the blink of an eye?...I learned a long time ago, Reuven, that a blink of an eye in itself is nothing; but the eye that blinks, that is something. A span of life is nothing; but the man who lives the span, he is something. He can fill that tiny span with meaning, so its quality is immeasurable though its quantity may be insignificant. A man must fill his life with meaning, meaning is not automatically given to life. It is hard work to fill one's life with meaning- that, I do not think you understand yet. A life filled with meaning is worthy of rest. I want to be worthy of rest when I am no longer here.
It is true that wealth has been greatly increased, and that the average of comfort, leisure, and refinement has been raised; but these gains are not general. In them the lowest class do not share. I do not mean that the condition of the lowest class has nowhere nor in anything been improved; but that there is nowhere any improvement which can be credited to increased productive power. I mean that the tendency of what we call material progress is in nowise to improve the condition of the lowest class in the essentials of healthy, happy human life. Nay, more, that it is still further to depress the condition of the lowest class. The new forces, elevating in their nature though they be, do not act upon the social fabric from underneath, as was for a long time hoped and believed, but strike it at a point intermediate between top and bottom. It is as though an immense wedge were being forced, not underneath society, but through society. Those who are above the point of separation are elevated, but those who are below are crushed down.
There are a number of purely theoretical questions, of perennial and passionate interest, which science is unable to answer, at any rate at present. Do we survive death in any sense, and if so, do we survive for a time or for ever? Can mind dominate matter, or does matter completely dominate mind, or has each, perhaps, a certain limited independence? Has the universe a purpose? Or is it driven by blind necessity? Or is it a mere chaos and jumble, in which the natural laws that we think we find are only a phantasy generated by our own love of order? If there is a cosmic scheme, has life more importance in it than astronomy would lead us to suppose, or is our emphasis upon life mere parochialism and self-importance? I do not know the answer to these questions, and I do not believe that anybody else does, but I think human life would be impoverished if they were forgotten, or if definite answers were accepted without adequate evidence. To keep alive the interest in such questions, and to scrutinize suggested answers, is one of the functions of philosophy.
Now only a dent in the earth marks the site of these dwellings, with buried cellar stones, and strawberries, raspberries, thimble-berries, hazel-bushes, and sumachs growing in the sunny sward there; some pitch pine or gnarled oak occupies what was the chimney nook, and a sweet-scented black birch, perhaps, waves where the door-stone was. Sometimes the well dent is visible, where once a spring oozed; now dry and tearless grass; or it was covered deep -- not to be discovered till some late day -- with a flat stone under the sod, when the last of the race departed. What a sorrowful act must that be -- the covering up of wells! coincident with the opening of wells of tears. These cellar dents, like deserted fox burrows, old holes, are all that is left where once were the stir and bustle of human life, and "fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute," in some form and dialect or other were by turns discussed. But all I can learn of their conclusions amounts to just this, that "Cato and Brister pulled wool"; which is about as edifying as the history of more famous schools of philosophy.
Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction. We cannot avoid revising the fundamental definitions of human life and human society. Is it true that man is above everything? Is there no Superior Spirit above him? Is it right that man's life and society's activities have to be determined by material expansion in the first place? Is it permissible to promote such expansion to the detriment of our spiritual integrity?
If the world has not come to its end, it has approached a major turn in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will exact from us a spiritual upsurge, we shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.
This ascension will be similar to climbing onto the next anthropologic stage. No one on earth has any other way left but — upward.
In 1982, I refuse to take part in a colloquium whose subject is close to my heart. Organized by two Israeli professors of psychiatry, this symposium on genocide, which I am to chair, is scheduled for early June in Tel Aviv. Everything is set. Scholars and historians from several continents have accepted our invitation, among them Armenians. After all, they have ideas on this subject which has touched them closely. How could one forget the massacre of their parents and grandparents at the hands of the Turkish army? At the last moment, we encounter a major hurdle. Under pressure from Turkey, the Israelis urge me to revoke our invitation to the Armenians. I refuse. It would be too humiliating. And to humiliate is to blaspheme. The pressure increases. I am given to understand that if a single Armenian participates in the conference, Israeli-Turkish relations will suffer. And that there would be consequences for Jews in certain Arab countries. Jewish emissaries from Istanbul confirm this to me with documents. No matter, I will not offend our Armenian guests. I resign as chairman... 'A human life weighs more than all the books written about human life.'
The instinct which creates the arts is not the same as that which produces art. The creative instinct is, in its final analysis and in its simplest terms, an enormous extra vitality, a super-energy, born inexplicably in an individual, a vitality great beyond all the needs of his own living — an energy which no single life can consume. This energy consumes itself then in creating more life, in the form of music, painting, writing, or whatever is its most natural medium of expression. Nor can the individual keep himself from this process, because only by its full function is he relieved of the burden of this extra and peculiar energy — an energy at once physical and mental, so that all his senses are more alert and more profound than another man's, and all his brain more sensitive and quickened to that which his senses reveal to him in such abundance that actuality overflows into imagination. It is a process proceeding from within. It is the heightened activity of every cell of his being, which sweeps not only himself, but all human life about him, or in him, in his dreams, into the circle of its activity.
The History of Electricity is a field full of pleasing objects, according to all the genuine and universal principles of taste, deduced from a knowledge of human nature. Scenes like these, in which we see a gradual rise and progress in things, always exhibit a pleasing spectacle to the human mind. Nature, in all her delightful walks, abounds with such views, and they are in a more especial manner connected with every thing that relates to human life and happiness; things, in their own nature, the most interesting to us. Hence it is, that the power of association has annexed crowds of pleasing sensations to the contemplation of every object, in which this property is apparent.
This pleasure, likewise, bears a considerable resemblance to that of the sublime, which is one of the most exquisite of all those that affect the human imagination. For an object in which we see a perpetual progress and improvement is, as it were, continually rising in its magnitude; and moreover, when we see an actual increase, in a long period of time past, we cannot help forming an idea of an unlimited increase in futurity; which is a prospect really boundless, and sublime.
We have tested, in matters where ordinary intelligence and knowledge are competent to judge, the logical methods and intellectual honesty of the foremost of those who in the name of science eliminate God and degrade man, taking from human life its highest dignity and deepest hope. Now, if in simple matters we find such confusion, such credulity, such violation of every canon of sound reasoning as we have found here, shall we blindly trust in deeper matters — in those matters which always have and always must perplex the intellect of man?
Let us rather, as I said in the beginning, not too much underrate our own powers in what is concerned with common facts and general relations. While we may not be scientists or philosophers we too are men. And as to things which the telescope cannot resolve, nor the microscope reveal, nor the spectrum analysis throw light on, nor the tests of the chemist discover, it is as irrational to accept blindly the dictum of those who say, "Thus saith science!" as it is in things that are the proper field of the natural sciences to bow before the dictum of those who say, "Thus saith religion!"
I want to make perfectly clear the act that the world is in the fringe, in the penumbra, of a tremendous Revolution, with a big R. We have called it a war and the fighting has been with mechanized weapons, but we shall soon be face to face with awesome situations against which weapons are vain things, as ineffective as Canute’s futile attempts to stop the irresistible tides of the ocean. Nothing is ever going to be the same again and we cannot assume our Quakerism is to be unaffected by the euroclydon that is in front of us. The time has passed for “the complacent assumption of an unchanged world.” This situation which I see coming — though I am afraid most Americans are looking forward fondly to a new period of “normalcy” — this situation makes it more urgent than ever to have our Quaker Society inwardly prepared to be a purveyor of light and leading when the crisis comes. The Christian faith of the ages will be tested more severely than in any former Revolution, because it will be confronted with its supreme enemy, a completely economic, materialistic, and mechanistic interpretation of the word and of human life.
There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger's early efforts. She, like we, saw the horrifying conditions of ghetto life. Like we, she knew that all of society is poisoned by cancerous slums. Like we, she was a direct actionist — a nonviolent resister. She was willing to accept scorn and abuse until the truth she saw was revealed to the millions. At the turn of the century she went into the slums and set up a birth control clinic, and for this deed she went to jail because she was violating an unjust law. Yet the years have justified her actions. She launched a movement which is obeying a higher law to preserve human life under humane conditions. Margaret Sanger had to commit what was then called a crime in order to enrich humanity, and today we honor her courage and vision; for without them there would have been no beginning. Our sure beginning in the struggle for equality by nonviolent direct action may not have been so resolute without the tradition established by Margaret Sanger and people like her. Negroes have no mere academic nor ordinary interest in family planning. They have a special and urgent concern.
The hospitality of primitive peoples, respect for human life, the sense of reciprocal obligation, compassion for the weak, courage, extending even to the sacrifice of self for others which is first learnt for the sake of children and friends, and later for that of members of the same community — all these qualities are developed in man anterior to all law, independently of all religion, as in the case of the social animals. Such feelings and practices are the inevitable results of social life. Without being, as say priests and metaphysicans, inherent in man, such qualities are the consequence of life in common.
But side by side with these customs, necessary to the life of societies and the preservation of the race, other desires, other passions, and therefore other habits and customs, are evolved in human association. The desire to dominate others and impose one's own will upon them; the desire to seize upon the products of the labor of a neighboring tribe; the desire to surround oneself with comforts without producing anything, while slaves provide their master with the means of procuring every sort of pleasure and luxury — these selfish, personal desires give rise to another current of habits and customs.