- For other uses, see Humanity (disambiguation).
Humanity is a term which commonly refers to the human species, mankind as a whole, or sets of qualities which are used to define human nature, the human condition, or to refer to any of the academic disciplines known as the humanities which study human culture.
- To suffer with the other and for others; to suffer for the sake of truth and justice; to suffer out of love and in order to become a person who truly loves—these are fundamental elements of humanity, and to abandon them would destroy man himself.
- The definition of humanity typically extols our cultural brilliance as manifest through millennia of mythology, religion, philosophy, art, music, literature, dance, architecture, and science. The praise of humanity's multifaceted achievements is well deserved, but this stunning radiance also has a macabre and dark side that is an inseparable part of human history and nature. This underbelly of "civilization" is barbarism–the unbroken timeline involving hierarchy, domination, colonization, violence, war, genocide, extinctions, and environmental ruination.
A poor Irish Widow, her husband having died in one of the Lanes of Edinburgh, went forth with her three children, bare of all resource, to solicit help from the Charitable Establishments of that City. At this Charitable Establishment and then at that she was refused; referred from one to the other, helped by none;— till she had exhausted them all; till her strength and heart failed her: she sank down in typhus-fever; died, and infected her Lane with fever, so that 'seventeen other persons' died of fever there in consequence. The humane Physician asks thereupon, as with a heart too full for speaking, Would it not have been economy to help this poor Widow? She took typhus-fever, and killed seventeen of you!—Very curious. The forlorn Irish Widow applies to her fellow-creatures, as if saying, "Behold I am sinking, bare of help: ye must help me! I am your sister, bone of your bone; one God made us: ye must help me!" They answer, "No; impossible: thou art no sister of ours." But she proves her sisterhood; her typhus-fever kills them: they actually were her brothers, though denying it! Had man ever to go lower for a proof?
For, as indeed was very natural in such case, all government of the Poor by the Rich has long ago been given over to Supply-and-demand, Laissez-faire and such like, and universally declared to be 'impossible.' "You are no sister of ours; what shadow of proof is there? Here are our parchments, our padlocks, proving indisputably our money-safes to be ours, and you to have no business with them. Depart! It is impossible!"
- Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present (1843)
- An inadvertent step may crush the snail
That crawls at evening in the public path.
But he that has humanity, forewarned,
Will turn aside and let the reptile live.
- William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book VI.
- Humanity itself is not at a very evolved stage, in terms of its future evolution... Humanity, from its very inception — and this is put at 18-and-a-half million years ago in the esoteric teaching — has been creating karma, good and bad.
- You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
- Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World (1954), by Louis Fischer, p. 177
- In all respects, we are one humanity, one human family. Limitations arise from political beliefs and world leaders who hold thinking to time, place and culture, thereby creating differences and separateness. The birthright of all mankind is to love and follow God. Limitations arise from erroneous human beliefs.
- Haidakhan Babaji, The Teachings of Babaji, 30 October 1982.
- One can follow any religion, one can follow any practice or path, but one must be humane.
- Haidakhan Babaji, The Teachings of Babaji, 22 January 1983.
- The world now is in a state of turmoil. It is suffering from three kinds of pain – physical, mental, spiritual – and there is only one way of being cured from these. We have to root out inhumanity and replace it with humanity. (…) There are people in this world who, when they see someone else’s house burning, are happy. There are people who want to live in comfort at the expense of the labor of others. There is only one God, who created all men in His image. This is why we have to re-establish humanity.
- Haidakhan Babaji, The Teachings of Babaji, 23 September 1983.
- The third assumption, and by far the most pernicious, is a behavioral model that describes human beings as something called "homo economicus," which basically means that we are all perfectly selfish, perfectly rational and relentlessly self-maximizing. But just ask yourselves, is it plausible that every single time for your entire life, when you did something nice for somebody else, all you were doing was maximizing your own utility? Is it plausible that when a soldier jumps on a grenade to defend fellow soldiers, they're just promoting their narrow self-interest? If you think that's nuts, contrary to any reasonable moral intuition, that's because it is and, according to the latest science, not true. But it is this behavioral model which is at the cold, cruel heart of neoliberal economics, and it is as morally corrosive as it is scientifically wrong because, if we accept at face value that humans are fundamentally selfish, and then we look around the world at all of the unambiguous prosperity in it, then it follows logically, then it must be true by definition, that billions of individual acts of selfishness magically transubstantiate into prosperity and the common good.
- But, if... we accept the latest empirical research, real science, which correctly describes human beings as highly cooperative, reciprocal and intuitively moral creatures, then it follows logically that it must be cooperation and not selfishness that is the cause of our prosperity, and it isn't our self-interest but rather our inherent reciprocity that is humanity's economic superpower.
- Now, the old economics is correct, of course, that competition plays a crucial role in how markets work, but what it fails to see is that it is largely a competition between highly cooperative groups -- competition between firms, competition between networks of firms, competition between nations -- and anyone who has ever run a successful business knows that building a cooperative team by including the talents of everyone is almost always a better strategy than just a bunch of selfish jerks.
- the plea of humanity is lost by going through the process of law, the firm and manly tone of principle is exchanged for the wavering and pitiful cant of policy, the living bursts of passion are reduced to a defunct common-place, and all true imagination is buried under the dust and rubbish of learned models and imposing authorities.
- The Spirit of the Age (1830) by William Hazlitt
- The sick in soul insist that it is humanity that is sick, and they are the surgeons to operate on it. They want to turn the world into a sickroom. And once they get humanity strapped to the operating table, they operate on it with an ax.
- Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955), Section 124.
- It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor. … Some of the worst tyrannies of our day genuinely are "vowed" to the service of mankind, yet can function only by pitting neighbor against neighbor. The all-seeing eye of a totalitarian regime is usually the watchful eye of the next-door neighbor. In a Communist state love of neighbor may be classed as counter-revolutionary.
- Eric Hoffer, The Ordeal of Change (1963), Ch. 11: Brotherhood.
- The impulse of power is to turn every variable into a constant, and give to commands the inexorableness and relentlessness of laws of nature. Hence absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep. The taint inherent in absolute power is not its inhumanity but its anti-humanity.
- Eric Hoffer, The Ordeal of Change (1963), Ch. 15 : The Unnaturalness Of Human Nature.
- A man discovers what he is actually worth in this world when he faces society as a man, without money, name, or powerful connections, stripped of all but his native potentialities. He soon finds that nothing has less weight than his human qualities. They are prized so low that the market does not even list them. Strict science, which acknowledges man only as a biological concept, reflects man’s lot in the actual world; in himself, man is nothing more than a member of a species. In the eyes of the world, the quality of humanity confers no title to existence, nay, not even a right of sojourn. Such title must be certified by special social circumstances stipulated in documents to be presented on demand.
- Max Horkheimer, “The latest attack on metaphysics,” Critical Theory: Selected Essays (1982), p. 137
- I have written for all, with a profound love for my own country, but without being engrossed by France more than by any other nation. In proportion as I advance in life, I grow more simple, and I become more and more patriotic for humanity.
- The ... sentiment of the equality before God of all his creatures ... tends to nullify man's usual acquisitiveness. Those who have it spurn dignities and honors, privileges and advantages, preferring ... to grovel on the common level before the face of God. It is not exactly the sentiment of humility, though it comes so close to it in practice. It is humanity, rather, refusing to enjoy anything that others do not share.
- Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.
- Immanuel Kant, Idea for a General History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose (1784), Proposition 6.
- For it is humanity which is the great Orphan, the only disinherited one upon this earth, my friend. And it is the duty of every man who is capable of an unselfish impulse to do something, however little, for its welfare. Poor, poor humanity! it reminds me of the old fable of the war between the Body and its members: here, too, each limb of this huge "orphan"—fatherless and motherless—selfishly cares but for itself. The body uncared for suffers internally, whether the limbs are at war or at rest. Its suffering and agony never ceases. . . . And who can blame it — as your materialistic philosophers do— if, in this everlasting isolation and neglect it has evolved gods, unto whom "it ever cries for help but is not heard!"
- Koot Hoomi, The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett, Letter No. VIII, p. 32-33, (1923)
- Man isn't a noble savage, he's an ignoble savage. He is irrational, brutal, weak, silly, unable to be objective about anything where his own interests are involved—that about sums it up. I'm interested in the brutal and violent nature of man because it's a true picture of him. And any attempt to create social institutions on a false view of the nature of man is probably doomed to failure.
- Stanley Kubrick, The New York Times Film Review, 30th January 1972
- I dread to think of a society devoid of love, compassion and humanity.
- Suman Pokhrel, I dread to think of a society devoid of love, compassion and humanity, (An interview with Romain Molina)
- To us who regard [Jesus]as the unique revelation of God, the unfolding of the divine life under human forms, he is the ultimate standard of moral and spiritual life, the perfect expression of the will of God for humanity, the categorical imperative with a human heart. But very many who do not hold this belief in a formulated way or who feel compelled to deny it, including an increasing portion of our Jewish fellow-citizens, will still consent that in Jesus our race has reached one of its highest points, if not its crowning summit thus far, so that Jesus Christ is a prophecy of the future glory of humanity, the type of Man as he is to be. Christianizing means humanizing in the highest sense.
- Its Humanity develops fully only in the Fourth—our Fourth—our present Round. Up to this fourth Life-Cycle, it is referred to as 'humanity' only for lack of a more appropriate term. Like the grub which becomes chrysalis and butterfly, Man, or rather that which becomes man, passes through all the forms and kingdoms during the first Round and through all the human shapes during the two following Rounds... During the three Rounds to come, Humanity, like the globe [planet] on which it lives, will be ever tending to reassume its primeval form, that of a Dhyan-Chohanic Host. Man tends to become a God and then—GOD, like every other atom in the Universe...
- Helena Roerich Letters II, (16 November 1935)
- Mimzy returned to her own time, as if time had stopped. It was what the scientist had hoped for — to find a soul in the past not contaminated by the pollutants that filled our bodies and minds. Our precious quality of humanity had been turned off, but in Emma's tears was the instruction for an awakening; and it spread like wildflowers. People shed their protective suits. And over time humanity blossomed again. Our world was saved by a child, very much like you. Emma was our mother, the mother of us all.
- There are no "human" oppressors. Oppressors have lost their humanity.
- Bernie Sanders, "Man – and Woman" in Vermont Freeman (Mid-February 1972)
- How could we be were it not for this planet that provided our very shape? Two conditions—gravity and livable temperature range between freezing and boiling—have given us fluids and flesh. The trees we climb and the ground we walk on have given us five fingers and toes. The "place"... gave us far-seeing eyes, the streams and breezes gave us versatile tongues and whorly ears. The land gave us a stride, and the lake a dive. The amazement gave us our kind of mind.
- Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild (1990)
- When we speak of man, we have a conception of humanity as a whole, and before applying scientific methods to the investigation of his movement we must accept this as a physical fact. But can anyone doubt to-day that all the millions of individuals and all the innumerable types and characters constitute an entity, a unit? Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them. I cut myself in the finger, and it pains me: this finger is a part of me. I see a friend hurt, and it hurts me, too: my friend and I are one. And now I see stricken down an enemy, a lump of matter which, of all the lumps of matter in the universe, I care least for, and it still grieves me. Does this not prove that each of us is only part of a whole?
- Superman stands alone. Superman did not become Superman, Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he is Superman. His alter ego Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He's weak. He's unsure of himself. He's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race.
- The greatest achievement of humanity is not its works of art, science, or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction, its own madness. In the distant past, this recognition already came to a few individuals. A man called Gautama Siddhartha, who lived 2,600 years ago in India, was perhaps the first who saw it with absolute clarity. Later the title Buddha was conferred upon him. Buddha means “the awakened one.” At about the same time, another of humanity’s early awakened teachers emerged in China. His name was Lao Tzu. He left a record of his teaching in the form of one of the most profound spiritual books ever written, the Tao Te Ching. To recognize one’s own insanity, is of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.
- Most humans are still in the grip of the egoic mode of consciousness: identified with their mind and run by their mind. If they do not free themselves from their mind in time, they will be destroyed by it. They will experience increasing confusion, conflict, violence, illness, despair, madness. Egoic mind has become like a sinking ship. If you don't get off, you will go down with it. The collective egoic mind is the most dangerously insane and destructive entity ever to inhabit this planet.
- Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth:Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, p. 67, (2005)
- If the balance between male and female energies had not been destroyed on our planet, the ego's growth would have been greatly curtailed. We would not have declared war on nature, and we would not be so completely alienated from our Being.
- Nobody knows the exact figure because records were not kept, but it sees certain that during a three hundred year period between three and five million women were tortured and killed by the “Holy Inquisition, “ an institution founded by the Roman Catholic Church to suppress heresy. This sure ranks together with the Holocaust as one of the darkest chapters in human history. It was enough for a woman to show a love for animals, walk alone in the fields or woods, or gather medicinal plants to be branded a witch, then tortured and burned at the stake. The sacred feminine was declared demonic, and an entire dimension largely disappeared form human experience. Other cultures and religions, such as Judaism, Islam, and even Buddhism, also suppressed the female dimension, although in a less violent way. Women's status was reduced to being child bearers and men's property. Males who denied the feminine even within themselves where now running the world, a world that was totally out of balance. The rest is history or rather a case history of insanity.
- Eckhart Tolle, in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (2005)
- Humanity is under great pressure to evolve because it is our only chance of survival as a race. This will affect every aspect of your life and close relationships in particular. Never before have relationships been as problematic and conflict ridden as they are now. As you may have noticed, they are not here to make you happy or fulfilled. If you continue to pursue the goal of salvation through a relationship, you will be disillusioned again and again. But if you accept that the relationship is here to make you conscious instead of happy, then the relationship will offer you salvation, and you will be aligning yourself with the higher consciousness that wants to be born into this world. For those who hold on to the old patterns, there will be increasing pain, violence, confusion, and madness.Most humans are still in the grip of the egoic mode of consciousness: identified with their mind and run by their mind. If they do not free themselves from their mind in time, they will be destroyed by it. They will experience increasing confusion, conflict, violence, illness, despair, madness. Egoic mind has become like a sinking ship. If you don't get off, you will go down with it.
- When people set themselves above nature, they put their very humanity at risk.
- America’s most important ally should be humanity itself. Our species will not survive another 100 years if we don’t move from a competitive to a cooperative mode of existence. “Me first” is an obsolete, unsustainable perspective.
- For the interesting and inspiring thing about America, gentlemen, is that she asks nothing for herself except what she has a right to ask for humanity itself.
- Woodrow Wilson, speech at the luncheon of the Mayor of New York (17 May 1915).
- I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.