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.
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- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Mimzy returned to her own time, as if time had stopped. It was what the scientist had hoped for — to find a soul in the past not contaminated by the pollutants that filled our bodies and minds. Our precious quality of humanity had been turned off, but in Emma's tears was the instruction for an awakening; and it spread like wildflowers. People shed their protective suits. And over time humanity blossomed again. Our world was saved by a child, very much like you. Emma was our mother, the mother of us all.
- Superman stands alone. Superman did not become Superman, Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he is Superman. His alter ego Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He's weak. He's unsure of himself. He's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race.
- 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?
- 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.