"Without the aid of prejudice and custom, I should not be able to
find my way out of the room."
"The more refined one is, the more unhappy."
"We are never so happy or so unhappy as we think."
"A peasant and a philosopher may be equally satisfied, but not
equally happy. Happiness consists in the multiplicities of agreeable
"Le bonheur n'est pas chose aisée: il est très difficile de le
trouver en nous, et impossible de le trouver ailleurs."
"One does not hate as long as one despises."
“Man is wicked and unhappy; everywhere prisons, hospitals, gibbets
and beggars; history, properly speaking, is nothing but a collection
of the crimes and misfortunes of mankind.”
"History is little else but the
register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind"
l'Histoire n'est qu'une suite d'horreurs."
"Hope is generally a wrong guide, though it is very good company by
"Human, all too human."
"You do not know the unfathomable cowardice of humanity... servile
in the face of force, pitiless in the face of weakness, implacable
before blunders, indulgent before crimes... and patient to the point
of martyrdom before all the violences of bold despotism."
"Les gents faibles sont les troupes légères de l'armée des
méchants. Ils font plus de mal que l'armée même, ils infestent et ils
"The girl who can't dance says the band can't play."
"The friend of all humanity is not to my taste."
"The most melancholy of human reflections, perhaps, is that on the
whole it is a question whether the benevolence of mankind does most
good or harm."
"Many are stubborn in the pursuit of the path they have chosen, few
in pursuit of the goal."
"We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we
possess, but we excel in those which also make use of our defects."
"To measure up to all that is demanded of him, a man must
overestimate his capacities."
"Consciousness of our powers augments them."
"Habit may be second nature, but it prevents us from knowing the
real nature whose cruelties and enchantments it lacks."
"Men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues."
"It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the
Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. It
took an upheaval like the Cultural Revolution to bring out these
characteristics in people (..)"
"Les hommes sont si pervers que le seul espoir et même le seul désir
de les corriger, de les voir raisonnables et honnêtes, est un absurdité,
une idée romanesque qui ne se pardonne qu'à la simplicité de la première
"The only thing that stops God from sending
another flood is that the first one was useless."
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
"We are all citizens of one world, we are all of one blood. To hate a
man because he was born in another country, because he speaks a
different language, or because he takes a different view on this subject
or that, is a great folly. Desist, I implore you for we are all equally
human ... Let us have but one end in view, the welfare of humanity."
"Cursed is every one who places his hope in man."
"Man is not entirely corrupt and depraved but to state that he is, is
to come closer to the truth than to state that he is essentially good."
"We must however acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all
his noble qualities... still bears in his bodily frame the indelible
stamp of his lowly origin."
"The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man
understands what will sell."
"Man, biologically considered... is the most formidable of all the
beasts of prey, and indeed, the only one that preys systematically on
its own species."
"Man is the only animal to whom the torture and death of his fellow
creatures is amusing in itself."
"Human nature is the same all over the world."
Letters to his son)
"I know of no rights of race superior to the rights of humanity."
"I have no race prejudices, and I think I have no color prejudices
nor creed prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand any society. All
I care to know is that a man is a human being - that is enough for me;
he can't be any worse."
Concerning the Jews)
"There is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us
"We boil at different degrees."
"There are plenty of people to whom the crucial problems of their
lives never get presented in terms that they can understand."
"Fortunately for themselves and the world, nearly all men are
cowards and dare not act on what they believe."
"Folly is often more cruel in the consequence than malice can be in
"Nobody ever did anything very foolish except from some strong
"He who has not lost his head over some things has no head to
"There is in human nature more of the fool than of the wise."
"I am fearfully and wonderfully made."
"It is easier to denaturate plutonium than to denature the evil
spirit of man'
"Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature
canot be changed."
"I confess that I cannot understand how we can plot,
lie, cheat and commit murder abroad and remain humane, honorable,
trustworthy and trusted at home."
"The control man has secured over nature has far
outrun his control over himself."
"Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools."
"They do but flatter with their lips, and dissemble in their double
"They have mouths but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see
not. They have ears, but they hear not; noses have they, but they
"I said in my haste, All men are liars."