Just Human Nature

Sunday, November 1, 2009 – Just Human Nature

Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody. ~ Mark Twain

You cannot slander human nature; it is worse than words can paint it. ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Put a rogue in the limelight and he will act like an honest man. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

There are two types of people. Those we who come into a room and say, “Well, here I am!” and those who come in and say, ”Ah, there you are.” ~ Frederick L. Collins

The ordinary man is an anarchist. He wants to do as he likes. He may want his neighbor to be governed, but he himself doesn’t want to be governed. He is mortally afraid of government officials and policemen. ~ George Bernard Shaw

As for my reflections, what I think I’ll most remember about the blackout: I guess it’s the surprise, the surprise and wonderment of our leaders and the media that somehow there was no violence, that in nine hours of darkness we didn’t kill each other. What amazes me is have we really set the bar that low? Do we really as a nation and as a city deserve a gold star for not allowing a momentary power outage to instantly propel us towards cannibalism? What a night of people pulling together: “Hey, that guy helped direct traffic through an intersection instead of crushing my skull with a brick! He’s a saint!” ~ Jon Stewart (from The Daily Show on the August 2003 blackout in the New York)

Thus, cases of injustice, and oppression, and tyranny, and the most extravagant bigotry, are in constant occurrence among us every day. It is the custom to trumpet forth much wonder and astonishment at the chief actors therein setting at defiance so completely the opinion of the world; but there is no greater fallacy; it is precisely because they do consult the opinion of their own little world that such things take place at all, and strike the great world dumb with amazement. ~ Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

People care more about being thought to have taste than about being thought either good, clever or amiable. ~ Samuel Butler

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. ~ William James

The basic rule of human nature is that powerful people speak slowly and subservient people quickly – because if they don’t speak fast nobody will listen to them. ~ Michael Caine

Conscience is a coward, and those faults it has not strength enough to prevent, it seldom has justice enough to accuse. ~ Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield

Quadruped lions are said to be savage only when they are hungry; biped lions are rarely sulky longer than when their appetite for distinction remains unappeased. ~ Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

Strange indeed is human nature. Here were these men, to whom murder was familiar, who again and again had struck down the father of the family, some man against whom they had no personal feeling, without one thought of compunction or of compassion for his weeping wife or helpless children, and yet the tender or pathetic in music could move them to tears. ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Valley of Fear

As for the law – it catered for a human nature of which it took a naturally low view. ~ John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga

Hereby perhaps Stubb indirectly hinted, that though man loved his fellow, yet man is a money-making animal, which propensity too often interferes with his benevolence. ~ Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

He was frightened by the effect he had produced, and like most men with but little courage, he sought at once to justify himself by bullying. ~ John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga

Man’s cleverness is almost indefinite, and stretches like an elastic band, but human nature is like an iron ring. You can go round and round it, you can polish it highly, you can even flatten it a little on one side, whereby you will make it bulge out the other, but you will NEVER, while the world endures and man is man, increase its total circumference. ~ H. Rider Haggard, Allan Quatermain

Revenge may be wicked, but it’s natural. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair

There seems to me to be absolutely no limit to the inanity and credulity of the human race. Homo Sapiens! Homo idioticus! ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Land of Mist

It is to the credit of human nature that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them. ~ P. G. Wodehouse, The Man Upstairs

It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive. ~ W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence

Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.” ~ H. L. Mencken

Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. ~ George Orwell

Adam was but human – this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent. ~ Mark Twain, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson

The nature of peoples is first crude, then severe, then benign, then delicate, finally dissolute. ~ Giambattista Vico

As I know more of mankind I expect less of them, and am ready now to call a man a good man upon easier terms than I was formerly. ~ Samuel Johnson

Really I don’t like human nature unless all candied over with art. ~ Virginia Woolf

You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back. ~ William D. Tammeus