Here you’ll find quotations about humanity as a collective whole, about the quality of humanity in how we act, and about what makes us human.

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Religion is a shared quest for the values of the good life, the age-long, groping effect of [humanity] to create the social order in which human powers may flower in joyous fulfillment.

— A. Eustace Haydon

The Holy Prophet Mohammed came into this world and taught us: ‘That man is a Muslim who never hurts anyone by word or deed, but who works for the benefit and happiness of God’s creatures. Belief in God is to love one’s fellow men.’

— Abdul Ghaffar Khan

Just imagine, among 8.7 million species, only one has become smart enough to ponder over the meaning of life. This simple evolutionary fact itself implies the gravitas of human life.

— Abhijit Naskar

You are human only when the very title sends a galvanic wave of courage and conscience into the hearts of others. You are human only when any creature bearing that title becomes near and dear to you, no matter their faith, language and culture.

— Abhijit Naskar, Generation Corazon: Nationalism is Terrorism

A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.

— Abraham Joshua Heschel

Our concern is not how to worship in the catacombs, but how to remain human in the skyscrapers

— Abraham Joshua Heschel

God must love the common man, he made so many of them.

— Abraham Lincoln

The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. . . . The ordinary objects of human endeavour — property, outward success, luxury — have always seemed to me contemptible.

— Albert Einstein

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

— Albert Einstein

The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.

— Albert Schweitzer

The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.

— Aldous Huxley

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.

— Aldous Huxley

And now what shall we say of human beings? What is to be our definition of Man? Like the animals, human beings do indeed possess the space-binding capacity but, over and above that, human beings possess a most remarkable capacity which is entirely peculiar to them-I mean the capacity to summarise, digest and appropriate the labors and experiences of the past; I mean the capacity to use the fruits of past labors and experiences as intellectual or spiritual capital for developments in the present; I mean the capacity to employ as instruments of increasing power the accumulated achievements of the all-precious lives of the past generations spent in trial and error, trial and success; I mean the capacity of human beings to conduct their lives in the ever increasing light of inherited wisdom; I mean the capacity in virtue of which man is at once the heritor of the by-gone ages and the trustee of posterity. And because humanity is just this magnificent natural agency by which the past lives in the present and the present for the future, I define HUMANITY, in the universal tongue of mathematics and mechanics, to be the TIME-BINDING CLASS OF LIFE.

— Alfred Korzybski

Because whatever has happened to humanity, whatever is currently happening to humanity, it is happening to all of us. No matter how hidden the cruelty, no matter how far off the screams of pain and terror, we live in one world.

— Alice Walker

Our full humanity is contingent on our hospitality; we can be complete only when we are giving something away; when we sit at the table and pass the peas to the person next to us we see that person in a whole new way.

— Alice Waters

The more I see of the representatives of the people, the more I admire my dogs.

— Alphonse de Lamartine

The notion of human right builds on our shared humanity. These rights are not derived from the citizenship of any country, or the membership of any nation, but are presumed to be claims or entitlements of every human being. They differ, therefore, from constitutionally created rights guaranteed for specific people.

— Amartya Sen

Without lies humanity would perish of despair and boredom.

— Anatole France

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.

— Andy Rooney

The experience of the race shows that we get our most important education not through books but through our work. We are developed by our daily task, or else demoralized by it, as by nothing else.

— Anna Garlin Spencer

Every renaissance comes to the world with a cry, the cry of the human spirit to be free.

— Anne Sullivan

Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences.

— Brené Brown

Every Black person you meet is a miracle… We are valuable because of our humanity and declared valuable because our ancestors declared our worth when they fought for us to live.

— Brittany Packnett

The authentic human has the might of compassion and the creative power to do any manner of good.

— Bryant McGill

Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being.

— Carl Jung

Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. more

— Carl Sagan

Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete. Love is not fundamentally a sweet feeling; not, at heart, a matter of sentiment, attachment, or being “drawn toward.” Love is active, effective, a matter of making reciprocal and mutually beneficial relation with one’s friends and enemies.

Love creates righteousness, or justice, here on earth. To make love is to make justice. As advocates and activists for justice know, loving involves struggle, resistance, risk. People working today on behalf of women, blacks, lesbians and gay men, the aging, the poor in this country and elsewhere know that making justice is not a warm, fuzzy experience. I think also that sexual lovers and good friends know that the most compelling relationships demand hard work, patience, and a willingness to endure tensions and anxiety in creating mutually empowering bonds.

For this reason loving involves commitment. We are not automatic lovers of self, others, world, or God. Love does not just happen. We are not love machines, puppets on the strings of a deity called “love.” Love is a choice — not simply, or necessarily, a rational choice, but rather a willingness to be present to others without pretense or guile. Love is a conversion to humanity — a willingness to participate with others in the healing of a broken world and broken lives. Love is the choice to experience life as a member of the human family, a partner in the dance of life, rather than as an alien in the world or as a deity above the world, aloof and apart from human flesh.

— Carter Heyward, Passion for Justice

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.

— Charles Darwin

The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.

— Charles de Gaulle

There is a certain way of being human that is my way. I am called upon to live my life in this way, and not in imitation of anyone else’s life. But this notion gives a new importance to being true to myself. If I am not, I miss the point of my life; I miss what being human is for me.

— Charles Taylor, Multiculturalism

The earth is too small a star and we too brief a visitor upon it for anything to matter more than the struggle for peace.

— Colman McCarthy

Sometimes, I am also identified as a civil rights leader or a human rights activist. I would also like to be thought of as a complex, three-dimensional, flesh-and-blood human being with a rich storehouse of experiences, much like everyone else, yet unique in my own way, much like everyone else.

— Coretta Scott King

Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.

— Coretta Scott King

The UN was not created to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell.

— Dag Hammarskjöld

Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.

— Daniel Gilbert

Indeed, to some extent it has always been necessary and proper for man, in his thinking, to divide things up, if we tried to deal with the whole of reality at once, we would be swamped. However when this mode of thought is applied more broadly to man’s notion of himself and the whole world in which he lives, (i.e. in his world-view) then man ceases to regard the resultant divisions as merely useful or convenient and begins to see and experience himself and this world as actually constituted of separately existing fragments. What is needed is a relativistic theory, to give up altogether the notion that the world is constituted of basic objects or building blocks. Rather one has to view the world in terms of universal flux of events and processes.

— David Bohm

This is a diseased world in which it is impossible for anyone to be fully human. One way or another, everyone who lives in the modern world is sick or maladjusted.

— David Dellinger, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Essays

We are not broken, we are just unfinished.

— Dawna Markova

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

— Desmond Tutu

Africans believe in something that is difficult to render in English. We call it ubuntu, botho. It means the essence of being human. You know when it is there and when it is absent. It speaks about humaneness, gentleness, hospitality, putting yourself out on behalf of others, being vulnerable. It embraces compassion and toughness. It recognizes that my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

— Desmond Tutu

For those who have seen the Earth from space, and for the hundreds and perhaps thousands more who will, the experience most certainly changes your perspective. The things that we share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us.

— Donald Williams

Compassion will no longer be seen as a spiritual luxury for a contemplative few; rather it will be viewed as a social necessity for the entire human family.

— Duane Elgin

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

— E. B. White

It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

— E. B. White

We must join in an effort to use all knowledge for the good of all human beings. When we do that we shall have nothing to fear.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Human beings were given a secret and that secret was not how to begin, but how to begin again.

— Elie Wiesel

Human history begins with man’s act of disobedience which is at the very same time the beginning of his freedom and development of his reason.

— Erich Fromm

Love for one’s country which is not part of one’s love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship.

— Erich Fromm

It is not so much that man is a herd animal, said Freud, but that he is a horde animal led by a chief.

— Ernest Becker

All human eyes have longing in them.

— Ernesto Cardenal
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