It is not a question how much a man knows, but what use he makes of what he knows; not a question of what he has acquired, and how he has been trained, but of what he is, and what he can do.
—Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819–81) American Novelist, Poet
What a man is is the basis of what he dreams and thinks, accepts and rejects, feels and perceives.
—John Mason Brown (1900–69) American Columnist, Journalist, Author
All that is limited by form, semblance, sound, color is called object. Among them all, man alone is more than an object. Though, like objects, he has form and semblance, He is not limited to form. He is more. He can attain to formlessness. When he is beyond form and semblance, beyond this and that, where is the comparison with another object? Where is the conflict? What can stand in his way? He will rest in his eternal place which is no-place. He will be hidden in his own unfathomable secret. His nature sinks to its root in the One. His vitality, his power hide in secret Tao.
—Zhuangzi (369BCE–286BCE) Chinese Philosopher
There are depths in man that go to the lowest hell, and heights that reach the highest heaven, for are not both heaven and hell made out of him, everlasting miracle and mystery that he is.
—Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) Scottish Writer, Essayist, Historian
How little man is; yet, in his own mind, how great! He is lord and master of all things, yet scarce can command anything. He is given a freedom of his will; but wherefore? Was it but to torment and perplex him the more? How little avails this freedom, if the objects he is to act upon be not as much disposed to obey as he is to command!
—Edmund Burke (1729–97) Irish Political leader, Author, Orator, Philosopher
He who is wise in the ancient law of Righteousness and is well-behaved will never go to the lower state of existence.
He is the wisest and happiest man, who, by constant attention of thought discovers the greatest opportunity of doing good, and breaks through every opposition that he may improve these opportunities.
—Philip Doddridge (1702–51) English Nonconformist Religious Leader, Educator, Hymn writer
We tolerate shapes in human beings that would horrify us if we saw them in a horse.
—William Ralph Inge (1860–1954) English Anglican Clergyman, Priest, Mystic
Society is the master and man is the servant; and it is entirely according as society proves a good or bad master, whether he turns out a bad or a good servant.
—George Augustus Henry Sala (1828–95) British Journalist
The real gentleman is one who is gentle in everything, at least in everything that depends on himself-in carriage, temper, constructions, aims, desires. He is mild, calm, quiet, even temperate-not hasty in judgment, not exorbitant in ambition, not overbearing, not proud, not rapacious, not oppressive.
—Julius Charles Hare (1795–1855) English Theologian, Writer
‘Know thyself’ was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, ‘Be thyself’ shall be written.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Dramatist, Short Story Writer, Journalist, Writer
Do you know what a man is? Are not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality, and such like, the spice and salt that season a man?
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright, Poet, Author
I don’t believe the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh no, the common man is every bit as guilty; otherwise, people and nations would have rebelled long ago! There’s a destructive urge in people, the urge to rage, murder, and kill. And until all of humanity, without exception, undergoes a metamorphosis, wars will continue to be waged, and everything that has been carefully built up, cultivated and grown will be cut down and destroyed, only to start all over again!
—Anne Frank (1929–45) German Holocaust Victim
Do what thy manhood bids thee do, from none but self expect applause; he noblest lives and noblest dies who makes and keeps his self-made laws. All other Life is living Death, a world where none but Phantoms dwell, a breath, a wind, a sound, a voice, a tinkling of the camel-bell.
—Richard Burton (1925–84) Welsh Actor
The human body is not a thing or substance, given, but a continuous creation. The human body is an energy system which is never a complete structure; never static; is in perpetual inner self-construction and self-destruction; we destroy in order to make it new.
—Norman O. Brown (1913–2002) American Philosopher
Limited in his nature, infinite in his desires.
—Alphonse de Lamartine (1790–1869) French Writer, Poet, Politician, Memoirist
There wouldn’t be half as much fun in the world if it weren’t for children and men, and there ain’t a mite of difference between them under their skins.
—Ellen Glasgow (1873–1945) American Novelist
The soul of man createth its own destiny of power; and as the trial is intenser here, his being hath a nobler strength of heaven.
—Nathaniel Parker Willis (1806–67) American Author, Poet, Editor
It is not a struggle merely of economic theories, or forms of government or of military power. At issue is the true nature of man. Either man is the creature whom the psalmist described as a little lower than the angels … or man is a soulless, animated machine to be enslaved, used and consumed by the state for its own glorification. It is, therefore, a struggle which goes to the roots of the human spirit, and its shadow falls across the long sweep of man’s destiny.
—Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969) American Head of State, Military Leader
Man is to man all kinds of beasts; a fawning dog, a roaring lion, a thieving fox, a robbing wolf, a dissembling crocodile, a treacherous decoy, and a rapacious vulture.
—Abraham Cowley (1618–67) English Poet
Who dares do all that may become a man, and dares no more, he is a man indeed.
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright, Poet, Author
You first parents of the human race … who ruined yourselves for an apple, what might you not have done for a truffled turkey?
—Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755–1826) French Lawyer, Politician
Every man is valued in this world as he shows by his conduct that he wishes to be valued.
—Jean de La Bruyere
Our bodies are shaped to bear children, and our lives are a working out of the processes of creation. All our ambitions and intelligence are beside that great elemental point.
—Phyllis McGinley (1905–78) American Children’s Books Writer, Poet, Writer of Children’s Books
Man is the creature of circumstances.
—Robert Owen (1771–1858) British Social Reformer, Philosopher
Our dependence outweighs our independence, for we are independent only in our desire, while we are dependent on our health, on nature, on society, on everything in us and outside us.
—Henri Frederic Amiel (1821–81) Swiss Philosopher, Poet, Critic
To have known one good old man — one man who, through the chances and mischances of a long life, has carried his heart in his hand, like a palm branch, waving all discords into peace — helps our faith in God, in ourselves, and in each other, more than many sermons.
—George William Curtis (1824–92) American Essayist, Public Speaker, Editor, Author