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"If there's a new way,
I'll be the first in line
But it better work this time"
— Megadeth, "Peace Sells"
"Is there a turn to make, Does it matter anymore?
Is there something in our history that causes all the war?
I read about good and bad, I see the faces on the screen,
Hear that talk is even cheaper now; I can see just what they mean.
Am I ever to be free of this human condition in front of me?"
— Charlie Peacock, "Human Condition"
"Darwin was wrong. Man's still an ape."
— E.K. Hornbeck, Inherit the Wind
MAN, n. An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be.
His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity
as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada.
— Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary (1911)
"Yet man will never be perfect until he learns to create and destroy; he does know how to destroy, and that is half the battle."
"They can be a great people, Kal-El, if they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way."
"Earth technology and science have progressed faster than political and social knowledge. Purpose of mission: To prevent Earth's civilization from destroying itself before it can mature into a peaceful society."
—Gary Seven, Star Trek: The Original Series ("Assignment: Earth")
"It is said that at the dawn of time, man, beast, and all magical beings lived together under Aeglin, the Father Tree. But man had been created with a hole in his heart, a hole that no possession, power, or knowledge could fill."
— Professor Trevor 'Broom' Bruttenholm, Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Man is mortal, and doomed to death and failure and loss.
This lies beyond our comprehension - why do you not despair?
Cornelius: You don't like them do you?
Cornelius: The Humans.
Zira: We have met hundreds since coming here. And so far I trust...Three.
"I'm a humanist. Maybe the last humanist. Who, in their right mind, Kevin, could possibly deny the 20th century was entirely mine?"
—John Milton, The Devils Advocate
People are messy, awkward, sometimes selfish and cruel. But they're trying, and I'm going to make sure they have a chance.
— Commander Shepard, Mass Effect
Nagilum: I have learned all I needed to know. Would you like me to share some of my conclusions?
Picard: I'm not interested.
Nagilum: Of course you are. You are too inquisitive not to want to know. You seem to find no tranquility in anything. You struggle against the inevitable. You thrive on conflict. You are selfish, yet you value loyalty. You are rash, quick to judge, slow to change. It's amazing you've survived.
— Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Where Silence Has Lease"
Harry: Bad things are inside everyone, I don’t care how gentle or holy or sincere or dedicated you are. There are bad things in there. Lust. Greed. Violence. You don’t need a wicked queen to make that happen. That’s a part of everyone. Some more, some less, but it’s always there.
The Summer Lady: You’re saying that you were wicked from the beginning?
Harry: I’m saying I could have been. I chose something else. And I’m going to continue choosing something else.
"We’re flawed, people are. We’re damaged. We come into the world nearly perfect, naked, and happy and then life delivers the beatdown. It kicks our asses and makes us feel like shit. It does permanent damage. Bad luck, people, our own mistakes. I want to work hard at things I love, find the good, be one of the people who fix instead of break."
— Alexis, Pact
“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”
"Heaven and Hell suppose two distinct species of men, the Good and the Bad. But the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue.”
"Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint."
"Man was made at the end of the week's work when God was tired."
"Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made."
— Immanuel Kant
"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution."
"...it is gratuitous to advise any human being to look out for himself. You can be sure that he will. It is far more difficult to persuade him to help his neighbor to build a dam or to defend a town or to give food he has accumulated to the victims of a famine. But since we must live together, dependent upon one another for many things and services, altruism is necessary to survival. To get people to do needed things is the perennial hard task of government, not to mention of religion and philosophy. That it is right to help someone less fortunate is an idea which has figured in most systems of conduct since the beginning of the race. We often fail. That predatory demon 'I' is difficult to contain but until now we have all agreed that to help others is a right action."
"I'm a believer that Patrick Bateman can exist at anytime. Patrick Bateman is an example of what Hannah Arendt called, 'the banality of evil.' That's basically what he is. He could have existed a hundred years ago (he probably existed five hundred years ago). He'll probably exist five hundred years from now. He's just an example of the constantness of evil. He might be a creature of the eighties with all the trappings that implies, but I think he's really a creature of eternity. Man doesn't necessarily change for the better depending upon the decade, or depending upon how ten years have passed. I think man is born and is corrupted and is always capable of badness. Capable of goodness, too, but badness gets more attention. We notice it more often. It makes more of an impact on us."
"This is, I think, the only scene where the Joker actually tells the truth, and what he says is horrifying: 'They’re only as good as they’re allowed to be' That is, in the movie at least, a stone cold solid fact. Look at Gordon: He wasn’t a hero cop, he was a powerless man mired down by corruption. Look at Bruce: He wasn’t an agent of justice, he going to shoot Joe Chill in the head. The only thing that stopped Bruce was coincidence, and the only thing that helped Gordon was Bruce. So if people are only as good as the world lets them be, then it’s not just Batman’s job to punish the guilty, he has to make a world where people can be better. Otherwise, they give in and throw morality aside. They become the Joker."
Gabriel: The sad reality of any society is that you make rules for the idiots, and they'll always hinder the normal people. It's like bar work: You have to have a big pile of rules. They shouldn't have to be there.
Yahtzee: So, do you long to live in a world WHERE THE GREAT WILL NOT BE CONSTRAINED BY THE SMALL!?
Gabriel: No, I'd long to live in a world where the great assist the small to become great.
Yahtzee: Ohhh, well, what if the great have better things to do?? Like all the GREAT things they do to make them GREAT?
"The only much-needed detour from the straightforward plot of the film is when Joe Pantoliano's Cypher, the bald IT guy of the Nebuchadnezzar, betrays the human resistance and kills two of his friends for the off chance of tasting steak again, a decision I'm not sure I can fault him on. His turncoat moment also gave the story some depth by showing that, in the war between man and machine, not all humans are automatically good."
"It's not Midnight that renders the Doctor helpless, but the reality of people. They're vivid portrayals of the myth of Doctor Who transported into everyday people, of the sort that Davies writes very, very well. And they break the show. In a wonderfully disturbing inversion of the mawkish glurge that usually constitutes the hero being utterly impotent in the face of a threat, it is not that the hero is flawed because he's fictional. It's that we are all flawed because we are not."