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Quotes / Rousseau Was Right

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"Humans are idiots. They’re selfish and unjust and unfair, they’re violent and clumsy and petty and shortsighted. Don’t get me wrong. Every part of that applies to me, too. I’m not setting myself above them on any level. But at the end of the day, sometimes humanity isn’t so bad."

"People make bad choices if they're mad, or scared, or stressed,
But throw a little love their way, and you'll bring out their best.
True love brings out the best!"
The Trolls, "Fixer-Upper", Frozen

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"As bad as bad becomes
It's not a part of you"
— "Time It's Time (8:10)" by Talk Talk

"There are dark, evil forces
That hide behind masks.
And to right all the wrongs
Is an impossible task.
Yet at a certain time,
And in a certain place,
Man can redeem
Mankind's disgrace.
The courage of our past
will lead to peace at last.
Even after war so rotten,
So many hearts are gone, but not forgotten."
—"Brothers in the Night", Ray Kennedy

"It's difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams, and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It's a wonder I haven't abandoned my ideals; they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart."

"Work in intelligence long enough, and you get good at predicting human behavior. But sometimes, people surprise you. And when they do...you can surprise yourself."
Burn Notice, "Fearless Leader"

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"The symbol of the House of El means hope. Embodied within that hope is the fundamental belief in the potential of every person to be a force for good. [...] You will give the people of Earth an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
Jor-El, Man of Steel

"What were you trying to prove? That deep down, everyone is as ugly as you? You're alone."
Batman, to The Joker, The Dark Knight

"Most people if left alone and unpressured are really quite pleasant people."

"Remember, people are good, in their bones truly good."
The Eleventh Doctor, The Almost People

"You taught me that 'evil' is just a word. Under the skin, it's simple pain."
Eleanor Lamb, BioShock 2

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"There really aren't that many evil men out there. It's mostly just good men working at cross-purposes."
Digger, Digger

"Never met an irredeemable person... Even the worst monster we have met.... Had some good in him I could appeal to.... in fact he saved us all."

"There are plenty of criminals out there, and they are caught and punished, but... but... truly bad Pokemon... don't really exist anywhere."
Wigglytuff, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon

"There're no inherently evil creatures, only those who'd fallen from Good. The worst of mortal cutthroats or even black sorcerers was once a baby and smiled to his mother when she nursed him."

"I am only trying to call attention to a fact; the fact that this year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people. There may be all sorts of excuses for us. That time you were so unfair to the children was when you were very tired. That slightly shady business about the money- the one you have almost forgotten- came when you were very hard up. [...] The question at the moment is not whether they are good excuses. The point is that they are one more proof of how deeply, whether we like it or not, we believe in the Law of Nature. If we do not believe in decent behaviour, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently? The truth is, we believe in decency so much-we feel the Rule or Law pressing on us so- that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility."
C.S Lewis, Mere Christianity

"Most human beings cannot sacrifice on the societal level – but given the chance, many of them would die happily for their closest friend. When we put our struggles in emotional, personal terms, we can rise above even a hopelessly powerful system, rise above and do incredible things. There may be no rational counter to the eternal question of the one versus the many, but human strength has never been fully rational – and in those irrational moments of desperate, hopeless sacrifice, we are most powerful, most full of grace."

"But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas."
Ursula K. Guin

"I think about the sheer number of people who pulled together just to save my sorry ass, and I can barely comprehend it. My crewmates sacrificed a year of their lives to come back for me. Countless people at NASA worked day and night to invent rover and MAV modifications. All of JPL busted their asses to make a probe that was destroyed on launch. Then, instead of giving up, they made another probe to resupply Hermes. The China National Space Administration abandoned a project they'd worked on for years just to provide a booster.
The cost for my survival must have been hundreds of millions of dollars. All to save one dorky botanist. Why bother?
Well, okay. I know the answer to that. Part of it might be what I represent: progress, science, and the interplanetary future we've dreamed of for centuries. But really, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it's true.
If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do. And because of that, I had billions of people on my side.
Pretty cool, eh?"
Andy Weir, The Martian

Walker: I... I didn't meant to hurt anybody.
Konrad: No one ever does, Walker.

"It's just that those kinds of stories...they challenge you to look at life from a strange new perspective. When horrible things happen not just because someone wants to be evil, but because they have their own goals, or their own philosophy that they believe in. Then suddenly, when you thought you related to the protagonist...they're made out to be the naive one for letting their one-sided morals interfere with the villain's plans."

Real Life

"Our will is always for our own good, but we do not always see what that is."
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, French philosopher during the Enlightenment

"No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks."
Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Men

"How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some higher principles in his nature, which interests him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it."
Adam Smith

"Rationality is of supreme importance to the well-being of the human species...even more in those less fortunate times in which it is despised and rejected as the vain dream of men who lack the virility to kill where they cannot agree."

"It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'Try to be a little kinder.'"
Aldous Huxley

"Man and fascism cannot co-exist. If fascism conquers, man will cease to exist and there will remain only man-like creatures that have undergone an internal transformation. But if man, man who is endowed with reason and kindness, should conquer, then Fascism must perish, and those who have submitted to it will once again become people."
Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate

"All things truly wicked start from an innocence."
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

"The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should not do, and, in addition, he will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it, even if this brings down dread consequences to him and to those whom he loves. This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their deeds may be small, and almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their willingness to perform great heroic deeds but in their quiet refusals. In essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not."
Philip K. Dick, How to Build a Universe

"It starts with pain, followed by hate.
Fueled by the endless questions, no one can answer.
A stain covers your heart. And tears you apart just like a sleeping cancer.
I don't believe men are born to be killers.
I don't believe the world can't be saved.
How did you get here and when did it start?
An innocent child with a thorn in his heart."
12 Stones, World So Cold

"Suppose, Christopher now said to himself, I have a Nazi Army at my mercy. I can blow it up by pressing a button. The men in the army are notorious for torturing and murdering civilians—all except one of them, Heinz. Will I press the button? No—wait: Suppose I know that Heinz himself, out of cowardice or moral infection, has become as bad as they are and takes part in all their crimes? Will I press that button, even so? Christopher's answer, given without the slightest hesitation, was: Of course not."
Christopher Isherwood, Christopher and His Kind

"I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it."
Dwight D. Eisenhower, August 31, 1959

"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

"Find the best in everybody. [...] You might have to wait a long time, sometimes years, but people will show you their good side. Just keep waiting no matter how long it takes. No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side, just keep waiting, it will come out."
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

"I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime yet for every criminal there are ten thousand honest, decent, kindly men. If it were not so, no child would live to grow up. Business could not go on from day to day. Decency is not news. It is buried in the obituaries, but it is a force stronger than crime. I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses and the tedious sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land."

"Sure, humans kill each other. We kill for passion, madness, rage, love, war, and lord knows other things. And yet, we've got six billion people running around the planet. Almost as if people who kill other people are the exception rather than the rule."
Linkara, Atop the Fourth Wall Marville #4 review


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