Sunday, April 14, 2024

Charles Darwin 100 Quotes

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1.“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”

2.“I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone.”

3.“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”

4.“Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy of the interposition of a deity. More humble, and I believe truer, to consider him created from animals.”

5.“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”

6.“There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.”

7.“Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

8.“for the shield may be as important for victory, as the sword or spear.”

9.“If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”

10.“Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds which follows from the advance of science.”

11.“We stopped looking for monsters under our bed when we realized that they were inside us.”

12.“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”

13.“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.”

14.“It is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance.”

15.“I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men”

16.“To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I confess, absurd in the highest degree…The difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection , though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered subversive of the theory.”

17.“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

18.“I am not the least afraid to die”

19.“The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.”

20.“But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?

21.“Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.”

22.“We are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it.”

23.“An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.”

24.“For my own part I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey, who braved his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper; or from that old baboon, who, descending from the mountains, carried away in triumph his young comrade from a crowd of astonished dogs—as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions.”

25.“The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognise that we ought to control our thoughts.”

26.“False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened.”

27.“Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions.”

28.“we are always slow in admitting any great change of which we do not see the intermediate steps”

29.“One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”

30.“The very essence of instinct is that it’s followed independently of reason.”

31.“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

32.“A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, – a mere heart of stone.”

33.“But I am very poorly today & very stupid & I hate everybody & everything. One lives only to make blunders.”

34.“The loss of these tastes [for poetry and music] is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”

35.“But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice… I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can.”

36.“We will now discuss in a little more detail the Struggle for Existence.”

37.“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

38.“Nevertheless so profound is our ignorance, and so high our presumption, that we marvel when we hear of the extinction of an organic being; and as we do not see the cause, we invoke cataclysms to desolate the world, or invent laws on the duration of the forms of life!”

39.“Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral.”

40.“Wherever the European had trod, death seemed to pursue the aboriginal.”

41.“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.”

42.“But we are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with the truth as far as our reason allows us to discover it. I have given the evidence to the best of my ability; and we must acknowledge , as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his godlike intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system – with all these exalted powers – Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.”

43.“As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.”

44.“I think it inevitably follows, that as new species in the course of time are formed through natural selection, others will become rarer and rarer, and finally extinct. The forms which stand in closest competition with those undergoing modification and improvement will naturally suffer most.”

45.“Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends.”

46.“We cannot fathom the marvelous complexity of an organic being; but on the hypothesis here advanced this complexity is much increased. Each living creature must be looked at as a microcosm–a little universe, formed of a host of self-propagating organisms, inconceivably minute and as numerous as the stars in heaven.”

47.“We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universe, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.”

48.“Origin of man now proved.—Metaphysics must flourish.—He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.”

49.“The following proposition seems to me in a high degree probable—namely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, the parental and filial affections being here included, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well, or nearly as well developed, as in man. For, firstly, the social instincts lead an animal to take pleasure in the society of its fellows, to feel a certain amount of sympathy with them, and to perform various services for them.”

50.“In conclusion, it appears that nothing can be more improving to a young naturalist, than a journey in distant countries.”

51.“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.”

52.“Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval forests undefaced by the hand of man; whether those of Brazil, where the powers of Life are predominant, or those of Tierra del Fuego, where Death and decay prevail. Both are temples filled with the varied productions of the God of Nature: — no one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body.”

53.“Nothing is easier than to admit in words the truth of the universal struggle for life, or more difficult–at least I have found it so–than constantly to bear this conclusion in mind.”

54.“The question of whether there exists a Creator and Ruler of the Universe has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed.”

55.“Great is the power of steady misrepresentation”

56.“I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton.— Let each man hope & believe what he can.—”

57.“Natural Selection almost inevitably causes much Extinction of the less improved forms of life and induces what I have called Divergence of Character.”

58.“I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton.— Let each man hope & believe what he can.—”

59.“But a plant on the edge of a deserts is said to struggle for life against the drought, though more properly it should be said to be dependent upon the moisture.”

60.“But Natural Selection, as we shall hereafter see, is a power incessantly ready for action, and is immeasurably superior to man’s feeble efforts, as the works of Nature are to those of Art.”

61.“Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music.”

62.“Nothing is easier than to admit in words the truth of the universal struggle for life, or more difficult – at least I have found it so – than constantly to bear this conclusion in mind…We behold the face of nature bright with gladness…We do not see, or we forget, that the birds which are idly singing round us mostly live on insects and seeds, and are thus constantly destroying life.”

63.“A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” Charles Darwin”

64.“To conclude, therefore, let no man out of a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-applied moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both.”—Bacon: “Advancement of Learning”.”

65.“Our descent, then, is the origin of our evil passions!! The devil under form of Baboon is our grandfather. ”

66.“Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system—with all these exalted powers—Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.”

67.“We stop looking for monsters under our beds when we realize they are inside us.”

68.“I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think there is an eminently important difference.”

69.“Englishmen rarely cry, except under the pressure of the acutest grief; whereas in some parts of the Continent the men shed tears much more readily and freely.”

70.“One day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles, and seized one in each hand. Then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas! it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as was the third one.”

71.“It is difficult to believe in the dreadful but quiet war lurking just below the serene facade of nature.”

72.“Whilst Man, however well-behaved, At best is but a monkey shaved!”

73.“The earthquake, however, must be to every one a most impressive event: the earth, considered from our earliest childhood as the type of solidity, has oscillated like a thin crust beneath our feet; and in seeing the laboured works of man in a moment overthrown, we feel the insignificance of his boasted power.”

74.“I am dying by inches, from not having any body to talk to about insects…”

75.“In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.”

76.“But then arises the doubt, can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?”

77.“Such simple instincts as bees making a beehive could be sufficient to overthrow my whole theory.”

78.“A grain in the balance will determine which individual shall live and which shall die – which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct.”

79.“It is necessary to look forward to a harvest, however distant that may be, when some fruit will be reaped, some good effected.”

80.“If I had my life to live over again, I would make it a rule to read some poetry, listen to some music, and see some painting or drawing at least once a week, for perhaps the part of my brain now atrophied would then have been kept alive through life. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness.”

81.“I do not believe, as we shall presently see, that all our dogs have descended from any one wild species; but, in the case of some other domestic races, there is presumptive, or even strong, evidence in favour of this view.”

82.“ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge…”

83.“A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives—of approving of some and disapproving of others.”

84.“As natural selection acts by competition, it adapts the inhabitants of each country only in relation to the degree of perfection of their associates; so that we need feel no surprise at the inhabitants of any one country, although on the ordinary view supposed to have been specially created and adapted for that country, being beaten and supplanted by the naturalised productions from another land.”

85.“The limit of man s knowledge in any subject possesses a high interest which is perhaps increased by its close neighbourhood to the realms of imagination.”

86.“False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness.”

87.“I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me”

88.“In regard to the amount of difference between the races, we must make some allowance for our nice powers of discrimination gained by a long habit of observing ourselves.”

89.“I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ [parasitic wasps] with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.”

90.“The great variability of all the external differences between the races of man, likewise indicates that they cannot be of much importance; for if important, they would long ago have been either fixed and preserved, or eliminated.”

91.“One hand has surely worked throughout the universe.”

92.“What wretched doings come from the ardor of fame; the love of truth alone would never make one man attack another bitterly.”

93.“I had also, during many years, followed a golden rule, namely that whenever published fact, a new observation of thought came across me, which was opposed to my general results, to make a memorandum of it without fail and at once; for I had found by experience that such facts and thoughts were far more apt to escape from the memory than favourable ones.”

94.“if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week;”

95.“The expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient.”

96.“Natural selection acts only by the preservation and accumulation of small inherited modifications, each profitable to the preserved being; and as modern geology has almost banished such views as the excavation of a great valley by a single diluvial wave, so will natural selection banish the belief of the continued creation of new organic beings, or of any great and sudden modification in their structure.”

97.“Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy.”

98.“And thus, the forms of life throughout the universe become divided into groups subordinate to groups.”

99.“Through his powers of intellect, articulate language has been evolved; and on this his wonderful advancement has mainly depended.”

100.“Judging from the past, we may safely infer that not one living species will transmit its unaltered likeness to a distant futurity.”

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