The only bodily organ which is really regarded as inferior is the atrophied penis, a girl’s clitoris.
—Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) Austrian Psychiatrist, Psychoanalytic
Man is not an end but a beginning. We are at the beginning of the second week. We are children of the eighth day.
—Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) American Novelist, Playwright
An impersonal and scientific knowledge of the structure of our bodies is the surest safeguard against prurient curiosity and lascivious gloating.
—Marie Stopes (1880–1958) British Author, Social Activist
We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.
—Carl Sagan (1934–96) American Astronomer
When human beings have been fascinated by the contemplation of their own hearts, the more intricate biological pattern of the female has become a model for the artist, the mystic, and the saint. When mankind turns instead to what can be done, altered, built, invented, in the outer world, all natural properties of men, animals, or metals become handicaps to be altered rather than clues to be followed.
—Margaret Mead (1901–78) American Anthropologist, Social Psychologist
Her body calculated to a millimeter to suggest a bud yet guarantee a flower.
Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of man. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter.
—Benjamin Disraeli (1804–81) British Head of State
Man is the creature of circumstances.
—Robert Owen (1771–1858) British Social Reformer, Philosopher
Why am I so determined to put the shoulder where it belongs? Women have very round shoulders that push forward slightly; this touches me and I say: “One must not hide that!” Then someone tells you: “The shoulder is on the back.” I’ve never seen women with shoulders on their backs.
—Coco Chanel (1883–1971) French Fashion Designer
Every man bears the whole stamp of the human condition.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
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
But the lightning which explodes and fashions planets, maker of planets and suns, is in him. On one side, elemental order, sandstone and granite, rock-ledges, peat-bog, forest, sea and shore; and, on the other part, thought, the spirit which composes and decomposes nature,—here they are, side by side, god and devil, mind and matter, king and conspirator, belt and spasm, riding peacefully together in the eye and brain of every man.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Man is both strong and weak, both free and bound, both blind and far-seeing. He stands at the juncture of nature and spirit; and is involved in both freedom and necessity.
—Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971) American Christian Theologian
Wondrous hole! Magical hole! Dazzlingly influential hole! Noble and effulgent hole! From this hole everything follows logically: first the baby, then the placenta, then, for years and years and years until death, a way of life. It is all logic, and she who lives by the hole will live also by its logic. It is, appropriately, logic with a hole in it.
—Cynthia Ozick (b.1928) American Novelist, Short-story Writer, Essayist
Evolution is not finished; reason is not the last word nor the reasoning animal the supreme figure of Nature. As man emerged out of the animal, so out of man the superman emerges.
—Sri Aurobindo (1872–1950) Indian Mystic, Philosopher, Poet
He had not an ounce of superfluous flesh on his bones, and leanness goes a great way towards gentility.
—Elizabeth Gaskell (1810–65) English Novelist, Short-Story Writer
The basic Female body comes with the following accessories: garter belt, panty-girdle, crinoline, camisole, bustle, brassiere, stomacher, chemise, virgin zone, spike heels, nose ring, veil, kid gloves, fishnet stockings, fichu, bandeau, Merry Widow, weepers, chokers, barrettes, bangles, beads, lorgnette, feather boa, basic black, compact, Lycra stretch one-piece with modesty panel, designer peignoir, flannel nightie, lace teddy, bed, head.
—Margaret Atwood (b.1939) Canadian Writer, Poet, Critic
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise and rudely great.
—Alexander Pope (1688–1744) English Poet
The brain may be regarded as a kind of parasite of the organism, a pensioner, as it were, who dwells with the body.
—Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) German Philosopher
The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
Man consists of two parts, his mind and his body, only the body has more fun.
—Woody Allen (b.1935) American Film Actor, Director
It is a sign of a dull nature to occupy oneself deeply in matters that concern the body; for instance, to be over much occupied about exercise, about eating and drinking, about easing oneself, about sexual intercourse.
—Epictetus (55–135) Ancient Greek Philosopher
Anyone who considers himself in this way will be seized with terror and, discovering that the mass nature has given him supports itself between two abysses of infinity and nothingness, he will tremble in the face of these marvels; and I believe that as his curiosity changes to admiration, he will be more disposed to contemplate them in silence then search them out with presumption.
For, finally, what is man in nature? He is nothing in comparison with the infinite, and everything in comparison with nothingness, a middle term between all and nothing. He is infinitely severed from comprehending the extremes; the end of things and their principle are for him invincibly hidden in an impenetrable secret; he is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he arises and the infinity into which he is engulfed.
—Blaise Pascal (1623–62) French Mathematician, Physicist, Theologian
Why do we spend years using up our bodies to nurture our minds with experience and find our minds turning then to our exhausted bodies for solace?
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
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
—Orson Welles (1915–85) American Film Director, Actor
The body is mortal, but the person dwelling in the body is immortal and immeasurable.
—The Bhagavad Gita Hindu Scripture
What a chimera then is man. What a novelty! What a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy. Judge of all things, imbecile worm of the earth; depositary of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error: the pride and refuse of the universe.
—Blaise Pascal (1623–62) French Mathematician, Physicist, Theologian
One might well say that mankind is divisible into two great classes: hosts and guests.
—Max Beerbohm (1872–1956) British Essayist, Caricaturist, Novelist
Man is a self-balancing, 28-jointed adapter-base biped, and electro-chemical reduction plant, integral with the segregated stowages of special energy extracts in storage batteries, for subsequent activation of thousands of hydraulic and pneumatic pumps, with motors attached; 62,000 miles of capillaries, millions of warning signal, railroad and conveyor systems, crushers and cranes, and a universally distributed telephone system needing no service for seventy years if well managed, the whole extraordinary complex mechanism guided with exquisite precision from a turret in which are located telescopic and microscopic self-registering and recording range-finders, a spectroscope, etc. .. the turret control being closely allied with an air-conditioning intake and exhaust, and a main fuel intake.
—Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983) American Inventor, Philosopher
Your body is the church where Nature asks to be reverenced.
—Marquis de Sade (1740–1814) French Political leader, Revolutionary, Novelist, Poet, Critic
The function of muscle is to pull and not to push, except in the case of the genitals and the tongue.
—Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) Italian Polymath, Painter, Sculptor, Inventor, Architect
The proof that man is the noblest of all creatures is that no other creature has ever denied it.
—Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–99) German Philosopher, Physicist
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) Holocaust Victim
There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher.
—Henry van Dyke Jr. (1852–1933) American Author, Educator, Clergyman
The history of the human race, viewed as a whole, may be regarded as the realization of a hidden plan of nature to bring about a political constitution, internally, and for this purpose, also externally perfect, as the only state in which all the capacities implanted by her in mankind can be fully developed.
—Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) Prussian German Philosopher, Logician
In the arts of life man invents nothing; but in the arts of death he outdoes Nature herself, and produces by chemistry and machinery all the slaughter of plague, pestilence, and famine.
—George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) Irish Playwright
The body is a community made up of its innumerable cells or inhabitants.
—Thomas Edison (1847–1931) American Inventor, Scientist, Entrepreneur
When one has extensively pondered about men, as a career or as a vocation, one sometimes feels nostalgic for primates. At least they do not have ulterior motives.
—Albert Camus (1913–60) Algerian-born French Philosopher, Dramatist, Essayist, Novelist, Author
Our generation is realistic for we have come to know man as he really is.
After all, man is that being who has invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who has entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or Shema Yisrael on his lips.
—Viktor Frankl (1905–97) Austrian Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist
Man alone, during his brief existence on this earth, is free to examine, to know, to criticize, and to create. In this freedom lies his superiority over the forces that pervade his outward life. He is that unique organism in terms of matter and energy, space and time, which is urged to conscious purpose. Reason is his characteristic and indistinguishing principle. But man is only man—and free—when he considers himself as a total being in whom the unmediated whole of feeling and thought is not severed and who impugns any form of atomization as artificial, mischievous, and predatory.
—Ruth Nanda Anshen (1900–2003) American Philosopher
Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack. We give it orders which make no sense.
—Henry Miller (1891–1980) American Novelist
For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.
—Douglas Adams (1952–2001) English Novelist, Scriptwriter
Who has not felt the beauty of a woman’s arm? The unspeakable suggestions of tenderness that lie in the dimpled elbow, and all the varied gently-lessening curves, down to the delicate wrist, with its tiniest, almost imperceptible nicks in the firm softness.
—George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) (1819–80) English Novelist
Mark how fleeting and paltry is the estate of man—yesterday in embryo, tomorrow a mummy or ashes. So for the hairsbreadth of time assigned to thee, live rationally, and part with life cheerfully, as drops the ripe olive, extolling the season that bore it and the tree that matured it.
—Marcus Aurelius (121–180) Emperor of Rome, Stoic Philosopher
Many things about our bodies would not seem to us so filthy and obscene if we did not have the idea of nobility in our heads.
—Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–99) German Philosopher, Physicist
‘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, Playwright
What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god: the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!—and yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delighteth not me…
—William Shakespeare (1564–1616) British Playwright
We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after another, to account for its origins. At last, we have succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the footprint. And lo! It is our own.
—Arthur Eddington (1882–1944) English Astronomer
What was my body to me? A kind of flunkey in my service. Let but my anger wax hot, my love grow exalted, my hatred collect in me, and that boasted solidarity between me and my body was gone.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900–44) French Novelist, Aviator