1. There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
2. It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
3. Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.
4. The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
5. The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
6. If you want to test cosmetics, why do it on some poor animal who hasn’t done anything? They should use prisoners who have been convicted of murder or rape instead. So, rather than seeing if perfume irritates a bunny rabbit’s eyes, they should throw it in Charles Manson’s eyes and ask him if it hurts.
7. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?
8. I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.
9. Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.
10. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour … If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?
11. This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
12. Am I a good person? Deep down, do I even really want to be a good person, or do I only want to seem like a good person so that people (including myself) will approve of me? Is there a difference? How do I ever actually know whether I’m bullshitting myself, morally speaking?
13. The word “good” has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.
14. We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.
15. There are two types of people in this world, good and bad. The good sleep better, but the bad seem to enjoy the waking hours much more.
16. I’m worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel – let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they’re doing. I’m concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that’s handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers.
17. People who try hard to do the right thing always seem mad.
18. Rejection is an opportunity for your selection.
19. Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.
20. Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.
21. Just because I do not accept the teachings of the devotaries does not mean I’ve discarded a belief in right and wrong.
22. People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.
23. We have a choice. We have two options as human beings. We have a choice between conversation and war. That’s it. Conversation and violence. And faith is a conversation stopper.
24. I suppose therefore that all things I see are illusions; I believe that nothing has ever existed of everything my lying memory tells me. I think I have no senses. I believe that body, shape, extension, motion, location are functions. What is there then that can be taken as true? Perhaps only this one thing, that nothing at all is certain.
25. A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.
26. Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.
27. You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
28. For we each of us deserve everything, every luxury that was ever piled in the tombs of the dead kings, and we each of us deserve nothing, not a mouthful of bread in hunger. Have we not eaten while another starved? Will you punish us for that? Will you reward us for the virtue of starving while others ate? No man earns punishment, no man earns reward. Free your mind of the idea of deserving, the idea of earning, and you will begin to be able to think.
29. The law of evolution is that the strongest survives!’ ‘Yes, and the strongest, in the existence of any social species, are those who are most social. In human terms, most ethical…There is no strength to be gained from hurting one another. Only weakness.
30. Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.
31. It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas and feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consensual validation as such has no bearing on reason or mental health.
32. I obviously do everything to be “hard to understand” myself
33. Create all the happiness you are able to create; remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you, –will invite you to add something to the pleasure of others, –or to diminish something of their pains.
34. When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.
35. If there were a party of those who aren’t sure they’re right, I’d belong to it.
36. Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.
37. What I’m asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives.
38. Too many people get credit for being good, when they are only being passive. They are too often praised for being broadminded when they are so broadminded they can never make up their minds about anything.
39. Animals are more than ever a test of our character, of mankind’s capacity for empathy and for decent, honorable conduct and faithful stewardship. We are called to treat them with kindness, not because they have rights or power or some claim to equality, but in a sense because they don’t; because they all stand unequal and powerless before us.
40. True education does not consist merely in the acquiring of a few facts of science, history, literature, or art, but in the development of character.
41. It is a self-deception of philosophers and moralists to imagine that they escape decadence by opposing it. That is beyond their will; and, however little they acknowledge it, one later discovers that they were among the most powerful promoters of decadence.
42. Hope is a passion for the possible.
43. In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.
44. A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
45. If faith is what you have to go on, if faith is the link between your beliefs and the world at large, your beliefs are very likely to be wrong. Beliefs can be right or wrong. If you believe you can fly, that belief is only true if indeed you can fly. Somebody who thinks he can fly, and is wrong about it, will eventually discover there’s a problem with his view of the world.
46. It’s daft, locking us up,” said Nanny. “I’d have had us killed.”
“That’s because you’re basically good,” said Magrat. “The good are innocent and create justice. The bad are guilty, which is why they invent mercy.
47. For women especially, virginity has become the easy answer- the morality quick fix. You can be vapid, stupid, and unethical, but so long as you’ve never had sex, you’re a “good” (i.e. “moral) girl and therefore worthy of praise.
48. While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?
49. Acting responsibly is not a matter of strengthening our reason but of deepening our feelings for the welfare of others.
50. I have something that I call my Golden Rule. It goes something like this: ‘Do unto others twenty-five percent better than you expect them to do unto you.’ … The twenty-five percent is for error.
51. The thinking (person) must oppose all cruel customs, no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another.
52. Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.
53. Religion is not about accepting twenty impossible propositions before breakfast, but about doing things that change you. It is a moral aesthetic, an ethical alchemy. If you behave in a certain way, you will be transformed. The myths and laws of religion are not true because they they conform to some metaphysical, scientific or historical reality but because they are life enhancing. They tell you how human nature functions, but you will not discover their truth unless you apply these myths and doctrines to your own life and put them into practice.
54. Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.
55. What we do in every other area of our lives (other than religion), is, rather than respect somebody’s beliefs, we evaluate their reasons.
56. I will call no being good who is not what I mean when I apply that epithet to my fellow creatures; and if such a creature can sentence me to hell for not so calling him, to hell I will go .
57. What really frightens and dismays us is not external events themselves, but the way in which we think about them. It is not things that disturb us, but our interpretation of their significance.
58. There is one and only one social responsibility of business–to use it resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud
59. The most disadvantageous peace is better than the most just war.
60. You don’t have to choose between being scientific and being compassionate.