Ethics Quotes


There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

Double standards    Ethics    Governments    Humor    Irony    Killing    Law    Mankind    Morality    Murder    Nationalism    Nations    War

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Animals    Ethics    Gandhi    Morals

Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.

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.

Just take the weapon you hold in your hand and drive it through his heart," Valentine's voice was soft. "One simple motion. Nothing you haven't done before."
Jace met his father's stare with a level gaze. "I saw Agramon," he said. "It had your face."
"You
saw
Agramon?" The Soul-Sword glittered as Valentine moved toward his son. "And you lived?"
"I killed it."
"You killed the Demon of Fear, but you won't kill a single vampire, not even at my order?"
Jace stood watching Valentine without expression. "He's a vampire, that's true," he said. "But his name is Simon.

City of Ashes

Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes

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?

1984

George Orwell

1984

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.

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.

Brain    Ethics    Inspirational    Kindness    Life    Morality    Philosophy    Simple    Temple

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?

Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë Brontë

Jane Eyre
Body    Doctrine    Ethics    Law    Morality    Principles    Religion    Soul    Steadfastness    Temptation

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?

Consider the Lobster

David Foster Wallace

Consider the Lobster

A quiet conscience makes one strong!

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.

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.

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.

People who try hard to do the right thing always seem mad.

The Stand

Stephen King

The Stand

About once or twice every month I engage in public debates with those whose pressing need it is to woo and to win the approval of supernatural beings. Very often, when I give my view that there is no supernatural dimension, and certainly not one that is only or especially available to the faithful, and that the natural world is wonderful enough—and even miraculous enough if you insist—I attract pitying looks and anxious questions. How, in that case, I am asked, do I find meaning and purpose in life? How does a mere and gross materialist, with no expectation of a life to come, decide what, if anything, is worth caring about?
Depending on my mood, I sometimes but not always refrain from pointing out what a breathtakingly insulting and patronizing question this is. (It is on a par with the equally subtle inquiry: Since you don't believe in our god, what stops you from stealing and lying and raping and killing to your heart's content?) Just as the answer to the latter question is: self-respect and the desire for the respect of others—while in the meantime it is precisely those who think they have divine permission who are truly capable of any atrocity—so the answer to the first question falls into two parts. A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called 'meaningless' except if the person living it is also an existentialist and elects to call it so. It could be that all existence is a pointless joke, but it is not in fact possible to live one's everyday life as if this were so. Whereas if one sought to define meaninglessness and futility, the idea that a human life should be expended in the guilty, fearful, self-obsessed propitiation of supernatural nonentities… but there, there. Enough.

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.

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.

Rights of Man

Thomas Paine

Rights of Man

One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. "Good" is no longer good when one's neighbor mouths it. And how should there be a "common good"! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.

Beyond Good and Evil

Friedrich Nietzsche

Beyond Good and Evil

Just because I do not accept the teachings of the devotaries does not mean I've discarded a belief in right and wrong."
"But the
Almighty
determines what is right!"
"Must someone, some unseen
thing
, declare what is right for it to
be
right? I believe that my own morality -- which answers only to my heart -- is more sure and true than the morality of those who do right only because they fear retribution.

The Way of Kings

Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings
Altruism    Belief    Ethics    Heart    Humanism    Morality    Punishment    Religion    Retribution    Right    Wrong

Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.

Ethics    Evil    Good    Morality    Reality

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.

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.

Agnosticism    Atheism    Belief    Ethics    Faith    Humanism    Religion    Spirituality

The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another. Avarice over-rates the difference between poverty and riches: ambition, that between a private and a public station: vain-glory, that between obscurity and extensive reputation. The person under the influence of any of those extravagant passions, is not only miserable in his actual situation, but is often disposed to disturb the peace of society, in order to arrive at that which he so foolishly admires. The slightest observation, however, might satisfy him, that, in all the ordinary situations of human life, a well-disposed mind may be equally calm, equally cheerful, and equally contented. Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others: but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice; or to corrupt the future tranquillity of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice.

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.

On Liberty

John Stuart Mill

On Liberty

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.

Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.

You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.

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.

The Dispossessed

Ursula K. Le Guin

The Dispossessed

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.

Darwin    Ethics    Evolution    P195    Peace    Strength    Survival    Survival of the fittest    War

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.

Ethics    Fight    Foreign policy    Injustice    Inspirational    Justice    Morality    Motivational    Patriotic    Safety    Selfish    Tyranny    War    Will

It is taboo in our society to criticize a persons religious faith... these taboos are offensive, deeply unreasonable, but worse than that, they are getting people killed. This is really my concern. My concern is that our religions, the diversity of our religious doctrines, is going to get us killed. I'm worried that our religious discourse- our religious beliefs are ultimately incompatible with civilization.

I obviously do everything to be "hard to understand" myself

Beyond Good and Evil

Friedrich Nietzsche

Beyond Good and Evil

Not only is there often a right and wrong, but what goes around does come around, Karma exists, chickens do come home to roost, and as my mother, Phyllis, liked to say, There is always a day of reckoning. The good among the great understand that every choice we make adds to the strength or weakness of our spirits—ourselves, or to use an old fashioned word for the same idea, our souls. That is every human’s life work: to construct an identity bit by bit, to walk a path step by step, to live a life that is worthy of something higher, lighter, more fulfilling, and maybe even everlasting.

When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.

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.

If there were a party of those who aren't sure they're right, I'd belong to it.
(as quoted by Tony Judt)

But with dogs, we do have "bad dog." Bad dog exists. "Bad dog! Bad dog! Stole a biscuit, bad dog!" The dog is saying, "Who are you to judge me? You human beings who’ve had genocide, war against people of different creeds, colors, religions, and I stole a biscuit?! Is that a crime? People of the world!"
"Well, if you put it that way, I think you’ve got a point. Have another biscuit, sorry.

Glorious

Eddie Izzard

Glorious
Bicuit    Dog    Ethics    Humor    Race    Religion

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.

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.

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.

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.

The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority.

While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?

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.

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.

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