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Quotes

Alas! We are ridiculous animals.

—Horace Walpole, 1777

There be beasts that, at a year old, observe more, and pursue that which is for their good more prudently, than a child can do at ten.

—Thomas Hobbes, 1651

How like to us is that filthy beast the ape.

—Cicero, 45 BC

Man is no man, but a wolf, to a stranger.

—Plautus, c. 200 BC

From the oyster to the eagle, from the pig to the tiger, all animals exist in man, and each one of them is in a man. Sometimes even several of them at a time. Animals are nothing else than the figures of our virtues and our vices, straying before our eyes, the visible phantoms of our souls. God shows them to us in order to induce us to reflect.

—Victor Hugo, 1862

Man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all. 

—Aristotle, c. 350 BC

Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve and from which he cannot escape.

—Erich Fromm, 1947

In every man is a wild beast; most of them don’t know how to hold it back, and the majority give it full rein when they are not restrained by terror of law.

—Frederick the Great, 1759

I do not mean to call an elephant a vulgar animal, but if you think about him carefully, you will find that his nonvulgarity consists in such gentleness as is possible to elephantine nature—not in his insensitive hide, nor in his clumsy foot, but in the way he will lift his foot if a child lies in his way; and in his sensitive trunk, and still more sensitive mind, and capability of pique on points of honor.

—John Ruskin, 1860

Keep running after a dog, and he will never bite you.

—François Rabelais, 1535

Who sleepeth with dogs shall rise with fleas.

—John Florio, 1578

A bull contents himself with one meadow, and one forest is enough for a thousand elephants; but the little body of a man devours more than all other living creatures.

—Seneca the Younger, c. 64

Imitate the ass in his love to his master.

—St. John Chrysostom, c. 388