Herbert Spencer quotes

  • The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Inspirational #Education #Learning

  • Be bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Courage #Risk #Boldness

  • All socialism involves slavery.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Liberty #Slavery #Libertarian

  • If every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man, then he is free to drop connection with the state-to relinquish its protection, and to refuse paying toward its support.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Men #Support #Connections

  • A man's liberties are none the less aggressed upon because those who coerce him do so in the belief that he will be benefited.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Freedom #Men #Liberty

  • Society exists for the benefit of its members - not the members for the benefit of society.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Liberty #Benefits #Members

  • Science is organized knowledge.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Science #Organized

  • If men use their liberty in such a way as to surrender their liberty, are they thereafter any the less slaves? If people by a plebiscite elect a man despot over them, do they remain free because the despotism was of their own making?
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Freedom #Men #People

  • Let men learn that a legislature is not 'our God upon earth,' though, by the authority they ascribe to it, and the things they expect from it, they would seem to think it is. Let them learn rather that it is an institution serving a purely temporary purpose, whose power, when not stolen, is at the best borrowed.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Men #Thinking #Purpose

  • Hero-worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Hero #Political #Atheism

  • The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Health #Exercise #Atheism

  • Every cause produces more than one effect.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Causes #Ethics #Produce

  • People are beginning to see that the first requisite to success in life is to be a good animal.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Success #Animal #People

  • Progress, therefore, is not an accident, but a necessity…It is a part of nature.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Progress #Accidents

  • Education has for its object the formation of character. To curb restive propensities, to awaken dormant sentiments, to strengthen the perceptions, and cultivate the tastes, to encourage this feeling and repress that, so as finally to develop the child into a man of well proportioned and harmonious nature, this is alike the aim of parent and teacher.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Teacher #Children #Character

  • Be it or be it not true that Man is shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, it is unquestionably true that Government is begotten of aggression, and by aggression.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Men #Government #Sin

  • Life is the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Life #Reality #Relation

  • When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don't care if they are shot themselves.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Men #Order #Justice

  • During human progress, every science is evolved out of its corresponding art.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Art #Humanity #Progress

  • The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Wise #Time #Past

  • Old forms of government finally grow so oppressive that they must be thrown off even at the risk of reigns of terror.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Government #Risk #Reign

  • To play billiards well was a sign of an ill-spent youth
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Play #Billiards #Youth

  • Opinion is ultimately determined by the feelings, and not by the intellect.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Feelings #Intuition #Determined

  • Our lives are universally shortened by our ignorance.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Ignorance

  • Education has for its object the formation of character.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Education #Teaching #Learning

  • Music must take rank as the highest of the fine arts - as the one which, more than any other, ministers to the human spirit.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Music #Art #Spirit

  • For what is meant by saying that a government ought to educate the people? Why should they be educated? What is the education for? Clearly, to fit the people for social life - to make them good citizens. And who is to say what are good citizens? The government: there is no other judge. And who is to say how these good citizens may be made? The government: there is no other judge. Hence the proposition is convertible into this - a government ought to mold children into good citizens, using its own discretion in settling what a good citizen is and how the child may be molded into one.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Children #Government #People

  • No one can be perfectly free till all are free; no one can be perfectly moral till all are moral; no one can be perfectly happy till all are happy.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Diversity #Social Justice #Moral

  • When a man's knowledge is not in order, the more of it he has the greater will be his confusion.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Knowledge #Men #Order

  • Civilization is a progress from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity toward a definite, coherent heterogeneity.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Civilization #Progress

  • Equity knows no difference of sex. In its vocabulary the word man must be understood in a generic, and not in a specific sense.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Sex #Men #Vocabulary

  • The liberty the citizen enjoys is to be measured not by governmental machinery he lives under, whether representative or other, but by the paucity of restraints it imposes upon him.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Liberty #Citizens #Machinery

  • Strong as it looks at the outset, State-agency perpetually disappoints every one. Puny as are its first stages, private efforts daily achieve results that astound the world.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Strong #Agency #Effort

  • Every man is free to do that which he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Men #Equal

  • Rightness expresses of actions, what straightness does of lines; and there can no more be two kinds of right action than there can be two kinds of straight lines.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Two #Doe #Lines

  • Sundry manifestations of nature in men and women, are greatly perverted by existing social conventions upheld by both. There are feelings which, under our predatory régime, with its adapted standard of propriety, it is not considered manly to show; but which, contrariwise, are considered admirable in women. Hence repressed manifestations in the one case, and exaggerated manifestations in the other; leading to mistaken estimates.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Men #Feelings #Social

  • The saying that beauty is but skin deep, is but a skin-deep saying.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Beauty #Skins #Skin Deep

  • Progress is not an accident, not a thing within human control, but a beneficent necessity ... due to the working of a universal law. So surely must the things we call evil and immorality disappear; so surely must man become perfect.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Men #Law #Evil

  • Anyone who studies the state of things which preceded the French Revolution will see that the tremendous catastrophe came about from so excessive a regulation of men's actions in all their details, and such an enormous drafting away of the products of their actions to maintain the regulating organization, that life was fast becoming impracticable. And if we ask what then made, and now makes, this error possible, we find it to be the political superstition that governmental power is subject to no restraints.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Life #Men #Errors

  • The presumption that any current opinion is not wholly false, gains in strength according to the number of its adherents.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Numbers #Gains #Opinion

  • Those who cavalierly reject the Theory of Evolution, as not adequately supported by facts, seem quite to forget that their own theory it supported by no facts at all.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Wisdom #Facts #Evolution

  • Any piece of knowledge which the pupil has himself acquired- any problem which he has himself solved, becomes, by virtue of the conquest, much more thoroughly his than it could else be. The preliminary activity of mind which his success implies, the concentration of thought necessary to it, and the excitement consequent on his triumph, conspire to register the facts in his memory in a way that no mere information heard from a teacher, or read in a schoolbook, can be registered.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Teacher #Memories #Learning

  • The fact disclosed by a survey of the past that majorities have been wrong must not blind us to the complementary fact that majorities have usually not been entirely wrong.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Past #Majority #Facts

  • The home is the most important factor in civilization, and that civilization is to be measured at different stages largely by the development in the home.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Home #Civilization #Important

  • Of all the knowledge, that most worth having is knowledge about health! The first requisite of a good life is to be a healthy person.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Good Life #Healthy #Firsts

  • The white light of truth, in traversing the many sided transparent soul of the poet, is refracted into iris-hued poetry.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Light #White #Poetry

  • To play billiards well is the sign of a misspent youth.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Gambling #Play #Billiards

  • Is it stupidity or is it moral cowardice which leads men to continue professing a creed that makes self-sacrifice a cardinal principle, while they urge the sacrificing of others, even to the death, when they trespass against us? Is it blindness, or is it an insance inconsistency, which makes them regard as most admirable the bearing of evil for the benefit of others, while they lavish admiration on those who, out of revenge, inflict great evils in return for small ones suffered? Surely our barbarian code of right needs revision, and our barbarian standard of honour should be somewhat changed.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Revenge #Sacrifice #Men

  • I had a great dislike to the annoyances entailed by baggage; and it was always with some feeling of elation that I cut myself free from everything but what I could carry about me. Like children, portmanteaus and trunks are hostages to fortune.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Children #Cutting #Feelings

  • In literary art, as in the art of the architect, the painter, the musician, signs that the artist is thinking of his own achievement more than of his subject always offend me.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Art #Thinking #Achievement

  • Music may appeal to crude and coarse feelings or to refined and noble ones; and in so far as it does the latter it awakens the higher nature and works an effect, though but a transitory effect, of a beneficial kind. But the primary purpose of music is neither instruction nor culture but pleasure; and this is an all-sufficient purpose.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Feelings #Doe #Culture

  • All evil results from the non-adaptation of constitution to conditions. This is true of everything that lives. Does a shrub dwindle in poor soil, or become sickly when deprived of light, or die outright if removed to a cold climate? it is because the harmony between its organization and its circumstances has been destroyed.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Light #Organization #Evil

  • The universal basis of co-operation is the proportioning of benefits received to services rendered.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Benefits #Operations #Bases

  • What, then, do they want a government for? Not to regulate commerce; not to educate the people; not to teach religion, not to administer charity; not to make roads and railways; but simply to defend the natural rights of man -- to protect person and property -- to prevent the aggressions of the powerful upon the weak -- in a word, to administer justice. This is the natural, the original, office of a government. It was not intended to do less: it ought not to be allowed to do more.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Powerful #Men #Rights

  • No one can be perfectly happy till all are happy.
    -- Herbert Spencer

  • In the supremacy of self-control consists one of the perfections of the ideal man.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Men #Self #Perfection

  • Much dearer be the things which come through hard distress.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Adversity #Distress

  • Do not try to produce an ideal child, it would find no fitness in this world.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Children #Trying #World

  • There is a story of some mountains of salt in Cumana, which never diminished, though carried away in much abundance by merchants; but when once they were monopolized to the benefit of a private purse, then the salt decreased; till afterward all were allowed to take of it, when it had a new access and increase. The truth of this story may be uncertain, but the application is true; he that envies others the use of his gifts decays then, but he thrives most that is most diffusive.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Generosity #Envy #Mountain

  • If on one day we find the fast-spreading recognition of popular rights accompanied by a silent, growing perception of the rights of women, we also find it accompanied by a tendency towards a system of non-coercive education--that is, towards a practical illustration of the rights of children.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Children #Rights #Illustration

  • Mother, when your children are irritable, do not make them more so by scolding and fault-finding, but correct their irritability by good nature and mirthfulness. Irritability comes from errors in food, bad air, too little sleep, a necessity for change of scene and surroundings; from confinement in close rooms, and lack of sunshine.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Mother #Children #Sleep

  • The child takes most of his nature of the mother, besides speech, manners, and inclination.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Mother #Children #Speech

  • No place, no company, no age, no person is temptation-free; let no man boast that he was never tempted, let him not be high-minded, but fear, for he may be surprised in that very instant wherein he boasteth that he was never tempted at all.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Men #Temptation #Age

  • Noiseless falls the foot of time That only treads on flowers.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Time #Flower #Fall

  • It must be admitted that the conception of virtue cannot be separated from the conception of happiness-producing conduct.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Virtue

  • The cruelty of a Fijian god, who, represented as devouring the souls of the dead, may be supposed to inflict torture during the process, is small compared with the cruelty of a God who condemns men to tortures which are eternal.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Men #Soul #Atheism

  • The idea of disembodied spirits is wholly unsupported by evidence, and I cannot accept it.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Ideas #Atheism #Spirit

  • There is no origin for the idea of an afterlife, save the conclusion which the savage draws from the notion suggested by dreams.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Dream #Ideas #Afterlife

  • Agnostics are people who, like myself, confess themselves to be hopelessly ignorant concerning a variety of matters, about which metaphysicians and theologians, both orthodox and heterodox, dogmatize with the utmost confidence.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #People #Ignorant #Atheism

  • People ... become so preoccupied with the means by which an end is achieved, as eventually to mistake it for the end. Just as money, which is a means of satisfying wants, comes to be regarded by a miser as the sole thing to be worked for, leaving the wants unsatisfied; so the conduct men have found preferable because most conducive to happiness, has come to be thought of as intrinsically preferable: not only to be made a proximate end (which it should be), but to be made an ultimate end, to the exclusion of the true ultimate end.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Mistake #Mean #Men

  • The pursuit of individual happiness within those limits prescribed by social conditions, is the first requisite to the attainment of the greatest general happiness.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Limits #Firsts #Individual

  • Originally, ethics has no existence apart from religion, which holds it in solution.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Ethics #Existence #Solutions

  • Every man may claim the fullest liberty to exercise his faculties compatible with the possession of like liberties by every other man.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Exercise #Men #Liberty

  • Thus poetry, regarded as a vehicle of thought, is especially impressive partly because it obeys all the laws of effective speech, and partly because in so doing it imitates the natural utterances of excitement.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Law #Utterance #Speech

  • The ideal form for a poem, essay, or fiction, is that which the ideal writer would evolve spontaneously. One in whom the powers of expression fully responded to the state of feeling, would unconsciously use that variety in the mode of presenting his thoughts, which Art demands.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Art #Expression #Feelings

  • Architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and poetry, may truly be called the efflorescence of civilised life.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Sculpture #May #Architecture

  • We have repeatedly observed that while any whole is evolving, there is always going on an evolution of the parts into which it divides itself; but we have not observed that this equally holds of the totality of things, which is made up of parts within parts from the greatest down to the smallest.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Evolution #Made #Evolve

  • Ethical ideas and sentiments have to be considered as parts of the phenomena of life at large. We have to deal with man as a product of evolution, with society as a product of evolution, and with moral phenomena as products of evolution.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Men #Ideas #Moral

  • Religion is the recognition that all things are manifestations of a Power which transcends our knowledge.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Recognition #Manifestation

  • The "Creed of Christendom" is alien to my nature, both emotional and intellectual.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Emotional #Intellectual #Atheism

  • The belief, not only of the socialist but of those so-called liberals who are diligently preparing the way for them is that by due skill an ill working humanity may be framed into well-working initiations. It is delusion. The defective natures of citizens will show themselves in bad acting of whatever social structure they are arranged into. There is no political alchemy by which you can get golden conduct out of laden instincts.
    -- Herbert Spencer

    #Skills #Political #Humanity

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