There would be far less suffering amongst mankind, if men—and God knows why they are so fashioned—did not employ their imaginations so assiduously in recalling the memory of past sorrow, instead of bearing their present lot with equanimity.
There are some persons in this world, who, unable to give better proof of being wise, take a strange delight in showing what they think they have sagaciously read in mankind by uncharitable suspicions of them.
This self-love is the instrument of our preservation; it resembles the provision for the perpetuity of mankind; it is necessary, it is dear to us, it gives us pleasure, and we must conceal it.
The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.
The greatest problem for the human species, the solution of which nature compels him to seek, is that of attaining a civil society which can administer justice universally.[Das größte Problem für die Menschengattung, zu dessen Auflösung die Natur ihn zwingt, ist die Erreichung einer allgemein das Recht verwaltenden bürgerlichen Gesellschaft.]
The greatest part of mankind who are given up to labor, and enslaved to the necessity of their mean condition; whose lives are worn out only in the provisions for living.
The common behavior of mankind is the system of reference by means of which we interpret an unknown language.[Die gemeinsame menschliche Handlungsweise ist das Bezugssystem, mittels welches wir uns eine fremde Sprache deuten.]
The choice for mankind lay between freedom and happiness, and that, for the great bulk of mankind, happiness was better.
Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis, and he is optimistic enough to suppose that mankind will surmount this neurotic phase, just as so many children grow out of their similar neurosis.