If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.
A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.
If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.
I am not apt to follow blindly the lead of other men
The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.
The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognise that we ought to control our thoughts.
An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.
We stopped looking for monsters under our bed when we realized that they were inside us.
Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.
Blushing is the most peculiar and most human of all expressions.
We must, however, acknowledge, as it seems to me, that man with all his noble qualities... still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.
One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.
Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral.
In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.
We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universe, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.
Nothing is easier than to admit in words the truth of the universal struggle for life, or more difficult--at least I have found it so--than constantly to bear this conclusion in mind.
Great is the power of steady misrepresentation
Man selects only for his own good: Nature only for that of the being which she tends.
I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious views of anyone.
...for the shield may be as important for victory, as the sword or spear.
Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds which follows from the advance of science.
I am not the least afraid to die
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
It is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance.
To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.
There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.
We are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it.
The loss of these tastes [for poetry and music] is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.
...I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton.— Let each man hope & believe what he can.—
Natural Selection almost inevitably causes much Extinction of the less improved forms of life and induces what I have called Divergence of Character.
The question of whether there exists a Creator and Ruler of the Universe has been answered in the affirmative by some of the highest intellects that have ever existed.
The very essence of instinct is that it's followed independently of reason.
We are always slow in admitting any great change of which we do not see the intermediate steps
Wherever the European had trod, death seemed to pursue the aboriginal.
But Natural Selection, as we shall hereafter see, is a power incessantly ready for action, and is immeasurably superior to man's feeble efforts, as the works of Nature are to those of Art.
He who understands baboons would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.
A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, - a mere heart of stone.
Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music.
We will now discuss in a little more detail the Struggle for Existence.
In conclusion, it appears that nothing can be more improving to a young naturalist, than a journey in distant countries.
Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy.
One hand has surely worked throughout the universe.
A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question." Charles Darwin
It is difficult to believe in the dreadful but quiet war lurking just below the serene facade of nature.
But then arises the doubt, can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?
The limit of man s knowledge in any subject possesses a high interest which is perhaps increased by its close neighbourhood to the realms of imagination.
I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think there is an eminently important difference.
But a plant on the edge of a deserts is said to struggle for life against the drought, though more properly it should be said to be dependent upon the moisture.
A grain in the balance will determine which individual shall live and which shall die - which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct.
Englishmen rarely cry, except under the pressure of the acutest grief; whereas in some parts of the Continent the men shed tears much more readily and freely.
What wretched doings come from the ardor of fame; the love of truth alone would never make one man attack another bitterly.
It is necessary to look forward to a harvest, however distant that may be, when some fruit will be reaped, some good effected.
Such simple instincts as bees making a beehive could be sufficient to overthrow my whole theory.
...ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge...
I have stated, that in the thirteen species of ground-finches, a nearly perfect gradation may be traced, from a beak extraordinarily thick, to one so fine, that it may be compared to that of a warbler.
Our descent, then, is the origin of our evil passions!! The devil under form of Baboon is our grandfather.
The expression often used by Mr. Herbert Spencer of the Survival of the Fittest is more accurate, and is sometimes equally convenient.
How odd it is that anyone should not see that all observation must be for or against some view if it is to be of any service!
Or she may accept, as appearances would sometimes lead us to believe, not the male which is the most attractive to her, but the one which is the least distasteful.
One may say there is a force like a hundred thousand wedges...
In regard to the amount of difference between the races, we must make some allowance for our nice powers of discrimination gained by a long habit of observing ourselves.
Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.
He [Erasmus Darwin] used to say that 'unitarianism was a feather-bed to catch a falling Christian.
When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Cambrian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled.
Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle.
[Alexander von Humboldt was the] greatest scientific traveller who ever lived.
Die Tiere empfinden wie der Mensch Freude und Schmerz, Glück und Unglück.
I am convinced that natural selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification.
It is no valid objection that science as yet throws no light on the far higher problem of the essence or origin of life. Who can explain the what is the essence of the attraction of gravity?
Origin of man now proved. Metaphysics must flourish. He who understand baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.
Whilst Man, however well-behaved, At best is but a monkey shaved!
But I am very poorly today & very stupid & I hate everybody & everything. One lives only to make blunders.
I have deeply regretted that I did not proceed far enough at least to understand something of the great leading principles of mathematics, for men thus endowed seem to have an extra sense.
I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me
What an extraordinary thing it is, Mr. Darwin seems to spend hours in cracking a horse-whip in his room, for I often hear the crack when I pass under his windows.
I hope that I may be excused for entering on these personal details, as I give them to show that I have not been hasty in coming to a decision.
I think an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind. The whole subject [of God] is beyond the scope of man's intellect.
And thus, the forms of life throughout the universe become divided into groups subordinate to groups.
Two distinct elements are included under the term "inheritance"— the transmission, and the development of characters;
The power to charm the female has sometimes been more important than the power to conquer other males in battle. LAWS
I am dying by inches, from not having any body to talk to about insects...
I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars.
Sexual selection will also be largely dominated by natural selection tending towards the general welfare of the species.
Unusual degree. This family became divided eight generations
Sexual selection acts in a less rigorous manner than natural selection. The latter produces its effects by the life or death at all ages of the more or less successful individuals.
Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy of the interposition of a deity. More humble, and I believe truer, to consider him created from animals.
If any man wants to gain a good opinion of his fellow men, he ought to do what I am doing: pester them with letters.
This preservation of favourable individual differences and variations, and the destruction of those which are injurious, I have called Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest.
Nevertheless it is probable that the hearing rather early in life such views maintained and praised may have favoured my upholding them under a different form in my 'Origin of Species.
Natural selection rendered evolution scientifically intelligible: it was this more than anything else which convinced professional biologists like Sir Joseph Hooker, T. H. Huxley and Ernst Haeckel.
This preservation of favourable variations and the rejection of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection.