John Ruskin Quotes on Man (25 Quotes)


    If men lived like men indeed, their houses would be temples -- temples which we should hardly dare to injure, and in which it would make us holy to be permitted to live and there must be a strange dissolution of natural affection, a strange unthankfulness for all that homes have given and parents taught, a strange consciousness that we have been unfaithful to our fathers honor, or that our own lives are not such as would make our dwellings sacred to our children, when each man would fain build to himself, and build for the little revolution of his own life only.

    The sky is the part of creation in which nature has done for the sake of pleasing man.

    Of all God's gifts to the sighted man, color is holiest, the most divine, the most solemn.

    I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility.

    The question is not what man can scorn, or disparage, or find fault with, but what he can love, and value, and appreciate.


    It is not, truly speaking, the labour that is divided but the men divided into mere segments of men broken into small fragments and crumbs of life, so that all the little piece of intelligence that is left in a man is not enough to make a pin, or a nail, but exhausts itself in making the point of a pin or the head of a nail.

    Men were not intended to work with the accuracy of tools, to be precise and perfect in all their actions.

    In health of mind and body, men should see with their own eyes, hear and speak without trumpets, walk on their feet, not on wheels, and work and war with their arms, not with engine-beams, nor rifles warranted to kill twenty men at a shot before you can see them.

    There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and he who considers price only is that man's lawful prey.

    The higher a man stands, the more the word vulgar becomes unintelligible to him.

    The great cry that rises from all our manufacturing cities, louder than the furnace blast, is all in very deed for this -- that we manufacture everything there except men.

    An infinitude of tenderness is the chief gift and inheritance of all truly great men.

    We have seen when the earth had to be prepared for the habitation of man, a veil, as it were, of intermediate being was spread between him and its darkness, in which were joined in a subdued measure, the stability and insensibility of the earth, and the passion and perishing of mankind.

    Mountains are to the rest of the body of the earth, what violent muscular action is to the body of man. The muscles and tendons of its anatomy are, in the mountain, brought out with force and convulsive energy, full of expression, passion, and strength.

    When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package.

    Men are more evanescent than pictures, yet one sorrows for lost friends, and pictures are my friends. I have none others. I am never long enough with men to attach myself to them and whatever feelings of attachment I have are to material things.

    Men cannot not live by exchanging articles, but producing them. They live by work not trade.

    Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.

    Cheerfulness is as natural to the heart of a man in strong health as color to his cheek and wherever there is habitual gloom there must be either bad air, unwholesome food, improperly severe labor, or erring habits of life.

    The first test of a truly great man is his humility. By humility I don't mean doubt of his powers or hesitation in speaking his opinion, but merely an understanding of the relationship of what he can say and what he can do.

    There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey.

    Men don't and can't live by exchanging articles, but by producing them. They don't live by trade, but by work. Give up that foolish and vain title of Trades Unions; and take that of laborers Unions.

    The root of almost every schism and heresy from which the Christian Church has suffered, has been because of the effort of men to earn, rather than receive their salvation and the reason preaching is so commonly ineffective is, that it often calls on people to work for God rather than letting God work through them.

    I believe that the first test of a truly great man is his humility. Really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them. And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, incredibly merciful.

    No lying knight or lying priest ever prospered in any age, but especially not in the dark ones. Men prospered then only in following an openly declared purpose, and preaching candidly beloved and trusted creeds.


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