John Stuart Mill Quotes (79 Quotes)

    There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home.

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.

    Men might as well be imprisoned, as excluded from the means of earning their bread.

    We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and even if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.

    The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.

    I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.

    I am not aware that any community has a right to force another to be civilized.

    All that makes existence valuable to anyone, depends on the enforcement of restraints upon the actions of other people.

    As for charity, it is a matter in which the immediate effect on the persons directly concerned, and the ultimate consequence to the general good, are apt to be at complete war with one another.

    If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.

    All desirable things... are desirable either for the pleasure inherent in themselves, or as a means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain.

    No slave is a slave to the same lengths, and in so full a sense of the word, as a wife is.

    He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.

    They who know how to employ opportunities will often find that they can create them and what we can achieve depends less on the amount of time we possess than on the use we make of our time.

    Pleasure and freedom from pain, are the only things desirable as ends.

    No great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible, until a great change takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought.

    Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character had abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and courage which it contained.

    The tendency has always been strong to believe that whatever received a name must be an entity or being, having an independent existence of its own. And if no real entity answering to the name could be found, men did not for that reason suppose that none existed, but imagined that it was something peculiarly abstruse and mysterious.

    The principles which men profess on any controverted subject are usually a very incomplete exponent of the opinions they really hold.

    The great creative individual ... is capable of more wisdom and virtue than collective man ever can be.

    The guesses which serve to give mental unity and wholeness to a chaos of scattered particulars, are accidents which rarely occur to any minds but those abounding in knowledge and disciplined in intellectual combinations.

    As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.

    The price paid for intellectual pacification is the sacrifice of the entire moral courage of the human mind.

    When the land is cultivated entirely by the spade and no horses are kept, a cow is kept for every three acres of land.

    Men are men before they are lawyers, or physicians, or merchants, or manufacturers and if you make them capable and sensible men, they will make themselves capable and sensible lawyers or physicians.

    It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being.

    There is one plain rule of life. Try thyself unweariedly till thou findest the highest thing thou art capable of doing, faculties and outward circumstances being both duly considered, and then do it.

    In all intellectual debates, both sides tend to be correct in what they affirm, and wrong in what they deny.

    The Conservatives...being by the law of their existence the stupidest party.

    What is contrary to womens nature to do, they never will be made to do by simply giving their nature free play.

    Was there ever any domination which did not appear natural to those who possessed it.

    The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good, in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.

    The worth of a State, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it -- a State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes -- will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.

    A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.

    The most cogent reason for restricting the interference of government is the great evil of adding unnecessarily to its power.

    Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.

    History shows that great economic and social forces flow like a tide over communities only half conscious of that which is befalling them. Wise statesmen foresee what time is thus bringing, and try to shape institutions and mold men's thoughts and purposes in accordance with the change that is silently coming on. The unwise are those who bring nothing constructive to the process, and who greatly imperil the future of mankind by leaving great questions to be fought out between ignorant change on one hand and ignorant opposition to change on the other.

    A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life.

    The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

    Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.

    That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.

    Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure and the absence of pain.

    Life has a certain flavor for those who have fought and risked all that the sheltered and protected can never experience.

    Unquestionably, it is possible to do without happiness; it is done involuntarily by nineteen-twentieths of mankind.

    All action is for the sake of some end; and rules of action, it seems natural to suppose, must take their whole character and color from the end to which they are subservient.

    More John Stuart Mill Quotations (Based on Topics)

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