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Instinct Quotes (512 Quotes)


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  • His universal compassion was due less to natural instinct, than to a profound conviction, a sum of thoughts that in the course of living had filtered through to his heart: for in the nature of man, as in rock, there may be channels hollowed by the dropping of water, and these can never be destroyed.
    (Victor Hugo, "Les Misérables")
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  • Her only gift was knowing people almost by instinct, she thought, walking on. If you put her in a room with someone, up went her back like a cat's; or she purred.
    (Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway")
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  • Oh darling, don't be bitter. It's the first instinct of the weak.
    (Sarah Dessen, "Along for the Ride")
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  • Each human being is unique, each with their own qualities, instincts, forms of pleasure, and desire for adventure. However, society always imposes on us a collective ways of behaving, and people never stop to wonder why they should behave like that. They just accept it, the way typists accepted the fact that the QWERTY keyboard was the best possible one. Have you ever met anyone is your entire life who asked why the hands of a clock should go in one particular direction and not the other?
    (Paulo Coelho, "Veronika Decides to Die")
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  • Arboreal, a fine word. Our arboreal ancestors, Crake used to say. Used to shit on their enemies from above while perched in trees. All planes and rockets and bombs are simply elaborations on that primate instinct.
    (Margaret Atwood, "Oryx and Crake")
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  • The best way to make a sort of peace, a fragile armistice to be sure, but precious all the same, with men, officers or not, is to let them bask and wallow in childish self-glorification. There's no such thing as intelligent vanity. It's an instinct. And you'll never find a man who is not first and formenost vain. The role of admiring doormat is about the only one that one man is glad to tolerate in another. With these soldiers I had no need to tax my imagination.
    (Louis-Ferdinand Céline, "Journey to the End of the Night")
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  • And of course she understood now why her body wanted to run whenever he appeared. It was a correct instinct, for there was nothing to be got from this but sadness.
    (Kristin Cashore, "Fire")
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  • Human beings, in their natural state, are unpredictable, erratic, and unhappy. It is only once their animal instincts are controlled that they can be responsible, dependable, and content.
    (Lauren Oliver, "Delirium")
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  • We now had three girls and one testosterone-pumped guy bird that spent every walking minute doing of of three things: pursuing sex, having sex or crowing boastfully about the sex he had just scored. Jenny observed that roosters are what men would be if left to their own devices, with no social conventions to rein in their baser instincts, and I couldn't disagree. I had to admit, I kind of admired the lucky bastard.
    (John Grogan, "Marley & Me")
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  • He had no conscious knowledge of death, but like every animal of the Wild, he possessed the instinct of death. To him it stood as the greatest of hurts. It was the very essence of the unknown; it was the sum of the terrors of the unknown, the one culminating and unthinkable catastrophe that could happen to him, about which he knew nothing and about which he feared everything.
    (Jack London, "White Fang")
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  • Of her own experience she had no memory of the thing happening; but in her instinct, which was the experience of all mothers of wolves, there lurked a memory of fathers that had eaten their new-born and helpless progeny.
    (Jack London, "White Fang")
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  • The hand descended. Nearer and nearer it came. It touched the ends of his upstanding hair. He shrank down under it. It followed down after him, pressing more closely against him. Shrinking, almost shivering. He still managed to hold himself together. It was a torment, this hand that touched him and violated his instinct. He could not forget in a day all the evil that had been wrought him at the hands of men.
    (Jack London, "White Fang")
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  • You might almost say, that this strange uncompromisedness in him involved a sort of unintelegence; for in his numerous trades, he did not seem to work so much by reason or instinct, or simply because he had been tuitored into it, or by any intermixture of all of these , even or uneven; but merely by a kind of deaf and dumb , sponteneous literal process.
    (Herman Melville, "Moby-Dick")
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  • What is it that sometimes speaks in the soul so calmly, so clearly, that its earthly time is short? Is it the secret instinct of decaying nature, or the soul's impulsive throb, as immortality draws on? Be what it may, it rested in the heart of Eva, a calm, sweet, prophetic certainty that Heaven was near; calm as the light of sunset, sweet as the bright stillness of autumn, there her little heart reposed, only troubled by sorrow for those who loved her so dearly.
    (Harriet Beecher Stowe, "Uncle Tom's Cabin")
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  • Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no need of change.
    (H.G. Wells, "The Time Machine")
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