Herbert Spencer (April 27, 1820 – December 8, 1903) was an English philosopher, biologist, and anthropologist. He coined the phrase “survival of the fittest,” yet his concept of evolution included ethical human progression. In the late 1800s he was one of the most influential European intellectuals and is one of the only philosophers to sell over a million copies of his works during his own lifetime.

Below we list some words of wisdom from Herbert Spencer.

“The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.”

“The defects of the children mirror the defects of the parents.”

“We all decry prejudice, yet are all prejudiced.”

“That feelings of love and hate make rational judgments impossible in public affairs, as in private affairs, we can clearly enough see in others, though not so clearly in ourselves.”

‘The white light of truth, in traversing the many-sided transparent soul of the poet, is refracted into iris-hued poetry.”

“Regarding language as an apparatus of symbols for the conveyance of thought, we may say that, as in a mechanical apparatus, the more simple and the better arranged its parts, the greater will be the effect produced.”

“Love is life's end, but never ending. Love is life's wealth, never spent, but ever spending. Love's life's reward, rewarded in rewarding.”

“Opinion is ultimately determined by the feelings, and not by the intellect.”

“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.”

“Life is the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations.”

“Science is organized knowledge.”

“Only when Genius is married to Science can the highest results be produced.”

“Every man is free to do that which he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man.”

“The most important attribute of man as a moral being is the faculty of self-control.”

“No place, no company, no age, no person is temptation-free; let no man boast that he was never tempted, let him not be high-minded, but fear, for he may be surprised in that very instant wherein he boasteth that he was never tempted at all.”

Marriage: A word which should be pronounced ‘mirage’.”

“Objects we ardently pursue bring little happiness when gained; most of our pleasures come from unexpected sources.”

“What, then, do they want a government for? Not to regulate commerce; not to educate the people; not to teach religion, not to administer charity; not to make roads and railways; but simply to defend the natural rights of man -- to protect person and property -- to prevent the aggressions of the powerful upon the weak -- in a word, to administer justice. This is the natural, the original, office of a government. It was not intended to do less: it ought not to be allowed to do more.”

“All socialism involves slavery.”

“Feudalism, serfdom, slavery — all tyrannical institutions, are merely the most vigorous kinds of rule, springing out of, and necessary to, a bad state of man. The progress from these is in all cases the same — less government.”

“Reading is seeing by proxy.”

“As there must be moderation in other things, so there must be moderation in self-criticism. Perpetual contemplation of our own actions produces a morbid consciousness, quite unlike that normal consciousness accompanying right actions spontaneously done; and from a state of unstable equilibrium long maintained by effort, there is apt to be a fall towards stable equilibrium, in which the primitive nature reasserts itself. Retrogression rather than progression may hence result.”

“Mother, when your children are irritable, do not make them more so by scolding and fault-finding, but correct their irritability by good nature and mirthfulness. Irritability comes from errors in food, bad air, too little sleep, a necessity for change of scene and surroundings; from confinement in close rooms, and lack of sunshine.”

“Mental power cannot be got from ill-fed brains.”

“Of all the knowledge, that most worth having is knowledge about health! The first requisite of a good life is to be a healthy person.”

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