Men possessing minds which are morose, solemn, and inflexible, enjoy, in general, a greater share of dignity than happiness.
The opinions of the misanthropical rest upon this very partial basis, that they adopt the bad faith of a few as evidence of the worthlessness of all.
Out of the ashes of misanthropy benevolence rises again; we find many virtues where we had imagined all was vice, many actions of disinterested friendship where we had fancied all was calculation and fraud,—and so gradually, from the two extremes, we pass to the proper medium; and feeling that no human being is wholly good or wholly base, we learn that true knowledge of mankind which induces us to expect little and forgive much. The world cures alike the optimist and the misanthrope.
The misanthrope is a man who avoids society, only to free himself from the trouble of being useful to it; who considers his neighbors only on the side of their defects, not knowing the art of combining their virtues with their vices, and of rendering the imperfections of other people tolerable by reflecting on his own.—He is more employed in finding out and punishing the guilty, than in devising means to reform them; and because he thinks his talents are not sufficiently valued and employed by his fellow citizens, or rather because they know his foibles and do not choose to be subject to his caprices, he talks of quitting cities, towns, and societies, and living in dens or deserts.
Man delights not me, nor woman either.
There cannot live a more unhappy creature than an ill-natured old man, who is neither capable of receiving pleasures, nor sensible of doing them to others.