The term misanthropy comes from the Greek misanthrôpia , which means hatred of humans . This feeling is the last degree of aversion that an individual can feel towards the human race, it is the declaration of war of one only against all. Misanthropy is born from the ingratitude of humans, from the great undeserved misfortunes , from the inflexibility of a character incapable of yielding to the weaknesses and vices of society.


What is misanthropy?

Misanthropy is a feeling of aversion towards the human species that is manifested by the search for solitude and the tendency to live apart and reject contact with others . A misanthrope assumes an attitude of contempt and hatred towards humanity, which is why he avoids social relationships.


Meaning of the word misanthropy

Misanthropy is the behavior assumed by one who feels contempt for humanity and avoids all kinds of relationship with it . It is important to distinguish misanthropy from social malaise or discomfort. It cannot be assumed that someone is misanthrope just because they prefer to keep their distance as it could be simple shyness. A misanthrope is generally a self-confident person and can even become arrogant and believe himself superior to everyone else.


Etymology and origin of the word

The word misanthropy comes from the ancient Greek ” misanthrôpía “ ( misein : to hate and anthrôpos : man). A misanthrope not only does not love others and also feels hatred towards the human race and distances himself from his relationship with him . Later, in the 1st century BC, Cicero uses the term and the word goes into Latin as misantrhopus.


  • Philanthropy: this term means “love of humanity . ” In that sense, it is contrary to misanthropy. A philanthropic person shows selfless generosity that is aimed at the welfare of the other.
  • Altruism: refers to a behavior that benefits the other and for which no payment or reward is expected in return.

Symptoms of misanthropy

  • Tendency to sadism and inability to show compassion towards others.
  • Feeling of superiority.
  • Search for loneliness and rejection of social relationships and the company of other people.
  • Creation of their own ethics and moral code and disregard for social rules and laws.
  • Tendency to use irony or sarcasm as a means of expressing their opinions.
  • Interest in philosophical issues.
  • Social isolation.

Phrases around misanthropy

  • “The more I know the man, the less I love him; if I could say so much about women, it would be much better for me ”. Lord Byron.
  • “Human existence must be a kind of mistake.” Arthur Schopenhauer .
  • “I detest the human race and its pretenses and filthiness.” P. Lovecraft
  • “If there was a button that I could push, I would sacrifice myself without hesitation if it meant the death of millions of people.” Pentti Linkola.
  • “The misanthrope is one who reproaches men for being what he is.” Louis Scutenaire.
  • “Misanthropy is almost always a great vanity hidden under a hedgehog skin.” Honoré de Balzac.

Books on misanthropy

  • Molière’s ” The Misanthrope “: In this work by Molière, the main character, Alcesto, deeply hates humanity and openly denounces hypocrisy, cowardice and ingratitude. This character was a means that allowed Molière to criticize the customs of the French court and the hypocrisy that reigned there.
  • Menander’s “ El misanthrope” : the main character in this play set in rural areas is Cnemón, an old and lonely man who decides to live alone forever and rejects relationships with other people. However, the old man discovers throughout the plot, the benefits of affective relationships.
  • Shakespeare’s ” Helm of Athens “: In this play, the behavior of those who hate humanity is parodied. Timón, his main character, was a happy man who threw many parties for his friends, which ends up putting him in debt. When you turn to your friends to borrow money, they turn their backs on you. Timon feels disappointed in humanity and decides to go to the beach, in a cave to live a life far from everyone.


  • One case of extreme misanthropy that caused astonishment is that of Carl Panzram , a man who killed more than 20 people in the United States . When he was arrested and imprisoned in Washington in 1922, he declared a chilling phrase: “I detest the entire human race. I like to kill people ”:
  • The Oscar-winning film “Best Impossible,” starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt, tells the story of a man who avoids social relationships and exhibits homophobic, racist and manic behavior. You could say that this character is a misanthrope although at the end of the film he ends up involved in a love story.

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