W. Somerset Maugham, A Writer's Notebook (1949; rpt. New York: Vintage Books, 2009), pp. 32-33:
If the actions and ideas of men had any importance whatever, there would be no excuse for the human race. Men are mean, petty, muddle-headed, ignoble, bestial from their cradles to their death-beds; ignorant, slaves now of one superstition, now of another, and illiberal; selfish and cruel.