Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
I heard what you said. I’m not the silly romantic you think. I don’t want the heavens or the shooting stars. I don’t want gemstones or gold. I have those things already. I want…a steady hand. A kind soul. I want to fall asleep, and wake, knowing my heart is safe. I want to love, and be loved.
Douglas Noel Adams
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.
Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
A learning experience is one of those things that say, “You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.”
Dr. Patch Adams
The Gesundheit Institute is a pie in the face of greed – by taking the most expensive thing in America, and giving it away for free.
The most revolutionary act you can commit in our society today is be happy.
So my advice to old people is, damn it, stand tall and recognize you are the gold, you are the storage of the gold of life. If we’re too stupid to see it in you, then make some noise and make us see it; at least go out there and get involved with the children.
— Interview by ‘Caring People’ Magazine, Spring 1993
In war, truth is the first casualty.
― 525 BC – 456 BC
When Obama ran for president, a lot of people of color, and even some white people, looked at him like a savior. But there is no savior out there; we are our savior. As long as we understand that and got that in our heads, then we’re gonna get somewhere. But if we hallucinate that there is some savior out there that’s going to come along and make things better for us and clear up all the injustices, then that’s just what we’re doing: hallucinating – because it ain’t gonna happen. We have to do that work, we have to do it. Like I said, it ain’t easy, it’s gonna take time and it’s not something that’s gonna happen overnight, but the only way it’s gonna happen is for us to start walking that road.
— at Conspiring for Change
Alexander the Great
Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.
There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle.
If Jesus came back, and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.
— from “Hannah and Her Sisters” 1986 film
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
If the entire history of mankind were condensed into a single year, our knowledge of how to destroy life on earth with weapons of mass destruction has been acquired in the last thirty seconds. Never again will we lack the knowledge to eliminate the world in a single act of madness. Therefore, we are faced with a dilemma unique in our history. We must not only control the weapons that can kill us, we must bridge the great disparities of wealth and opportunity among the peoples of the world, the vast majority of whom live in poverty without hope, opportunity or choices in life. These conditions are a breeding ground for division that can cause a desperate people to resort to nuclear weapons as a last resort. Our only hope lies in the power of our love, generosity, tolerance and understanding and our commitment to making the world a better place for all…
The horror of class stratification, racism, and prejudice is that some people begin to believe that the security of their families and communities depends on the oppression of others, that for some to have good lives there must be others whose lives are truncated and brutal.
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
We are not a homogeneous organization seeking to become more diverse; we are an incomplete organization seeking to become whole.
The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.
Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.
— artist & storyteller
Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.
If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up. Lift a stranger up — lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone. The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well.
We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.
You did then what you knew how to do. When you knew better, you did better.
We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.
There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.
We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.
I think that sometimes we become lethargic out of fear. It’s not really laziness so much as it is timidity. We’d rather bear the ills we have than fly to others that we know not of, when in truth the place where one is standing may be untenable, it may be dangerous, it may be stultifying, and it’s better to just step on. You know, you have to move.
— in Angelou – a conversation between Maya Angelou and bell hooks – with editor Melvin McLeod, Shambhala Sun, January 1998
Art is not a luxury. The artist is so necessary in our lives. The artist explains to us, or at least asks the questions which must be asked. And when there’s a question asked, there’s an answer somewhere. I don’t believe a question can be asked which doesn’t have an answer somewhere in the universe. That’s what the artist is supposed to do, to liberate us from our ignorance.
— in Angelou – a conversation between Maya Angelou and bell hooks – with editor Melvin McLeod, Shambhala Sun, January 1998
You alone are enough and you have nothing to prove to anybody.
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.
When people show you who they are, believe them.
written on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop
When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it too seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas they would have none of it. And now as I lay on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I might have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and who knows, I may have even changed the world.
— in the Crypts of Westminster Abbey (1100 A.D.)
I’m not a member of an organized religion.
I’m a Quaker.
— seen on a bumper sticker
Spes Oritur Ac Tenebras (Latin: Hope Arises From The Darkness)
You do not get to call yourself an ally. I don’t get to call myself an ally. No one gets to bestow that title upon themself. …
Calling oneself an ally takes away the agency and denies the expertise of targets of oppression in that particular oppression. …
Allyship is a state to work toward, with the understanding that we may never actually reach it.
— Wombat Cascadia — SO YOU WANT TO BE AN ALLY!
The true measure of a mountain’s greatness is not its height but whether it is charming enough to attract dragons.
— from a Chinese poem
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.
— Indian proverb
Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.
— Serbian proverb
Either I will find a way or I will make one.
— Latin proverb, most commonly attributed to Hannibal
The system was never broken. It was built this way.
— a sign from Occupy Wall Street
An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, pride and superiority. The other wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside of you and every other person too.” They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee replied “The one I feed.”
Susan B. Anthony
Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.
I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.
Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.
Kwame Anthony Appiah
Cultures are made of continuities and changes, and the identity of a society can survive through these changes. Societies without change aren’t authentic; they’re just dead.
Thoroughgoing ignorance about the ways of others is largely a privilege of the powerful.
In a letter she posted on Facebook to fans when she cancelled a South American tour because her beloved pitbull Janet was dying:
I know that she’s not sad about aging or dying. Animals have a survival instinct, but a sense of mortality and vanity, they do not. That’s why they are so much more present than people.
But I know that she is coming close to point where she will stop being a dog, and instead, be part of everything. She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go.
I just can’t leave her now, please understand.
If I go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out.
No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.
Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.
The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.
There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous.
Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
Joseph Francis Argazzi
Do not surrender your grief. Allow it to transform you.
Barbara Lazear Ascher
For many of us, grieving is our first experience, since childhood, of being out of control. It is a frightening return to old helplessness and society doesn’t tolerate it for long. The collective conscience speaks: “Get a grip on yourself.” “Get on with it.” But how do we “get a grip” on a self in metamorphosis? We are shedding more than tears, we are shedding skins. How can we “get on with it” when “it” has changed?
— Landscape Without Gravity: A Memoir of Grief
I have been trying to make the best of grief and am just beginning to learn to allow it to make the best of me.
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
The Secrets of The Sea: Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.
— The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus
Augustine of Hippo
You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.
Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.
Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.
We can never know the depth of another’s pain, only be there to listen, to hold, to say how it is with us. When we lose a child to death, the pain never goes away, we simply learn, through practice, how to live in spite of it, or through it, partly by coming together with others who grieve, and partly by expressing our need for hugs and surrounding us with friends who never, ever back away.
—To ache and to bloom
I imagine that the reason that people cling to their hate so stubbornly is because they are afraid that if they let go of the hate, they will have to deal with pain.
— Notes of a Native Son
The world is before you, and you need not take it or leave it as it was before you came in.
It is very nearly impossible… to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.
To be conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.
I want American history taught. Unless I’m in that book, you’re not in it either. History is not a procession of illustrious people. It’s about what happens to a people. Millions of anonymous people is what history is about.
The moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.
When a man asks himself what is meant by action he proves that he isn’t a man of action. Action is a lack of balance. In order to act you must be somewhat insane. A reasonably sensible man is satisfied with thinking.
I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone… they will be forced to deal with pain.
Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
I need someone to protect me from all the measures they take in order to protect me.
If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.
Each at their own time, each at their own pace, each in their own way. Coming out is a process, a journey, not a race. Unlike most journeys, there is no one destination in mind, only a direction. Keep on. When you stray, or slow down, don’t be afraid to ask advice or direction. Your journey is yours alone, and regardless of where you end up, or when, don’t let anyone else plan the trip.
You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can decide how you’re going to live now.
If it’s natural to kill, why do men have to go into training to learn how?
Action is the antidote to despair.
If I weren’t in denial part of the time, it would be too sorrowful to go on.
I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.
Straight Americans need… an education of the heart and soul. They must understand – to begin with – how it can feel to spend years denying your own deepest truths, to sit silently through classes, meals, and church services while people you love toss off remarks that brutalize your soul.
—The Advocate, April 1998
Gratitude is a discipline, not an emotion.
When you see a fork in the road, take it!
— Instructions he gives to visitors to his house. The road forks and both paths end at his front door.
We spoke out, committed civil disobedience, and went to jail because the peace hangs senselessly and precariously upon weapons costing billions to build and billions to improve — weapons which become more useless as we add to their destructive force. With this money we could have fed the world’s people. Half the children on earth go to bed hungry — millions more have retarding and stunting protein deficiencies. Instead of building the peace by attacking injustices like starvation, disease, illiteracy, political and economic servitude, we spend a trillion dollars on war since 1946, until hatred and conflict have become the international preoccupation.
Professor Emeritus of English and Director of Peace and Global Studies – Earlham College – in his lecture, “Albert Camus: The Plague and an Ethic of Nonviolence”:
Critics of nonviolent action often state that some resistance produces violence, gives birth to it, even if nonviolent action is intended as a protest against violence. Thus Martin Luther King, Jr., was advised by southern ministers in the city of Birmingham not to take his message to the streets because he would be inciting violence. King replied that it is sometimes the case that violence erupts in the midst of a nonviolence campaign. Gandhi found the same thing to be true. But their contention was that the violence was already present in the structures of the political, social, and economic systems against which nonviolent activists were rebelling. All nonviolence did in those cases was to bring to the surface the violence that was already inherent in unjust situations. As Martin Luther King Jr. moved from civil rights to anti-Vietnam activism, he exposed more and more of the violence in American society. And when in his last year he proposed to fight a nonviolent war against poverty, his Poor People’s Campaign, sealed his fate. When the system felt most attacked, it killed him.
Always in the woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place, there will be along with the feeling of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. What you are doing is exploring. You are undertaking the first experience not of the place, but of yourself in that place. It is an experience of our essential loneliness, for nobody can discover the world for anyone else. It is only after we have discovered it for ourselves that it becomes a common ground and a common bond, and we cease to be alone.
— The One Inch Journey
The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.
If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”
Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
Ten people who speak are more noise than ten-thousand that are silent.
What is the cost of exclusion? What is lost by not having those most affected at the table in the policy discourse? Sound governing, good planning, justice…. Everything, ultimately.
You don’t have a pronoun for me yet.
— transgender activist and author
We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
You don’t have to burn book to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
Mark Royston Brain
There is no age at which a child is too young to learn that homophobia is wrong.
I’m trying to love the bigot and hate the bigotry.
— Gideon in ‘The Last Session’ ~ book by Jim Brochu, lyrics by Steve Schalchlin, with additional lyrics by John Bettis and Marie Cain
Robert McAfee Brown
How does one keep from “growing old inside”? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are indispensable.
Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.
There comes a time when silence is betrayal.
— The Need for a Moral Minority
I think we need to create a moral minority that could propose convictions without arrogance, insight without absolutism, commitment but without coercion, and democracy without demagoguery.
— The Need for a Moral Minority
Pearl S. Buck
The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.
The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation.
Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.
There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.
For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I’m feeling most ghost-like, it is your remembering me that helps remind me that I actually exist. When I’m feeling sad, it’s my consolation. When I’m feeling happy, it’s part of why I feel that way.
If you forget me, one of the ways I remember who I am will be gone. If you forget, part of who I am will be gone. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” the good thief said from his cross (Luke 23:42). There are perhaps no more human words in all of Scripture, no prayer we can pray so well.
Everybody prays whether [you think] of it as praying or not. The odd silence you fall into when something very beautiful is happening or something very good or very bad. The ah-h-h-h! that sometimes floats up out of you as out of a Fourth of July crowd when the sky-rocket bursts over the water. The stammer of pain at somebody else s pain. The stammer of joy at somebody else’s joy. Whatever words or sounds you use for sighing with over your own life. These are all prayers in their way. These are all prayers in their way. These are all spoken not just to yourself but to something even more familiar than yourself and even more strange than the world.
Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
No matter what someone else has done, it still matters how we treat people. It matters to our humanity that we treat offenders according to standards that we recognize as just. Justice is not revenge — it’s deciding for a solution that is oriented towards peace, peace being the harder but more human way of reacting to injury. That is the very basis of the idea of rights.
James Branch Cabell
The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist fears this is true.
Comedy has to be based on truth. You take the truth and you put a little curlicue at the end.
Not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. Begin anywhere.
I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.
There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear.
In fact, try as we may to make a silence, we cannot.
People who are not artists often feel that artists are inspired. But if you work at your art you don’t have time to be inspired.
Art’s purpose is to sober and quiet the mind so that it is in accord with what happens.
Theater takes place all the time, wherever one is, and art simply facilitates persuading one that this is the case.
Dom Helder Camara, Dominican priest
When I give food the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a Communist.
Leap and the net will appear.
— The Artist’s Way
People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
— The Power of Myth
When we talk about settling the world’s problems, we’re barking up the wrong tree. The world is perfect. It’s a mess. It has always been a mess. We are not going to change it. Our job is to straighten out our own lives.
Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.
When you follow your bliss… doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.
The ultimate dragon is within you.
Eternity is not the hereafter.. this is it. If you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere.
It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.
If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.
The conquest of the fear of death is the recovery of life’s joy. One can experience an unconditional affirmation of life only when one has accepted death, not as contrary to life, but as an aspect of life. Life in its becoming is always shedding death, and on the point of death. The conquest of fear yields the courage of life.
— The Power of Myth
Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.
The world is full of people that have stopped listening to themselves or have listened only their neighbors to learn what they ought to do, how they ought to behave, and what the values are they should be living for.
Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.
The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.
Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
We’re in a freefall into future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.
The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.
We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.
You know, when real trouble comes your humanity is awakened. The fundamental human experience is that of compassion.
— The Hero’s Journey
I love my country too much to be a nationalist.
In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.
Accepting the absurdity of everything around us is one step, a necessary experience: it should not become a dead end. It arouses a revolt that can become fruitful.
A character is never the author who created him. It is quite likely, however, that an author may be all his characters simultaneously.
Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.
Great novelists are philosopher-novelists whom write in images instead of arguments.
If the world were clear, art would not exist.
Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.
May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.
I think it would be interesting if old people got anti-Alzheimer’s disease where they slowly began to recover other people’s lost memories.
Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.
Irony is “a state of affairs that is the reverse of what was to be expected; a result opposite to and in mockery of the appropriate result.” For instance: a diabetic, on his way to buy insulin, is killed by a runaway truck. He is the victim of an accident. If the truck was delivering sugar, he is the victim of an oddly poetic coincidence. But if the truck was delivering insulin, ah! Then he is the victim of an irony.
Religion easily has the best bullshit story of all time. Think about it. Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.
Our nation was founded by slave owners who wanted to be free. So they killed a lot of white English people, in order to continue owning their black African people, so they could kill the rest of the red Indian people, in order to move west and steal the rest of the land from the brown Mexican people, giving us a place to take off and drop our atomic bombs on the yellow Japanese people. You know what the motto for this country oughtta be? “YOU GIVE US A COLOR, WE’LL WIPE IT OUT.”
Thou shalt not kill. Murder. The fifth commandment. But if you think about it…if you think about it, religion has never really had a problem with murder. Not really. No, more people have been killed in the name of God than for any other reason. All you have to do…all you have to do is look at slavery, the Middle East, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and the World Trade Center, and you’ll see how seriously the religious folks take “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” The more devout they are…the more devout they are, the more they see murder as negotiable…it’s negotiable. It depends, you know? It depends, it depends on who’s doing the killing, and who’s getting killed.
Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.
There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.
We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.
George Washington Carver
Where there is no vision, there is no hope.
Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.
Your problem is that you think you have time.
Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone one question. This question is one that a very old man asks…Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good. If it doesn’t it is of no use.
Catherine the Great
A great wind is blowing and that gives you either imagination or a headache.
There is a good tired and there is a bad tired. Ironically enough, bad tired can be the kind of day when you’ve won, but you chased other peoples dreams, you fought other peoples battles, you struggled through other peoples agendas, and when you hit the hay at night, victorious, you twist and turn because somehow it wasn’t your day, it wasn’t your life. Ironically enough, good tired can be a day that you lost everything, but you fought your battles, chased your dreams, lived your day, and when you hit the hay at night you sleep the sleep of the just. You rest easy, and you can say “take me away!”
I’ve seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives.
You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.
Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak… Non-violence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win.
Together, all things are possible.
Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, and the future is ours.
We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.
We are confident. We have ourselves. We know how to sacrifice. We know how to work. We know how to combat the forces that oppose us. But even more than that, we are true believers in the whole idea of justice. Justice is so much on our side, that that is going to see us through.
Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.
The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.
Violence just hurts those who are already hurt…Instead of exposing the brutality of the oppressor, it justifies it.
Fairy tales don’t teach children that monsters exist. Children already know monsters exist. Fairy tales teach children monsters can be destroyed.
I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
— A Short History of England
Better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.
Silence equals nonexistence. If I don’t raise my voice, it’s like I never existed.
Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope. If you assume there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance you may contribute to making a better world. The choice is yours.
Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.
If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.
All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.
The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.
When you make a choice, you change the future.
Anything that is of value in life only multiplies when it is given.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
Arthur C Clarke
One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion.
A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.
Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.
The event seems more formal than we are comfortable with. We’re just old-line radicals who prefer rousing with the rabble to hobnobbing with the bigwigs.
This is not my choice.
This is not forced upon me.
This just is.
If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
I don’t write out of what I know; I write out of what I wonder. I think most artists create art in order to explore, not to give the answers. Poetry and art are not about answers to me; they are about questions.
We cannot create what we can’t imagine.
I do not feel inhibited or bound by what I am. That does not mean that I have never had bad scenes relating to being Black and/or a woman, it means that other people’s craziness has not managed to make me crazy.
. . . even when the universe made it quite clear to me that I was mistaken in my certainties, in my definitions, I did not break. The shattering of my sureties did not shatter me. Stability comes from inside, not outside.
People wish to be poets more than they wish to write poetry, and that’s a mistake. One should wish to celebrate more than one wishes to be celebrated.
The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.
Wanting to be someone you’re not is a waste of the person you are.
William Sloane Coffin, Jr.
War is humanity’s most chronic and incurable disease. Said Plato: “Only the dead have seen an end to war.” Historian Will Durant estimated that in all recorded history only twenty-nine years could be described as free of war. And of all centuries, the last set records for bloodletting.
— War Is the Coward’s Escape from the Problems of Peace from the July/August 2003 issue of Fellowship of Reconciliation magazine
Time and again, truth has proved the first casualty of war. That is because wars need lies to justify them, just as lies often call on violence for their defense. …
All nations make decisions based on self-interest and then defend them in the name of morality. …
The first casualty of war is truth, which is why, along with all the dead, wounded, and bereaved, war is always cause for remorse, never for exhilaration. …
Americans are blessed to live in a democracy. In a democracy dissent is not disloyal; what is unpatriotic is subservience.
Apathy in the face of evil is morally unacceptable. Consequently, the sobering, demanding question is not “why abolish nuclear weapons?”? but rather “why not?”
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
— lyric from “Anthem”
I can’t run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
and they’re going to hear from me.
— Beautiful Losers (1966)
What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is the caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape. His house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the world. He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.
I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.
James Bryant Conant
Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.
To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.
The opposite of poetry is hypocrisy.
Life is not accumulation, it is about contribution.
Instead, I have an abundance mentality: When people are genuinely happy at the successes of others, the pie gets larger.
When you really listen to another person from their point of view, and reflect back to them that understanding, it’s like giving them emotional oxygen.
We see the world, not as it is, but as we are — or, as we are conditioned to see it. When we open our mouths to describe what we see, we in effect describe ourselves, our perceptions, our paradigms.
We hear a lot about identity theft when someone takes your wallet and pretends to be you and uses your credit cards. But the more serious identity theft is to get swallowed up in other people’s definition of you.
Courage isn’t absent of fear, it is the awareness that something else is important.
Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.
You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside.
Tell me who you love, and I’ll tell you who you are.
Neither look forward where there is doubt nor backward where there is regret. Look inward and ask not if there is anything outside you want, but whether there is anything inside that you have not yet unpacked.
If love means anything at all it means extending your hand to the unlovable.
There is another legacy of the Sixties which is often neglected: tens of thousands of individuals who won the revolution at least in their own lives. They live within the system but they are not part of it. They organize their work and existences by their own rules, and have achieved a personal independence of thought, action and moral choice which does not require social sanction. They are free men and women and their examples might be the most subversive influences extant today.
— Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle
To be nobody but yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
You can’t find peace by avoiding life.
— in “The Hours”
The Dalai Lama
Compassion and love are not mere luxuries. As the source of both inner and external peace, they are fundamental to the continued survival of our species.
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.
He who allows oppression shares the crime.
We’re all walking each other home.
Ram Dass and Paul Gorman
Compassion and pity are very different. Whereas compassion reflects the yearning of the heart to merge and take on some of the suffering, pity is a controlled set of thoughts designed to assure separateness. Compassion is the spontaneous response to love; pity, the involuntary reflex of fear.
— How Can I Help?
I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.
If they come for me in the morning, they’ll come for you at night.
We must always attempt to lift as we climb.
It’s all good‚ except when it’s not.
Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system.
The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?
Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.
I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions.
Love casts out fear, but we have to get over the fear in order to get close enough to love them.
We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community.
I have learned to live each day as it comes, and not to borrow trouble by dreading tomorrow. It is the dark menace of the future that makes cowards of us.
People say, “What is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time.
We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.
— The God Delusion
When we are in partnership and have stopped clutching each other’s throats, when we have stopped enslaving each other, we will stand together, hands clasped, and be friends. We will be comrades, we will be brothers, and we will begin the march to the grandest civilization the human race has ever known.
In the beginning there was nothing. God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better.
I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap.
The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but reveal to them their own.
Justice William O. Douglas
Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
— 1857 treatise on West India Emancipation
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.
Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy.
Dayak proverb (Borneo)
Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways; but where it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses.
Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.
With one hand we say to one who is angry, or to an oppressor, or to an unjust system, ‘Stop what you are doing. I refuse to honor the role you are choosing to play, I refuse to obey you, I refuse to cooperate with your demands, I refuse to build the walls and the bombs. I refuse to pay for the guns. With this hand I will even interfere with the wrong you are doing. I want to disrupt the easy pattern of your life.’ But then the advocate of nonviolence raises the other hand. It is raised outstretched — maybe with love and sympathy, maybe not — but always outstretched . . . With this hand we say, ‘I won’t let go of you or cast you out of the human race. I have faith that you can make a better choice than you are making now, and I’ll be here when you are ready. Like it or not, we are part of one another.’
— Revolution and Equilibrium
To me, being queer isn’t who you’re sleeping with; it’s just an idea that sexuality isn’t gender-based, that it’s love-based.
There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage. I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.
The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.
If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.
The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.
It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Men who want to support women in our struggle for freedom and justice should understand that it is not terrifically important to us that they learn to cry; it is important to us that they stop the crimes of violence against us.
May you have a strong foundation when the winds of change shift.
Life isn’t about finding yourself, or finding anything. It’s about creating yourself.
Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace.
I have had a lot of success with failure.
Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
— Desiderata (1927)
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.
A person experiences life as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. Our task must be to free ourselves from this self-imposed prison, and through compassion, to find the reality of Oneness.
From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other – above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.
You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.
Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.
Nationalism is an infantile disease; it is the measles of mankind.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
We cannot solve the problems we have created with the same thinking that created the problem.
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, of what then is an empty desk a sign?
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.
If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.
Peace is not merely the absence of war but the presence of justice, of law, of order — in short, of government.
— On Peace
Adapted from Loren Eiseley’s The Star Thrower
As the old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Finally catching up with the youth, he asked him why he was doing this. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun. “But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish,” countered the other. “How can your effort make any difference?” The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves. “It makes a difference to this one,” he said.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
— US general & Republican politician (1890 – 1969)
I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.
Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and co-operation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.
Why had I been given a brain if I could not make use of it.
— Moby, Too (1973)
Human kind cannot bear very much reality.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost-work, but the solidest thing we know.
To Laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
When it is dark enough you can see the stars.
The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within that endangers him, not the storm without.
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. ? ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
— Self-Reliance (1841)
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
The secret of education lies in respecting the pupil.
I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.
Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.
The only way to have a friend is to be one.
The great teacher is not the man who supplies the most facts, but the one in whose presense we become different people.
Don’t underestimate how much antagonism there is toward women and how many people wish we could turn the clock back. One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don’t take it personally, but listen hard to what’s going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally.
— Keynote speech to Wellesley graduates in 1996
What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications. It will not be anything like what you think it will be like, but surprises are good for you. And don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I’ve had four careers and three husbands.
— Keynote speech to Wellesley graduates in 1996
Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women. Thank you. Good luck. The first act of your life is over. Welcome to the best years of your lives.
— Keynote speech to Wellesley graduates in 1996
Someday, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit.
Rachel Held Evans
On a given Sunday morning I might spot six or seven people who have wronged or hurt me, people whose politics, theology, or personalities drive me crazy. The church is positively crawling with people who don’t deserve to be here…starting with me.But the table can transform even our enemies into companions. The table reminds us that, as brothers and sisters adopted into God’s family and invited to God’s banquet, we’re stuck with each other; we’re family. We might as well make peace. The table teaches us that faith isn’t about being right or good ot in agreement. Faith is about feeding and being fed…The church is God saying: “I’m throwing a banquet, and all these mismatched, messed-up people are invited. Here, have some wine.”
— On Any Given Sunday
Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.
— Light in August
I live proudly in a body of my own design. I defend my right to be complex.
— transgender activist and author
Although we generally think of community in terms of what binds participants together — shared norms, beliefs, and values — communities of difference are based not on homogeneity but on respect for difference and on the absolute regard for the intrinsic worth of every individual. Members of such communities do not begin with a dominant set of established norms but develop these norms together, with openness and respect, as they share their diverse perspectives.
Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.
— A 12-Step Program Guaranteed to Change your Life – his commencement speech to the Bennington College class of 1992
Change your mind as often as possible. Just because you thought something yesterday doesn’t mean you have to think it today. Don’t ever become a prisoner of your own opinion.
If you deny yourself commitment, what can you do with your life?
It is not normal for the leaders of a great democracy to turn against one of the most basic human impulses: the creation of art. Historically, all societies that have done so have been equally hostile to any expression of human freedom. This animus toward art is often couched in the argument that in the absence of government support, the market will best determine what kind of art should be nurtured. In fact, the market supports art that is marketable. Such art may be of high quality. It may satisfy our needs for entertainment or diversion. But art-as-product rarely provokes, challenges or innovates.
— Wounded in the culture wars
Nations have recently been led to borrow billions for war; no nation has ever borrowed largely for education. Probably, no nation is rich enough to pay for both war and civilization. We must make our choice; we cannot have both.
— educator (1866-1959)
Bishop Yvette Flunder
I think it is critically important that all Christians and all people of faith show their love not by making access to God and to good exclusionary, but to seek to be inclusionary essentially to make the table of the lord as we say in the Christian church available to everyone. And when we don’t know exactly what to do, let’s err on the side of putting more chairs at the table and making the table larger and longer and bigger until everyone has a place.
— City of Refuge, United Church of Christ in Lead with Love
Malcolm S. Forbes
Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
You shall say, ‘Christ sayest this’, ‘The Apostles sayest this’, but what doth thou say?
— founder of the Religious Society of Friends
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again. In the meantime, I must hold up my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out.
Whenever people are being intellectually dishonest in debate, it is an implicit concession they have lost the fight.
Suffering ceases to be suffering in some way at the moment it finds meaning.
Michael Franti & Spearhead
From the tops of the buildings to the streets below
Between the Wall Street banks and the empty homes
Between the lines of the people standing all in a row
There’s a crack in the gutter where a flower grows
Reminding me that everything is possible
— “Hey Hey Hey” – The Sound of Sunshine
Critical reflection on practice is a requirement of the relationship between theory and practice. Otherwise theory becomes simply “blah, blah, blah,” and practice, pure activism.
— Pedagogy of Freedom
The teacher who really teaches, that is, who really works with contents within the context of methodological exactitude, will deny as false the hypocritical formula, ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ Whoever is engaged in ‘right thinking’ knows only too well that words not given body (made flesh) have little or no value. Right thinking is right doing.
— Pedagogy of Freedom
Hope is a natural, possible, and necessary impetus in the context of our unfinishedness.
— Pedagogy of Freedom
If I am a product of genetic, cultural, or class determination, I have no responsibility for my action in this world and, therefore, it is impossible for me to speak of ethics. Of course, this assumption of responsibility does not mean that we are not conditioned genetically, culturally, and socially. It means that we know ourselves to be conditioned but not determined.
— Pedagogy of Freedom
Washing ones hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.
— Pedagogy of Freedom
Every relationship of domination, of exploitation, of oppression is by definition violent, whether or not the violence is expressed by drastic means. In such a relationship, dominator and dominated alike are reduced to things- the former dehumanized by an excess of power, the latter by a lack of it. And things cannot love.
But almost always, during the initial stage of the struggle, the oppressed, instead of striving for liberation, tend themselves to become oppressors, or sub oppressors. The very structure of their thought has been conditioned by the contradiction of the concrete, existential situation by which they were shaped. Their ideal is to be men; but for them to be men is to be oppressors.
The only way out is to go through.
I believe there is something in the mind, or in the heart, that shows its approbation when we do right. I give myself this advice: Do not fear truth, let it be so contrary to inclination and feeling. Never give up the search after it: and let me take courage, and try from the bottom of my heart to do that which I believe truth dictates, if it leads me to be a Quaker or not.
The rapprochement of peoples is only possible when differences of culture and outlook are respected and appreciated rather than feared and condemned, when the common bond of human dignity is recognized as the essential bond for a peaceful world.
Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away.
Richard Buckminster Fuller
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
Either war is obsolete, or men are.
How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.
If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely. It is absolutely touch and go. Each one of us could make the difference.
People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things.
We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.
We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.
When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
Everything you’ve learned in school as “obvious” becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There’s not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.
Most of my advances were by mistake. You uncover what is when you get rid of what isn’t.
There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.
Man knows so much and does so little.
Love is metaphysical gravity.
I’m not a genius. I’m just a tremendous bundle of experience.
I’m not trying to counsel any of you to do anything really special except dare to think. And to dare to go with the truth. And to dare to really love completely.
There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.
Sometimes I think we’re alone. Sometimes I think we’re not. In either case, the thought is quite staggering.
When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.
Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?
I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is vertical, so it’s humiliating. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other and learns from the other. I have a lot to learn from other people.
Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that, one magical day, good luck will suddenly rain down on them – will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down, yesterday, today, tomorrow or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day on their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms. The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no-ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way. Who are not, but could be. Who don’t speak languages, but dialects. Who don’t have religions, but superstitions. Who don’t create art, but handicrafts. Who don’t have culture, but folklore. Who are not human beings, but human resources. Who do not have faces, but arms. Who do not have names, but numbers. Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the crime reports of the local paper. The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.
— The Nobodies
Game of Thrones
The past is already written. The ink is dry.
— Three-eyed Raven in “Oathbreaker” – Season 6 / Episode 3
Violence is a disease. You don’t cure a disease by spreading it to more people.
— Brother Ray in “The Broken Man” – Season 6 / Episode 7
My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides, and my windows to be closed. Instead, I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.
I have learned through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmitted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmitted into a power that can move the world.
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
What does it matter to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?
I think it would be a good idea.
— His reply when a reporter asked what he thought of Western civilization.
It is good to see ourselves as others see us. Try as we may, we are never able to know ourselves fully as we are, especially the evil side of us. This we can do only if we are not angry with our critics but will take in good heart whatever they might have to say.
Violent means will give violent freedom.
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.
However much I may sympathize with and admire worthy motives, I am an uncompromising opponent of violent methods even to serve the noblest of causes.
What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?
What kind of victory is it when someone is left defeated?
It may be long before the law of love will be recognized in international affairs. The machinery’s of government stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another.
Democracy and violence can ill go together. Evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared to hear the other side.
Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.
Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.
Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.
An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.
You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.
It is as much our obligation not to cooperate with evil as it is to cooperate with good.
Unity, to be real, must stand the severest strain without breaking.
Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.
The only devils in the world are those running around in our own hearts – that is where the battle should be fought.
I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and Non-violence are as old as the hills.
Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.
Mohandas K. Gandhi and son Arun Gandhi and Steven W. Gilbert
Gandhi’s “Seven Blunders of the World” that Lead to Violence… + 5
Mohandas Gandhi gave his list of “Seven Blunders of the World” that lead to violence to his grandson Arun Gandhi shortly before his assassination. The list was then first published in the Christian Science Monitor (February 1, 1995: pg 14).
Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Knowledge without character
Commerce without morality
Science without humanity
Worship without sacrifice
Politics without principle
Arun Gandhi added:
Rights without responsibilities
Four more were added by Steven W. Gilbert, Director of Technology Projects at the American Association for Higher Education, and founder and president of The Teaching, Learning, and Technology (TLT) Group focus on the relationship between learning, teaching, and technology:
Technology without direction
Connection without community
Teaching without joy
Learning without hope
Under the anger, under the fear, under the despair, under the broken heartedness, there is a radiance that has never been harmed, that has never been lost, that is the truth of who one is.
It is said that for money you can have everything, but you cannot. You can buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not knowledge, but not wisdom; glitter, but not beauty; fun, but not joy; acquaintances, but not friends; servants, but not faithfulness; leisure, but not peace. You can have the husk of everything, but not the kernel.
To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, And to sing it to them when they have forgotten.
I suppose I should wish you success, but that is really easy. I would like to wish you something that is harder to come by. So I am going to wish you meaning in life. And meaning is not something you stumble across like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of human kind as it is passed on to you; out of your own talent and understanding, out of things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, Then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Collecting data is only the first step toward wisdom. But sharing data is the first step toward community.
War is not the answer, because only love can conquer hate.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you, but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness, For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
— in “The Prophet” (1923)
It is better to be hated for what one is than loved for what one is not.
Most times, the only gay or lesbian face people know of is who they see in the pride parade. To judge us on that would be like judging heterosexuals after watching Mardi Gras.
Whoever controls the language, the images, controls the race.
You can’t scare me; I was picketing before you were born.
There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.
Mistakes are a fact of life: It is the response to the error that counts.
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
The Nazi party leader was interviewed by Gustave Gilbert during the Easter recess of the Nuremberg trials, April 18, 1946, and is quoted in Gilbert’s book ‘Nuremberg Diary.’
Goering: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
Goering: Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Education is dangerous. Every educated person is a future enemy.
The diagnosis of homosexuality as a “disorder” is a contributing factor to the pathology of those homosexuals who do become mentally ill…. Nothing is more likely to make you sick than being constantly told that you are sick.
You were so busy trying to see if you could do it that you didn’t stop to think about whether you should.
—in Jurassic Park
Normal is in the eye of the beholder.
Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine.
The most violent element in society is ignorance.
Patriotism … is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robs man of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit.
When we can’t dream any longer we die.
The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man’s right to his body, or woman’s right to her soul.
The idealists and visionaries, foolish enough to throw caution to the winds and express their ardor and faith in some supreme deed, have advanced mankind and have enriched the world.
If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.
Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy. They must learn to make their views known without trying to make their views the only alternative.
— Conservative Politician, Former Arizona Senator and Governor, 1981 speech
Confusion is the state of promise, the fertile void where surprise is possible again. Confusion is in fact the state we are in, and we should be wise to cultivate it.
— Growing Up Absurd
Alexander John Goodrum
Diversity is not for the squeamish. It means making (and taking) a space at the table that includes people you don’t like, don’t agree with, or who you think are just plain wrong.
— disabled African-American bisexual FTM transsexual activist, 1960-2002
Grief does not change you. It reveals you.
By the time they reach second grade, every child in the country knows what an Indian is. They wear lots of feathers, ride spotted ponies and shoot arrows. Indians who don’t fit the type are invisible; they simply can’t be imagined by the majority of white children or adults.
— writer, college professor and Director of the American Indian Program at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, of German and Cherokee descent
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.
Secrecy is the linchpin of abuse of government power. If people are able to operate in the dark, it is not likely or probable, but inevitable that they will abuse their power. It’s just human nature. And that’s been understood for as long as politics has existed. That transparency is really the only guarantee that we have for checking those who exercise power.
And that’s the reason why the government has progressively destroyed one institution after the next designed to bring transparency, whether it’s the media that they turned into the supine creatures or the Congress that does more to empower government secrecy than any other, or the courts that have been incredibly subservient towards sources of government secrecy. One of the only avenues we have left for learning what people in power do are whistleblowers. People who essentially step out and risk their individual liberty, and that’s why there’s such a war being waged against them.
— In a Bill Moyers interview on Boston Marathon bombing: Talking to the PBS host about civil liberties, terrorism, US foreign policy and the dangers of secrecy. April 26, 2013
The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers.
Life has got a habit of not standing hitched. You got to ride it like you find it. You got to change with it. If a day goes by that don’t change some of your old notions for new ones, that is just about like trying to milk a dead cow.
I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim. Too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard travelling. I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my very last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you. I could hire out to the other side, the big money side, and get several dollars every week just to quit singing my own kind of songs and to sing the kind that knock you down still farther and the ones that poke fun at you even more and the ones that make you think you’ve not got any sense at all. But I decided a long time ago that I’d starve to death before I’d sing any such songs as that. The radio waves and your movies and your jukeboxes and your songbooks are already loaded down and running over with such no good songs as that anyhow.
Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī
— Persian poet aka Hafez
The words you speak become the house you live in.
I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
Edward Everett Hale
Find the good — and praise it.
Many a young person tells me he wants to be a writer. I always encourage such people, but I also explain that there’s a big difference between “being a writer” and writing. In most cases these individuals are dreaming of wealth and fame, not the long hours alone at the typewriter. “You’ve got to want to write,” I say to them, “not want to be a writer.”
The reality is that writing is a lonely, private and poor-paying affair. For every writer kissed by fortune, there are thousands more whose longing is never requited. Even those who succeed often know long periods of neglect and poverty. I did.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with the truth.
We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.
In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.
When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look into the reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.
And once we have the condition of peace and joy in us, we can afford to be in any situation. Even in the situation of hell, we will be able to contribute our peace and serenity. The most important thing is for each of us to have some freedom in our heart, some stability in our heart, some peace in our heart. Only then will we be able to relieve the suffering around us.
Peace is all around us. It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of practice.
Often, we feel that we need a leader outside of ourselves –a Buddha, a Gandhi, or a Martin Luther King, Jr.– to show the way. But we have the Buddha inside of us. We have Gandhi and King inside of us as well. We are interconnected. We don’t need to wait for some other person to be the change we want to see in the world.
If we take the time to look deeply, we see that understanding and compassion arise from suffering. Understanding is the understanding of suffering, and compassion is the kind of energy that can transform suffering. If suffering is not there, we have no means to cultivate our understanding and our compassion. This is something quite simple to see.
If you come to Plum Village in the summertime, you see many lotus flowers. Without the mud the lotus flowers cannot grow. You cannot separate lotus flowers from the mud. It is the same with understanding and love. These are two kinds of flowers that grow on the ground of suffering.
I would not like to send my children to a place where there is no suffering, because I know that in such a place my children will have no chance to develop their compassion and understanding. I don’t know whether my friends who come from the background of Christianity or Judaism can accept this—that in the Kingdom of God there is suffering—but in Buddhist teaching it is clear that suffering and happiness inter-are. Where there is no suffering there is no happiness either. We know from our own experiences that it is impossible to cultivate more understanding and compassion if suffering isn’t there. It is with the mud that we can make flowers. It is with the suffering that we can make compassion and understanding.
— New Year’s Eve Dharma Talk on December 31, 2005
You are not an observer, you are a participant.
The personal is political.
I’m not sure what the theme of my homily today ought to be. Do I want to speak of the miracle of our Lord’s divine transformation? Not really, no. I don’t want to talk about his divinity. I’d rather talk about his humanity. I mean, you know, how he lived his life on earth: his kindness, his tolerance. Listen, here is what I think. I think we can’t go around measuring our goodness by what we don’t do, what we deny ourselves, what we resist and who we exclude. I think we’ve got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.
— This was the young priest Pere Henri’s Easter Sunday sermon at the end of the film “Chocolat” (2000) based on the book by Joanne Harris.
Our work for peace must begin within the private world of each one of us. To build for man a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice, we must be just. And how can we fight for liberty if we are not free in our own minds? How can we ask others to sacrifice if we are not ready to do so?
I am really not an optimist because not all is right in the world. I am really not a pessimist because not all is wrong in the world. I do, however, cultivate hope in my heart as an antidote for cynicism, apathy, malaise, and hopelessness.
The greatest enemy of knowledge isn’t the ignorance of knowledge but the illusion of it.
Robert A. Heinlein
When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to it’s subjects, “This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked, contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything. You can’t conquer a free man, the most you can do is kill him.
Since when do you have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?
If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.
The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow
The middle of the road is for yellow lines and dead armadillos.
If you don’t speak out now when it matters, when would it matter for you to speak out?
Politics isn’t about left versus right; it’s about top versus bottom.
No society has gone the way of gulags or concentration camps by following the path of Spinoza and Einstein and Jefferson and Thomas Paine.
— Post-colonialism and Post-theism
You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.
Relationships are treated like Dixie cups. They are the same. They are disposable. If it does not work, drop it, throw it away, get another. Committed bonds cannot last when this is the prevailing logic. Most of us are unclear about what to do to protect and strengthen caring bonds when our self-centered needs are not being met.
If we want a beloved community, we must stand for justice, have recognition for difference without attaching difference to privilege.
Love is an action, never simply a feeling.
I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.
— in Angelou – a conversation between Maya Angelou and bell hooks – with editor Melvin McLeod, Shambhala Sun, January 1998
It is necessary to remember, as we think critically about domination, that we all have the capacity to act in ways that oppress, dominate, wound (whether or not that power is institutionalized). It is necessary to remember that it is first the potential oppressor within that we must resist — the potential victim within that we must rescue — otherwise we cannot hope for an end to domination, for liberation.
— Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black
… in terms of thinking about the larger meaning of compassion. I feel I’m always trying to address the question of not dividing people into oppressors and oppressed, but trying to see the potential in all of us to occupy those two poles, and knowing that we have to believe in the capacity of someone else to change towards that which is enhancing of our collective well-being. Or we just condemn people to stay in place.
— in Angelou – a conversation between Maya Angelou and bell hooks – with editor Melvin McLeod, Shambhala Sun, January 1998
To return to love, to get the love we always wanted but never had, to have the love we want but are not prepared to give, we seek romantic relationships. We believe these relationships, more than any other, will rescue and redeem us. True love does have the power to redeem but only if we are ready for redemption. Love saves us only if we want to be saved.
Knowing hot to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.
Hope for Peace & Justice
Our values are simple. The journey is not.
A Hopi Prayer
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there,
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight
On the ripened grain.
I am the gentle Autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there.
I did not die.
My Spirit is still alive…
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
Walk the street with us into history. Get off the sidewalk.
If you haven’t forgiven yourself something, how can you forgive others.
Giving kids clothes and food is one thing but it’s much more important to teach them that other people besides themselves are important, and that the best thing they can do with their lives is to use them in the service of other people.
I know as actors our job is to usually shed our skins. But I think as people, our job is to become who we really are, and so I would like to salute the men and women who brave ostracism, alienation, and a life on the margins to become who they really are.
— acceptance speech as best actress in her role as a transgender woman in drama “Transamerica” at the 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards on 1/16/06
Charles Evans Hughes
When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.
There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and this is an idea whose time has come.
Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.
Zora Neale Hurston
Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to ‘jump at the Sun.’ We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.
The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourishment.
Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.
One of the great attractions of patriotism – it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what’s more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous.
Daniel K. Inouye
History provides no guarantees on the shape of things to come. The possibilities for good and evil remain essentially today, as they have always been, as numerous as the stars. Yet, if there is anything about which I am absolutely certain, it is that within each of us lies the power to transform the world for the better. Let there be no doubt as to the ability of well-meaning individuals to change life’s odds and to influence his or her own destiny along a positive course. I believe most passionately that in each one of you lies a Jefferson, a Lincoln, an Eleanor Roosevelt, a Mother Teresa, and a Martin Luther King, Jr. None of these great men and women accepted the failures and inequities of the world in which they were born, and neither should you! They believed in the perfectibility of the world in which they lived and would not be turned away from what they knew was good, what was right, and what was just.
It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.
When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time — the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes — when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feelings that she’s gone, forever–there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.
— A Prayer For Owen Meany
I still believe in Hope – mostly because there’s no such place as Fingers Crossed, Arkansas.
The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.
What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority.
I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag.
Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as manners and opinions change, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
If there be one principle more deeply written than any other in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.
All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
Dissent is the purest form of patriotism.
The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government.
The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.
If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.
Technology adds nothing to art. Two thousand years ago, I could tell you a story, and at any point during the story I could stop, and ask, Now do you want the hero to be kidnapped, or not? But that would, of course, have ruined the story. Part of the experience of being entertained is sitting back and plugging into someone else’s vision.
— the larger, louder half of comedy-magic team Penn & Teller
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
— in a commencement address delivered to Stanford University on June 12, 2005
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
— in a commencement address delivered to Stanford University on June 12, 2005
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
— in a commencement address delivered to Stanford University on June 12, 2005
I want to put a ding in the universe.
Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome.
It’s funny how heterosexuals have lives and the rest of us have ‘lifestyles’.
Someday you will be faced with the reality of loss. And as life goes on, days rolling into nights, it will become clear that you never really stop missing someone special who’s gone, you just learn to live around the gaping hole of their absence.
When you lose someone you can’t imagine living without, your heart breaks wide open, and the bad news is you never completely get over the loss. You will never forget them. However, in a backward way, this is also the good news. They will live on in the warmth of your broken heart that doesn’t fully heal back up, and you will continue to grow and experience life, even with your wound.
It’s like breaking an ankle that never heals perfectly, and that still hurts when you dance, but you dance anyway with a slight limp, and this limp just adds to the depth of your performance and the authenticity of your character.
The people you lose remain a part of you. Remember them and always cherish the good moments spent with them.
A movement that seeks to advance only its own members is going to accomplish little.
— Corporate Money Has Too Much Influence on LGBT Movement – April 4, 2012
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones
Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living.
I’m not a lady, I’m a hellraiser.
You must stand for free speech in the streets.
Reformation, like education, is a journey, not a destination.
I abide where there is a fight against wrong.
I was born in revolution.
And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
— Poem for South African Women
Learn all your theories as well as you can, but put them aside when you touch the miracle of the living soul.
I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.
I always say, if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.