other people’s words – my favorite quotes: K-M

A-J / K-M / N-Z

Karen Kain

Racism is not something we are born with, but is learned. It is based in ignorance and insecurity and limits all humanity. By speaking out against racist behaviour, we can begin to erode these learned prejudices and embrace our diversity as is our true nature.

Danny Kaye

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.

Helen Keller

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.

I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature…. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.

It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.

Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters – one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.

Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.

We must seek, above all, a world of peace; a world in which peoples dwell together in mutual respect and work together in mutual regard.

Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy

If there is a lesson from his life and from his death, it is that in this world of ours none of us can afford to be lookers-on, the critics standing on the sidelines.
— 1964 article: Through a Brother’s Eyes ~ Time Magazine

Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, these ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Rose Kennedy

It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.

Kenyan prayer

From the cowardice that dares not face new truth
From the laziness that is contented with half truth
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,
Good Lord, deliver me.

— #597 in The United Methodist Hymnal

Jack Kerouac

I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.

The only truth is music.

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”
— On the Road

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify them, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
— On the Road (quoted by Steve Jobs)

John Kessler

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. 

Søren Kierkegaard

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.

Once you label me you negate me.

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.

Love is the expression of the one who loves, not of the one who is loved. Those who think they can love only the people they prefer do not love at all. Love discovers truths about individuals that others cannot see.

The most common form of despair is not being who you are.

Don’t you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?

I stick my finger into existence and it smells of nothing.

Coretta Scott King

Lesbian and gay people are a permanent part of the American workforce, who currently have no protection from the arbitrary abuse of their rights on the job. For too long, our nation has tolerated the insidious form of discrimination against this group of Americans who have worked as hard as any group, paid their taxes like everyone else, and yet have been denied equal protection under the law.

I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people, and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.”

Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement, Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions

We have a lot more work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. I say €œcommon struggle€ because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination.

We have to launch a national campaign against homophobia in the black community

For too long, our nation has tolerated the insidious form of discrimination against this group of Americans, who have worked as hard as any other group, paid their taxes like everyone else, and yet have been denied equal protection under the law…. I believe that freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. My husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” On another occasion he said, “I have worked too long and hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern. Justice is indivisible.” Like Martin, I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others. So I see this bill as a step forward for freedom and human rights in our country and a logical extension of the Bill of Rights and the civil rights reforms of the 1950’s and ’60’s. The great promise of American democracy is that no group of people will be forced to suffer discrimination and injustice.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

We shall overcome, because the arc of a moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

We have no alternative but to protest. For many years we have shown an amazing patience. We have sometimes given our white brothers the feeling that we liked the way we were being treated. But we come here tonight to be saved from that patience that makes us patient with anything less than freedom and justice.
— in his first speech to the Montgomery Improvement Association – 1955

As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.
— excerpted “The Most Durable Power”, a sermon delivered on 11/ 6/56 in Montgomery, Alabama

I think the first reason that we should love our enemies, and I think this is at the very center of Jesus’ thinking, is this: that hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate, that it doesn’t cut it off. It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off, and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.
— excerpted from “Loving Your Enemies”, a sermon delivered on 11/ 17/57 at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama

Three simple words can describe the nature of the social revolution that is talking place and what Negroes really want. They are the words “all,” “now,” and “here.”

It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.
— Wall Street Journal, 11/13/62

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.
— Letter from a Birmingham Jail – 1963

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
— Letter from a Birmingham Jail – 1963

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant ‘Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
— Letter from a Birmingham Jail – 1963

Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with an its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
— Letter from a Birmingham Jail – 1963

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.
— Letter from a Birmingham Jail – 1963

So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremist for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?
— Letter from a Birmingham Jail – 1963

Courage, the determination not to be overwhelmed by any object, however frightful, enables us to stand up to any fear. Many of our fears are not mere snakes under the carpet. Trouble is a reality in this strange medley of life, dangers lurk within the circumference of every action, accidents do occur, bad health is an ever-threatening possibility, and death is a stark, grim, and inevitable fact of human experience. Evil and pain in this conundrum of life are close to each of us, and we do both ourselves and our neighbors a great disservice when we attempt to prove that there is nothing in this world of which we should be frightened. These forces that threaten to negate life must be challenged by courage, which is the power of life to affirm itself in spite of life’s ambiguities. This requires the exercise of a creative will that enables us to hew out a stone of hope from a mountain of despair. Courage is an inner resolution to go forward in spite of obstacles and frightening situations; cowardice is the submissive surrender to circumstance. Courage faces fear and thereby masters it cowardice represses fear and is thereby mastered by it. We must constantly build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.
— Strength To Love, 1963

Like an unchecked cancer, that corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity, hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, not establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater but you do not murder hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction….The chain reaction of evil–hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars–must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
— Strength To Love, 1963

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship.
— in his “I Have A Dream” speech, delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963

I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.
— Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, December 10, 1964

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.
— Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967

The use of violence in our struggle would be both impractical and immoral. To meet hate with retaliatory hate would do nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love; we must meet physical force with soul force. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man, but to win his friendship and understanding.

If they had been, there would have been no riot, for we believe that only just means may be used in seeking a just end. We believe that lasting gains can be made–and they have been made–only by practicing what we preach: a policy of nonviolent, peaceful protest.
— Part of his answer to the question, “Were none of your S.C.L.C. workers involved?” in an interview with Playboy magazine.

Legislation won’t change the heart, but it will restrain the heartless.

Somebody must have sense enough to meet hate with love. Somebody must have sense enough to meet physical force with soul force. If we will but try this way, we will be able to change these conditions and yet at the same time win the hearts and souls of those who have kept these conditions alive — a way as old as the insights of Jesus of Nazareth, as modern as the techniques of Mohandas K. Gandhi. There is another way.

A time comes when silence is betrayal. That time is now.
— speaking about the Vietnam War, 1967

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
— Riverside Church, New York City – April 4, 1967

That old law which says an eye-for-an eye and a tooth-for-a-tooth will eventually leave everybody blind and toothless.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him. At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. To retaliate in kind would do nothing but intensify the existence of hate in the universe. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Cowardice asks, is it safe? Expediency asks, is it politic? Vanity asks, is it popular? But conscience asks, is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him, it is right.

How can one avoid being depressed when he discovers that of India’s 400 million people, more than 365 million make an annual income of less than sixty dollars a year? Most of these people have never seen a doctor or a dentist. As I looked at these conditions, I found myself saying that we in America cannot stand idly by and not be concerned. Then something within me cried out, “Oh, no, because the destiny of the United States is tied up with the destiny of India-with the destiny of every other nation.” And I remembered that we spend more than a million dollars a day to store surplus food in this country. I said to myself, “I know where we can store that food free of charge-in the wrinkled stomachs of the millions of people who go to bed hungry at night.” Maybe we spend too much of our national budget building military bases around the world rather than bases of genuine concern and understanding.
— Reflections on India Trip, an Address at Lincoln University on June 6, 1961.

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity” to serve. You don’t have to know the Second Theory of Thermal Dynamics in Physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love, and you can be that servant.

The existence of poverty in the US should not be accepted as a necessary evil or insoluble problem, but should be considered a crisis requiring emergency measures. It is a matter of will and priorities, not a matter of resources.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

It is a cruel injustice to tell a bootless man to pull himself up by his bootstraps.

When scientific power outruns spiritual power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.

I criticize America because I love her. I want her to stand as a moral example to the world.

True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that the edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Even a superficial look at history reveals that no social advance rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle, the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

A piece of freedom is no longer enough for human beings Unlike bread, a slice of liberty does not finish hunger. Freedom is like life. It cannot be had in installments. Freedom is indivisible – we have it all, or we are not free.

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.

The time is always right to do what is right.

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: “Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

Number one in your life’s blueprint, should be a deep belief in your own dignity, your worth and your own “somebodiness.” Don’t allow anybody to make you fell that you’re nobody. Always feel that you count. Always feel that you have worth, and always feel that your life has ultimate significance.

If you want to be important-wonderful. If you want to be recognized-wonderful. If you want to be great-wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness.

And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

I want to be the white man’s brother, not his brother-in-law.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
— “Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution ” 03/31/68

We did not hesitate to call our movement an army. But it was a special army, with no supplies but its sincerity, no uniform but its determination, no arsenal except its faith, no currency but its conscience.

The nonviolent resister not only refuses to shoot his opponent but he also refuses to hate him. At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. To retaliate in kind would do nothing but intensify the existence of hate in the universe. Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.
— “An Experiment in Love” – 1958

Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence.
— from Martin Luther King’s Acceptance Speech, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, December 10, 1964

Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve… You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

If a man hasn’t found something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.
— In a 1955 response to an accusation that he was “disturbing the peace” by his activism during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on…” We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.
— in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech about Vietnam at Riverside Church New York City on April 4, 1967

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world — a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter — but beautiful — struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.
— in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech about Vietnam at Riverside Church New York City on April 4, 1967

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The ‘tide in the affairs of men’ does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: ‘Too late.’ There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. ‘The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on….’ We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community.
— This is the conclusion of his 1968 book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.

The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows. One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but means by which we arrive at that goal.

With Faith we will hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.

Those of us who love peace must organize as effectively as the war hawks. As they spread the propaganda of war, we must spread the propaganda of peace. We must combine the fervor of the civil rights movement with the peace movement. We must demonstrate, teach and preach, until the very foundations of our nation are shaken. We must work unceasingly to lift this nation that we love to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humaneness.
— March 25 1967, Chicago, to protest the war in VietNam

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954—in 1945 rather—after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China—for whom the Vietnamese have no great love—but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.
— Speech delivered on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City.

I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
— Last words – spoken in support of the striking sanitation workers at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tenn., on April 3, 1968 – the day before he was assassinated.

Martin Luther King III

Homophobia is hate, and hate has no place in the beloved community.
— August 2003, at the 40th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington

The King Center

Welcome to The Beloved Community
“The Beloved Community” is a term that was first coined in the early days of the 20th century by the philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce, who founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation. However, it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., also a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who popularized the term and invested it with a deeper meaning which has captured the imagination of people of good will all over the world.

For Dr. King, The Beloved Community was not a lofty utopian goal to be confused with the rapturous image of the Peaceable Kingdom, in which lions and lambs coexist in idyllic harmony. Rather, The Beloved Community was for him a realistic, achievable goal that could be attained by a critical mass of people committed to and trained in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence.

Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In the Beloved Community, international disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries, instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.

Dr. King’s Beloved Community was not devoid of interpersonal, group or international conflict. Instead he recognized that conflict was an inevitable part of human experience. But he believed that conflicts could be resolved peacefully and adversaries could be reconciled through a mutual, determined commitment to nonviolence. No conflict, he believed, need erupt in violence. And all conflicts in The Beloved Community should end with reconciliation of adversaries cooperating together in a spirit of friendship and goodwill.

As early as 1956, Dr. King spoke of The Beloved Community as the end goal of nonviolent boycotts. As he said in a speech at a victory rally following the announcement of a favorable U.S. Supreme Court Decision desegregating the seats on Montgomery’s busses, the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.
— The Beloved Community of Martin Luther King, Jr. – from The King Center

Stephen King

The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them – words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever yours secret heart it buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within, not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.

Monsters are real. Ghosts are real, too. They live inside us and sometimes, they win.

Ben Kingsley

You can throw away the privilege of acting, but that would be such a shame. The tribe has elected you to tell its story. You are the shaman/healer, that’s what the storyteller is, and I think it’s important for actors to appreciate that. Too often actors think it’s all about them, when in reality it’s all about the audience being able to recognize themselves in you. The more you pull away from the public, the less power you have on screen.

I think that Shakespeare had his male side and his female side extremely well developed. And this was a great quality of the Elizabethan, all-around Renaissance man. They were not afraid of their male side and their female side co-existing. This somewhere along the line got lost. And then it got misunderstood.

Barbara Kingsolver

The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope.

L.R. Knost

Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break, and all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.

John Koenig

Klexos: The Art of Dwelling on the Past

Your life is written in indelible ink. There’s no going back to erase the past, tweak your mistakes, or fill in missed opportunities. When the moment’s over, your fate is sealed.

But if look closer, you notice the ink never really dries on any our experiences. They can change their meaning the longer you look at them.

Klexos.

There are ways of thinking about the past that aren’t just nostalgia or regret. A kind of questioning that enriches an experience after the fact. To dwell on the past is to allow fresh context to trickle in over the years, and fill out the picture; to keep the memory alive, and not just as a caricature of itself. So you can look fairly at a painful experience, and call it by its name.

Time is the most powerful force in the universe. It can turn a giant into someone utterly human, just trying to make their way through. Or tell you how you really felt about someone, even if you couldn’t at the time. It can put your childhood dreams in context with adult burdens or turn a universal consensus into an embarrassing fad. It can expose cracks in a relationship that once seemed perfect. Or keep a friendship going by thoughts alone, even if you’ll never see them again. It can flip your greatest shame into the source of your greatest power, or turn a jolt of pride into something petty, done for the wrong reasons, or make what felt like the end of the world look like a natural part of life.

The past is still mostly a blank page, so we may be doomed to repeat it. But it’s still worth looking into if it brings you closer to the truth.

Maybe it’s not so bad to dwell in the past, and muddle in the memories, to stem the simplification of time, and put some craft back into it. Maybe we should think of memory itself as an art form, in which the real work begins as soon as the paint hits the canvas. And remember that a work of art is never finished, only abandoned.


— in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: Beautiful new words to describe obscure emotions

Larry Kramer

You can never not fight back. You can’t give them an inch. So what if they’re attacking us? You don’t run back into the closet. I was appalled when I heard the idea dribbling out that we should pull back instead of carrying on or pressing even more. My favorite expression is: You do not get more with honey than with vinegar!

It seems to me lobbyists are there to represent the people, not sell out the people. “Bargain” is the wrong word. If you have power, you go in and say what you want. They listen to you or not. You go in and be angry. If they don’t like it, tough. What are they going to do to you? They can’t do anything worse than what they’re already doing.

It’s what every single speech I’ve ever made comes down to: Where are we? Where is everybody? Everyone is invisible. Even though so many of us are out of the closet, we’re still invisible. Don’t people know how to speak up?

The whole culture isn’t being led to the gas chambers! And I use that analogy with full knowledge of what I’m saying. I really think they are out to completely eliminate us and to destroy us. It’s becoming clearer and clearer. I finally got scientists and bureaucrats at the NIH to admit their intentionality in not doing anything about AIDS. Between 1981 and 1985, nothing was done. Every gay man who had sex without a condom got exposed. They knew it. That’s hate. That’s people who want to get rid of us. And we refuse to see that.

I didn’t know what we were going to do when I said we’ve got to do something. You can’t know in advance. You have to get together and talk. You have to find out: What do you want to do? What are you capable of? What do you dream of doing? It’s all about dreams. We have to stop making it sound so clinical.

You can list all kinds of reasons for why it’s not easy, but you gotta wake up and smell the coffee. They’re coming after us. Big time.

One thing I learned in GMHC and ACT UP is that after a while it’s pointless to ask the question “why?” There are a million whys. You just gotta take each day and react to the pile of shit they dish you out that day. You go after it. You cope with today’s emergency. That’s why you can’t be too much of a bureaucracy. You’ve got to be able to be loose and deal with the issues on a daily basis.

There’s my favorite line, I use over and over, from a Brazilian reporter who saw one of our more feeble ACT UP demonstrations outside City Hall, and she said, “You call that a demonstration? In my country, when they raise the bus fare we burn the buses!” I have no idea why there hasn’t been more civil disobedience, guerrilla tactics. The Right uses guerrilla tactics all over the place in the guise of think tanks. What I’m slowly beginning to sniff and to encourage is that some of the richer gays with their foundations are beginning to talk among themselves about what they can do with their money. They’re generous, but they’re safe-generous, and it’s time not to play everything so safe.

I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a shit: It’s about money, pure and simple. That’s the reality of it all. We’re not going to change the world by asking everybody to think of poor people. It’s never worked that way, even though that’s the way it should work. And it’s quite right to say all of these things because they are, indeed, true. But when it comes right down to it, it’s about power, and power is money. Money buys you the power, and power gets you the rights. The hope is that will include poor people. You’ve got to keep your eye on the prize.

ACT UP changed the world: The drugs are now out there because kids, most of whom are now dead, went out and put their bodies on the line and changed history. Why can’t we continue to do it?
— from ‘You Can Never Not Fight Back!’ – A conversation with Larry Kramer about the current state of gay activism by Alisa Solomon in the Village Voice – December 15 – 21, 2004

You’d think one day we’d learn. You don’t get anything unless you fight for it, united and with visible numbers. If ACT UP taught us anything, it taught us that.
— in Happy Birthday, ACT UP, Wherever You Are – Huffington Post 03/28/2012

Jiddu Krishnamurti

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

Dennis Kucinich

We are in a new millennium and the time has come to review age-old challenges with new thinking, wherein we can conceive of peace as not simply being the absence of violence but the active presence of the capacity for a higher evolution of human awareness, of respect, trust and integrity, a condition that allows us all to tap the infinite capabilities of humanity to transform the consciousness and conditions which impel or compel violence at a personal, group or national level toward developing a new understanding of and commitment to compassion and love, in order to create a “shining city on a hill,” the light of which is the light of nations.
— A Decade After Waging a War Based on Lies, We Must Create a Culture of Peace

Maggie Kuhn

Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind — even if your voice shakes.

Old age is not a disease – it is strength and survivorship, triumph over all kinds of vicissitudes and disappointments, trials and illnesses.

Power should not be concentrated in the hands of so few, and powerlessness in the hands of so many.

When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say.

Men and women approaching retirement age should be recycled for public service work, and their companies should foot the bill. We can no longer afford to scrap-pile people.

Mercedes Lackey

A neat and orderly living space is the sign of a dangerously sick mind.
— The Black Gryphon

Inexperience can be overcome, ignorance can be enlightened, but prejudice will destroy you.
— The Black Gryphon

Not forgiving someone hurts you worse than it hurts him…even if he doesn’t deserve to be forgiven…Not forgiving someone is like not pulling a thorn out of your foot just because you weren’t the one who put it there.
— The Wizards of London

First commandment: there ain’t no such thing as “one true way” and the way you find is only good for you, not anybody else, because your interpretation of what you see and feel and understand as the truth is never going to be the same as anyone else’s.
Second commandment: the only answers worth having are the ones you find for yourself.
Third commandment: leave the world better than you found it.
Fourth commandment: if it isn’t true, going to do some good, or spread a little love around, don’t say it, do it, or think it.
Fifth commandment: there are only three things worth living for; love in all it’s manifestations, freedom, and the chance to keep humanity going a little while longer. They’re the same things worth dying for. And if you aren’t willing to die for the things worth living for, you might as well turn in your membership in the human race.

— Burning Water

Honor was never taking the easy way when it was also the wrong one. Never telling a falsehood unless the truth was painful and unnecessary, or a lie was necessary to save others. Never manipulating the truth to serve only yourself. Protecting the weak and helpless; standing fast even when fear made you weak. Keeping your word.
— Exile’s Honor

If I’m walking on thin ice, I might as well dance my way across.

Jesse LaGreca (aka MinistryOfTruth)

Being gay isn’t a lifestyle choice, being a bigot is.

You dance with your hatred singing it proudly in the rain like it was a 1950’s musical.
— An open letter to the people who hate Obama more than they love America

R. D. Laing

Insanity – a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.

Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death.

Normality highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal.

Schizophrenia cannot be understood without understanding despair.

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.

What we call ‘normal’ is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience. It is radically estranged from the structure of being. The more one sees this, the more senseless it is to continue with generalized descriptions of supposedly specifically schizoid, schizophrenic, hysterical ‘mechanisms.’ There are forms of alienation that are relatively strange to statistically ‘normal’ forms of alienation. The ‘normally’ alienated person, by reason of the fact that he acts more or less like everyone else, is taken to be sane. Other forms of alienation that are out of step with the prevailing state of alienation are those that are labeled by the ‘formal’ majority as bad or mad.

The main fact of life for me is love or its absence. Whether life is worth living depends for me on whether there is love in life. Without a sense of it, or even the memory of an hallucination of it, I would lose heart completely.

Anne Lamott

You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
— in Traveling Mercies; although in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life she attributes this quote to “my priest friend Tom”

My faith has been so challenged because I feel such a deep hatred and sense of betrayal as an American by the Bush administration. And yet Jesus said about four things that are absolutely the core of Christianity, and one of them is you really don’t get to hate anyone.

If Jesus does not have a sense of humor, I am so doomed that none of this matters anyway.

Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back. You’re done. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to have lunch with the person. If you keep hitting back, you stay trapped in the nightmare…
— Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me–that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.
— Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived…Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation… Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.
— Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.

Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.

Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.

You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.

Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived…Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation… Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.
— Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.
— Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.
— Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again, that at best there might eventually be a little contentment. Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore.

“No” is a complete sentence.

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up. 

A hundred years from now? All new people.

Louis L’Amour

Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.

Ann Landers

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.

Jaron Lanier

Human beings either function as individuals or as members of a pack. There’s a switch inside us, deep in our spirit, that you can turn one way or the other. It’s almost always the case that our worst behaviour comes out when we’re switched to the mob setting.

Musicians and journalists are the canaries in the coalmine, but, eventually, as computers get more and more powerful, it will kill off all middle-class professions.

An economy where advertisers thrive while journalists and artists struggle, reflects the values of a society more interested in deception and manipulation than in truth and beauty.

Lao Tzu

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Lynn Lavner

The bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals. It’s just that they need more supervision.

Emma Lazarus

Until we are all free, we are none of us free.

Mary Lou Leavitt

Living out a witness to peace has to do with everyday choices about the work we do, the relationships we build, what part we take in politics, what we buy, how we raise our children. It is a matter of fostering relationships and structures―from personal to international―which are strong and healthy enough to contain conflict when it arises and allow its creative resolution.
— American Quaker writer and peace advocate

Barbara Lee

Let us not become the evil that we deplore.

Harper Lee

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.
— To Kill a Mockingbird, chapter 11, spoken by the character Atticus

I did not need to write another book. I said what I wanted to say in that book.

Madeleine L’Engle

We are hurt; we are lonely; and we turn to music or words, and as compensation beyond all price we are given glimpses of the world on the other side of time and space. We all have glimpses of glory as children, and as we grow up we forget them, or are taught to think we made them up; they couldn’t possibly have been real, because to most of us who are grown up, reality is like radium, and can be borne only in very small quantities. But we are meant to be real, and to see and recognize the real. We are all more than we know, and that wondrous reality, that wholeness, holiness, is there for all of us, not the qualified only.
— Walking on Water

Ursula K. Le Guin

You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.

Love doesn’t sit there like a stone. It has to be made like bread; remade all the time, made new.

Aldo Leopold

We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.

Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets, but humbler folk may circumvent this restriction if they know how. To plant a pine, for example, one need be neither god nor poet; one need only own a good shovel. By virtue of this curious loophole in the rules, any clodhopper may say: “Let there be a tree” and there will be one.

John Lennon

Life is what happens to us while we’re making other plans.

When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you: pull your beard, flick your face to make you fight. Because once they get you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.

My defenses were so great. The cocky rock and roll hero who knows all the answers was actually a terrified guy who didn’t know how to cry. Simple.

I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.

People like me are aware of their so-called genius at ten, eight, nine. I always wondered: ‘Why has nobody discovered me?’ In school, didn’t they see that I’m cleverer than anybody in this school? That the teachers are stupid, too? That all they had was information that I didn’t need. I used to say to my auntie, ‘You throw my fuckin’ poetry out and you’ll regret it when I’m famous,’ and she threw the bastard stuff out. I never forgave her for not treating me like a fuckin’ genius or whatever I was, when I was a child. It was obvious to me. Why didn’t they put me in art school? Whey didn’t they train me? Why would they keep forcing me to be a fuckin’ cowboy like the rest of them? I was different, I was always different. Why didn’t anybody notice me? Later on, the fuckin’ fans tried to beat me into being a fuckin’ Beatle or an Engelbert Humperdinck, and the critics tried to beat me into being Paul McCartney.

I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life

It’s weird not to be weird.

Gerda Lerner

Each person has to find his or her own way of action. I don’t believe that we need to identify ourselves as belonging to a large organized group in order to work for a more just society. Some may content themselves with working on the prison system in the U.S. Others may work on inequities in education. There are hundreds of causes you can deal with. But the most important thing, the thing I have always lived by, is that you must be engaged in some way in the world in which you live. How, is for each person to choose.

Doris Lessing

Whatever you are meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.

Stephen Levine

If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

C.S. Lewis

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
— The Four Loves

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: If you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth – only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.

I thought I could describe a state; make a map of sorrow. Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process.
— A Grief Observed

Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.
— The Screwtape Letters

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.

Sinclair Lewis

When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.

Oscar Levant

There is a thin line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.

Jack London

A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.

Audre Lorde

As women, we have been taught either to ignore our differences, or to view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than as forces for change. Without community there is no liberation, only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between an individual and her oppression. But community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.
— The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House, from Sister Outsider

Advocating the mere tolerance of difference between women is the grossest reformism. It is a total denial of the creative function of difference in our lives. Difference must be not merely tolerated, but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which our creativity can spark like a dialectic. Only then does the necessity for interdependency become unthreatening. Only within that interdependency of different strengths, acknowledged and equal, can the power to seek new ways of being in the world generate, as well as the courage and sustenance to act where there are no charters.
— The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House, from Sister Outsider

Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives there. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.
— The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House, from Sister Outsider

Women of today are still being called upon to stretch across the gap of male ignorance and to educate men as to our existence and our needs. This is an old and primary tool of all oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with the master’s concerns. Now we hear that it is the task of women of Color to educate white women — in the face of tremendous resistance — as to our existence, our differences, our relative roles in our joint survival. This is a diversion of energies and a tragic repetition of racist patriarchal thought.

In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.

Revolution is not a one-time event. It is becoming always vigilant for the smallest opportunity to make genuine change in established, outgrown responses; for instance, it is learning to address each other s difference with respect.

‎Speak out even though your voice is shaking.

When I dare to be powerful to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept & celebrate those differences.

Silence has never brought us anything of worth.

For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
— After someone said to her that poetry is a luxury

I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.

And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.
— A Litany for Survival

If we wait until we are unafraid to speak, we will be speaking from our graves.

Your silence will not protect you.
— Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make them your own, until you sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our need for language.
— Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.
— Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Anger, used, does not destroy. Hatred does.
— Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Anger is loaded with information and energy.
— “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism” from Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Anger is an appropriate reaction to racist attitudes.
— Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches – “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism.”

I cannot hide my anger to spare you guilt, nor hurt feelings, nor answering anger. For to do so insults and trivializes all our efforts. Guilt is not a response to anger. It is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful. It is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication. It becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are the ultimate protection for changelessness.
— Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches – “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism.”

We are powerful because we have survived.

There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.

Within the lesbian community I am Black, and within the Black community I am a lesbian. Any attack against Black people is a lesbian and gay issue, because thousands of other Black women are part of the lesbian community. Any attack against lesbians and gay men is a Black issue because thousands of lesbians and gay men are Black. There is no hierarchy of oppression… I know I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only. I cannot afford to believe that, freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, wherever they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you.

I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.

Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.

Jane Catherine Lotter

May you always remember that obstacles in the path are not obstacles, they ARE the path.

I believe we are each of us connected to every person and everything on this Earth, that we are in fact one divine organism having an infinite spiritual existence. Of course, we may not always comprehend that. And really, that’s a discussion for another time. So let’s cut to the chase:

I was given the gift of life, and now I have to give it back. This is hard. But I was a lucky woman, who led a lucky existence, and for this I am grateful. I first got sick in January 2010. When the cancer recurred last year and was terminal, I decided to be joyful about having had a full life, rather than sad about having to die. Amazingly, this outlook worked for me. (Well, you know, most of the time.) Meditation and the study of Buddhist philosophy also helped me accept what I could not change. At any rate, I am at peace. And on that upbeat note, I take my mortal leave of this rollicking, revolving world-this sun, that moon, that walk around Green Lake, that stroll through the Pike Place Market, the memory of a child’s hand in mine.


Beautiful day, happy to have been here.

— Excerpts from her self-penned obituary. Jane took advantage of Washington state’s compassionate Death with Dignity Act and died peacefully at home on July 18, surrounded by her family.

Martin Luther

You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.

Amin Maalouf

I sometimes find myself “examining my identity” as other people examine their conscience. As you may imagine, my object is not to discover within myself some “essential” allegiance in which I may recognize myself. Rather the opposite: I scour my memory to find as many ingredients of my identity as I can. I then assemble and arrange them. I don’t deny any of them.
— In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong

What determines a person’s affiliation to a given group is essentially the influence of others: the influence of those about him — relatives, fellow-countrymen, co-religionists — who try to make him one of them; together with the influence of those on the other side, who do their best to exclude him. Each one of us has to make his way while choosing between the paths that are urged upon him and those that are forbidden or strewn with obstacles. He is not himself from the outset; nor does he just “grow aware” of what he is; he becomes what he is. He doesn’t merely “grow aware” of his identity; he acquires it step by step.
— In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong

But it is just as necessary to emphasize that identity is also singular, something that we experience as a complete whole. A person’s identity is not an assemblage of separate affiliations, nor a kind of loose patchwork; it is like a pattern drawn on a tightly stretched parchment. Touch just one part of it, just one allegiance, and the whole person will react, the whole drum will sound.
— In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong

People often see themselves in terms of whichever one of their allegiances is most under attack. And sometimes, when a person doesn’t have the strength to defend that allegiance, he hides it. Then it remains buried deep down in the dark, awaiting its revenge. But whether he accepts or conceals it, proclaims it discreetly or flaunts it, it is with that allegiance that the person concerned identifies. And then, whether it relates to color, religion, language or class, it invades the person’s whole identity. Other people who share the same allegiance sympathize; they all gather together, join forces, encourage one another, challenge “the other side.” For them, “asserting their identity” inevitably becomes an act of courage, of liberation.

In the midst of any community that has been wounded agitators naturally arise… The scene is now set and the war can begin. Whatever happens “the others” will have deserved it.

— In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong

I no more believe in simplistic solutions than I do in simplistic identities. The world is a complex machine that can’t be dismantled with a screwdriver. But that shouldn’t prevent us from observing, from trying to understand, from discussing, and sometimes suggesting a subject for reflection.
— In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong

What we conveniently call “murderous folly” is the propensity of our fellow-creatures to turn into butchers when they suspect that their “tribe” is being threatened. The emotions of fear or insecurity don’t always obey rational considerations. They may be exaggerated or even paranoid; but once a whole population is afraid, we are dealing with the reality of the fear rather than the reality of the threat.
— In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong

Douglas MacArthur

You are remembered for the rules you break.

James Madison

Since the general civilization of mankind I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the Freedom of the People by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

Mr. Toaster Madness

I fear, more than anything on this earth, that my time to stand will come and I will choose to sit. I will choose not to hold my ground but will leave quietly, too afraid to speak. I pray to god this never happens.

Gabriel García Marquez

I would prove to men how wrong they are to think that they stop falling in love as they get older, since they actually start getting older as soon as they stop falling in love.

Leonard Matlovich

They gave me a medal for killing two men, and a discharge for loving one.
— U.S. Air Force sergeant

Nelson Mandela

Vision without action is merely dreaming. Action with no vision is just passing time. But with vision and action you can change the world.

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.

Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

There is no such thing as part freedom.

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.

We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

Og Mandino

I will love the light for it shows me the way. Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.

Horace Mann

Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge.

Armistead Maupin

My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long. I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don’t make that mistake yourself. Life’s too damn short.

Edwin Markham

He drew a circle that shut me out — Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But Love and I had the wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in.

To throw oneself to the side of the oppressed is the only dignified thing to do in life.

Abraham Maslow

When the only tool you own is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail.

Rollo May

There is no such thing as truth or reality for a living human being except as he participates in it, is conscious of it, has some relationship to it.
— Existential Psychology

André Maurois

An artist must be a reactionary. He has to stand out against the tenor of the age and not go flopping along.

Paul McCartney

If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.

David A. McIntee

Just because something is not possible does not mean it can’t be done — especially by someone who doesn’t know any better.
— Doctor Who: The Missing Adventures – The Shadow of Weng-Chiang

Terence McKenna

Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed. 
— founder of Psychonautics

Margaret Mead

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Russell Means

I do not want to be civilized. I want to be liberated.

So I’d much rather get across the concept of freedom. It’s what’s important to Indian children. The only way you can be free is to know is that you are worthwhile as a distinct human being. Otherwise you become what the colonizers have designed, and that is a lemming. Get in line, punch all the right keys, and die.

Bernard Meltzer

A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.

Herman Melville

Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges; hence the conclusion of such a narration is apt to be less finished than an architectural finial.

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.

H.L. Mencken

No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

William Menninger

Mental health problems do not affect three or four out of every five persons but one out of one.

Penelope G. Merrell

Grief is a grain of sand in the heart which one makes into a pearl and holds forever.

Thomas Merton

The beginning of love is to let those who we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves that we find in them.
— No Man Is an Island

There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist fighting for peace by nonviolent methods most easily succumbs; activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern lives are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes work for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
— Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

I am against war, against violence, against violent revolution, for peaceful settlement of differences, for nonviolent but nevertheless radical changes. Change is needed, and violence will not really change anything: at most it will only transfer power from one set of bull-headed authorities to another.

Harvey Milk

Hope is never silent.

If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.

Henry Miller

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.

A. A. Milne

Always remember: you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
— Winnie the Pooh

Robert Minor

I wouldn’t be LGBT, if I had a choice, is internalized self-hate. It’s like saying I wouldn’t be a woman, or a man, or “white,” or a person of color, if I had a choice. It’s the desire to flee something we are.
— Gay and Healthy in a Sick Society

Robin Mohr

A few years ago a Friend in my meeting, Gabbreell James, who is an African American woman about my age, and I were talking about racism among Quakers and in our society. She said to me, “If you’re not actively doing something about racism, then you must be actively ignoring it, because it’s such a glaring, obvious problem that there’s no other explanation for why you wouldn’t be working on it.”

If you’re not actively doing something about it, you must be actively ignoring it. Why do white people actively ignore racism? It is because we think we’re separate. Because we’re afraid. Because we can. Up until the moment we can’t.

We Think We’re Separate, Friends Journal

Angela Monet (maybe)

Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.

Paul Monette

Take your easy tears somewhere else. Tell yourself none of this ever had to happen. And then go make it stop. With whatever breath you have left. Grief is a sword or it is nothing.
— Last Watch of the Night (1994)

Grief is madness — ask anyone who’s been there. They will tell you it abates with time, but that’s a lie. What drowns you in the first year is a force of solitude and helplessness exactly equal in intensity to the love you had for the one who’s gone. Equally passionate, equally intimate. The spaces between the stabs of pain grow longer after a while, but they’re empty spaces.
— Last Watch of the Night (1994)

No one will find the way out of hate and violence unless we do. Go without hate, but not without rage. Heal the world.

When you finally come out, there’s a pain that stops, and you know it will never hurt like that again, no matter how much you lose or how bad you die.

Marilyn Monroe

What I really want to say: That what the world really needs is a real feeling of kinship. Everybody: stars, laborers, Negroes, Jews, Arabs. We are all brothers. Please don’t make me a joke. End the interview with what I believe.
— in her last interview with the press

Eric Moon

Testimonies are something Quakers do, not something we talk about.  
— Categorically Not the Testimonies, Friends Journal, May 31, 2013

Mark Morford

There is no ideal family structure and quit pointing to your Bible before you hurt yourself — rule No. 1 in all matters reproductive: Never trust musty dogmatic mythology written by angry old men who never had sex. Duh.
We do know one thing. There are only a few key ingredients that work every single time. They are: stability, deep love, laughter, honest communication, solid boundaries, human kindness, balance and chocolate ice cream. That’s about it. There is only the impulse to love and connect and carry on. And maybe, now and then, a good hot bath.

— My Baby Has Rainbow Hair Gay parents, solo moms, sperm-swappin’ friends. It’s alternative-family bliss! Or is it?

Toni Morrison

If you are going to hold someone down you’re going to have to hold onto the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.

You think because he doesn’t love you that you are worthless. You think that because he doesn’t want you anymore that he is right — that his judgement and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage. You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Don’t. It’s a bad word, ‘belong.’ Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn’t be like that. Did you ever see the way the clouds love a mountain? They circle all around it; sometimes you can’t even see the mountain for the clouds. But you know what? You go up top and what do you see? His head. The clouds never cover the head. His head pokes through, because the clouds let him; they don’t wrap him up. They let him keep his head up high, free, with nothing to hide him or bind him. You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.

Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge.

Bill Moyers

He [John Henry Faulk] told me the story of how he and his friend Boots Cooper were playing in the chicken coop when they were about 12 years old. They spied a chicken snake in the top tier of nests, so close it looked like a boa constrictor. As John Henry put it, “All our frontier courage drained out our heels – actually it trickled down our overall legs – and Boots and I made a new door through that henhouse wall.” Hearing all the commotion Boots’ momma came out and said, “Don’t you boys know chicken snakes are harmless? They can’t harm you.” And Boots, rubbing his forehead and behind at the same time, said, “Yes, Mrs. Faulk, I know that, but they can scare you so bad, it’ll cause you to hurt yourself.” John Henry Faulk told me that’s a lesson he never forgot. Over and again I’ve tried to remember it, too, calling on it to restore my resolve and my soul.
— America Can’t Deal With Reality — We Must Be Exposed to the Truth, Even If It Hurts

We learned long ago that power and privilege never give up anything without a struggle. Money fights hard, and it fights dirty.

What’s right and good doesn’t come naturally. You have to stand up and fight for it — as if the cause depends on you, because it does.

We have to face the unpleasant as well as the affirmative side of the human story, including our own story as a nation, our own stories of our peoples. We have got to have the ugly facts in order to protect us from the official view of reality. Otherwise, we are squeezed empty and filled with what other people want us to think and feel and experience.

Haruki Murakami

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember know how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain: when you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.

Muslim Proverb

Trust in Allah, but tie your camel.

A. J. Muste

We cannot have peace if we are only concerned with peace. War is not an accident. It is the logical outcome of a certain way of life. If we want to attack war, we have to attack that way of life. Disarmament cannot be achieved nor can the problem of war be resolved without being accompanied by profound changes in the economic order and the structure of society.