If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him.
Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible — the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.
To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform.
I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside me.
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.
Binding ties are imposed not from above (by fiat of God) but from ahead. The radiant future stretches forth its arms toward us, and binds us to be willing servants to its work, willingly to accept those limitations of the individual will which are indispensable in the service of a far-off cause, a service which at the same time disciplines and ennobles the individual himself. This, to my mind, is the solution of the problem how constraint upon the self is compatible with the affirmation of the self. (1925)
The Brain — is wider than the Sky — For — put them side by side — The one the other will contain With ease — and You — beside — The Brain is deeper than the sea — For — hold them — Blue to Blue — The one the other will absorb — As Sponges — Buckets — do — The Brain is just the weight of God — For — Heft them — Pound for Pound — And they will differ — if they do — As Syllable from Sound —
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.
When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.
The conception of worth, that each person is an end per se, is not a mere abstraction. Our interest in it is not merely academic. Every outcry against the oppression of some people by other people, or against what is morally hideous is the affirmation of the principle that a human being as such is not to be violated. A human being is not to be handled as a tool but is to be respected and revered.
Recently a young mother asked for advice. What, she wanted to know, was she to do with a 7-year-old who was obstreperous, outspoken, and inconveniently willful? ‘Keep her,’ I replied…. The suffragettes refused to be polite in demanding what they wanted or grateful for getting what they deserved. Works for me.
To be loved for what one is is the greatest exception. The great majority love in others only what they lend him their own selves their version of him.
Conservatism stands on man’s confessed limitations; reform on his indisputable infinitude; conservatism on circumstance; liberalism on power; one goes to make an adroit member of the social frame; the other to postpone all things to the man himself; conservatism is debonnair and social; reform is individual and imperious.
We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.