If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
—James Madison, fourth US president (1751-1836)
We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.
Goethe lived from 1749 to 1832. In the two centuries since his death I am please to report that the planet has made great strides in mental health. At the dawn of the 21st century we have managed to confine the majority of our disordered minds to the executive suites and the board rooms of our largest corporations. A small consolation to the millions of us who must work in these corporations but progress nonetheless.
The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements but moral acts:
- to return love for hate
- to include the excluded
- and to say “I was wrong.”
— Sydney J. Harris, Pieces of Eight
Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, you will be a mile away and he won’t have any shoes.
How could I resist? After yesterday’s exhortation to embrace empathy, it seemed only fitting to also quote a brilliant variation on the old moccasins quote.
It turns out that the above quote is a perfect example of a paraprosdokian – a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe the first part. Other good examples include my previous post from Ellen DeGeneres or my all time favorite, “When I die I want to go peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather did . . . and not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.”
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author and aviator (1900-1945)