Norman Cousins

Norman
Cousins
1912
1990

American Medical Doctor, Author, Political Journalist, Professor and World Peace Advocate

Author Quotes

Hope, faith, love and a strong will to live offer no promise of immortality, only proof of our uniqueness and human beings and the opportunity to experience full growth even under the grimmest circumstances. Far more real than the ticking of time is the way we open up the minutes and invest them with meaning. Death is not the ultimate tragedy in life. The ultimate tragedy is to die without discovering the possibilities of full growth.

People who develop the habit of thinking of themselves as world citizens are fulfilling the first requirement of sanity in our time

There is a tendency to mistake data for wisdom, just as there has always been a tendency to confuse logic with values, intelligence with insight. Unobstructed access to facts can produce unlimited good only if it is matched by the desire and ability to find out what they mean and where they lead. Facts are terrible things if left sprawling and unattended. They are too easily regarded as evaluated certainties rather than as the rawest of raw materials crying to be processed into the texture of logic. It requires a very unusual mind, Whitehead said, to undertake the analysis of a fact. The computer can provide a correct number, but it may be an irrelevant number until judgment is pronounced.

Humanity today is not safe in the presence of humanity. The old cannibalism has given way to anonymous action in which the killer and the killed do not know each other, and in which,indeed, the very fact of mass death has the effect of making mass killing less reprehensible than the death of a single individual. In short, we have evolved in every respect except our ability to protect ourselves against human intelligence. Our knowledge is vast but does not embrace the workings of peace. . . . We study history, philosophy, religions, languages, literature, art, architecture, political science . . . anthropology, biology, medicine, psychology, sanitation . . . chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics. But we have yet to make peace basic to our education. The most important subject in the world is hardly taught at all. In the spirit of this passage, the editor has taken the liberty of editing Mr. Cousins' language to make it more gender inclusive.

Pessimism operates in a narrowed field of vision that fails to take into account the possibilities at the outer edges of experience.

We will not have peace by afterthought.

I do not object to people looking at their watches when I am speaking. But I strongly object when they start shaking them to make sure they are still going.

Since the human body tends to move in the direction of its expectations-plus or minus-it is important to know that attitudes of confidence and determination are no less a part of the treatment program than medical science and technology.

What was most significant about the lunar voyage was not that men set foot on the moon but that they set eye on the earth.

I have learned never to underestimate the capacity of the human mind and body to regenerate -- even when prospects seem most wretched. The life force may be the least understood force on earth. Norman Cousins (in his; Anatomy of an Illness)

Some people don't really know enough to make a pronouncement of doom on a human being.

Where is the indignation about the fact that the United States and Soviet Union have accumulated thirty thousand pounds of destructive force for every human being in the world?

If the United Nations is to survive, those who represent it must bolster it; those who advocate it must submit to it; and those who believe in it must fight for it.

Ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep

Why are people more appalled at what they term an unnatural form of dying than by an unnatural form of living?

A book is like a piece of rope; it takes on meaning only in connection with the things it holds together.

If there is a conflict between the security of the sovereign state and the security of the human commonwealth, the human commonwealth comes first. If there is a conflict between the well-being of the nation and the well-being of humanity, the well-being of humanity comes first. If there is a conflict between the needs of this generation and the needs of all later generations, the needs of the later generations come first. If there is a conflict between public edict and private conscience, private conscience comes first. If there is a conflict between the easy drift of prosperity and the ordeal of peace, the ordeal of peace comes first.

The essence of man is imperfection.

Your heaviest artillery will be your will to live. Keep that big gun going.

A human being fashions his consequences as surely as he fashions his goods or his dwelling. Nothing that he says, thinks or does is without consequences.

It is reasonable to expect the doctor to recognize that science may not have all the answers to problems of health and healing.

The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.

All things are possible once enough human beings realize that the whole of the human future is at stake

Laughter is a form of internal jogging. It moves your internal organs around. It enhances respiration. It is an igniter of great expectations.

The justification for those actions was that we were living in a very hard, predatory, cloak-and-dagger world and that the only way to deal with a totalitarian enemy was to intimidate him. The trouble with this theory was that while we live in a world of plot and counterplot, we also live in a world of cause and effect. Whatever the cause for the decision to legitimize and regularize deceit abroad, the inevitable effect was the practice of deceit at home.

Author Picture
First Name
Norman
Last Name
Cousins
Birth Date
1912
Death Date
1990
Bio

American Medical Doctor, Author, Political Journalist, Professor and World Peace Advocate