Crisis

Character is not made in a crisis - it is only exhibited.

Most forms of human creativity have one aspect n common: the attempt to give some sense to the various impressions, emotions, experiences, and actions that fill our lives, and thereby to give some meaning and value to our existence... The crisis of our time in the Western world is that the search for meaning has become meaningless for many of us.

Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes of men. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grow strong or weak; and at last some crisis shows what we have become.

The alternative to recalling and interpreting dreams is not always pleasant. Individuals cannot expect to drift forever. If they do not puzzle out their identity, and the direction of their lives by the aid of their dreams, then they may be brought, by the relentless action of their own pent-up souls, into some crisis which requires that they come to terms with themselves. It may be a medical crisis. It may be the end of a marriage or of a job. It may be depression or withdrawal.

In a terrible crisis there is only one element more helpless than the poor, and that is the rich.

Duty is above all consequences, and often, at a crisis of difficulty, commands us to throw them overboard. It commands us to look neither to the right, nor to the left, but straight onward. Hence every act of duty is an act of faith. It is performed in the assurance that God will take care of the consequences, and will so order the course of the world, that, whatever the immediate results may be, His word shall not return to Him void.

A true friend is distinguished in the crisis of hazard and necessity; when the gallantry of his aid may show the worth of his soul and the loyalty of his heart.

When I began to examine just how wealth is created, it seemed to me plain that it arises not from taking, but from giving. People get rich by giving rather than by taking, and this seemed to me to be a very important perception, because the reason for the crisis in capitalism today, it seems to me, is not its practical achievements, but rather the perception of its moral character.

A world of little cares is continually arising, which busy or affluent life knows nothing of, to open the first door to distress. Hunger is not among the postponable wants; and a day, even a few hours, in such a condition is often the crisis of a life of ruin.

Christianity bears a huge burden of guilt... We shall continue to have a worsening ecological crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man.

No leader can safely mumble at moments of crisis.

All spiritual growth takes place by leaps and bounds, both in the individual and, as here, in the community. The crisis is to be regarded as a nexus of growth.

Not every age finds its great man, and not every great endowment finds its time. There may not exist great men for things that do not exist. In any case, the dominating feeling of our age, the desire of the masses for a higher standard of living, cannot possibly become concentrated in one great figure. What we see before us is a general leveling down, and we might declare the rise of great individuals an impossibility if our prophetic souls did not warn us that the crisis may suddenly pass from the contemptible field of “property and gain” on to quite another and that then the “right man” may appear overnight – and all the world will follow in his train.

The crisis is an expedient of nature, like a fever, and the fanaticisms are signs that there still exist for men things they prize more than life and property.

The first question to be answered by any individual or any social group, facing a hazardous situation, is whether the crisis is to be met as a challenge to strength or as an occasion for despair.

I have come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom… As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable, or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or dehumanized.

Religion declined not because it was refuted but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion – its message becomes meaningless.

It is only in the depths of crisis and despair that the fear of losing one’s personality breeds millennial hopes of rescue: otherwise, complacency prevails.

He must summon his people to be with him – yet stand above, not squat beside them. He must question his own wisdom and judgment – but not too severely. He must hear the opinions and heed the powers of others – but not too abjectly. He must appease the doubts of his critic and assuage the hurts of the adversary – sometimes. He must ignore their views and achieve their defeat – sometimes… He must respect action – without becoming intoxicated with his own. He must have a sense of purpose inspiring him to magnify the trivial event to serve his distant aim – and to grasp the thorniest crisis as if it were the merest nettle. He must be pragmatic, calculating, and earthbound – and still know when to spurn the arithmetic of expediency for the act of brave imagination, the sublime gamble with no hope other than the boldness of his vision

Every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. Each can spell either salvation or doom.