The size of human suffering is absolutely relative. It also follows that a very trifling thing can cause the greatest of joys.
We see that in many things that life is very great. It is incomparably great in its material aspects, in its body of wealth, in the diversity and sweep of its energy, in the industries which have been conceived and built up by the genius of individual men and the limitless enterprise of groups of men. It is great, also, very great, in its moral force. Nowhere else in the world have noble men and women exhibited in more striking forms the beauty and the energy of sympathy and helpfulness and counsel in their efforts to rectify wrong, alleviate suffering, and set the weak in the way of strength and hope. We have built up, moreover, a great system of government, which has stood through a long age as in many respects a model for those who seek to set liberty upon foundations that will endure against fortuitous change, against storm and accident. Our life contains every great thing, and contains it in rich abundance. But the evil has come with the good, and much fine gold has been corroded. With riches has come inexcusable waste. We have squandered a great part of what we might have used, and have not stopped to conserve the exceeding bounty of nature, without which our genius for enterprise would have been worthless and impotent, scorning to be careful, shamefully prodigal as well as admirably efficient. We have been proud of our industrial achievements, but we have not hitherto stopped thoughtfully enough to count the human cost, the cost of lives snuffed out, of energies overtaxed and broken, the fearful physical and spiritual cost to the men and women and children upon whom the dead weight and burden of it all has fallen pitilessly the years through. The groans and agony of it all had not yet reached our ears, the solemn, moving undertone of our life, coming up out of the mines and factories, and out of every home where the struggle had its intimate and familiar seat. With the great Government went many deep secret things which we too long delayed to look into and scrutinize with candid, fearless eyes. The great Government we loved has too often been made use of for private and selfish purposes, and those who used it had forgotten the people.
What the whole community comes to believe in grasps the individual as in a vise. The war-function has grasped us so far; but the constructive interests may someday seem no less imperative, and impose on the individual a hardly lighter burden.
It has become a conviction with me that psychology may in the long run do much to change the conception of the fundamental nature of the religious life, which, on the whole, is now too generally made a matter of doctrine. It is too intellectual At the doors of most churches one is met by required beliefs in a particular conception of God, in a speculative theory about the divinity of Christ, definite ideas concerning sin and salvation, the efficacy of ordinances, and the claims of supernatural revelation. What people are really seeking is access to refreshing fountains of life, sources of strength and guidance. They crave association with people and institutions which may convey to them a sense of what is most worthwhile in life and what may furnish impulsion toward real and enduring values. They know pretty well what those values are when allowed to let their own deepest desires express themselves.
Traveling is the great true love of my life... I am loyal and constant in my love of travel. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby - I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it's mine. Because it looks exactly like me.
Genuine heroism for man is still the power to support contradictions, no matter how glaring or hopeless they may seem.
I had gone... to the smoke of cafes and nights when the room whirled and you needed to look at the wall to make it stop, nights in bed, drunk, when you knew that that was all there was, and the strange excitement of waking and not knowing who it was with you, and the world all unreal in the dark and so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and not caring in the night, sure that this was all and all and all and not caring. Suddenly to care very much and to sleep to wake with it sometimes morning and all that had been there gone and everything sharp and hard and clear and sometimes a dispute about the cost. Sometimes still pleasant and fond and warm and breakfast and lunch. Sometimes all niceness gone and glad to get out on the street but always another day starting and then another night. I tried to tell about the night and the difference between the night and the day and how the night was better unless the day was very clean and cold and I could not tell it; as I cannot tell it now. But if you have had it you know.
I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.
When asked whether or not we are Marxists, our position is the same as that of a physicist, when asked if he is a Newtonian or of a biologist when asked if he is a Pasteurian. There are truths so evident, so much a part of the peoplesÂ’ knowledge, that it is now useless to debate them. One should be a Marxist with the same naturalness with which one is a Newtonian in physics or a Pasteurian. If new facts bring about new concepts, the latter will never take away that portion of truth possessed by those that have come before. Such is the case, for example, of Einsteinian relativity or of PlanckÂ’s quantum theory in relation to NewtonÂ’s discoveries. They take absolutely nothing away from the greatness of the learned Englishman. Thanks to Newton, physics was able to advance until it achieved new concepts of space. The learned Englishman was the necessary stepping-stone for that. Obviously, one can point to certain mistakes of Marx, as a thinker and as an investigator of the social doctrines and of the capitalist system in which he lived. We Latin Americans, for example, cannot agree with his interpretation of Bolivar, or with his and EngelsÂ’ analysis of the Mexicans, which accepted as fact certain theories of race or nationality that are unacceptable today. But the great men who discover brilliant truths live on despite their small faults and these faults serve only to show us they were human. That is to say, they were human beings who could make mistakes, even given the high level of consciousness achieved by these giants of human thought. This is why we recognize the essential truths of Marxism as part of humanityÂ’s body of cultural and scientific knowledge. We accept it with the naturalness of something that requires no further argument.
In the simple question of how we treat the land, next to people our most precious resource, our entire way of live is involved, and before our policies with regard to the land will really be changed, there will have to be a great deal of philosophical, not to say religious, change. It is not a question of what we can afford but of what we choose to spend our money on. If we could return to a generous recognition of meta-economic values, our landscapes would become healthy and beautiful again and our people would regain the dignity of manÂ…
Literature is the right use of language irrespective of the subject or reason of utterance.
I believe in only one thing and that thing is human liberty. If ever a man is to achieve anything like dignity, it can happen only if superior men are given absolute freedom to think what they want to think and say what they want to say. I am against any man and any organization which seeks to limit or deny that freedom? and the superior man can be sure of freedom only if it is given to all men.