Your greatness is measured by your kindness - Your education and intellect by your modesty - Your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices - Your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others.
The responsibility of tolerance lies with those who have the wider vision.
Gossip is always a personal confession either of malice or imbecility; it is a low, frivolous, and too often a dirty business. There are neighborhoods where it rages like a pest; churches are split in pieces by it, and neighbors made enemies for life. Let the young avoid or cure it while they may.
We are here to attempt to give more to this life than we take from it, a task that, if undertaken properly, is impossible. The more we give, the more we get. But that’s the point. We are here to discover, develop and cultivate, in loving stewardship of our world, our neighbors and ourselves. Each of us is intended to grow and flourish within the power of our talents on every dimension of worldly existence: the Intellectual, the Aesthetic and the Moral - the great I Am - in such a way as to find our place in the overarching realm of the Spiritual, the ultimate context of it all. There is more to life than meets the eye. Much is required. But more is offered. We are participants in a grand enterprise, not called upon to consume with endless desire, but rather to care and create in such a way as to free the spirit of this vast creation to love and glorify its creator forever. Why? Because it is good. And that’s good enough for me.
Until man places on tolerance and open-mindedness a value equal to the value that he places on material possessions, he will continue to be stranded on an island surrounded by his own prejudices, ideas, preconceived opinions, and knowledge that is limited by the horizon of his own ignorance.
Tolerance of opinions which are thought to be innocuous is as easy, as acts of charity that entail no sacrifice. But the test of a free society is its tolerance of what is deplored or despised by a majority of its members. The argument for such tolerance must be made on the ground that it is useful to the society... that free societies are better fitted to survive than closed societies.
Let’s make no mistake about this: The American Dream starts with our neighborhoods. If we wish to rebuild our cities, we must first rebuild our neighborhoods. And to do that, we must understand that the quality of life is more important than the standard of living. to sit on the front steps - whether it’s a veranda in a small town or a concrete stoop in a big city - and talk to our neighbors is infinitely more important than to huddle on the living-room lounger and watch make-believe world in not-quite living color.
Expand your thinking of where you are to include your family - your neighbors - your country- other countries - a global village - the universe. Think not as a unit of one, but as a part of a unit of many. And look to the future with hope.
To love our neighbors as ourselves does not mean that we should love all people equally, for I do not have an equal love for all the modes of existence of myself. Nor does it mean that we should never make them suffer, for I do not refuse to make myself suffer. But we should have with each person the relationship of one conception of the universe to another conception of the universe, and not to a part of it.
Just as life is defined as biological change and death as its lack, so meaning in life is characterized by the application of stable patterns to changing circumstances and the replacing of old patterns of understanding with new and exploratory ones. Meaning is found in the losing of it, the searching after it, and in the finding of it again. The meaning in your life is in flux and is to be found in the flux (the flow) of meaning, which is therefore itself a source of meaning in your life. All this does require, however, the developing of a tolerance for ambiguity, of a willingness to accept the inevitability of change and the precariousness of your present vision, and of an openness to the unending richness of your experience of the world in its manifold variety and diversity.
Words can become idols, and machines can become idols; leaders, the state, power, and political groups may also serve. Science and the opinion of one’s neighbors can become idols, and God has become an idol for many.