Do people love truth? On the contrary, mankind has employed its subtlest ingenuity and intelligence in efforts to evade or conceal it... Do human beings love justice? The sordid travesties in our courts year after year suggest that they love justice only for themselves. Do they love peace? Can anyone seriously ask the question? Do they love freedom? Only for those who share their views. Love of peace, freedom, justice, truth - this is a myth that has been created by the folk mind, and if the artist does not look behind the myth to the reality, he will indeed wander amid the phantoms which he creates.
The search for truth is, as it always has been, the noblest expression of the human spirit. Man's insatiable desire for knowledge about himself, about his environment and the forces by which he is surrounded, gives life its meaning and purpose, and clothes it with final dignity... And yet we know, deep in our hearts, that knowledge is not enough... Unless we can anchor our knowledge to moral purposes, the ultimate result will be dust and ashes - dust and ashes that will bury the hopes and monuments of men beyond recovery.
Our best hope for the future is that the intellect - the scientific spirit, reason - should in time establish a dictatorship over the human mind. The very nature of reason is a guarantee that it would not fail to concede to human emotions, and to all that is determined by them, the position to which they are entitled. But the common pressure exercised by such a domination of reason would prove to be the strongest unifying force among men, and would prepare the way for further unifications. Whatever, like the ban laid upon thought by religion, opposes such a development is a danger for the future of mankind.
A society committed to the search for truth must give protection to, and set a high value upon, the independent and original mind, however angular, however rasping, however socially unpleasant it may be; for it is upon such minds, in large measure, that the effective search for truth depends.
Right is might, and ever was, and ever shall be so. Holiness, meekness, patience, humility, self-denial, and self-sacrifice, faith, love, each is might and every gift of the spirit is might.
War some day will be abolished by the will of man. This assertion does not in any way invalidate the truth that war is fundamentally caused by impersonal, political, economic and social forces. But it is the destiny of man to master and control such force, even as it is his destiny to harness rivers, chain the lightning and ride the storm. It is human will, operating under social forces, that has abolished slavery, infanticide, dueling, and a score of other social enormities. Why should it not do the same for war?
Corrupt as men are, they are yet so much the creatures of reflection, and so strongly addicted to sentiments of right and wrong, that their attachment to a public cause can rarely be secured, or their animosity be kept alive, unless their understandings are engaged by some appearance of truth and rectitude.
A happy life is made up of little things in which smiles and small favors are given habitually. A gift sent, a letter written, a call made, a recommendation given, transportation provided, a cake made, a book lent, a check sent - things which are done without hesitation. Kindness isn't sacrifice so much as it is being considerate for the feelings of others, sharing happiness, the unselfish thought, the spontaneous and friendly act, forgetfulness of our own present interests.
We are all tatooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of the superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them.
It is much easier to think right without doing right, than to do right without thinking right. Just thoughts may, and often do, fail of producing just deeds; but just deeds are sure to get just thoughts. The clearest understanding can do little in purifying an impure heart, the strongest little in straightening a crooked one. You cannot reason or talk an Augean stable into cleanliness. A single day's work would make more progress in such a task than a century's words.