Norman Cousins (1915-1990)

“Let the great religions cease explaining their differences to each other and begin to chart the elements of basic unity that could serve as the building blocks for common action. If religions are the custodians of the spirit of man, and if that spirit is imperiled, then responsible action is possible and essential.”

“No one need to fear death. We need fear only that we may die without having known our greatest power – the power of our free will to give our life for others. If something comes to life in others because of us, then we have made an approach in immorality.”

“No person can be truly at peace with himself if he does not live up to his moral capacity.”

“Optimism supplies the basic energy of civilization. Optimism doesn’t wait on facts. It deals with prospects. Pessimism is a waste of time.”

“Progress begins with the idea that progress is possible. Cynicism begins with the notion that retreat and defeat are inevitable.”

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

“The difference between a statesman and a demagogue is that the statesman is willing to incur serious personal political losses in the pursuit of objectives that may not be achieved in his own lifetime.”

“We may sing the same songs the world over and adopt the same fashions; now let us connect our voices to the concept that our world must be governed.”

“Hope is a gift and hope is magic, but hope cannot exist, either in the individual or society, without the prospect of regeneration.”

“Peace without freedom is unthinkable, freedom without peace is impossible.”

“Nothing is more powerful than an individual acting out of his conscience, thus helping to bring the collective conscience to life.”

“The human race is in jeopardy whenever power, insensitivity and ignorance are joined together.”

“Life is an adventure in forgiveness.”

“Life without silence is life without privacy.”

“The difference between sanity and madness is the quality of our thoughts.”

“Silence is on the side of sanity.”

“History is an accumulation of errors.”

“Freedom is the highest prize on this earth. It is also the most precarious
and fragile.”

“War is an invention of the human mind. The human mind can invent peace.”

“The great danger is that the mistakes of the past will go unrecognized.”

“Human beings can survive anything except ignored and unredeemed
tragedy.”

“The book is still the finest portable university known to man.”

“So long as people value thought, there will be a central place for the written word. If we fail to succeed as writers, it will not be because we used the wrong medium but because we didn’t have the right message.”

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