Posts labeled Quotes
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"In every culture of which we have some adequate historical record, we encounter spiritually radiated individuals with miraculous healing capacities, telepathic gifts (what was once called the 'reading of hearts'), precognitive abilities (traditionally known as divination or prophecy), clairvoyance (seeing objects or events at a distance in space or time), even, believe it or not, apparent literal floating or flight (levitation)."
from The Super Natural: A New Vision of the Unexplained, Whitley Strieber and Jeffrey Kripal (2016)
In the book, Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, based on interviews from the nineties, are the following paragraphs in which Chomsky describes the incipient fascist dynamics in Republican party politics at the time, and foretells a scenario with remarkable similarities to the current Trump phenomenon.
"There are other things to worry about too, like the fact that the United States is such an extremely fundamentalist country--and also such an unusually frightened one.... [There is a lot of] extreme irrationality and fear... in the U.S. population.
And that's a very dangerous phenomenon--because that kind of deep irrationality can readily be whipped up by demagogues, you know, Newt Gingriches. These guys can whip up fear, hatred, they can appeal to fundamentalist urges--and that's been scaring the rest of the world for a while... For example, if you recall the Republican National Convention in 1992, it opened with a 'God and Country' rally, which was televised and seen around the world. In Europe particularly it really sent chills up people's spines--because they remember Hitler's Nuremberg rallies, at least older people do, and it had something of that tone. Well, the Republicans were able to insulate the Convention from it that time around and keep most of that stuff confined to the first night, but in the future they might not be able to do that--in the future those people might take the Convention over, in which case we'd be very close to some American version of fascism; it may not be Hitler Germany, but it'll be bad enough....
Actually, I think that the United States has been in kind of a pre-fascist mood for years--and we've been lucky that every leader who's come along has been a crook.... But if somebody shows up who's kind of a Hitler-type--just wants power, no corruption, straight, makes it all sound appealing, and says, 'We want power'--well, then we'll all be in very bad trouble. Now, we haven't had the right person yet in the United States, but sooner or later somebody's going to fill that position--and if so, it will be highly dangerous."
--Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky (2002), based on interviews mostly from 1989-1999.
"Beatrice, then, is another name for inspiration--romantic, aesthetic, moral, and religious. She inspires passion, vision, virtue, and, in the supernatural order, love of God. How she did it was Dante's secret--and hers. Of the fact and its effects nearly all the poet's works bear witness."
--Gerald Groveland Walsh, Dante Alighieri: Citizen of Christendom (1946)
"Wherever we find Indians and whenever we inquire about their idea of God, they tell us that beneath the surface of the physical universe is a mysterious spiritual power which cannot be described in human images that must remain always the 'Great Mystery.'"
--Vine Deloria Jr. (1972)
[Use with the hashtags #ReclaimMLK and #MLKalsoSaid.]
“All of us are on trial in this troubled hour.”
--MLK Jr. (1968)
King on police brutality:
“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” --MLK, Aug. 28, 1963
“The white man does not abide by the law... His police forces are the ultimate mockery of law.” --MLK (1968) #ReclaimMLK
“We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity.” --MLK, Aug. 28, 1963
“We have got to go all out to deal with the question of segregation justice. We still have a long, long, way to go.” --MLK (1965)
“How long will justice be crucified and truth buried, how long?” --Martin Luther King Jr. (1962)
“Wounded justice lying prostrate on the streets of our cities.” --Martin Luther King Jr. (1962)
“The beating and killing of our... young people will not divert us. The arrest and release of known murderers will not discourage us.” MLK
“When we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won’t exploit people ... we won’t kill anybody.” --MLK (1968)
“I believe that the dignity & the worth of human personality will be respected one day. I believe this and I live by it.” -MLK (1964)
King on confronting systemic racism:
“The first thing that must be on the agenda of our nation is to get rid of racism.” --MLK Jr. (1968)
“The thing wrong with America is white racism.” --Martin Luther King Jr. (1968) #ReclaimMLK
“Large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility & the status quo than about justice & humanity.” MLK
“However difficult it is to hear, however shocking it is to hear, we’ve got to face the fact that America is a racist country.” MLK (1968)
“Racism is a philosophy based on contempt for life.” -MLK Jr. (1967)
“We must come to see that the roots of racism are very deep in our country.” --MLK Jr.
“There must be something positive & massive in order to get rid of all the effects of racism & the tragedies of racial injustice.” --MLK
“White America has allowed itself to be indifferent to race prejudice.” --MLK (1968)
“I am sorry to have to say that the vast majority of white Americans are racists, either consciously or unconsciously.” MLK (1967)
1/2: "The doctrine of white supremacy was imbedded in every textbook and preached in practically every pulpit..." MLK
2/2: "... It became a structural part of the culture." --Martin Luther King Jr. on white supremacy (1967)
“The great majority of Americans… are uneasy with injustice but unwilling yet to pay a significant price to eradicate it.”
“There aren't enough white persons in our country who are willing to cherish democratic principles over privilege.” --MLK Jr.
King on the importance of direct action and civil disobedience:
“The blanket of fear was lifted by Negro youth. When they took their struggle to the streets a new spirit of resistance was born.” -MLK
“When [Black youth] cheerfully became jailbirds & troublemakers... they challenged & inspired white youth to emulate them.” –MLK
“We have, through massive non-violent action, an opportunity to avoid a national disaster & create a new spirit of class & racial harmony.”
“I've just come to a conclusion that our country doesn't really move on these issues until a movement is mobilized.” #MLK (1968)
“I’m talking about poor people’s power. That is what is needed.” --MLK Jr. (1968)
“Every [person] of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits [his or her] convictions, but we must all protest.” --#MLK
“There must be more than a statement to the larger society; there must be a force that interrupts its functioning at some key point.” #MLK
“Non-violent protest must now mature to a new level... The higher level is mass civil disobedience.” --MLK (1967)
“Our power lies in our ability to say nonviolently that we aren't gonna take it any longer.” –MLK (1967) #ReclaimMLK
“I’m worried today when there are those who try to silence dissenters.” –MLK Jr.
“We aren’t going to let this attempt to crush dissent turn us around.” --Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)
“Our experience is that marches must continue over 30-45 days to produce any meaningful results.” MLK
“I believe in dissent. We must never lose this.” --Martin Luther King Jr.
“The greatness of our nation--and I don’t want to see us lose it--is that... it does keep alive the opportunity to protest and dissent.” MLK
King on economic justice and ending poverty:
“The time has come for an all-out world war against poverty.” --Martin Luther King Jr.
1/2: “The nation doesn't move around questions of genuine equality for the poor and for black people...”
2/2: “... until it is confronted massively, dramatically in terms of direct action.” --MLK Jr.
“Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation.” --Martin Luther King Jr.
“In the final analysis, the rich must not ignore the poor because both rich and poor are tied together.” -MLK
“I choose to identify with the poor…. This is the way I’m going. If it means suffering a little bit, I’m going that way.” #MLK (1966)
“I think it is absolutely necessary now to deal massively and militantly with the economic problem.” --MLK, 10 days before assassination
“I still have to ask, why do you have 40 million people in our society who are poor? I have to ask that question.” --#MLK (1966)
“Poverty, the gaps in our society, the gulfs between inordinate superfluous wealth & abject deadening poverty have brought about... despair”
“There’s going to have to be more sharing in this world.” --Martin Luther King Jr. (1967)
King on the question of “riots”
“Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention. There is no other answer.” --#MLK (1967)
“Riots are not the causes of white resistance, they are consequences of it.” --#MLK (1967)
“There are many persons who wince at a distinction between property & persons—who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid.” --#MLK
“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.” --MLK Jr.
“It is clear that the riots were exacerbated by police action that was intended to injure or even to kill people.” --#MLK (1968)
“Our summers of riots are caused by winters of delay.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
King on interconnection and linking issues and movements:
"It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated.” –MLK #ReclaimMLK
“The black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes...” (1/2) --MLK
(2/2) “... It is, rather, forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws: racism, poverty, militarism, and materialism.” --MLK (1968)
“Local problems are all interconnected with world problems.” --Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)
“I’m still convinced that the struggle for peace and the struggle for justice... happen to be tied together.” --#MLK (1968)
“We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” –MLK
Drew Dellinger © 2016
"You are very, very kind in your hints as to the sort of Composition which might recommend me at present, & I am fully sensible that an Historical Romance, founded on the House of Saxe Cobourg might be much more to the purpose of Profit or Popularity, than such pictures of domestic life in Country Villages as I deal in--but I could no more write a Romance than an Epic Poem.--I could not sit seriously down to write a serious Romance under any other motive than to save my Life, & if it were indispensable for me to keep it up & never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first Chapter.--No--I must keep to my own style & go on in my own Way; And though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.--
I remain my dear Sir,
Your very much obliged & very sincere friend
[Jane Austen to James Stanier Clarke (excerpt), Monday April 1, 1816]
"Poetry is the contrary of an ivory tower. Poetry is not only a refusal of obedience served on all existing censorship and tyranny or the most elevated form of non-resignation to the summary explanations of our terrestrial destiny. It is also an ever-increasing knowledge of the self, an uninterrupted discovery of new human regions and a necessary renewal of the bases of life. Poetry, and this is where the whole extent of its role becomes apparent, has the power to transport what was just a way of dreaming into a way of being. Or more precisely--it exalts this power within us."
--Georges Henein, "The Subversive Function of Poetry" (1939)
"A work which obediently aligns itself with the order of existing facts, society, moral norms, oppressive processes and everyday servitudes... has not the slightest claim to poetry."
--Georges Henein, "The Subversive Function of Poetry" (1939)
"Imagination is indispensable to ethics.... One could argue that the receptive power of imagination lies at the very root of our moral capacity to respect the otherness of the other person, to treat the other as an end rather than a means, to empathize."
--Richard Kearney (1998)
"Societies which admit that they constitute themselves through an on-going process of narrative are unlikely to degenerate into self-righteousness, fundamentalism or racism: that is, to take themselves literally... Fundamentalism only arises when a society conceals the fact that it is founded on narrative."
--Richard Kearney (1998)
"Justice, as envisaged by a post-modern imagination, is never simply a matter of conforming to a given law. It involves a responsibility to listen to other narratives (in the sense of alternative narratives and narratives of others). The justice of narrative imagination is, in short, a justice of multiplicity."
--Richard Kearney (1998)
"In Nyakyusa society... the main form of artistic expression is in ritual. Rituals are frequent and elaborate; great numbers of people attend them and the excitement is often intense.... The greatest ritual of all is that performed at the handing over of power from one generation to another, but it occurs only once in thirty years."
--Monica Wilson (1954)
"White supremacy is the unnamed political system that has made the modern world what it is today. You will not find this term in introductory, or even advanced, texts in political theory. A standard undergraduate philosophy course will start off with Plato and Aristotle, perhaps say something about Augustine, Aquinas, and Machiavelli, move on to Hobbes, Locke, Mill and Marx, and then wind up with Rawls and Nozick. It will introduce you to notions of aristocracy, democracy, absolutism, liberalism, representative government, socialism, welfare capitalism, and libertarianism. But though it covers more than two thousand years of Western political thought and runs the ostensible gamut of political systems, there will be no mention of the basic political system that has shaped the world for the past several hundred years. And this omission is not accidental."
--Charles Mills, The Racial Contract (1997)
"The heritage of philosophy has deprived women one generation after another. The serious consequences are that not having known or read or digested women's words along with those of Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and John Dewey, no assimilation into the vocabulary of allusion has been allowed to take place, and unnecessary ignorance has been perpetuated. The loss in the silence of these mentors--who spoke so eloquently--is a loss forever to those generations already gone. The loss in the study of philosophy to the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham without Frances Wright, to American ethical theory without Anne Bradstreet, to American political theory without Judith Sargent Murray and Mercy Otis Warren, to aesthetics without Ednah Dow Cheney, to the 'classical American' philosophy of William James and Josiah Royce without Mary Whiton Calkins--is unredeemable for the past. But now, with this anthology and with works like it, the legacy of deprivation will come to an end."
--Therese Boos Dykeman, American Women Philosophers 1650-1930: Six Exemplary Thinkers (1993)
"This materialistic philosophy leads inevitably into a dead end street in an intellectually senseless world.... It is much more sensible to say with Sir James Jeans, the physicist, that 'the universe seems to be nearer to a great thought than to a great machine,' or with Arthur Balfour, the philosopher, that, 'we now know too much about matter to be materialists.' Materialism is a weak flame that is blown out by mature thinking."
--Martin Luther King Jr. (1963)
"I come to you saying that I still believe that America has the resources and even the will to respond to the challenges of this hour. I refuse to accept the idea that man is so caught up in this evil system of racial injustice that he can't rise to new and marvelous heights of brotherhood. I refuse to accept the idea that man is little more than a tiny vagary of whirling electrons on a wisp of smoke from a limitless smoldering. I refuse to accept the notion that man is nothing but a cosmic accident, a disease on this planet not soon to be cured. I refuse to accept the idea that we can't rise up and reach the glad day of peace of brotherhood. So tonight I stand before you with a belief. I believe that the day can come, right here in America, when all of God's children will live together as brothers. I believe that there will be a day when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.... I believe somehow that things can get better and dark yesterdays can be transformed into bright tomorrows. I believe that the dignity and the worth of human personality will be respected one day. I believe this and I live by it."
--Martin Luther King Jr. speaking in Harlem (1964)
"It seems that I can hear someone standing before the God of the universe saying, 'Master, I've done my job. I've gotten a lot of education. I've been to the great universities. Yes, Master, I've done well and I've been able to rise to the great heights of economic security.' It seems that I can hear the Master responding by saying, 'But I was hungry and ye fed me not. I was sick and ye visited me not. I was naked and ye clothed me not. I was in prison and you were not concerned about me. Therefore you are not fit to enter the kingdom of righteousness.'"
--Martin Luther King Jr. (1964)
"We need more social justice. Free-market societies produce unjust and very stupid societies. I don't believe that the production and consumption of things can be the meaning of human life. All great religions and philosophies say that human beings are more than producers and consumers. We cannot reduce our lives to economics. If a society without social justice is not a good society, a society without poetry is a society without dreams, without words, and most importantly, without that bridge between one person and another that poetry is. We are different from the other animals because we can talk, and the supreme form of language is poetry. If society abolishes poetry it commits spiritual suicide."
--Octavio Paz (1990)
"One of Dante's most astute readers, the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, said that it takes a modern novel hundreds of pages to lay bare a character's soul, but Dante needs only a few lines."
--Joseph Luzzi (2015)
"The twentieth century witnessed the emergence of the disciplines of astrophysics and cosmology, from subjects which scarcely existed to two of the most exciting and demanding areas of contemporary scientific inquiry. There has never been a century in which fundamental ideas about the nature of our Universe and its contents have changed so dramatically.... This is a fantastic story, and one that would have defied the imaginations of even the greatest story-tellers."
--Malcolm Longair, The Cosmic Century: A History of Astrophysics and Cosmology (2006)
"Religion is about meaning making.... Religion... can also be understood as any system that organizes our life into a meaningful daily existence. Consumerism, the free-market economy, environmentalism, and other such systems can be analyzed as meaning-making practices, and in this sense they are religious."
--Whitney A. Bauman, Religion and Ecology (2014)
"One hundred years ago, and more, ... we knew--from physics itself--that the mechanistic construction of the world was inadequate. And yet, the more it failed intellectually, the more it was imposed politically and economically. And that's the history of the last century. It's failing deeply right now, and the violence with which it is propped up increases by the day."
--Dr. Vandana Shiva, Claremont, CA, June 5, 2015
"Metaphysics provides a general overview of fundamental aspects of existence; it offers a broad story about the universe and our place in it. Metaphysics provides a narrative about the origin of the cosmos (cosmology) and what it means to exist or 'be' (ontology). How we answer these questions is closely related to how we treat other life (ethics) -- what we hope for ourselves and how we understand our actions toward others."
--Brianne Donaldson, Creaturely Cosmologies: Why Metaphysics Matters for Animal and Planetary Liberation (2015)
"Something's wrong with 'development' if we have to keep it out of everything that's precious."
--Dr. Vandana Shiva, Claremont, CA, June 4, 2015
"This is the first truly global problem that we've ever faced.... The [fossil fuel corporations] are rogue companies. If they follow their business plan, the planet tanks.... This is the biggest battle we've ever faced as a civilization, and we have to tackle it *now.*.... There's no guarantee that we're going to win, but there is a guarantee that we're going to fight."
--Bill McKibben, Claremont, CA, June 4, 2015
"I want to propose that the humanities should take, as their central objects of study, not the texts of historians or philosophers, but the products of aesthetic endeavor: art, dance, music, literature, theater, architecture, and so on. After all, it is by their arts that cultures are principally remembered.... What would be the advantage of centering humanistic study on the arts? The arts present the whole uncensored human person--in emotional, physical, and intellectual being, and in single and collective form--as no other branch of human accomplishment does."
--Helen Vendler (2015)
"Whitman voiced ideas about man, society, and the universe that in many ways characterize the general perspective of the modern mind as affected by the ideas of science. He anticipated the big picture of the cosmos – energetic, pulsating, multitudinous, evolutionary, creative, many-layered, knowable, mysterious, individuated, and organized."
--Howard Parsons, "Whitman's World View" (1985)
“In 1848, Walt Whitman was twenty-nine years old, and had not yet written a single text that we now remember. Yet seven years after his twenty-ninth birthday, this ordinary American man with no visible talents would publish the most unusual book of poems ever to be written in the United States."
--Paul Zweig (1984)
"Religious studies are to a dangerous degree personal. They call for an attitude of fresh awareness, a new sensitivity to others, to nature and to oneself, and a series of conversions in one's way of life. For what is the point of merely studying about religion, without also changing one's life?"
--Michael Novak (1971)
"Bufotenin (5-OH-dimethyltryptamine), a hallucinogen present in toadskins as well as in the Amazonian-Antillean narcotic snuff (Anadenanthera peregrina) and in some higher plants and animals, seems specifically to promote a feeling of flying through the air--a factor to be taken into account in reports of shamanistic 'journeys' among paleo-Siberians, and in witches' flights in late medieval Europe."
--Weston La Barre (1980)
"Most modern countries are in the hands of those who control organized wealth and... the just and wise distribution of income is hindered by this monopoly. This power is entrenched behind barriers of legal sanction, guarded by the best brains of the country trained as lawyers, appointed to the bench, and elected to the legislature. The retention of this power is influenced tremendously by the propaganda of newspapers and news-gathering agencies, by radio and by special organization. The hand of organized wealth guides the education of youth."
--W. E. B. Du Bois (1945)
"Perhaps the most extraordinary characteristic of current America is the attempt to reduce life to buying and selling. Life is not love unless love is sex and bought and sold. Life is not knowledge save knowledge of technique, of science for destruction. Life is not beauty except beauty for sale. Life is not art unless its price is high and it is sold for profit. All life is production for profit, and for what is profit but for buying and selling again?"
--W. E. B. Du Bois (1968)
"It is wrong to aid and abet a national crime simply because it is unpopular not to do so."
--W. E. B. Du Bois (1903)
"I have the greatest contempt for historians who try to disguise and distort history in order to make it suitable for afternoon tea."
-- W. E. B. Du Bois (February 27, 1939)
"I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.... Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Isn't segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, an expression of his awful estrangement?"
--Martin Luther King Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail"
April 16, 1963
"The work of art will bring to light a new order inherent in things, and this will be: the idea of unity."
--Ferdinand Hodler (1923)
"To be simple is not always as easy as it seems."
--Ferdinand Hodler (1923)
"My unceasing investigations, today crowned with glory, aroused the enmity of my snail-like followers, continually passed on the road."
--James Ensor (1921)
"Ever since 1882 I've known what I am talking about."
--James Ensor (1923)
"We 'educated' people have not moved so wondrously far ahead, as is often said. Our actions cut two ways. For centuries, we Europeans have treated the primitive peoples with irresponsible voraciousness. We have annihilated people and races--and always under the hypocritical pretext of the best of intentions.
Animals of prey know little pity. We whites show even less."
--Emil Nolde (1934)
"Myths fall into two general categories... (1) cosmogonies--creation tales of origins and beginnings; and (2) hero quests--stories of warriors and world redeemers, individuals who serve as exemplary models for more ordinary mortals."
--Harry G. Carlson, Strindberg and the Poetry of Myth (1982)
"Although divinatory practices were well-known from the time of the Babylonians, print, chronic warfare, the growth of towns and cities, and the arrival of syphilis converged in the late fifteenth century to create a new horizon for astrological forecasting."
--Robert S. Westman, The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order (2011)
"The reading of the Divine Comedy, like the reading of Shakespeare, has no end: one does not reach the point where it is possible to say that we see what is in it."
--Francis Fergusson (1953)
"What I'm really driving at is that the transplanting of millions of Africans into the West was an environmental switch, but there wasn't a simultaneous cosmological or worldview adjustment--the Black man didn't adopt Materialistic Thinking as a mode of defining his world. Society in Africa was communal and nature was respected; but the West is competitive, aggressive, capitalistic, and nothing is sacrosanct. The only thing that is respected in the West is organized power--the ability to back up your position with dollars, people, and force if necessary. People who achieve in the West are doers concerned primarily with how they can manipulate the environment and other people to their best advantage, and it matters not how they do it--as long as they do it in a practical manner. The attitude which leads to success in the West is the same attitude which makes evil so profuse. There is no morality because the only criteria of good or bad is whether or not the individual succeeds."
--Sterling D. Plumpp, Black Rituals (1972)
"The chief cook said, 'To study the words is to know the origin of words; to strive in discipline is to probe the origin of discipline.' Then Dogen asked, 'What are the words?' 'One, two, three, four, five,' replied the chief cook. Dogen asked again, 'What is the discipline?' 'The entire universe has never concealed it,' the monk replied."
--Takashi James Kodera, Dogen's Formative Years in China (1980)
"Natural order provides the foundation for much of everyday moral thinking, and the origins of natural order can be invoked to justify the choice of one way of acting over another. We are not surprised by such arguments in the Homeric literature... nor by reports that link cosmogony and ethics in the traditional cultures of the Andes and highland Guatemala... We are, however, less prepared to see the impact of cosmogonic beliefs on the moral systems of our own society, both in popular thought and in theoretical reflection."
--Robin W. Lovin and Frank E. Reynolds (1985)
[Tweet with the hashtags #ReclaimMLK and #MLKalsoSaid]
“All of us are on trial in this troubled hour.”
--MLK Jr. (1968)
If we, as a country, truly understood the vision of Martin Luther King Jr., it would go without saying that celebrating King means supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the new post-Ferguson activism for racial justice in policing and society.
But our popular culture, with its allergy to history and deep political analysis, has left us with a superficial understanding of Dr. King. Too often we fail to appreciate the radical nature of King’s work and the depth of transformation to which he called us. We forget the way he linked issues, his interconnected worldview, his calls for direct action, and the culminating vision of his last years, which I call his Mountaintop Period.
This is especially unfortunate because we need the fullness of his vision now more than ever. King’s gift was to always find the right words for our historical moment. His greatness lies in the fact that 46 years after his assassination he continues to do so for our times.
These 30 quotes, taken from my Twitter streams, @EssentialKing and @EssentialMLK, can help us reconnect with King’s prophetic, timely voice, and--it is hoped--inspire us to take real action for social change.
In the past six months we have seen a resurgence of Black-led, youth-led activism for racial justice unparalleled since the height of the Civil Rights Movement. A new generation of Black leadership—including women, youth, and LGBT leadership—along with an array of allies, has stepped up to carry forward the project of justice.
The courage and commitment of these leaders should pose a challenge to all of us. Will we support them, and join them, or will we sit it out? (If you’ve ever wondered what you might have done in the Civil Rights Era, now is your chance to decide.) A new civil rights movement is emerging. Will we support it, its clear demands, and its larger goal of racial justice?
Dr. King said, “nonviolent direct action will continue to be a significant source of power until it is made irrelevant by the presence of justice.” What actions can we take, individually and collectively, to create a freer, more loving, and more just world for our children and future generations?
In solidarity with the calls from Ferguson, the Bay Area, and across the nation to Reclaim King’s Legacy with actions throughout this King Day weekend, culminating in mass marches on King Day, here are 30 tweetable quotes from the good doctor, short enough to fit on a protest sign and hit the streets with.
King on police brutality:
When we recall King’s statements on police brutality and racist violence there is no doubt that he would ask us to join the Black Lives Matter movement and support the emerging movements calling for transformation on these issues.
“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.” --MLK, Aug. 28, 1963
“The white man does not abide by the law... His police forces are the ultimate mockery of law.” --MLK (1968)
“How long will justice be crucified and truth buried, how long?” --Martin Luther King Jr. (1962)
"One tenth of 1 percent of the population of this nation controls more than 50 percent of the wealth, and I will say... without any hesitation that there is something wrong with a system where some people can wallow in wealth and others do not have the basic necessities of life. I'll say that."
--Martin Luther King Jr. (1962)
#ReclaimMLK #MLKalsosaid #saythat
"Those people who are working to bring into being the dream of democracy are not the agitators. They are not the dangerous people in America. They are not the un-American people. They are people who are doing more for America than anybody that we can point to."
--Martin Luther King Jr. (1961)
"My idea of philosophy is that if it is not relevant to human problems, if it does not tell us how we can go about eradicating some of the misery in this world, then it is not worth the name of philosophy. I think Socrates made a very profound statement when he asserted that the raison d'etre of philosophy is to teach us proper living. In this day and age 'proper living' means liberation from the urgent problems of poverty, economic necessity and indoctrination, mental oppression."
--Angela Davis (1969)
I am thankful to Robin DiAngelo for coining this new and necessary scholarly term to describe this old phenomenon. Every Person of Color, I imagine, is intimately familiar with myriad manifestations of "White Fragility."
As an educator I have experienced this often. It makes the work--and even the accurate portrayal of history---much more difficult. It also makes the work that much more necessary.
From "White Fragility," by Robin DiAngelo:
"If and when an educational program does directly address racism and the privileging of whites, common white responses include anger, withdrawal, emotional incapacitation, guilt, argumentation, and cognitive dissonance (all of which reinforce the pressure on facilitators to avoid directly addressing racism). So-called progressive whites may not respond with anger, but may still insulate themselves via claims that they are beyond the need for engaging with the content because they “already had a class on this” or “already know this.” These reactions are often seen in anti-racist education endeavors as forms of resistance to the challenge of internalized dominance (Whitehead & Wittig, 2005; Horton & Scott, 2004; McGowan, 2000, O’Donnell, 1998). These reactions do indeed function as resistance, but it may be useful to also conceptualize them as the result of the reduced psychosocial stamina that racial insulation inculcates. I call this lack of racial stamina “White Fragility.”
--Robin DiAngelo, "White Fragility" (2011)
Full article here.
"We've got to organize. We've got to organize so effectively and so well and engage in such powerful, creative protest that there will not be a power in the world that can stop us and that can afford to ignore us... Our power lies in our ability to unite around concrete programs. Our power lies in our ability to say nonviolently that we aren't gonna take it any longer. You see the chief problem with a riot is that it can always be halted by a superior force. But I know another weapon that the National Guard can't stop."
--Martin Luther King Jr., Cleveland, OH (April 26, 1967)
"They [Glenn Smiley and Rev. Moore] agreed that the meeting should be youth centered, and that the adults attending would serve in an advisory capacity, and should mutually agree to 'speak only when asked to do so.'"
--Ella J. Baker, memo to Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy, March 23, 1960, in preparation for the Shaw conference that saw the formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
"There’s a famine in your nation today. You can’t understand it. (Tell it like it is.) Every city you have in your country today is a little powder keg. Riots breaking out, day in and day out. And, America, you wonder what is wrong. You must be told, America, that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It’s failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened. It’s failed to hear that the promises of freedom and equality have not been met. (Yeah.) It fails to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity. (Yes.) And this is it. A famine has broken out. And there isn’t any way to deal with this famine. It’s a misguided outbreak—as I have said—riots are socially destructive and self-defeating, and I will stand up and condemn them at every point, but at the same time I must condemn the conditions that make people feel so hopeless. (Yes.) Make them feel in such despair that they engage in this kind of misguided action. (Yes.) America needs to hear something, (All right). And that is that our summers of riots are caused by winters of delay. As long as the Negro doesn’t get his freedom, and as long as he doesn’t get it now (Yes.) there’s going to be tension (Um-hm.) all over this nation. There’s a famine in this country. (Yes.)
Martin Luther King and Thich Nhat Hanh.
Excerpts from Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter to The Nobel Institute, nominating Thich Nhat Hanh for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967:
"As the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate of 1964, I now have the pleasure of proposing to you the name of Thich Nhat Hanh for that award in 1967.
I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize than this gentle Buddhist monk from Vietnam....
I know Thich Nhat Hanh and am privileged to call him my friend.... You will find in this single human being an awesome range of abilities and interests.
He is a holy man, for he is humble and devout. He is a scholar of immense intellectual capacity... he is also a poet of superb clarity and human compassion....
His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.
I respectfully recommend to you that you invest his cause with the acknowledged grandeur of the Nobel Peace Prize of 1967. Thich Nhat Hanh would bear this honor with grace and humility.
Martin Luther King, Jr."
[Martin Luther King Jr., Letter to The Nobel Institute, January 25, 1967.]
"The four patriarchal institutions that have governed western history could be listed as the political empires, the institutional church, the nation-state, and the modern corporation."
--Thomas Berry (1987)
"The universe is a psychic-spiritual as well as a physical-material reality from its beginning... We are, by definition, that being in whom the universe reflects on and celebrates itself in conscious self-awareness. We are the universe in its self-awareness phase. In and through this universe-identity we have our identity with that numinous mystery whence all things emerge into being."
--Thomas Berry (1987)
"To interest the children in the universe, we must not begin by giving them elementary facts about it, to make them merely understand its mechanism, but start with far loftier notions of a philosophical nature, put in an acceptable manner, suited to the child's psychology."
--Maria Montessori, "The Universe Presented to the Child's Imagination," chapter four in To Educate the Human Potential (1948)
Thomas Berry turned me on to this great book, To Educate the Human Potential, by Maria Montessori, which he discoverd after he had written about education and the universe. Berry used to say with a laugh, 'Everything I've been saying about cosmology and education, she said in the 1940s.'
"Let us give [the child] a vision of the whole universe. The universe is an imposing reality, and an answer to all questions. We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe, and are connected with each other to form one whole unity. This idea helps the mind of the child to become fixed, to stop wandering in an aimless quest for knowledge. He is satisfied, having found the universal centre of himself with all things.
"We want everybody to work, as we work. There should no longer be either rich or poor. All should have bread for themselves and for their children. We should all be equal. I have five small children and only one little room, where we have to eat and sleep and do everything, while so many lords (signori) have ten or twelve rooms, entire palaces.... It will be enough to put all in common and to share with justice what is produced.
--Unnamed peasant woman from Piana dei Greci, province of Palermo, Sicily, speaking to a northern Italian journalist during an 1893 peasant uprising." (quoted in Crossan 1994)
"It is easy to point out and say, 'this person started a riot,' or, 'this person created the atmosphere for riots.' I think it is time to say now that it is the Congress of the United States that's causing riots in our country."
--Martin Luther King Jr. (Feb. 6, 1968)
"We feel that there must be some structural changes now, there must be a radical re-ordering of priorities... And I feel that this is only going to be done when enough people get together and express their determination through that togetherness and make it clear that we are not going to allow any military-industrial complex to control this country."
--Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)
"I can't see the answer in riots. On the other hand, I can't see the answer in tender supplications for justice. I see the answer in an alternative to both of these, and that is militant non-violence that is massive enough, that is attention-getting enough to dramatize the problems."
--Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)
"I am aware that there are many who wince at a distinction between property and persons--who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid. A life is sacred. Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being.... The focus on property... is not accidental. It has a message; it is saying something.... Because property represents the white power structure, which they were attacking and trying to destroy.... Those people wanted the experience of taking, of redressing the power imbalance that property represents."
--Martin Luther King Jr. (1967)
"Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention. There is no other answer."
--Martin Luther King Jr. (1967)
"It is clear that the riots were exacerbated by police action that was intended to injure or even to kill people."
--Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)
"It is our experience that the nation doesn't move around questions of genuine equality for the poor and for black people until it is confronted massively, dramatically in terms of direct action."
--Martin Luther King Jr.
The following excerpts are from Thomas Berry: Reflections on His Life and Thought, by John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker (2010). These passages provide some background on Thomas Berry's philosophy of a "New Story" (1978), which laid much of the groundwork, and created much of the context, for many of today's discussions of a New Story.
"In 1978, Thomas [Berry] initiated the Teilhard Studies series with his essay, 'The New Story: Comments on the Origin, Identification, and Transmission of Values.' Here he called for the articulation of a new story of evolution and the emergence of life." (p. 2)
"While those graduate school days focused on historical and textual developments in the world's religions, Thomas encouraged us also to explore the cosmology of religions. Under his guidance we related rituals, texts, teachings, and commentarial studies to the stories of creation and metaphysical speculation about the world. We struggled to understand the history, anthropology, and sociology embedded in those stories. Thomas forged ahead, articulating broad understandings of historical interactions and cultural relationships.
Gradually we began to appreciate his interest in cosmology as that which orients humans to the universe and to nature itself. 'With a story,' he would say, 'people can endure catastrophe. And with a story they can gather the energies to change their lot.' For him the first place to look for a story was in history. He began with Western history and later moved to Asian history. He was part of the early group of world historians seeking to define the contours of our human movement across the planet. He mused that the West was in search of a comprehensive story and cited historians such as Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee, Christopher Dawson, and Eric Vogelin to give nuance to his views. He drew on the philosopher of history, Giambattista Vico, stiching his arguments together with a sense of the sweeping ages of human and Earth history.... It was because of his remarkable grasp of world history that he could eventually make the transition into evolutionary history.... Gradually Thomas connected his study of history and evolutionary cosmology to the environmental issues of our day." (pp. 6-7)
"Increasingly he spoke of the rich creativity imparted by the Earth itself in its biodiversity. It was in the late 1980s that these ideas coalesced in his term 'Ecozoic.' This was his way of marking the end of a geological era in which thousands of species were disappearing each year.... But rather than leaving his audience in despair, he used the term Ecozoic to name the emerging period in which humans would recover their creative orietation to the Earth community.
He drew increasingly on the thought of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin for insight into the story of our times, namely, the emerging, evolutionary universe. Teilhard provided a large-scale vision of humans as situated within the vast context of cosmic evolution.... While Teilhard saw his work as science, Thomas narrated it as story." (pp. 7-8)
"Rather than settling on Teilhard's insights, however, Thomas pushed beyond to explore the conjunction of cosmology and ecology.... He wanted us to see that in a geological instant we were diminishing the life of ecosystems, rivers, and oceans. Our historical moment was as significant as the change implied in a geological era.
While flying back from an environmental conference in the Seychelle Islands, looking down over the Nile River at 30,000 feet, he realized that he was not a theologian, but rather a 'geologian.' With this term, he viewed himself as a human being who emerged out of eons of Earth's geological and biological evolution and was now reflecting on our world. This reflection was a way to reinvent the human at the species level.
The notion of reinventing to role of the human was enhanced when in 1982 Thomas met Brian Swimme who came to the Riverdale Center for a year of study.... Thomas' years of study of world history and religions were paralleled by Brian's comprehensive study of evolutionary history. From an intense decade-long collaboration including research, lectures, and conferences, there emerged in 1992 the jointly authoured book, The Universe Story. This was the first time the history of evolution was told as a story in which humans have a critical role.
After Thomas retired from teaching at the age of 64, he began some of his most significant writing in the area of evolutionary cosmology in relation to the ecological crisis. The Dream of the Earth was published in 1988, The Great Work in 1999, Evening Thoughts in 2007, and The Christian Future and the Fate of the Earth and The Sacred Universe in 2009. These books elaborated on the 'new story' of our shared cosmological journey." (pp. 8-9)
"STORY AS FUNCTIONAL COSMOLOGY
Thomas spoke frequently of our broken relationship with nature and the drift away from older traditional stories of creation. These breaks followed from the inability of contemporary scientific, religious, and philosophical narratives to locate humans in a meaningful relationship with Earth's ecosystems and their evolution over time. Ironically, as Thomas observed, the break with nature as well as with mythos, the storied magic of older cosmologies, occurred in the search for 'progress' and in the turn towards empirical reasoning as the exclusive guide to reality.... In an effort to move beyond our fixation with materialism that undermines our relationship with the natural world, Thomas spoke of a 'functional cosmology.' His concern was that we had lost emotional, affective connection with the processes of life embedded in the emergence of the cosmos itself. In the past, connection with these vital processes enabled a people and their cultural traditions to function so that they knew the deeper meaning of their life and work.
The transformative key for Thomas was story, namely, a narrative telling of our origins and our purpose. An origin story was, for Thomas, the most accepted explanation of reality. Narrated in ritual settings, woven into the structures of cities, celebrated in daily food and drink, these traditional stories provide meaning and direction for people in everyday life. But having lost their grounding in the natural world upon which we depend, many of these stories, and the institutions they spawned, ceased to function in a vital manner.
For Thomas then, contemporary humans are in between stories, that is, we have lost our connection to traditional cosmologies, and we have been unable to weave a functional cosmology from our collective scientific data. It is from within this context that Thomas forged his career as an engaged historian interested in articulating a new and functional cosmology.
Thomas' emphasis on the cultural transmission of coherence and meaning throughout history brought him to one of his most singular insights regarding the cosmological stories of a people:
It's all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are in between stories. The Old Story--the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it--is not functioning properly, and we have not learned the New Story. The Old Story sustained us for a long period of time. It shaped our emotional attitudes, provided us with a life purpose, energized action. It consecrated suffering, integrated knowledge, guided education. We awoke in the morning and knew where we were.
.... When a human community's collective story disintegrates, that community experiences a dislocation symbolized most acutely by the loss of human orientation with the natural world." (pp. 10-11)
He sensed that humans had lost their way of being integrated into a larger cosmology. He pointed toward religious and cultural cosmologies in which humans relate to their bioregions as their most immediate experience of place. (p. 12)
In elaborating the character of awakening, Thomas Berry has drawn out the inner working of mythic forces and concomitant sensitivities that call for both individual and institutional change. Finally, Thomas provided creative historical analysis to the new cosmology in ways that expand Teilhard's thought into ecological concerns.
.... Thomas observed that our desire for action may require even deeper contemplation of the roots of these problems. This is why he pointed us toward the universe story as a comprehensive context for responding to our ecological role in the modern world--a world that is being ravaged by industrial production and extraction. For Thomas, universe emergence as the story of our time can evoke in humans awe, wonder, and humility. At the same time, as a functional cosmology, it can encourage the 'great work' of ecological restoration and environmental education so needed in our times.
Since meeting Thomas Berry some 40 years ago we have become more aware of the many layers of his thinking that have organic continuity with one another. Among these layers the following can be noted: the play of texts, institutions, and personalities in the history of religions; the cultural-historical settings in which religions emerge and develop; the inherent and formative relationship of local bioregions and indigenous societies; the complex relations between and among the world's religions; cosmological expressions within the various religions; the awakening to our growing realization of the continuity of the human with the community of life; and the evolutionary story as a functional cosmology for our multicultural planetary civilization.
.... Drawing out his syllables in a laconic North Carolinian manner, he would calmly elucidate complex topics that deeply engaged him. This reflective style enabled him to ponder both the problematic story of our industrial age as well as the 'new story,' the recovery of human energy and reinvention of the human spirit. Indeed for him the 'new story' was an engaged participatory event in which the universe was present in the telling." (pp. 19-20)
--John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, Thomas Berry: Reflections on His Life and Thought (2010)
"We must come to see that the roots of racism are very deep in our country, and there must be something positive and massive in order to get rid of all the effects of racism and the tragedies of racial injustice."
--Martin Luther King Jr.
"There is a widespread conviction that the new teachings of astronomy and physical science are destined to produce an immense change on our outlook on the universe as a whole, and on our views as to the significance of human life."
--Sir James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe (1931)
"The great function of poetry is to give us back the situations of our dreams."
"One of the things poetry does is allow one to say, 'you are not alone,' and to speak for those who have not yet spoken."
--Lucille Clifton (2003)
"Sunaksatra... according to some sources was the Buddha's half-brother and personal attendant prior to that position being held by Ananda. Despite his personal connection to the Buddha and his extensive knowledge of his teachings, Sunaksatra had no respect for the Buddha, saying that in his twenty-four years of service to him, he saw no difference whatsoever between the Buddha and himself apart from the fact that the Buddha had a six-foot aura."
--Robert Buswell Jr. & Donald Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (2014)
"There was not a whiff of smoke or mist, and the colour of the sky matched the hills. We drifted with the current, which bore us now in one direction, now in another. Thus we traversed the hundred odd li from Fuyang to Tunglu, through some of the best scenery in the world.... There were hundreds of jutting peaks. The torrents dashed against the rocks as they came rushing down the hill-sides, humming and gurgling. The birds sang melodiously in chorus. The chirping of cicadas was interrupted now and then by the ape's shrill cries. Even as the eagle desists from its soaring flight when confronted with a massive mountain, so those engaged in governmental affairs would forgo their worldly ambitions if they set eyes on one of the mysterious ravines, shrouded in perpetual twilight by thick overhanging trees forming a screen through which the sun but seldom penetrates."
--Wu Chun (469-520 CE)
"In reading the compositions of earlier men, I have tried to trace the causes of their melancholy, which too often are the same as those that affect myself.... Even when circumstances have changed and men inhabit a different world, it will still be the same causes that induce the mood of melancholy attendant on poetical composition."
--Wang Hsi-chih (353)
"Dust, laughter, nothingness: our all
is born of the nonsensical."
--Glycon (21 CE)
"The basic movement of the rhythm, the total character of the dream, through the vehicle of exquisitely chosen sounds and incisively revealing epithets, constitute the poetic effect."
--Irwin Edman (1928)
"Synchronistic events constitute moments in which a 'cosmic' or 'greater' meaning becomes gradually conscious in an individual; generally it is a shaking experience."
--Marie-Louise von Franz
"I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality, if one may so speak."
--Andre Breton (1924)
"The Supreme Court formally recognized the corportation as a person before the law in 1886 in the case between Santa Clara and the Southern Pacific. Since this time corporation law has been among the most significant issues in transforming the mood and meaning of American law."
--Thomas Berry, "The Corporation Story" (1999)
#HollyLobby #SCOTUS #MoveToAmend
"An account in the Book of Ballymote shows the ritual sanctions available to a poet if a king refused him his proper reward for a poem. After fasting on the land of the king, a council of ninety could be called to give a judgement, and if they decided that it would be a greater crime to prevent the satire or curse on the king, the poet could continue with his ritual action. At sunrise, he and six other poets would stand on a hilltop at the boundary of seven lands. Each poet would face his own land, the ollahm, or holder of the highest degree addressing the land of the king. With their backs against a hawthorn on the hilltop, a thorn from the tree and a slingstone in each poet's hand, and the wind blowing from the north, each of them chanted into the stone and the thorn, the ollahm speaking before the others, then all the bards together. Each would then put his stone and thorn at the butt of the tree. If they were in the wrong, the earth of the tree would swallow them up. If their magic was powerful enough, the earth would swallow the king, his wife and his sons, his horses and his hounds, his arms and his dress."
--John Sharkey, Celtic Mysteries (1975)
"Dante, as he tells us in the Vita Nuova, was discovered drawing an angel after the death of Beatrice.
It may be that what these poets had in common was a method of contemplation that expanded consciousness in them so that they were made open to the illumination of Sapientia, and that an effect of this expanded consciousness was to open up to them the world of the imagination, the world of symbols... through which Love acted as their guide."
--William Anderson, Dante the Maker (1980)
"Muir's writings indicate that the clearest avenue to the ecological position is beauty. In the perception of beauty, we overcome civilization and participate in God--'no synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty'--and affirm our own 'most richly Divine' nature. For Muir, beauty was no effete concept, and not a casual activity for leisure time: it was the key to wild nature and thus self-nature. The purely anthropocentric mind is closed to beauty on this level; a 'streaming,' open consciousness is required.
Muir's chief technique for inspiring this border-crossing kind of consciousness is to show all nature as alive and moving, so that the ordinary Lockeian theory of mind--a separate 'subject' perceiving 'objects'--is transcended."
--Thomas J. Lyon (1972)
Passage from Alan Watts:
We need to become vividly aware of our ecology, of our interdependence and virtual identity with all other forms of life which the divisive and emboxing methods of our current way of thought prevent us from experiencing. The so-called physical world and the so-called human body are a single process, differentiated only as the heart from the lungs or the head from the feet. In stodgy academic circles I refer to this kind of understanding as "ecological awareness." Elsewhere it would be called "cosmic consciousness" or "mystical experience." However, our intellectual and scientific "establishment" is, in general, still spellbound by the myth that human intelligence and feeling are a fluke of chance in an entirely mechanical and stupid universe--as if figs would grow on thistles or grapes on thorns. But wouldn't it be more reasonable to see the entire scheme of things as continuous with our own consciousness and the marvelous neural organization which, shall we say, sponsors it?
Metaphysical as such considerations may be, it seems to me that their issues are earthy and practical. For our radically misnamed "materialistic" civilization must above all cultivate the love of the material, of earth, air, and water, of mountains and forests, of excellent food and imaginative housing and clothing, and of cherishing and artfully erotic contacts between human bodies."
--Alan Watts (1971)
"My wisdom hath accumulated long like a cloud, it becometh stiller and darker. So doeth all wisdom which shall one day bear lightnings."
--Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra
Just received a new volume of scholarly essays on the work of Thomas Berry, edited by Heather Eaton. Here's a passage from the entry by John Grim:
"As a storyteller Berry guided his students into the power and engagement of cultural worldviews. Like all storytellers, Thomas had an intuitive sense of his own rhetorical power; but unlike many storytellers he seldom drew on personal anecdotes or the large gesture. He was more given to intellectual pursuits than solipsistic insight or emotional arguments.... Drawing out his syllables in a laconic North Carolina manner, he would calmly elucidate topics that truly excited him. Ultimately, what framed his educational enterprise was a historical vision increasingly integrative of time and space.... He had an abiding patience for the fluidities, shape-shiftings, and porosities of myths in transmitting values. Story, then, for Thomas held potential as primal narration arising from the most authentic engagement with interiority. Story did not imply simply a passive reception by a listener. Rather, story required an active, participatory, mutual interaction in which the story was present, alive, and in movement through teller, telling, and audience. The movement of story was for Thomas, therapeutic and transformative. In ways it can be said that he held a shamanic interpretation of the transformative healing transmitted in stories."
--John Grim, "Exploring Thomas Berry's Historical Vision,"
in The Intellectual Journey of Thomas Berry, Heather Eaton, ed.
"We have constructed a history which is a total lie, and have persuaded ourselves that it is true. I seriously doubt that anything worse can happen to any people."
winged women was saying
"full of grace" and like.
was light beyond sun and words
of a name and a blessing.
winged women to only i.
i joined them, whispering
--Lucille Clifton (1980)
"My approach to cosmology is, cosmology is the basic opening of the human consciousness to the universe. It takes its first expression in language and its typical linguistic form, or literary form, is imagination. Imagination, myth and symbol, and ritual."
(Interview with Drew Dellinger, December 26, 2006)
"When I talk to college administrators and college presidents, I say that ecology is not a course. It's not a program. It's a foundation of all courses, all programs, all professions. Because ecology is a functioning cosmology. It's the way the universe functions. It's the way the Earth functions. And to be able to think this way is the beginning of survival. Because right now we are not in a survival mode, because we are disrupting things."
--Thomas Berry (December 1998)
(Interview with Drew Dellinger and Prescott College students.)
"It seems that we basically communicate meaning by narrative, at least that's my approach to things: that narrative is our basic mode of understanding. It gives us a sense of life as we experience it. The difficulty that we're into has come, to a large extent, from the limitations and inadequacies of our story. And what we need, I think, and what we really have, is a new story."
--Thomas Berry, Earth & Spirit Conference, 1990 (Edited by Drew Dellinger)
"Depth is what the word God means, the source of your being, of your ultimate concern, of what you take seriously without any reservation. 'Life has no depth. Life is shallow. Being itself is surface only.' If you could say this in complete seriousness, you would be an atheist; but otherwise you are not. He who knows the depth knows about God."
"We don't seem to get the idea of the planet in its functional aspects and its limitations, and [how to] begin to live equitably within those limitations... We are told there are no limits; we can do anything we want to if we have the genius; science will take care of it..."
--Thomas Berry, Lectures in Assisi (1991)
"I come from North Carolina... We have an extraordinarily fine state. We have the mountains, the Piedmont section, and a large section of coastal plain--and then we have the estuary section. We have, in each of these, an abundance, or rather there has been, and now the whole thing is being destroyed through industrial processes."
--Thomas Berry, Lectures in Assisi, 1991.
"Art and poetry cannot do without one another. Yet the two words are far from being synonymous. By Art I mean the creative or producing, work-making activity of the human mind. By Poetry I mean, not the particular art which consists in writing verses, but a process both more general and more primary: that intercommunication between the inner being of things and the inner being of the human Self which is a kind of divination (as was realized in ancient times; the Latin vates was both a poet and a diviner). Poetry, in this sense, is the secret life of each and all of the arts."
--Jacques Maritain, Creative Intuition in Art and Poetry (1952)
"We must see that whatever diminishes the poor diminishes everybody else. And the salvation of the poor will mean the salvation of the whole nation. For we're all tied together in an inescapable network of mutuality. We are tied in a single garment of destiny."
--Martin Luther King Jr. (1967)
"The Negro recognizes more than ever now that he lives in a world community. There was a time when the intensity of our own problems excluded our awareness that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Colonialism and segregation are nearly synonymous; they are legitimate first cousins because their common end is economic exploitation, political domination and the debasing of human personality.
It is tragic that our foreign policy on Africa is so ambivalent; for example, on the one hand, we decry in some mild manner the apartheid policy of the Union of South Africa but economically we continue "business-as-usual" in spite of the stringent racist policies being enforced and intensified."
--Martin Luther King Jr. (1962)
"With respect to South Africa, however, our protest is so muted and peripheral it merely mildly disturbs the sensibilities of the segregationists, while our trade and investments substantially stimulate their economy to greater heights.... The shame of our nation is that it is objectively an ally of this monstrous government in its grim war with its own black people."
--Martin Luther King Jr., "Address About South Africa" (1965)
"Misogyny would seem inseparable from analysis, which in turn is but a late manifestation of the Western, Protestant, scientific, Apollonic ego. This structure of consciousness has never know what to do with the dark, material, and passionate part of itself, except to cast it off and call it Eve. What we have come to mean by the word "conscious" is "light"; this light is inconceivable for this consciousness without a distaff side of something else opposed to it that is inferior and which has been called--in Greek, Jewish, and Christian contexts--female."
--James Hillman, The Myth of Analysis (1972)
"We're presently in the terminal Cenozoic and we have to move into a new period, something equivalent to the transition from the Mesozoic to the Cenozoic, or from the Paleozoic to the Mesozoic... So my own thinking has been to go back to a cosmological answer... My own approach is not psychological; it's not sociological; it's not theological or epistemological. My approach is cosmological.
We need a myth, but a myth that speaks out of the scientific tradition, something that is both scientific and mythic, because myth is a part of science; science [itself] has a mythic dimension.
All things have a 'person' aspect, a subjective aspect. The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects. Everything carries this capacity for presence and rapport in some way... If there is compassion in the universe, it must be a dimension of the universe. All things are a dimension of each other, all things express a dimension of the universe."
--Thomas Berry, Lectures in Assisi, Italy, 1991.
(Edited by Drew Dellinger)