Quotations

Kurt Vonnegut

What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.

Mother Teresa

What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.

Albert Schweitzer

Whoever is spared personal pain must feel himself called to help in diminishing the pain of others. We must all carry our share of the misery which lies upon the world.

Albert Einstein

A human being is a part of a whole called by us the ’Universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Eugene V. Debs

Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

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Matthew Fox

What makes injustice so unacceptable in our time is the fact that we now possess the know-how to feed the world and provide basics for all its citizens. What is lacking is the will and the way. What is lacking is compassion.

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Ivan Illich

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.

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Kalle Lasn

An increasing number of people are growing uncomfortable with the gulf between the world’s rich and the poor. Ostentatiously splashing your money around simply draws attention to that disparity, and to your own position on the lucky higher ground. It suggests a callousness, an inhumanity, a let’s-just-rub-their-noses-in-it arrogance.

E.F. Schumacher

A civilization which deprecates the heart, which idolizes objectivity in the forms of scientism, positivism and rationalism, which bases its entire education on the notion that decisions must be taken without interference from the emotions, inevitably exposes itself to the dangers of unlimited violence.

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Gwynne Dyer

Human beings are not an all powerful life form that is going to destroy the planet, you know. We shouldn’t give ourselves airs. We’re simply another highly successful species that is fast approaching the point where the usual controls kick in. And the usual environmental controls, I’m afraid, are quite harsh. Mass die-offs are commonplace and extinctions are not unknown. What we need now is a new kind of human being who’s adapted to living in a global culture many billions strong. A global villager who can treat all the planet’s people as neighbours.

Charles Reich

The search for consciousness begins with an effort to shake off the false consciousness imposed by society… One devise is particularly important; an individual cannot hope to achieve an independent consciousness unless he cultivates, by whatever means are available including clothes, speech, mannerisms, illegal activities and so forth, the feeling of being an outsider. Only the person who feels himself to be an outsider is genuinely free of the lures and temptations of the Corporate State.

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Dalai Lama

Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighbouring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.

E.F. Schumacher

There are three things healthy people most need to do – to be creatively productive, to render service, and to act in accordance with their moral impulses. In all three respects modern society frustrates most people most of the time.

E.F. Schumacher

A civilization which deprecates the heart, which idolizes objectivity in the forms of scientism, positivism and rationalism, which bases its entire education on the notion that decisions must be taken without interference from the emotions, inevitably exposes itself to the dangers of unlimited violence.

E.F. Schumacher

It has been universally recognized, in all authentic teachings of mankind, that every being born into this world has to work, not merely to keep himself alive, but to strive towards perfection.

E.F. Schumacher

The truly educated man is not a man who knows a bit of everything, not even a man who knows all the details of all subjects (if such a thing were possible). The whole man in fact may have little detailed knowledge of facts and theories… but he will be truly in touch with the centre. He will not be in doubt about his basic convictions, about his own view on the meaning and purpose of life. He may not be able to explain these matters in words, but the conduct of his life will show a certain sureness of touch which stems from his inner clarity.

E.F. Schumacher

Economics without spirituality can give you temporary and physical gratification, but it cannot provide an internal fulfillment. Spiritual economics brings service, compassion and relationships into equal play with profit and efficiency. We need both and we need them simultaneously.

E.F. Schumacher

It is a grave error to accuse a man who pursues self-knowledge of ‘turning his back on society’. The opposite would be more nearly true: that a man who fails to pursue self-knowledge is and remains a danger to society, for he will tend to misunderstand everything that other people say or do, and remain blissfully unaware of the significance of many of the things he does himself.

E.F. Schumacher

Without self-awareness man acts, speaks studies, reacts, mechanically, like a machine: on the basis of “programs” acquired accidentally, unintentionally, mechanically. He is not aware that he is acting in accordance with programs… when he is awake, no one can program him: he programs himself.

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Elie Wiesel

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

St. Augustine

If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing.

Mahatma Gandhi

The Golden rule is resolutely to refuse to have what millions cannot. This ability to refuse will not descend upon us all of the sudden. The first thing is to cultivate the mental attitude that will not have possessions or facilities denied to millions and the next immediate thing is to rearrange our lives as fast as possible, in accordance with that mentality.

Mahatma Gandhi

There are moments in your life when you must act even though you cannot carry your best friends with you. The still small voice within you must always be the final arbiter when there is a conflict of duty.

Frank Moore Colby

I have found some of the best reasons I ever had for remaining at the bottom simply by looking at the men at the top.

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St. Ambrose

It is not with your own wealth that you give alms to the poor, but with a fraction of their own which you give back; for you are usurping for yourself something meant for the common good of all. The earth is for everyone, not only for the rich.

Frank Moore Colby

Were it not for the presence of the unwashed and the half-educated, the formless, queer and incomplete, the unreasonable and absurd, the infinite shapes of the delightful human tadpole, the horizon would not wear so wide a grin.

St. Augustine

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?

Mother Teresa

The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.

Charles Reich

The search for consciousness begins with an effort to shake off the false consciousness imposed by society… One devise is particularly important; an individual cannot hope to achieve an independent consciousness unless he cultivates, by whatever means are available including clothes, speech, mannerisms, illegal activities and so forth, the feeling of being an outsider. Only the person who feels himself to be an outsider is genuinely free of the lures and temptations of the Corporate State.