People generally believe what they are taught to believe in their youth. In later life, they tend to embrace whatever is most convenient for them to believe. Essentially, many people believe what they wish to believe. Facts hold little sway against often strongly held emotional positions based in those beliefs, which are wholly emotionally satisfying, but often devoid of reason.
Those with the highest-sounding motives have often been responsible for some of the world’s greatest human tragedies.
Self-interest, or the individual perception of self-image, which can be in direct opposition to the former, nearly always provides the bedrock rationale for individual decisions and postures.
People often develop logical excuses to justify irrational behavior based on their emotions.
One’s ego is frequently an impediment to learning the truth.
Humankind is defined by its mortality and fallibility. The best of us accept that we are short-lived and imperfect vessels striving to be better than the sum of our parts.
Doing “the right thing” invariably means doing “the hard thing.” This is the true meaning of the word “honor” within a Western cultural context.
Hope is the only illusion consistently worthy of embrace. Still, hope is not a replacement for intelligence, hard work, and perseverance.
Knowledge becomes wisdom only when it is tempered in the crucible of human experience.
In human affairs, consistently good judgment can be found only in the middle ground between cold logic and a keen understanding of emotions.
Absolute honesty is practically a myth. Nearly everyone lies. Discerning why a person lies is the key to discovering the basic goodness or venality of their character.
Reason tempered by kindness is humanity’s best chance for a more peaceful future. Fanaticism of any sort is the enemy of reason, and kindness is the antithesis of cruelty and indifference.
The greatest battle faced by each of us is the struggle to overcome our own internal demons—prejudices and biases. Most of us fail, even if we are aware enough to attempt it. Essentially, this is a life-long effort that is well worth the expenditure in time and effort. The struggle itself makes us better.
Peace within a nation’s borders is not the absence of war, but instead the presence of justice.
Failure, now and always, remains the best teacher. Why? Because we remember.
Money may be necessary, but it can never be important. Only people are important.
Happiness cannot be pursued and captured as many believe. It is far better to seek meaning and purpose in life. If you succeed, contentment, which is far more resilient than happiness, can follow. Be forewarned, though: Attaining meaning always demands sacrifice.
LIVE until you die.
There is only one race: The human race. Issues we think we know and understand as “racial” are non sequiturs. Skin color is not now, nor has it ever been, a behavioral determinant, but culture often is. Never confuse the one with the other.
To love another, while permitting them to love you, may provide the most durable form of fulfillment in life.
Ignorance always precedes intolerance.
Grievance based in resentment is the fertile field in which fascism thrives.
Fanaticism is the sworn enemy of both reason and compassion.
Fear is the essential predicate of hatred.
If you choose one word to guide your actions in life, make it the word “kindness.”