Quotations about   community

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The essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others.

The Dalai Lama (b. 1935) Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader [The 14th Dalai Lama; a/k/a Lhama Thondup / Lhama Dhondrub; b. Tenzin Gyatso]
“The Dalai Lama in Depth,” Interview with Catherine Ingram, Yoga Journal (Jan/Feb 1990)
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Added on 12-Nov-19 | Last updated 12-Nov-19
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I’d be the first to say that some historical victories have been won by violence; the U.S. Revolution is certainly one of the foremost. But the Negro revolution is seeking integration, not independence. Those fighting for independence have the purpose to drive out the oppressors. But here in America, we’ve got to live together. We’ve got to find a way to reconcile ourselves to living in community, one group with the other. The struggle of the Negro in America, to be successful, must be waged with resolute efforts, but efforts that are kept strictly within the framework of our democratic society. This means reaching, educating and moving large enough groups of people of both races to stir the conscience of the nation.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Playboy interview (Jan 1965)
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Added on 24-Mar-19 | Last updated 24-Mar-19
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What the people wanted was a government which would provide a comfortable life for them, and with this as the foremost object ideas of freedom and self-reliance and service to the community were obscured to the point of disappearing. Athens was more and more looked on as a co-operative business possessed of great wealth in which all citizens had a right to share. […] Athens had reached the point of rejecting independence, and the freedom she now wanted was freedom from responsibility. There could be only one result. […] If men insisted on being free from the burden of a life that was self-dependent and also responsible for the common good, they would cease to be free at all. Responsibility was the price every man must pay for freedom. It was to be had on no other terms.

Edith Hamilton (1867-1963) American educator, author, classicist
The Echo of Greece, ch. 2 “Athens’ Failure” (1957)
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Added on 4-Jul-17 | Last updated 4-Jul-17
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The conception of men as united to each other, and of all mankind as united to God, by mutual obligations arising from their relation to a common end, which vaguely conceived and imperfectly realized, had been the keystone holding together the social fabric, ceased to be impressed upon men’s minds, when Church and State withdrew from the centre of social life to its circumference. What remained … was private rights and private interests, the materials of a society rather than a society itself.

R. H. Tawney (1880-1962) English writer, economist, historian, social critic [Richard Henry Tawney]
The Acquisitive Century, ch. 2 “Rights and Functions” (1920)
Added on 29-Dec-16 | Last updated 29-Dec-16
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Individual liberty is individual power, and as the power of a community is a mass compounded of individual powers, the nation which enjoys the most freedom must necessarily be in proportion to its numbers the most powerful nation.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
Letter to James Lloyd (1 Oct 1822)
Added on 3-Oct-16 | Last updated 3-Oct-16
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You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, “Look at that, you son of a bitch.”

Mitchell - look at that - wist_info quote

Edgar "Ed" Mitchell (1930-2016) American aviator, engineer, astronaut
(Attributed)

The earliest source I can find of the quote is in People (8 Apr 1974), where it appears as an epigraph for a story on Mitchell three years after his flight to the Moon.
Added on 9-Feb-16 | Last updated 9-Feb-16
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Democracy postulates community of interest or loyal patriotism. When these are absent it cannot long exist.

Inge - democracy - wist_info

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“Our Present Discontents,” Outspoken Essays: First Series (1919)
Added on 30-Nov-15 | Last updated 1-Jun-16
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The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves — in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.

The desirable things which the individuals of a people can not do, or can not well do, for themselves, fall into two classes: those which have relation to wrongs, and those which have not. Each of these branch off into an infinite variety of subdivisions. The first — that in relation to wrongs — embraces all crimes, misdemeanors, and non-performance of contracts. The other embraces all which, in its nature, and without wrong, requires combined action, as public roads and highways, public schools, charities, pauperism, orphanage, estates of the deceased, and the machinery of government itself.

From this it appears that if all men were just, there still would be some, though not so much, need of government.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
Fragment (1 Jul 1854?)
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In Roy P. Basler (ed.), Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Vol. 2 (1953). The date, by Nicolay and Hay, is deemed arbitrary.
Added on 6-Oct-15 | Last updated 6-Oct-15
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Individualism, at first, only saps the virtues of public life; but in the long run it attacks and destroys all others and is at length absorbed in downright selfishness.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French writer, diplomat, politician
Democracy in America, 2.2.2 (1840) [tr. Reeve & Bowen (1862)]
Added on 28-Jul-15 | Last updated 28-Jul-15
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There is a destiny that makes us brothers:
None goes his way alone:
All that we send into the lives of others
Comes back onto our own.

Edwin Markham (1852-1940) American poet
“A Creed To Mr. David Lubin”, st. 1, Lincoln & Other Poems (1901)
Added on 27-Feb-15 | Last updated 27-Feb-15
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All skill ought to be exerted for universal good; every man has owed much to others, and ought to repay the kindness that he has received.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, ch. 6 (1759)
Added on 21-Feb-14 | Last updated 13-Oct-14
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Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Philippians 2:4 (KJV)
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Alternate translations:
  • "Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." (NASB)
  • "Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." (NIV, NRSV)
Added on 18-Feb-14 | Last updated 18-Feb-14
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Furthering the common good does not require that we forego self-interest, but rather that we are able to see our own interests linked to those of others. It requires a society that enables citizens to express the very human need to act on our deepest values as well as on our private interests.

Frances Moore Lappé (b. 1944) American writer, activist
Rediscovering America’s Values, ch. 6 “Summing Up the Dialogue” (1989)
Added on 28-Jan-14 | Last updated 28-Jan-14
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There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) American poltician, educator, US President (1963-69)
News conference, Johnson City, Texas (28 Nov 1964)
Added on 27-Mar-13 | Last updated 30-Mar-15
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In a virtuous community men of sense and principle will always be placed at the head of affairs. In a declining state of public morals men will be so blinded to their true interests as to put the incapable and unworthy at the helm. It is therefore vain to complain of the follies or crimes of a government. We must lay the hands on our own hearts and say, Here is the sin that makes the public sin.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“The Individual and the State,” sermon, Second Church of Boston (8 Apr 1830)
Added on 13-Jul-12 | Last updated 3-Feb-16
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God has … ordered things that we may learn to bear one another’s burdens; for there is no man without his faults, none without his burden. None is sufficient in himself; none is wise in himself; therefore, we must support one another, comfort, help, teach, and advise one another.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, ch. 16 (c. 1418) [tr. L. Sherley-Price (1952)]
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Alt trans.: "But God has so ordained, that we may learn to bear with one another's burdens, for there is no man without fault, no man without burden, no man sufficient to himself nor wise enough. Hence we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise ...."
Added on 1-May-09 | Last updated 14-Sep-16
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I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood; that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“I Have a Dream,” speech, Washington, DC (28 Aug 1963)
Added on 18-Jan-05 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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Human beings are like parts of a body,
created from the same essence.
When one part is hurt and in pain,
the others cannot remain in peace and be quiet.
If the misery of others leaves you indifferent
and with no feelings of sorrow,
You cannot be called a human being.

Sa'adi (1184-1283/1291?) Persian poet [a.k.a. Sa'di, Moslih Eddin Sa'adi, Mushrif-ud-Din Abdullah, Muslih-ud-Din Mushrif ibn Abdullah, Mosleh al-Din Saadi Shirazi, Shaikh Mosslehedin Saadi Shirazi]
Poem on Humanity

Alternate translations:

Posted in the entrance to the Hall of Nations of the UN building, New York:

Of one Essence is the human race,
Thusly has Creation put the Base;
One Limb impacted is sufficient,
For all Others to feel the Mace.

Alt trans (M. Aryanpour):

Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.

Alternate:

The sons of Adam are limbs of each other,
Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time affects one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If thou hast no sympathy for the troubles of others
Thou art unworthy to be called by the name of a human.

Alternate:

All human beings are in truth akin;
All in creation share one origin.
When fate allots a member pangs and pains,
No ease for other members then remains.
If, unperturbed, another's grief canst scan,
Thou are not worthy of the name of man.

Alternate:

All Adam's race are members of one frame,
Since all, at first, from the same essence came.
When by hard fortune one limb is oppressed,
The other members lose their wonted rest:
If thou feel'st not for others' misery,
A son of Adam is no name for thee.

Persian original can be seen here. Transliterated (here) as:

Bani aadam aazaye yek digarand
ke dar aafarinesh ze yek gooharand
cho ozvi be dard aavarad roozegaar
degar ozvhaa raa namaanad gharaar
to kaz mehnate digaraan bi ghami
nashaayad ke naamat nahand aadami

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-Mar-16
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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.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Letter from Birmingham Jail (16 Apr 1963)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 19-Jan-15
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The highest result of education is tolerance. Long ago men fought and died for their faith; but it took ages to teach them the other kind of courage, — the courage to recognize the faiths of their brethren and their rights of conscience. Tolerance is the first principle of community; it is the spirit which conserves the best that all men think.

 

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
“Optimism” (1903)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Feb-15
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