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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

17. The Creed Of Leo Rosten

We must forever oppose hysteria, even when it is wrapped in the vestments
of patriotism.

We must learn that those we like are not always right, and those we do not
like are not always wrong: for the validity of an idea has little to do with
who is for it or who is against it.

We must learn to seek change without violence, always change and never
violence, not even in words, much less in deeds.

We must try to understand each other by reconciling ourselves to the fact
that most of us never really mature, we simply grow older and taller.

We must meet fanaticism with courage, and idealism with a dose of caution.

We must be skeptical of that which is promised, but not proved.

We must be strong enough to be gentle.

We must know that life will always contain unbearable stretches of
loneliness, of conflict and darkness and pain, and that we can never be
truly understood even by those who love us. We cannot completely
understand someone else, no matter how much we want to or try.

We must have the great good courage to live without absolutes, without
dogmas.

We must have the will to seek imaginative excapes from conformity,
knowing - with Emerson - “Whosoever would be a man must be a nonconformist.”

We must learn to meet life in a series of tentative and impermanent
approximations, knowing that the final goals may never be reached, that
the last truths may be forever unknowable, that life holds nothing more
precious than the process by which, to the fullest reaches of which we
are capable, we stretch the mind and the heart.

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