Norman Cousins

American Writer, Editor, Peace Advocate, World Federalist
Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism
1960. 1962, 1965 AFSC Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

birthdate: June 24
Union Hill, New Jersey


"The conquest of war and the pursuit of social justice... must become our grand preoccupation and magnificent obsession."

"Inevitably, an individual is measured by his or her largest concerns."

"The new education must be less concerned with sophistication than compassion. It must recognize the hazards of tribalism. It must teach man the most difficult lesson of all—to look at someone anywhere in the world and be able to see the image of himself. The old emphasis upon superficial differences that separate peoples must give way to education for citizenship in the human community. With such an education and with such self-understanding, it is possible that some nation or people may come forward with the vital inspiration that men need no less than food. Leadership on this higher level does not require mountains of gold or thundering propaganda. It is concerned with human destiny. Human destiny is the issue. People will respond."

"The essential lesson most people still resist is that they are members of one species. It is this that we all share—the emergence of a common destiny and the beginning of the perception, however misty, that something beyond the nation will have to be brought into being if the human race is to have any meaning."

"I can imagine no greater satisfaction for a person, in looking back on his life and work, than to have been able to give some people, however few, a feeling of genuine pride in belonging to the human species and, beyond that, a zestful yen to justify that pride."

Life is an adventure in forgiveness.

Man is not imprisoned by habit. Great changes in him can be wrought by crisis - once that crisis can be recognized and understood.

Optimism doesn't wait on facts. It deals with prospects. Pessimism is a waste of time.

The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started.

The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference. He has it within his means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.

The main failure of education is that it has not prepared people to comprehend matters concerning human destiny.

The only security for the American people today, or for any people, is to be found through the control of force rather than the use of force.

War is an invention of the human mind. The human mind can invent peace.

"Reverence for life is more than solicitude or sensitivity for life. It is a sense of the whole, a capacity for inspired response, a respect for the intricate universe of individual life. It is the supreme awareness of awareness itself."

"Although a man may have no jurisdiction over the fact of his existence, he can hold supreme command over the meaning of existence for him."

“In a democracy, the individual enjoys not only the ultimate power but carries the ultimate responsibility.”


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