“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
– Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was a British philosopher, logician and mathematician. He co-wrote Prinicipia Mathematica with A. N. Whitehead, attempting to ground math in logic, and he has had a profound influence on philosophy, mathematics and linguistics. He was a staunch anti-war activist; he was jailed for pacifism in World War I, campaigned against Adolf Hitler, and was against the Vietnam War. He also acknowledged that war could at times be the lesser of two evils, and supported World War II, in the interest of defeating Hitler as the larger threat. Russell received a Nobel Prize in Literature, for writing championing freedom and humanitarian ideals.
“Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity. Reduce selfishness, have few desires.” – Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu’s counsel helps us to keep life pure. If we are running from one activity to the next, we are missing serenity in our daily lives. If we are accumulating things, our lives are crowded by materialism. It can prevent us from being clear and free to receive new ideas.
Simplicity allows us to not be distracted. We focus on living a life well-lived. We focus on spiritual qualities such as kindness and consideration, which allow our lives to serve others, and ourselves, with the highest good in mind.
The specific birthdate of Lao Tzu is unknown. Legends vary, but scholars place his birth between 600 and 300 B.C.E. Lao Tzu is attributed with the writing of the “Tao-Te Ching,” (tao—meaning the way of all life, te—meaning the fit use of life by men, and ching—meaning text or classic). Lao Tzu was not his real name, but an honorific given the sage, meaning “Old Master.” Lao Tzu wanted his philosophy to remain a natural way to live life with goodness, serenity and respect. Lao Tzu laid down no rigid code of behavior. He believed a person’s conduct should be governed by instinct and conscience.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”
This quote is often attributed to Philo of Alexandria. Philo was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived from 20 BC to 50 AD. This quote is also sometimes cited to Plato, a classical Greek philosopher who was the student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle. I received this great quote from a wonderful academic leader at USC, Warren Bennis. I was sharing my mission and values with Dr. Bennis, and he provided this quote as helpful guidance. I met Dr. Bennis when I was inducted into his leadership institute while getting my masters in communications. His demeanor is warm, kind, astute and constantly open to new trends and progress in our society. Dr. Bennis, thank you for this meaningful quote!
Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert) is a Hindu spiritual teacher, and the author of Be Here Now. He was born Jewish, considered himself an Atheist in his early years, and went on a spiritual search to India in the 1960s. There he met Neem Karoli Baba, who became his guru, and gave him the name Ram Dass, meaning “servant of God.” Ram Dass has written more than ten books and founded two foundations, the Seva Foundation and Hanuman Foundation.
“Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.” — Kahlil Gibran
What a beautiful quote from Kahlil Gibran, a philosopher and leader who was so conscious of living in tune with nature, our feelings and our sincerest intentions.
Gibran was born in Lebanon in 1883 and emigrated to the United States as a young man. He is best known for his work of philisophical essays, The Prophet. He is the third best-selling poet in the world, after Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu–excellent company to be in!
“When a suffering is shared, its weight is divided; and when a joy is shared, the delight is multiplied. We need each other.”
– Sue Monk Kidd, First Light, Chapter: Availability.
Sue Monk Kidd is a writer, novelist, and memoirist. She grew up in the Southern United States and her hometown of Sylvester, Georgia influenced her first and best-known book The Secret Life of Bees. As a worldwide acclaimed author, her fictional works are concentrated on the oppositions and successes of women. Kidd is inspired by Henry David Thoreau, Kate Chopin, Thomas Merton, Martha Burke, and Carl Jung as role models.