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Posts Tagged ‘www.jrbenjamin.com’

History shows us how to behave.  History teaches, reinforces what we believe in, what we stand for…  History is — or should be — the bedrock of patriotism.  Not the chest-pounding kind of patriotism, but the real thing: love of country.
At their core, the lessons of history are largely lessons in appreciation.  Everything we have, all our great institutions, hospitals, universities, libraries, this city, our laws, our music, art, poetry, our freedoms, everything is because somebody went before us and did the hard work, provided the creative energy, provided the money, provided the belief.  Do we disregard that?
Indifference to history isn’t just ignorant, it’s rude.  It’s a form of ingratitude.
I’m convinced that history encourages, as nothing else does, a sense of proportion about life, and gives us a sense of the relative scale of our own time on earth and how valuable it is.
What history teaches it teaches mainly by example.  It inspires courage and tolerance.  It encourages a sense of humor.  It is an aid to navigation in perilous times…  Think how tough our predecessors were.  Think what they had been through.  There’s no one in this room who hasn’t an ancestor who went through some form of hell.  Churchill in his great speech in the darkest hours of the Second World War, when he crossed the Atlantic, reminded us, ‘We haven’t journeyed this far because we are made of sugar candy.'[…]
But, I think, what it really comes down to is that history is an extension of life.  It both enlarges and intensifies the experience of being alive.  It’s like poetry and art.  Or music.  And it’s ours, to enjoy.  If we deny our children that enjoyment, that adventure in the larger part of the human experience, we’re cheating them out of a full life.
There’s no secret to making history come alive.  Barbara Tuchman said it perfectly: ‘Tell stories.’  The pull, the appeal is irresistible, because history is about two of the greatest of all mysteries — time and human nature.
How lucky we are.  How lucky we are to enjoy in our work and in our lives, the possibilities, the precision and reach, the glories of the English language.  How lucky we are, how very lucky we are, to live in this great country, to be Americans — Americans all.
  —  David McCullough
Speaking at the 1995 National Book Awards.
[This quote was fount at one of the blogs I follow: “The Bully Pulpit
The specific post can be found at: http://jrbenjamin.com/2014/07/12/why-history/
The site is well worth a visit…  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Future Envy
2013 We Do Not Want To Learn That
2012 Social Inhibition
2011 Studying Chinese Food
Are You Bored, Too?
2010 Rant, Pant, Deep Breath – Reality

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I believe in life.  I believe in treasuring it as a mystery that will never be fully understood, as a sanctity that should never be destroyed, as an invitation to experience now what can only be remembered tomorrow.  I believe in its indivisibility, in the intimate connection between the newest bud of spring and the flicker in the eye of a patient near death, between the athlete in his prime and the quadriplegic vet, between the fetus in the womb and the mother who bears another life in her own body.
I believe in liberty.  I believe that within every soul lies the capacity to reach for its own good, that within every physical body there endures an unalienable right to be free from coercion.  I believe in a system of government that places that liberty at the center of its concerns, that enforces the law solely to protect that freedom, that sides with the individual against the claims of family and tribe and church and nation, that sees innocence before guilt and dignity before stigma.  I believe in the right to own property, to maintain it against the benign suffocation of a government that would tax more and more of it away.  I believe in freedom of speech and of contract, the right to offend and blaspheme, as well as the right to convert and bear witness.  I believe that these freedoms are connected — the freedom of the fundamentalist and the atheist, the female and the male, the black and the Asian, the gay and the straight.
I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Not its attainment, nor its final definition, but its pursuit.  I believe in the journey, not the arrival; in conversation, not monologues; in multiple questions rather than any single answer.  I believe in the struggle to remake ourselves and challenge each other in the spirit of eternal forgiveness, in the awareness that none of us knows for sure what happiness truly is, but each of us knows the imperative to keep searching.  I believe in the possibility of surprising joy, of serenity through pain, of homecoming through exile.
And I believe in a country that enshrines each of these three things, a country that promises nothing but the promise of being more fully human, and never guarantees its success.  In that constant failure to arrive — implied at the very beginning — lies the possibility of a permanently fresh start, an old newness, a way of revitalizing ourselves and our civilization in ways few foresaw and one day many will forget.  But the point is now.  And the place is America.
   —    Andrew Sullivan
From an article titled: “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Posted in NPR at:  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4723006
Originally found at one of the blogs I follow:  The Bully Pulpit  located at: //www.jrbenjamin.com
The specific posting:  http://jrbenjamin.com/2015/01/18/andrew-sullivan-what-i-believe/
[The site is well worth a visit.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Happy 4th of July 2014!!
2013 Patriot Act, Anyone?
2012 Five Lost Wars
2011 Worth Fighting For
2010 Still Learnin’ Hard…
4th of July 2010

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Cosmically, I seem to be of two minds.  The power of materialist science to explain everything — from the behavior of the galaxies to that of molecules, atoms and their sub-microscopic components — seems to be inarguable and the principal glory of the modern mind.  On the other hand, the reality of subjective sensations, desires and — may we even say — illusions, composes the basic substance of our existence, and religion alone, in its many forms, attempts to address, organize and placate these.  I believe, then, that religious faith will continue to be an essential part of being human, as it has been for me.
   —  John Updike
From the article: “Testing the Limits of What I Think and Feel
Found at one of the blogs I follow:  The Bully Pulpit    Located at:  www.jrbenjamin.com
The specific post is at:   http://jrbenjamin.com/2015/01/17/john-updike-what-i-believe/
[A site well worth visiting…  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Pride And Remembrance
2013 Repeating Bad Memories
2012 No Sooner
2011 Just Cheesy!
Are You Illin’?

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Man is a great enough creature and a great enough enigma to deserve both our pride and our compassion, and engage our fullest sense of mystery.  I shall certainly never do as much with my life as I want to, and I shall sometimes fail miserably to live up to my conscience, whose word I do not distrust even when I can’t obey it.  But I am terribly glad to be alive; and when I have wit enough to think about it, terribly proud to be a man and an American, with all the rights and privileges that those words connote; and most of all I am humble before the responsibilities that are also mine.  For no right comes without a responsibility, and being born luckier than most of the world’s millions, I am also born more obligated.
   —  Wallace Stegner
From: “Everything Potent Is Dangerous
Found at one of the blogs I follow:  The Bully Pulpit  //http:/www.jrbenjamin.com
The original post is at:  http://jrbenjamin.com/2015/01/18/wallace-stegner-what-i-believe/
[The site is well worth a visit…   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Rage And Fury
2013 Successful Children
2012 For God So Loved The World
2011 Go Cheeseheads!!
Structured Mentality

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