• Bill Stauffer

Gratitude Friday 6-17-22 – The Timeless Power of the Written Word

The written word can be refined until it captures the essence of something perfectly. Writers have put gems to paper (and parchment or vellum depending on how far back one looks) that have stood the test of time. These thoughts can be then preserved across time. Salient across the millennia. The closest to immortality we can get and connection to those who came before we can get. I often find myself mining the thoughts of long-gone writers and thinkers to help me understand things going around me in our times. What treasures they have bestowed on us. This gratitude Friday, I thought I would share some of my favorite ones.

“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.” ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye


“All cruelty springs from weakness.” ― Seneca, Seneca's Morals: Of a Happy Life, Benefits, Anger and Clemency


“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ― Neil Gaiman


“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.” ― Elie Wiesel


“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment” - Marcus Aurelius


“Why aren't you in school? I see you every day wandering around." "Oh, they don't miss me," she said. "I'm antisocial, they say. I don't mix. It's so strange. I'm very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn't it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this." She rattled some chestnuts that had fallen off the tree in the front yard. "Or talking about how strange the world is. Being with people is nice. But I don't think it's social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you? An hour of TV class, an hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures, and more sports, but do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don't; they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours of film-teacher. That's not social to me at all. It's a lot of funnels and lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and them telling us it's wine when it's not. They run us so ragged by the end of the day we can't do anything but go to bed or head for a Fun Park to bully people around, break windowpanes in the Window Smasher place or wreck cars in the Car Wrecker place with the big steel ball. Or go out in the cars and race on the streets, trying to see how close you can get to lampposts, playing 'chicken' and 'knock hubcaps.' I guess I'm everything they say I am, all right. I haven't any friends. That's supposed to prove I'm abnormal. But everyone I know is either shouting or dancing around like wild or beating up one another. Do you notice how people hurt each other nowadays?” ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451


“Men who find themselves late are never sure. They are all the things the civics books tell us the good citizen should be: partisans but never zealots, respecters of the facts which attend each situation but never benders of those facts, uncomfortable in positions of leadership but rarely unable to turn down a responsibility once it has been offered . . . or thrust upon them. They make the best leaders in a democracy because they are unlikely to fall in love with power.” ― Stephen King, The Stand


“If you care about something you have to protect it – If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.” ― John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany


“The masses never revolt of their own accord, and they never revolt merely because they are oppressed. Indeed, so long as they are not permitted to have standards of comparison, they never even become aware that they are oppressed.” ― George Orwell, 1984


“Tell me where it hurts, she'd say. Stop howling. Just calm down and show me where. But some people can't tell where it hurts. They can't calm down. They can't ever stop howling.” ― Margaret Atwood


I am grateful for writers. If you have a favorite quote, please share it! What are you grateful for today?




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