In a complex society and a complex civilization, the individual is inevitably confused much of the time. But I believe that the basic solution of all world and group problems must first be solved by the individual himself. Now each one of us, whether we publicly admit it or not, has a deeply spiritual side. Not one of us can conceal it—scratch the surface and it’s always there. So first of all—and underlying all my credo—I believe in God and in an orderly universe.
As a mortal, passing through this life for just a limited period of time, I believe that happiness is a truly basic objective—happiness for one’s self and, hopefully, happiness for others. It hasn’t taken too much living on my part to discover that real happiness, which sounds so selfish and so self-centered, is never achieved merely by selfish materialism—it can only have depth and real satisfaction if it is bound up with unselfishness—with a consideration for others. Service is the very essence of it. It has been said that “service is the rent we pay for our place on earth.” That kind of service brings the true happiness that we all seek.
生命是有限的，我相信，人類應該為自己追求幸福，同時也為他人帶去幸福，這才是人類真正要追求的最基本的生活目標?；仡欁约贺S富的生活閱歷，我明白了，真正的幸福似乎是自私和以自我為中心。但是，那些牟取私利、滿足個人物質需要的人永遠不會擁有真正的幸福。只有當幸福與無私、體諒他人聯系在一起時，這種幸福才會是有深度、真正令人滿意的幸福。幸福的本質是奉獻，這種奉獻帶來了我們所有人所追求的真正幸福。曾經有人說過這樣的話：“幸福是我們為在地球上占據的空間而支付的租金?！?br /> The antithesis of all this is selfishness, which is outstandingly the greatest world-wide vice. It seems though all the world had the “gimmies,” selfishly grasping for power, and more and more, at national levels, with individuals selfishly struggling for material things at their own level.
Each one of us needs a sense of humor with its balancing factor of a sense of proportion. I believe a sense of humor brings poise and a start towards understanding.
My credo embraces a joyous approach for me toward my fellow man and for collective groups towards each other. I want none of that grim hellfire-and-brimstone stuff that flourished in the early days of our country—a religion of frightening fear of the hereafter. Why, even their old church pews were as uncomfortable as straitjackets! A joyous approach towards living even cheers you yourself—to say nothing of its warmth that eases the burdens of others.
Now I believe that brotherhood can grow from this to help destroy forever the seeds of friction and injustice that stem from group minority prejudices.
If only each one of us can develop a sound philosophy and work out a course of conduct as individuals, then I believe that we can solve our world problems at the international level. Thomas Mann once gave this challenging definition—I quote: “War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.” End quote. With faith and good will in our hearts and with peace in our souls and minds, surely we can leave this world the better for our having lived in it.
“We are all at the mercy of a falling tile,” Julius Caesar reminds us in Thornton Wilder’s Ides of March. None of us knows at what hour something we may love may suffer some terrible blow by a force we can neither anticipate nor control.
Fifty-five years of living, much of the time in trouble centers of a highly troubled era, have not taught me how to avoid being hit by falling tiles. I have sustained some very server blows. My mother died when I was three years old. My first-born son, a gifted and idealistic youth, was killed in the war. While I was still cherishing the hope that he might be alive, circumstance beyond my control made it impossible for me to continue work into which I had poured my heart’s blood for twenty years.
I speak of such things here in the hope of helping others to believe with me that there are resources within one’s grasp which enable one to sustain such blows without being crushed or embittered by them.
I believe the best hope of standing up to falling tiles is through developing a sustaining philosophy and state of mind all through life. I have seen all sorts of people sustain all sorts of blows in all sorts of circumstances by all sorts of faiths, so I believe anyone can find a faith that will serve his needs if he persists in the quest.
One of the best ways I know of fortifying oneself to withstand the vicissitudes of his insecure and unpredictable era is to school oneself to require relatively little in the way of material possessions, physical satisfactions or the praise of others. The less one requires of such things the better situated one is to stand up to changes of fortune.
I am singularly rich in friendships. Friends of all ages have contributed enormously to my happiness and helped me greatly in times of need. I learned one of the great secrets of friendship early in life – to regard each person with whom one associates as an end in himself, not a means to one’s own ends. That entails trying to help those with whom one comes in contact to find fulfillment in their own way while seeking one’s own fulfillment in one’s own way.
Another ethical principle that has stood me in good stead is: Know thyself! I try to acquaint myself realistically with my possibilities and limitations. I try to suit my aspirations to goals within my probable capacity to attain. I may have missed some undiscovered possibilities for growth but I have spared myself much by not shooting for stars it clearly was not given me to attain.
I have seen much inhumanity, cheating, corruption, sordidness and selfishness but I have not become cynical. I have seen too much that is decent, kind and noble in men to lose faith in the possibility for a far finer existence than yet has been achieved. I believe the quest for a better life is the most satisfying pursuit of men and nations.
I love life but I am not worried about death. I do not feel that I have lost my son and a host of others dear to me by death. I believe with William Penn that “they that love beyond the World cannot be separated by it. Death is but Crossing the World, as Friends do the Seas; they live in one another still.” Death, I believe, teaches us the things of deathlessness.