Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hope in bad times

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
Howard Zinn,
You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train:
A Personal History of Our Times

(Boston: Beacon, 2002), p 208


A friend of mine, Jim Forest, sent this quote to friends on his list. Howard Zinn, the author of A People's History of the United States, died last Wednesday. He was a radical to the end of his days, getting to the root of problems. Jim found the quote
in a lecture by Peter Dale Scott at an antiwar conference.

1 comment:

phoenixwoman said...

An amazing man, of the like there are few in any age.

--Charles