Favorite Signature Quotations from John Wilmerding
"When words become unclear,
I shall focus on photographs.
When images become inadequate,
I shall be content with silence."
-- Ansel Adams, Photographer
"It is the characteristic excellence of the strong person,
that they can bring momentous issues to the fore,
and make decisions about them.
The weak are always forced to decide between
alternatives they have not chosen themselves."
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Every Christian who is not a revolutionary lives in mortal sin."
-- Camillo Torres, a Jesuit priest killed in El Salvador
"I should like to love my country and still love justice."
-- Albert Camus
"A solitary human being is a contradiction in terms."
-- Desmond Tutu, Burlington, VT, March 28, 2005
"There is no time left
except to make peace work
a part of our every waking activity."
-- Elise Boulding, Quaker Scholar & Peace Activist
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
-- Mohandas Karamchand 'Mahatma' Gandhi
"Use truth as your anvil, nonviolence as your hammer,
and anything that does not stand the test when it is
brought to the anvil of truth, reject it."
-- Mohandas Karamchand 'Mahatma' Gandhi
"Recall the face
of the poorest and most helpless person you have ever
seen, and ask yourself if the next worldly action that you
contemplate is going to be of any use to that person."
-- Mohandas Karamchand 'Mahatma' Gandhi
"In the big lie, there is always a certain force of credibility.
The broad masses of a nation are always more deeply corrupted
in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously
or voluntarily. Thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds,
they more readily fall victim to the big lie than the small lie,
since they themselves often tell small lies in small matters,
but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods."
-- Adolf Hitler, from 'Mein Kampf' ('My Struggle')
"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State
can shield the people from the political, economic, and/or
military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally
important for the State to use all its powers to repress dissent,
for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie -- and thus by
extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State."
-- Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Propaganda Minister
"I have seen in the light of the Lord, that the day is approaching
when the man that is most wise in human policy
shall be the greatest fool;
and the arm that is mighty to support injustice,
shall be broken to pieces:
The enemies of righteousness shall make a terrible rattle,
and shall mightily torment one another;
for He that is omnipotent is rising up to judgement,
and will plead the cause of the oppressed;
and He commanded me to open the vision."
-- Quaker John Woolman, Anti-Slavery minister
from his Diary entry for January 4, 1770, 5:00 AM
The sword of murder
is not the balance of justice.
Blood does not wipe out dishonor,
nor violence indicate possession.
-- Julia Ward Howe, 1870
(Author of 'Battle Hymn of the Republic')
"Act as if the principle by which you act
were about to be turned into
a universal law of nature."
-- Immanuel Kant, Philosopher
have few desires."
-- Lao Tsu, 'Tao Te Ching'
"... In order for us to bring reconciliation to what was a very difficult
time, we first must have justice. We must continue to ask when the lives
of our people will be given the same respect and value as others. There
is hope for a better future, and for peace. But in order for us to live
in peace, we must be able to live in dignity and without fear."
-- Leonard Peltier
"Let all nations hear the sound by word or writing.
Spare no place, spare no tongue, nor pen;
but be obedient to the Lord God:
go through the work;
be valiant for the truth upon Earth;
tread and trample upon all that is contrary."
George Fox, from his 1656
'Exhortations to Friends in the Ministry'
"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end:
if you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth
-- only softsoap and wishful thinking to begin with,
and, in the end, despair." -- C.S. Lewis
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our
deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, 'who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented, famous?' Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of G-d. Your 'playing small' does not
serve this world. There is nothing enlightened about
'shrinking' so that other people will not feel insecure
around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of G-d that is
within us. It's not just in some of us -- it's in everyone!
And as we do let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same. As we are
liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
-- Marianne Williamson, sometimes
called 'Liberation Prayer' and quoted by Nelson Mandela
"Never doubt that a small group
of thoughtful, committed people
can change the world. Indeed,
it's the only thing that ever has."
-- Anthropologist Margaret Mead
"The men that American people admire most extravagantly
are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently
are those who try to tell them the truth."
-- H. L. Mencken
"I knew that I could never again raise my voice against
the violence of the oppressed in the ghettoes without
having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of
violence in the world today -- my own government.
-- The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing that it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing
evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you
cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may
murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. So it goes. Returning
violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a
night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only
love can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.
"He who fights monsters should see to it that
he does not become a monster in the process.
And when you stare persistently into an abyss,
the abyss also stares into you."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche, 'Beyond Good and Evil'
1886 (Fourth Part: 'Maxims and Interludes')
Individuals have global moral obligations which
transcend national obligations of obedience; they
must sometimes violate domestic laws to prevent
crimes against peace, justice and all of humanity.
-- 1950's 'Nuremberg Precedent' in Global Law
"We must overturn so many idols, the idol of self first of all,
so that we can be humble, and only from our humility,
can learn to be redeemers, can learn to work together
in the way the world really needs.
Liberation that raises a cry against others is no true liberation.
Liberation that means revolutions of hate and violence
and takes the lives of others, or abases the dignity of others
cannot be true liberty.
True liberty does violence to self, and, like Christ,
who disregarded that he was sovereign,
becomes a slave to serve others."
-- Oscar Arnulfo Romero, 1917-1980, Martyred for Liberty
Roman Catholic Archbishop of El Salvador
"We must learn that we can be agents of change, that we are part
of the problem and that together, we are also part of the solution.
The actual danger is not "out there". The real dangers, as well as
the potential solutions, lie within us. Our personal behavior is just
about the only thing in this world over which we have 100 percent
control, and so we must take responsibility for it.
-- Petra Kelly, co-founder of the German Green Party,
from her book 'Nonviolence Speaks to Power'
"G-d acts within every moment, creates the world with every breath, and
speaks from the center of the universe in the silence beyond all thought.
Mightier than the crash of a thunderstorm, deeper than the ocean's roar
is G-d's voice, silently speaking in the depths of every listening
Psalm 93, re-worded from a translation from Hebrew by Stephen Mitchell
"It is from numberless diverse acts
of courage and belief
that human history is shaped.
Each time a person stands up for an ideal,
or acts to improve the lot of others,
or strikes out against injustice,
they send forth a tiny ripple of hope,
and crossing each other
from a million different centers
of energy and daring,
these ripples build a current that can
sweep down the mightiest walls
of oppression and resistance."
-- Robert F. Kennedy, University of
Capetown, South Africa, 1966
"I pin my hopes to small circles & quiet processes where vital &
transforming events take place."
-- Rufus Jones, 1937
"That which is altogether just shalt thou follow,
that thou mayest live, and inherit the land
which the Lord thy G-d giveth thee."
-- Deuteronomy 16:20
"The human heart can change the human mind in
an instant, but never, ever the other way around."
-- Shelby (last name unknown), playing 'Truely'
in Microsoft Asheron's Call on-line role-playing
game, before she was killed -- with her beloved
partner -- by a drunk driver September 18, 2000.
"I want to stay as close to the edge as I can ...
Out on the edge, you can see all kinds of things
you can't see from the center."
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Author
"You will say, Christ saith this, and the apostles say this; but
what canst thou say? Art thou a child of Light and hast walked
in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from G-d?"
-- George Fox, credited as the founder of the Religious Society
of Friends (Quakers), as was quoted by Friend Margaret Fell.
"Work together to reinvent justice
using methods that are fair;
that conserve, restore, and even create
harmony, equity, and good will in society."
-- John Wilmerding, 1995
"Ye Shall Have a Song,
As In the Night,
When a Holy Solemnity is Kept,
and Gladness of Heart,
as When One Goeth With a Pipe
to Come Into the Mountain of the Lord."
-- Isaiah 30:29