“I want to do the right thing, but often I don’t know just what the right thing is. Every day I know I have come short of what I would like to have done. Yet as the years pass and I see the very world itself, with its oceans and mountains and plains, as something unfinished, a peculiar little satisfaction hunts out the corners of my heart. Sunsets and evening shadows find me regretful at task’s undone, but sleep and the dawn and the air of the morning touch me with freshening hopes. Strange things blow in through my window on the wings of the night wind and I don’t worry about my destiny.”
My dear, In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. I realized, through it all, that…In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back. Truly yours, Albert Camus
“I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead.
It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death.
I want to have time to look for my children, to see how many I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead.
Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.”
– Chief Joseph, Nez Perce Native American
Note: In 1877, the Nez Perce tribe was ordered to move to a reservation. The tribe refused to. Chief Joseph led them to Canada, fighting with the U.S. army over the entire 1,100 miles. Forty miles from the border, the tribe was trapped. After 5 days of fighting, the remaining 431 members of the tribe surrendered. This quote is from Chief Joseph’s surrender speech.
“I wrote with tears and anguish, pouring into the pages all that pain which life had meant to me. Externally the story had to do with a family of stockyard workers, but internally it was the story of my own family. Did I wish to know how the poor suffered in winter time in Chicago? I only had to recall the previous winter in the cabin, when we had only cotton blankets, and had rags on top of us. It was the same with hunger, with illness, with fear. Our little boy was down with pneumonia that winter, and nearly died, and the grief of that went into the book.”
– Upton Sinclair, about his book The Jungle.
Upton Sinclair was known as “a man with every gift except humor and silence.” But his book The Jungle was instrumental in improving the quality of food production in the U.S. He shed light on labor and sanitary conditions in the U.S. meatpacking industry, and as a result, the outraged public pushed legislators to pass the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act.
From another quote by him, he said “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.”
“I cured myself of shyness when it finally occurred to me that people didn’t think about me half as much as I gave them credit for. The truth was, nobody gave a damn. Like most teenagers, I was far too self-centered. When I stopped being prisoner to what I worried was others’ opinions of me, I became more confident and free.”
“I once thought that if I could ask God one question, I would ask how the universe began, because once I knew that, all the rest is simply equations. But as I got older I became less concerned with how the universe began. Rather, I would want to know why he started the universe. For once I knew that answer, then I would know the purpose of my own life.”