"This wound is in me, as complex and deep in my flesh as blood and nerves. I have borne it all my life, with varying degrees of consciousness, but always carefully, always with the most delicate consideration for the pain I would feel if I were somehow forced to acknowledge it. But now I am increasingly aware of the opposite compulsion. I want to know, as fully and exactly as I can, what the wound is and how much I am suffering from it."
"I do not believe that any one work of art is immortal any more than I believe that a grove of trees or a nation is immortal. A man cannot be immortal except by saving his soul, and he cannot save his soul except by freeing his body and mind from the destructive forces in his history."
"What a man most needs is not a knowledge of how to get more, but a knowledge of the most he can do without, and of how to get along without it... Wisdom, it seems to me, is always poised upon the knowledge of minimums."
"I realized that the culture I needed was not to be found by visiting museums and libraries and auditoriums... A man, I thought, must be judged by how willingly and meaningfully he can be present where he is, by how fully he can make himself a home in his part of the world."
"The root of our racial problem in America is not racism. The root is in our inordinate desire to be superior--not to some inferior or superior people, though this desire leads to the subjection of people--but to our condition. We wish to rise above the sweat and bother of taking care of anything--of ourselves, of each other, or of our country. We did not enslave African blacks because they were black, but because their labor promised to free us of the obligations of stewardship."
"If we are looking for insurance against want and oppression, we will find it only in our neighbor's prosperity and goodwill and, beyond that, in the good health of our worldly places, our homelands."
"Our present idea of freedom is only the freedom to do as we please: to sell ourselves for a high salary, a home in the suburbs, and idle weekends. But that is a freedom dependent on affluence, which is in turn dependent on the rapid consumption of exhaustible supplies. The other kind of freedom is the freedom to take care of ourselves and of each other."
"To see [the problems of disintegration: divorce, murder, rape, debt, public child-care, retirement homes, hopeless poverty, unemployment etc] as the symptoms of a greater problem would require hard thought, a change of heart, and a search for the fundamental cause."