July 4, 2007

Not merely victims

I've used this quote before, but it seems timely to resurrect it:

"I see humanity as a family that has hardly met. I see the meeting of people, bodies, thoughts, emotions or actions as the start of most change. Each link created by a meeting is like a filament, which, if they were all visible, would make the world look as though it is covered in gossamer. Every individual is connected to others, loosely or closely, by a unique combination of filaments which stretch across the frontiers of space and time. Every individual assembles past loyalties, present needs and visions of the future in a web of different contours, with the help of heterogeneous elements borrowed from other individuals; and this constant give-and-take has been the main stimulus of humanity's energy. Once people see themselves as influencing one another, they cannot be merely victims: anyone, however modest, then becomes a person capable of making a difference, minute though it may be, to the shape of reality. New attitudes are not promulgated by law, but spread, almost like an infection, from one person to another."
Theodore Zeldin "An Intimate History of Humanity", Minerva, 1995, pp465-466

Posted by richard at July 4, 2007 2:28 PM