No, not the words that flow from my keyboard - the ones in books that surround me.
To prove that even poor folks can share the riches of other people's wisdom, here are some gems found at random within my arm's reach:
- "If old truths are to retain their hold on men's minds, they must be restated in the language and concepts of successive generations." - F.A. Hayek, in "The Constitution of Liberty"
- "Keep sentences short." - Paula LaRocque, in "The Book on Writing"
- "Learn from everyone." - Michael P. Mills, in "Twice Told Tombigbee Tales"
- "Why don't we actively share Christ's purpose? ... First, we don't see the value of every man. Second, we don't feel the urgency of the search." - Bill Perkins, in "6 Rules Every Man Must Break"
- "Honesty is good, then, not just because it is a virtue, but for a practical reason: It can give us an accurate description of our problem, and it can set the problem precisely in its context." - Wendell Berry, in "The Way of Ignorance"
- "In philosophy, the opposite of truth is error. In Scripture, the opposite of truth is a lie." - Brennan Manning, in "The Ragamuffin Gospel"
- "Say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.' Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy." - Isaiah 35:4-6
- "Lord, let me have no will of my own, or consider my true happiness as depending in the smallest degree on anything that can befall me outwardly, but as consisting altogether in conformity to Thy will." - Henry Martyn, reprinted in "Give Us Grace: An Anthology of Anglican Prayers"
- "I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by content of their character." - Martin Luther King Jr., reprinted in "A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr."
And then, there's the quote that I can't find in my library, but which the OI (Omniscient Internet) attributes to Mark Twain, Stephen Covey and a host of other authors: "He who does not read great books is no better off than he who cannot read."
Any fool can own great books - or lift quotes from them. (Gulp.) Their value, I'm reminding myself, comes when the books are read and reread until they become part of us.
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or email@example.com. Read his blog at NEMS360.com.