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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Margaret Eleanor Whiting is a singer. She is the daughter of the composer Richard Armstrong Whiting, and she was reared in show business. Her recordings of popular songs such as "My Ideal" and "Slippin' Around" catapulted her to fame. She has appeared on many leading radio and television shows, including the Jack Carson Show, Club Fifteen, and the Jack Smith, Dinah Shore, Margaret Whiting Show. Some of her outstanding recordings are "The Night Holds No Fear," "You're An Old Smoothie," and "My Heart Stood Still." Here now is Margaret Whiting.
I believe in seeking out life’s fundamental values and placing my faith in them, and I believe in the importance and essential goodness of all mankind. To me, the fundamental values range from such ordinary miracles as childbirth to the more complex matter of religion, the belief in a supreme being. They include friendship, love, peace of mind, and compassion. They’re difficult to discover, because they’re not labeled. The ability to recognize them depends solely upon the individual, and upon his ability to see through artificiality and sham.
Perhaps the best flashlight for the person who wishes to find the fundamental values in the darkness of over-accelerated living is simplicity. I believe in maintaining simplicity in all things, in my way of life, in my relations with others, in facing my problems, and in attaining my desires and ambitions. I believe that every other human being on Earth is important to me,
regardless of his race, creed, nationality, or station in life. He’s important not only for his triumphs, but also for his failures, because although we advance through man’s victories over his environment, we learn from his failures.
He’s important because no matter how I may try to escape it, his life is inseparably entwined with mine and mine with his. Anyone I meet may change my entire life or I may change his. And even if we make no such indelible impression on each other, the very fact that we met in friendship and tried to understand one another will make us better human beings.
Because I believe in the importance of others, I believe in the importance of living for others. That means sharing, not only material wealth but spiritual riches as well. Those who have found a measure of happiness have a duty to share it with others.
That’s the only way to make it grow and multiply. Sharing things—possessions, happiness, and even sorrow—is the foundation of friendship. And those who have friends have found one of the fundamental values. Sharing may mean many things: a financial loan to a friend in need, advice to someone in trouble, or even a casual word spoken almost unconsciously that helps to brighten the life of someone else.
Recently I was entertaining at a veteran’s hospital when the doctors asked me to say a few words to a boy who had lost both of his arms and legs, and all of his hope. He wanted to die, because he believed that his tragedy had slammed the door to a happy, useful life for him. I asked him if he would like to have me sing for him, but he turned his face away and mumbled that I didn’t sing his kind of music. See, he’d been a Western music fan. Well, I asked him if he had ever heard of the
song "Slipping Around?" “That’s my favorite song. Why?” he replied. When I told him that I had helped to make the tune popular, he smiled for the first time in many months.
I believe in that moment I fulfilled my real purpose as an individual. I had brought a little happiness to someone else, and in this case, someone who needed it badly. I’d like to believe that those few words made the boy start thinking again about the good things that he could receive from life and contribute to it, rather than about the misfortunes that sometimes make each of us want to give up. I left that hospital a prouder, happier person. We had found something to contribute to each other.
That was Margaret Whiting, whose daily life as a singer of popular songs has expressed for her a personal philosophy of the importance of contributing to the happiness of others.