This I Believe
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And now, This I Believe. The living philosophies of thoughtful men and women presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow
This I Believe. What are the basic rules of character, the fundamental standards which make for decent, honest life? Nobody can give a complete answer to this question but Curtin Winsor, World War Two veteran and Philadelphia attorney, has made some important discoveries and now he sums them up for us.
All my life I’ve been an independent in my political and economic beliefs and also in my
professional career. I prefer to work, as well as think, for myself. This pattern colors my life in spiritual matters also. For example, though I believe in a Supreme Being, I am not an active church member. Perhaps I would be more inclined to formal religion if at boarding school, I had not been compelled to attend chapel twice daily, and three times on Sunday—walking nearly six miles, all told, to get to church.
Since religion was thrust upon me, I rebelled against it in my younger days. Gradually, I worked up a highly personalized set of conduct standards of my own. Although fully conscious that too often I do not live up to these standards, I have set them up as an ideal by which I constantly strive to measure
myself. Goaded by an active conscience, I don’t often forget them, even when I violate them. These standards are based on the broad foundation of good taste. I suppose they might be summed up in the adage, “Be true unto yourself,” with the corollary, “so that others may be true to you.”
Once having set up this principle of good taste, I find that certain other principles automatically follow. For example, if I am really true to myself, I must also be considerate. I must never intentionally hurt anyone, so that they won’t want to hurt me. I must be thorough, and never leave a job half-finished for someone else to have to do. I must be alert, and never pass up an opportunity to do my job or help others do theirs, so that they can more readily help me. I must be friendly so that
others will like me. I must be even-tempered, so that I can think straight and help others do so. I must be open minded, so that I can balance and weigh ideas on the basis of judgment, to advise both myself and others. I must be tolerant, because I know I have my own peculiarities. I must be temperate in both my actions and opinions so as not to abuse the body and brain bestowed upon me. I must be generous when I have something to give that others may need. And finally, I must be good-humored, so that I can smile at triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors both the same.
Years ago, an early American poet wrote verses which my English teacher at school made us memorize. They run, as follows:
So live that when thy summons comes
To join that innumerable caravan,
Which moves toward that mysterious realm
Where each shall take his chamber
In the silent halls of death,
Thou go not like a quarry slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon,
But sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust.
Approach thy grave as one who wraps
The drapery of his couch about him
And lies down to pleasant dreams.
In these cool, Pagan lines of old William Cullen Bryant, I believe, lie the core of an “independence testament of good taste.”
You have heard the creed of Curtin Winsor: executive director and one of the founders of Americans for the Competitive Enterprise System, director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, World Affairs
Council, and Atlantic Union Committee, alive and useful member of his community.