Man is a great enough creature, and a great enough enigma, to deserve both our pride and our compassion, and engage our fullest sense of mystery. I shall certainly never do as much with my life as I want to, and I shall sometimes fail miserably to live up to my conscience, whose word I do not distrust even when I can't obey it. But I am terribly glad to be alive, and when I have wit enough to think about it, terribly proud to be a man and an American, with all the rights and privileges that those words connote. And most of all, I am humble before the responsibilities that are also mine, for no right comes without a responsibility, and being born luckier than most of the world's millions, I am also born more obligated.
There the beliefs of Wallace Stegner, who, in addition to his own writing, directs the creative writing program at Stanford University. He lives in Los Altos, California.