This I Believe

Cousins, Norman


  • Norman Cousins describes his beliefs in both the individuality of the self and the unity of all humanity, as well as in a moral order derived from universal order; therefore, the poverty of others impacts his own condition, and he works to alleviate social problems.
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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. Norman Cousins is editor of the Saturday Review of Literature. He was one of the first to recognize the social implications of the atomic bomb. His “Modern Man is Obsolete” and his more recent book “Who Speaks for Man” are vivid discussions of this theme. He is president of the United World Federalists. Here now is the statement of beliefs of Norman Cousins.
This I believe. I am a single cell in a body of 2 billion cells, the body is mankind. I glory in the individuality of self but my individuality does not separate me from my universal self, the oneness of man. My memory is personal and finite but my substance is boundless and infinite. The portion of that substance that is mine was not devised it was renewed. So long as the human blood stream lives I have life. I do not believe that humankind is an excrescence or a machine, or that the solar systems and galaxies in the universe lack order or sanction. I may not embrace or command this universal order but I can be at one with it for I am of it.
I see no separation between the universal order and the moral order. I believe that the expansion of knowledge makes for an expansion of faith and the widening of the horizons of mind for a widening of belief. My reason nourishes my faith and my faith my reason. I am not diminished by the growth of knowledge but by the denial of knowledge. I am not oppressed by nor do I shrink before the apparent boundaries in life or the lack of boundaries in cosmos. I cannot affirm God if I fail to affirm man. If I deny the oneness of man, I deny the oneness of God. Therefore I affirm both.
Without this belief in human unity I am hungry and incomplete. Human unity is the fulfillment of diversity.
It is the harmony of opposites. It is a many stranded textura with color and depth. The sense of human unity makes possible a reverence for life. Reverence for life is more than solicitude or sensitivity for life. It is a sense of the whole, a capacity for wonder, a respect for the intricate universe of individual life. It is the supreme awareness of awareness itself, it is pride in being.
I am a single cell. My needs are individual but they are not unique. When I enter my home I enter with the awareness that my table is only half set, for half the men on this earth know the emptiness of one. The roof of my home is only half built for half my brothers are poorly sheltered.
When I walk through the streets of my city I walk with the awareness of the shattered cities beyond number that comprise the dominant reality in the world. And when I think of peace I can know no peace until the peace is real.
My dedication, therefore, is to the cause of man and to the attainment of that which is within the reach of man. I will work for human unity under a purposeful peace. I will work for the growth of a moral order that is in keeping with the universal order. In this way do I affirm faith in life and life in faith. This then I believe. I am a single cell in a body of two billion cells. The body is mankind.
Those were the beliefs of Norman Cousins editor of the Saturday Review of Literature.