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. With a few kind and fatherly words of encouragement, at just the right moment, newspaperman Ward Greene has started hundreds of writers and cartoonists on their career. What beliefs have helped him on his own way up? Now, editor and general manager of the huge King Features syndicate, he gives us some answers.
When a man is ten, he has a boy’s faith in almost everything; even Santa Claus is a belief he is not quite ready
to give up so long as there is a chance the old gentleman may really live and deliver. When a man is twenty, he is closer to complete disillusion and stronger conviction than he will probably ever be in his life. This is the age of atheists and agnostics; it is also the age of martyrs. Jesus Christ must have been a very young man when He died on the cross; Joan of Arc, they say, was only nineteen as the flames consumed her. It is in the later years-oh, anywhere from thirty to fifty-that a man at some time stands with the tatters of his hopes and dreams fallen from him and asks himself, “What, indeed, do I believe?”
So if I believe that I myself am Heaven and Hell, that anything less than honesty to myself and others is a boomerang on them and me; if my translation of the Golden Rule is simple acts of kindness and understanding and compassion, practiced in the hope that they will be shown to me, then I have a way of life that is a sort of unselfish selfishness. The bald statement may sound cynical, but if I can follow that way, I shall not be too unhappy here and I may face death with regret but an untroubled face and a stout heart.
Yet there are blocks and pitfalls in any way of life, even assuming that a man can adhere to it steadfastly despite his own
inclinations to deviate. These obstacles are the work of other men who adhere to other ways. Hence kindness and compassion are not enough.
A man, I believe, must have courage and fortitude and a burning sense of justice, too. There are times we should turn the other cheek, but there are likewise times when we must fight the good fight. When? Well, if a fellow can’t find the answer on the signposts or in his heart, I guess he has just got to pray.
That was Ward Jimmy Greene, native of Asheville, North Carolina, currently a resident of Rockleigh, New Jersey, a successful and human author, editor, and playwright.