The Eternal Principles

Call, Asa V.


  • Asa Call describes his beliefs in moral and spiritual laws that, like the physical laws of nature, must be discovered and adhered to for a successful life. NOTE: This version has been abbreviated to include an advertisement after the essay. Contains advertisement for a book containing 100 "This I Believe" essays. Duplicate of the essay, complete and without the advertisement, is on XTV-18161 (Box ... read more
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. After practicing law for twenty years in his native California, Asa V. Call went into the insurance business. He is today the president of the Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company in Los Angeles. This is Asa Call's creed.
I suppose that anyone who has spent nearly forty years in a business that deals almost entirely with people, as I have, will—by that time—have pretty well developed a philosophy of life. I find, however, that I share the difficulty that others on this program have felt when it comes to putting that philosophy into words that will have meaning to someone else.
My beliefs are very close to me, deep within me. I sense them rather than recite them. Although they provide a background for my codes of
conduct, still it seems to me they must be much more than that. They are always with me, whether I will it or not, or know it or not. And they are as much a part of me when I am alone as when I am with others.
I sometimes wonder, however, whether the basic beliefs of most of mankind are not much more nearly the same than many of us realize.
Perhaps I can best express it by saying that I believe there are, inevitable, an eternal higher principles—or laws—by which all of us, without exception, must live. My beliefs are what I think these truths must be, no matter how inestimably and imperfectly I may have learned them. They do not, necessarily, have any connection with the changeable laws of nation, or state, or of man, or even of any particular religion. They are the immutable laws of nature, or of God—
by whatever name or turn we may be taught to think of them in the cultures in which we live.
I believe that these moral or spiritual laws are just as inexorable as any of the physical or scientific laws. When I attempt to defy them, the results are just as certain. I know what happens when I challenge the purely physical laws. If I touch a hot stove, I know I will be burned. If I walk off a cliff, I know I will fall. I cannot argue my way around them, I can only call on other laws to help me live within the framework of all of them.
The vital point, I believe, is what I must do to obey these laws or pay the price. If I burn myself or fall from a cliff, my punishment is not the conscious and deliberate personal vengeance of the gods of those forces against me. The penalty is of my own making. I bring it on
myself by violating the inviolable. I believe the spiritual laws, too, can neither be ignored nor repudiated without the payment of the price. Man has struggled throughout the ages to learn those principles and to live by them. I have learned them in terms of the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. Each religion has its own counterpart in the form of similar declaration of the rules of human conduct.
I believe, in conclusion, that it is of relative small importance whether I worship in one church or another, in one way or another, or in one tongue or another. The important thing, I believe, is that I strive unceasingly to come closer to an understanding of the eternal
principles so that I may more nearly live by them. For they are inexorable and can never by altered, never be repealed, and never be avoided.
That was Asa V. Call, insurance executive and attorney from the golden state of California.
Just out, a book This I Believe containing a hundred of the best scripts with foreword by Edward R. Murrow is on sale at all bookstores now. This I Believe, as you know, is a regular feature of this station. Its ever-growing audience, the deeply felt letters it has brought, have been very gratifying. In fact it's today the most widely listened to radio program in the world. Thousands have asked for a book in which the beliefs could be read and re-read, and here it is, a hundred of the best published by Simon & Schuster. Of course, you'll want this book, to own and to give. See it at your bookstore now.