Looking for Lincoln from within

Lincoln by Brady

We have never met him, nor have we ever heard him speak yet we all feel as though we want to be like him, to embrace him, to live up to his standards. Such a man was Abraham Lincoln, a person from humble beginnings who became the President of the United States. His relevance today is applicable for the same reasons he was relevant to his contemporaries; he was a man of integrity, determination, and honesty.

Are these not the attributes that we wish to instill in children? Regardless of differences and similarities one cannot dispute that Lincoln was a leader with human qualities that each of us can find some connection to. He reminds us that it is okay to be who you are, that it takes hard work to make a difference, that not everyone will believe your way is the right way, but rather to live and try your best is a more noble route than to pursue an easier servile path.

The list of reason why Lincoln is relevant today are clearly demonstrated in the stories and speeches he left behind. Great men with great souls will forever remain relevant, and for Abraham Lincoln, from his Kentucky beginnings to his tragic death in Ford Theater, he will live among us forever. As long as those from humble beginning and not so humble beginnings continue to pass along his knowledge,passion, and legacy, we will continue to inspire the rising “Lincolns” among us.

Image: Lincoln-portrait by Brady, Matthew B. Photographs (1864)

Esteemed thinkers: Voices of Peace

Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tennessee Onomatopoeia is a funny sounding word, a poetic device used by writers when they craft their work. For those who may wish for a reminder definition: onomatopoeia are words used to imitate natural sounds such as hiss, splash, and bang. Most of us use them in our conversations such as, “I drizzled sugar over my cereal.” Drizzle is our onomatopoeia.

Let us take a look at the word Peace…in English the c in the middle of the word is soft as compared to the hard c in the middle of the word chocolate. They both conjure up positive images (unless you are not a fan of chocolate) yet the latter does not sound like what it is; a most delicious flavor. On the other hand the word Peace, with its soft c at the end almost tries to extend itself a little longer than many other words, as though it were a breeze although rallies us like a hurricane. (Say it aloud and you’ll see what I mean.)

Is Peace an onomatopoeia? Perhaps not by formal rhetorical rights however, I find myself justifying it as such. For me Peace sounds like what it denotes, yet sadly it is not always fulfilled within the constraint of its meaning. It is often presented as lovely as a delicate flower in a bud vase, but then too often maligned, misused, abused, mangled, lied to, and toppled without regard to its heirs and heiresses.

Today’s blog is devoted to Peace; dear to all man and womankind. Many esteemed thinkers have offered us their words… here is just a mere sampling of their wisdom.

window “For it isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” Nelson Mandela

“The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war”. Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Peace is not an absence of war; it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.” Baruch Spinoza

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” Albert Einstein

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” Buddha

“Only in freedom is permanent peace possible.” Jane Addams

Bertrand Russell and the ‘utility’ of history

History is read, viewed, and even dismissed for a variety of reasons; all of which would be too cumbersome to analyze in brevity. However, I offer up to you the words of Philosopher Bertrand Russell, who suggests quite succinctly, “History is valuable, to begin with, because it is true; and this, though not the whole of its value, is the foundation and condition of all the rest…”

Today’s blog reflects on the “utility” of history; a term coined by Russell… (The term ‘utility” I find most fascinating; for it is not often exercised in regards to the study of history.) So, in the words of Mr. Russell, let us begin…

PH00873 “ … Another and a greater utility, however, belongs also to history. It enlarges the imagination, and suggests possibilities of action and feeling which would not have occurred to an uninstructed mind. It selects from past lives the elements which were significant and important; it fills our thoughts with splendid examples, and with the desire for greater ends than unaided reflection would have discovered. It makes visible and living the growth and greatness of nations, enabling us to extend our hopes beyond the span of our own lives. In all these ways, a knowledge of history is capable of giving statesmanship, and to our daily thoughts, a breadth and scope unattainable by those whose view is limited to the present…”