About Secrets and Falling Tiles

by Carroll Binder

“We are all at the mercy of a falling tile,” Julius Caesar reminds us in Thornton Wilder’s Ides of March.  None of us knows at what hour something we may love may suffer some terrible blow by a force we can neither anticipate nor control.

[. . .]

I believe the best hope of standing up to falling tiles is through developing a sustaining philosophy and state of mind all through life.  I have seen all sorts of people sustain all sorts of blows in all sorts of circumstances by all sorts of faiths, so I believe anyone can find a faith that will serve his needs if he persists in the quest.

One of the best ways I know of fortifying oneself to withsand the vicissitudes of this insecure and unpredictable era is to school oneself to require relatively little in the way of material possessions, physical satisfactions or the praise of others.  The less one requires of such things the better situated one is to stand up to changes of fortune.

[. . .] Friends of al ages have contributed enormously to my happiness and helped me greatly in times of need.  I learned one of the great secrets of friendship early in life— to regard each person with whom one associates as an end in himself, not a means to one’s own ends.  That entails trying to help those with whom one comes in contact to find fulfillment in their own way while seeking one’s own fulfillment in one’s own way.

[. . .]

I have seen much inhumanity, cheating, corruption, sordidness and selfishness but I have not become cynical.  I have seen too much that is decent, kind and noble in men to lose faith in the possibility for a far finer existence than yet has been achieved.  I believe the quest for a better life is the most satisfying pursuit of men and nations.

Carroll Binder, one of America’s most distinguished editors, comes of Pennsylvania Quaker stock.  He was completely self-supporting before he was sixteen, a cum laude graduate of Harvard at twenty.  Serving with a Quaker Red Cross unit in World War I, he developed a consuming urge to understand the world of people.

As foreign correspondent, then director of the foreign service of the Chicago Daily News, he covered Fascism’s rise in Italy, critical phases of the Nazi and Soviet revolutions.  He has traveled to nearly all parts of the world, observed international affairs with rare insight for more than a quarter of a century.

A stocky man with a thatch of straight silver-blond hair, gold-rimmed spectacles framing his steady gaze, Mr. Binder is editorial editor of the Minneapolis Tribune.  Besides a son killed in the war, he and his wife have another son, two daughters, and four grandchildren.  He has a zest for nature, swimming, the theater, good books and people.

Morgan, Edward P.  (Catalogued under Murrow’s name.)  This I Believe: the living philosophies of one hundred thoughtful men and women from all walks of life—as written for and with a foreword by Edward R. Murrow.  New York: Simon and Schuster, 1952.  Pages 7-8.

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