Ones beliefs are revealed not so much in words or in formal creeds as in the assumptions on which one habitually acts and in the basic values by which all choices are tested.
The cornerstone of my own value system was laid in childhood by parents who believed that personal integrity came first. They never asked, What will people think? The question was, What will you think of yourself if you do this or fail to do that? Thus living up to ones own conception of oneself became a basic value and the question What will people think? took a subordinate place.
A second basic value, in some ways an extension of the first, I owe to an old college professor who had suffered more than his share of grief and trouble. Over and over he said to us: The one thing that really matters is to be bigger than the things that can happen to you. Nothing that can happen to you is half so important as the way in which you meet it.
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The acceptance of these two basic values led to a third. If what one is and how one meets life are of first importance one is not impressed by anothers money, status or power, nor does one judge people by their race, color or social position. This opens up a whole new world of relationships, for when friendships are based on qualities of mind and character one can have friends among old and young, rich and poor, famous and unknown, educated and unlettered, and among people of all races and all nations.
Given these three basic values, a fourth becomes inevitable. It is ones duty and obligation to help create a social order in which persons are more important than things, ideas more precious than gadgets, and in which individuals are judged on the basis of personal worth. Moreover, for this judgement to be fair human beings must have an opportunity for the fullest development of which they are capable. One is thus led to work for a world of freedom and justice through those social agencies and institutions which make it possible for people everywhere to realize their highest potentialities.
[. . .] Men must concern themselves with food and with other physical needs, and they must protect themselves and their own from bodily harm, but these activities are not exclusively human. Many animals concern themselves with these things. When we worship, pray, or feel compassion, when we enjoy a painting, a sunset or a sonato, when we think and reason, pursue ideas, seek truth, or read a book, when we protect the weak and the helpless, when we honor the noble and cherish the good, when we co-oporate with our fellow men to build a better world, our behavior is worthy of our status as human beings.
Ina Corinne Brown, who holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago, is professor of social anthropology at Scarritt College in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a tall, slender, gray-haired woman who thinks anthropology one of the most exciting subjects in the world because it deals with peopleall kinds of people all over the world.
[. . .] She is the author of several books, including The Story of the American Negro and Race Relations in a Democracy.
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Morgan, Edward P. (Catalogued under Murrows name.) This I Believe: the living philosophies of one hundred thoughtful men and women from all walks of lifeas written for and with a foreword by Edward R. Murrow. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1952. Pages 17-18.
It is ones duty and obligation to help create a social order [. . .] in which individuals are judged on the basis of personal worth. Moreover, for this judgement to be fair human beings must have an opportunity for the fullest development of which they are capable. One is thus led to work for a world of freedom and justice [. . .] Thats all I want to say.
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