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If there is a conflict between the security of the sovereign state and the security of the human commonwealth, the human commonwealth comes first. If there is a conflict between the well-being of the nation and the well-being of humanity, the well-being of humanity comes first. If there is a conflict between the needs of this generation and the needs of all later generations, the needs of the later generations come first. If there is a conflict between public edict and private conscience, private conscience comes first. If there is a conflict between the easy drift of prosperity and the ordeal of peace, the ordeal of peace comes first.
—  Norman Cousins
A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas a place where history comes to life.
—  Norman Cousins
A book is like a piece of rope; it takes on meaning only in connection with the things it holds together.
—  Norman Cousins
Humanity today is not safe in the presence of humanity. The old cannibalism has given way to anonymous action in which the killer and the killed do not know each other, and in which, indeed, the very fact of mass death has the effect of making mass killing less reprehensible than the death of a single individual. In short, we have evolved in every respect except our ability to protect ourselves against human intelligence. Our knowledge is vast but does not embrace the workings of peace ... We study history, philosophy, religions, languages, literature, art, architecture, political science ... anthropology, biology, medicine, psychology, sanitation ... chemistry, physics, engineering, mathematics. But we have yet to make peace basic to our education. The most important subject in the world is hardly taught at all. In the spirit of this passage, the editor has taken the liberty of editing Mr. Cousins' language to make it more gender inclusive.
—  Norman Cousins
Just as there is no loss of basic energy in the universe, so no thought or action is without its effects, present or ultimate, seen or unseen, felt or unfelt.
—  Norman Cousins
The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference. He has it within his means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.
—  Norman Cousins
Nothing is more powerful than an individual acting out of his conscience, thus helping to bring the collective conscience to life.
—  Norman Cousins
The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.
—  Norman Cousins
The starting point for a better world is the belief that it is possible.
—  Norman Cousins
If something comes to life in others because of you, then you have made an approach to immortality.
—  Norman Cousins
Free will and determinism are like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you is determinism. The way you play your hand is free will.
—  Norman Cousins
The heart of the matter is that some people like to cause injury or death to living things. And many of those who do not are indifferent to those who do.
—  Norman Cousins

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