Ich bin ein Mensch: nichts Menschliches, glaube ich, ist mir fremd
An anthology of political writings
Ut omnes unum sint*
We need bridges and not walls
An anthology of political writings
Texts collected by: Margarete Sorg-Rose
“I am sunk in deep mire where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters and the flood is overflowing me. I am weary of my cries, my throat is dry. My eyes fail while waiting for my God. They who hate me without cause are more than the hairs upon my head.”
Bible, Old Testament/Psalm 69, 3-5
This collection presents the thoughts of primarily contemporary authors motivated to comment on social topics by supportive respect, communicative tolerance and forgiveness, also within the context of the aspect “against violence, hate and war”.
(December 2012, updated and extended: April 2020)
(...) A declaration should be made stating that it is no problem whether an individual is an atheist, Moslem, Catholic, Buddhist or agnostic. It is the opposite which leads irrevocably to war, as this excludes others who are different and must therefore be fought against (...) Culture and religion should be the expression of the individual soul (...) Values such as tolerance should be developed alongside the concept that there is room for everyone, not only in religion, but also in political and cultural spheres, and that nobody should be permitted to force his world view on others. As Jesus said: “In my Father’s house, there are many mansions”. There is no reason to force us all to dwell in the same house or live under identical conceptions. Wealth lies in disparity and diversity otherwise it becomes transformed into Fascism. Through fundamentalism, we return to the most profound obscurantism of our past.
Paulo Coelho (born in 1947; Brazilian author)
There is only one false view of things: the belief that my view is the only correct one.
Nagarjuna (ca. 2nd century AD.; Indian philosopher)
(...) Naturally, all large-scale religions can demand intrinsic values with an emphasis on love, sympathy, patience, tolerance and forgiveness of intrinsic values, and this is what they all do. But given the reality of our current world, it is no longer adequate to build ethics on the founda-tions of religion. I therefore believe that it is time to establish a new path in our conception of spirituality and ethics beyond the confines of religion (...) Our elemental human spirituality is therefore more essen-tial than religion. We humans display an innate inclination towards love, benevolence and affection, irrespective of whether we belong to a form of religion or not.
(...) If we believe that human nature is primarily inclined towards kindness and led by the desire for a humane life, we can perceive ethics as an utterly natural and rational medium for the fulfilment of our inherent potential. Seen from this perspective, ethics is not so much made up of rules and regulations which must be adhered to, but more of principles guiding our internal self-control to foster the aspects of our being which we have recognised as beneficial for our own well-being and that of our fellow humans.
14th Dalai Lama (born in 1935)
Nobody is born to hate another person. People first have to learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, as love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite: hate.
Nelson Mandela (1918 - 2013; former President of South Africa and anti-Apartheid activist)
With malice towards none, with charity for all.
Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865; American president at the Second Inaugural Address on 4 March 1865)
Countering hate is only possible by rejecting its invitation to assimilate. Whoever confronts hate through hate has already let oneself be deformed and approached the state desired by the haters. Hate can only be countered through that which eludes the hater: exact observation, ever-constant differentiation and self-doubt. This requires hate to be gradually divided into its individual elements, the separation of the acute emotion from its ideological prerequisites and the observation of how this hate evolves and operates within a specific historical, regional or cultural context.
Carolin Emcke (born in 1967; German publicist.
Winner of the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels [Peace Prize of the German Publishers and Booksellers] in 2016.
Courage to face fear means going beyond this fear to take other forms of identity seriously, enter into genuine contact with foreign persons and experience profound joy in the transformation (…) When we allow ourselves to recognise our fear, we are also avoiding the danger of becoming destructive through repressed fear or manipulating ourselves or other persons through the propagation of fear (...) All forms of fundamentalism are ultimately born from misgivings regarding one’s own doctrine which are then compensated for by aggression, arrogance and hate directed at those who think and act differently.
Mathias Jung (born 1941; German philosopher)
In an open society, it is of no consequence whether this society is ethnically homogenous, but rather whether it possesses common core values. It is of no consequence where an individual comes from, but rather where he or she aims to go and which political order he/she can identify with.
Joachim Gauck (born in 1940; eleventh German Federal President)
Prejudice is like marble slabs which bury under them the greatest rivals, doubt and truth.
Sir Peter Ustinov (1921 - 2004; British dramatist, director, actor and author)
What would Jesus say today?
The political message of the gospel/sermon on the mount, Matthew 5:1-10
He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are per-secuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
In other words, your happiness and dignity are inviolable as they are anchored in God. What is more, a happy and good person is certainly not someone who is respected, unable to mourn or stronger than all others, wealthy, possesses power and status and a title and would stop at nothing to achieve his objectives. The exact opposite is true. An appropriate modern formulation would read as follows: Blessed are they who are not arrogant, who have compassion for the afflicted, who campaign for justice, who work towards peace and are merciful.
(...) The human being in his original state is the “real human”, inviolable in his dignity irrespective of race, skin colour and gender.
Heiner Geißler (1930 - 2017; German politician, philosopher and author)
The German Bundestag votes in favour of marriage for homosexual couples (30.6.2017)
For human beings, the objective is to preserve creation. The positive decision on the part of the German Bundestag in June 2017 in favour of “marriage for all” is therefore a “conservative” – from the Latin “conservare”: to preserve – and absolutely necessary decision. Each individual as a part of this creation should be permitted to live as he or she has been shaped by creation – this would be the reasoning of Jesus of Nazareth, were he alive today. All else would be irreconcilable with the dignity of human beings. This does not invalidate the “father, mother and child” model in any fashion - society is merely extended by a few additional models which meet the needs of a democratic society.
Margarete Sorg-Rose (born in 1960),
German composer / author
There is no such thing as a homosexual person, any more than there is such a thing as a heterosexual person. The words are adjectives, describing sexual acts, not people. Those sexual acts are entirely natural; if they were not, no one would perform them.The reason no one has yet been able to come up with a good word to describe the homosexualist (sometimes known as gay, fag, queer, etc.) is because he does not exist. The human race is divided into male and female. Many human beings enjoy sexual relations with their own sex, many don´t; many respond to both. The plurality is the fact of our nature and not worth fretting about.
Gore Vidal (1925 - 2012; American writer and public intellectual)
I urge you not to be one, but many. Be the house owner and the homeless, the farmer and the sparrow which pecks at the grains before they land on the ground. Be the donator who gives out of thankfulness and the receiver who receives proudly and in recognition.
Khalil Gibran (1883 - 1931; Lebanese-American artist, poet and philosopher)
Whoever favours a certain group of citizens and neglects a different group will bring pernicious evil to the whole community.
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 - 43 BC; Roman politician, author and philosopher)
We are not independent individuals, but an interdependent mass.
Jack Kornfield (born in 1945; American psychologist/teacher of Theravada Buddhism)
A general community allows us to become friends. Neither fortune nor misfortune only affects a single individual. We live for each other. Nobody who only thinks for himself and directs everything to his advantage can lead a happy life. If you wish to lead a meaningful life, you must also live meaningfully for others.
We are born to live in a community. Our community resembles a stone vault which would collapse if the individual stones did not support each other and hold the vault together.
All humans have the same beginnings and the same origins; nobody is nobler than any another except if he distinguishes himself through a better and more upstanding attitude on the foundations of favourable character traits.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (ca. 1 - 65 AD; Roman philosopher)
There is no brilliant theory and no sophisticated calculation which can replace the fundamental experience of humans of all cultures and religions, meaning that an individual only really approaches another person when he wishes to share with him. We will only be truly united when we are ready to display this devotion.
Richard von Weizsäcker (1920 - 2015; seventh German Federal President)
What is world ethos?
World ethos is the vision of a global change of awareness regarding ethos. Humans depend on a peaceful coexistence based on common elementary ethical values and attitudes – whether on a global, national or local level. These values can be found in all large-scale religious and philosophical traditions of mankind. It is not necessary to reinvent these values, but it is vital to communicate that they should be lived up to and passed on to one another.
This requires a dialogue between cultures and religions focusing on common ethical factors.
Transcultural education of values. Even children should already learn that peaceful coexistence on all levels depends on the adherence to elementary rules. No society can function in absence of a bedrock of values binding it together.
Ethic and international competence in economic enterprises. More than ever before, actors in international competition are reliant on inter-cultural standards.
International politics anchored in justice and ethos: cooperation instead of military confrontation.
Hans Küng (born in 1928; Swiss theologist)
One lord, one faith, one babtism
New Testament / Paul the Apostle, Epistle to the Ephesians 4
It is better to talk, talk, talk than to shoot, shoot, shoot.
Shimon Peres (1923 - 2016; Israeli politician and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)
Let us pray that we are always able to nurture a culture of encounter which can bring down all the walls which still continue to divide the world. Where there are walls, hearts are closed. We need bridges and not walls!
Pope Francis (born in 1936; civil name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio)
If music were a part of man's everyday life, as it should be, there would certainly be less aggression and much more equality and love on Earth; for music is a means of communication and under-standing, a means of reconciliation.
Hans Werner Henze (1926 - 2012; German composer)
Music produces compassion for others and non-aggressive behaviour: the meeting of other individuals in a rational manner. This is why friendship exists: the acceptance of others as the opposite pole to egocentric behaviour. Sharing with others: music is the original source of these feelings, but can also contribute to the process of healing. It can accordingly bring together social, psychological and spiritual issues and unify orient and occident, all principles making peaceful coexistence possible and mutual respect. Music is the necessary basis for these emotions.
Rahmi Oruc Güvenc (born in 1948;
Turkish psychologist, music therapist, music ethnologist/Institute Tümata, Istanbul)
(submerged in water)
A sea of tears
grieves for the dead
A flood of desperation
flows over the living
innumerable boats fleeing
(In memory of innumerable drowned refugees
in the Mediterranean, since 2015)
Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto
Ich bin ein Mensch: nichts Menschliches, glaube ich, ist mir fremd
Publius Terentius Afer
(ca. 190 - 159 v. Chr.; röm. Komödiendichter)