Agnés de Mille
(Student of Martha Graham, to whom this quote is sometimes attributed)
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself and your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. . . . No artist is pleased. [There is no] satisfaction whatever at any time . . . There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others. — ca 1940
I stood firmly on the side of right until I realized how destructive it was … drawing the line only deepened the divide. So I gave up. Instead I tenderly wrapped my arms around everything and I wept.
Martin Luther King Jr
Our nonviolent direct-action program has as its objective not the creation of tensions, but the surfacing of tensions already present. We set out to precipitate a crisis situation that must open the door to negotiation.
This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both. — Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1972, p. 21.
When education is not liberating, the dream of the oppressed is to become the oppressor.
To shrink from leadership in an effort to conform to fashionable ideals of inclusivity and egalitarianism is not an act of compassion at all; it is an act of cowardice; it is an abdication of one’s duty to serve a calling.
“From Nonviolence to Service,” December, 2015