Quote for the Weekend/Open Thread


by Shariq
28th November, 2008 at 3:10 pm    

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.”

From Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel Slaughterhouse 5.

Apart from being deeply profound on a personal level, for me this is a beautifully succinct summary of what the left should aspire to. Atheists, feel free to substitute whatever you want in place of God :p


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  1. Kismet Hardy — on 28th November, 2008 at 3:13 pm  

    And may the devil grant me whatever it takes to not accept things lying down…

    Unless it’s a woman crying god, of course

  2. village idiot — on 28th November, 2008 at 3:59 pm  

    so the bald git has shut down barfi, I only find this out now! damn. Anyhow I’d replace the god bit with…
    ‘the wisdom to hide the bodies of the people I had to kill because they pissed me off’

  3. billericaydicky — on 28th November, 2008 at 4:56 pm  

    I’m not sure about the provenance of that phrase. It’s been around since the sixties and was supposed to have been found in a colonial era church in New England. It was big among hippies.

  4. Don — on 28th November, 2008 at 5:24 pm  

    Pretty sure it was by Reinhold Niebuhr, the central character in S5 had it on his wall. Which was ironic, as he understood that the things he could not change were the past, present and future.

    So it goes.

  5. inders — on 28th November, 2008 at 5:41 pm  
  6. Leon — on 28th November, 2008 at 6:47 pm  

    Atheists, feel free to substitute whatever you want in place of God :p

    See the problem here is sentence demands you surrender yourself to something.

    It’s not, ‘I will have the serenity’ or ‘I will take active measures based on reason to be a better person’ etc but leaving it up to something else…The sentence only works in the manner its intended if you believe. :P

  7. halima — on 29th November, 2008 at 9:29 am  

    Great quote – I like it – being able to surrender is to know humility – and courage to change is power to know your own strength – and the last bit is the best – wisdom to stay open minded.

  8. Matt — on 2nd December, 2008 at 10:12 pm  

    Neibuhr. See more here.

    Neibuhr was a reformed pacifist, and a great many WWII soldiers carried that prayer into battle, hoping the war was just. The world would be a better place if everyone approached war with such a slogan.

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