Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Nicholas Roerich

Citizens of the World

Similarly to how Montana is known as “Big Sky Country,” literature could be named, “Big Mind Country.” It dissolves nationalism, undermines prejudice and chauvinism, inspires visions of better and more meaningful lives, and ushers us along toward our true place as Citizens of the World.

In the earliest of times, we can easily imagine some of the first human interactions. A person has something valuable and another person sees it. The first person either shares or fights. If he shares, it begins a sequence toward civilization—family-clan-village-tribe-country-civilzation. But that basic choice continues for each step and determines if the scope of organization increases or leads to conflict and warfare. The multiple wars in the world today reflect how often this basic choice goes for fight instead of share. And so war will only end when the share choice extends to all the world.

For humanity to survive, human culture and politics will have to evolve into a One World Government, a federation of nations, a "United States of Earth.” Informational technology, social media, international business expansion, and the ever-expanding global awareness speed this process along. The question remains however if this evolution will take the dictatorial path of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Putin’s Russia; of if it will go along the more democratic lines of Bahá'u'lláh, the Shambhala mythologies, and an empowered United Nations. The realization of this necessity goes back to the most ancient of times, was embodied by Socrates, and described by Immanuel Kant as a necessity for achieving world peace. Recent steps in this directions include a World Passport, a World Birth Certificate, a World Political Asylum Card, a World Marriage Certificate, and a World Identity Card.

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Quotes (79)

“The world is not owned by one person, but by all the people of the world.”

Jiang Ziya 姜子牙 11th century BCE
"Master of Strategy"
from Six Secret Strategic Teachings

“United we stand, divided we fall.”

Aesop 620 – 546 BCE
Hero of the oppressed and downtrodden
from Aesop's Fables, the Aesopica

“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”

Socrates 469 – 399 BCE
One of the most powerful influences on Western Civilization

18. The Sick Society
78. Water

“To a wise and good man the whole earth is his fatherland.”

Democritus Dēmókritos 460 – 370 BCE
Father of modern science and greatest of ancient philosophers

71. Sick of Sickness

“I am a citizen of the world.”

Diogenes 412 – 323 BCE
(of Sinope)

78. Water

“We were born to unite with our fellowmen, and to join in community with the human race.”

Cicero 106 – 43 BCE
from De finibus, IV, 50 BCE

“We are all sprung from the same seed, all have the same father by whom mother earth conceives and supplies for a pleasant life and the continuation of our race”

Lucretius 99 – 55 BCE
(Titus Carus)
from De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things)

“I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land.”

Seneca ˈsɛnɪkə 4 BCE – 65 CE
(Lucius Annaeus)

“The ways to the One are as many as the lives of men.”

Jianzhi Sengcan 鑑智僧璨 529 – 606 CE
(Jiànzhì Sēngcàn)

39. Oneness

“To study the Way is to study the Self. To study the Self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe. To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self as well as those of others.”

Dōgen Zenji 道元禅師 1200 – 1253 CE

49. No Set Mind

“That you are patriotic will be praised by many and easily forgiven by everyone; but it is wiser to treat men and things as though we held this world as the common fatherland of all.”

Erasmus 1466 – 1536 CE
(Desiderius Roterodamus)
"Greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance"

“Every man has within himself the entire human condition”

Montaigne 1533 – 1592 CE

“Avoid the faults of your nation… There is not a nation among even the most civilized that has not some fault peculiar to itself…It is a triumph to correct in oneself such failings… There are also family failings as well as faults of position, of office, or of age.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Joseph Jacobs
from Art of Worldly Wisdom

5. Christmas Trees

“If you are concerned with the welfare of the future, it is most important to become more and more non-sectarian.”

Karma Chagme Rinpoche I ཀརྨ་ཆགས་མེད་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱས། 1613 – 1678 CE via Shan Dao

81. Journey Without Goal

“There is a God-shaped vacuum in every heart.”

Blaise Pascal 1623 – 1662 CE

“Those who are governed by reason desire nothing for themselves which they do not also desire for the rest of mankind.”

Baruch Spinoza 1632 – 1677 CE

“Think of the profit of all as being the real profit and the mind of the whole country as being the real mind.”

Kāngxī 康熙帝 1654 – 1722 CE
from Emperor of China, Self-Portrait of K'ang-hsi

77. Stringing a Bow

“To wish for the greatness of our own country is often to wish evil to neighboring countries. Those who wish their own country to be neither greater or smaller, richer or poorer are true citizens of the universe.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 1694 – 1778 CE
from Philosophical Dictionary

“To wish the greatness of our own country is often to wish evil to our neighbors. He who could bring himself to wish that his country should always remain as it is, would be a citizen of the universe.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 1694 – 1778 CE
from Philosophical Dictionary

“You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1712 – 1778 CE

“It was the first care of the senate to dissolve those dangerous confederacies which taught mankind that, as the Roman arms prevailed by division, they might be resisted by union.”

Edward Gibbon 1737 – 1794 CE
from Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire

“Science and art belong to the whole world and before them vanish the barriers of nationality.”

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von 1749 – 1832 CE
from Maxims

“One great society alone on earth:
The noble living and the noble dead.”

William Wordsworth 1770 – 1850 CE
from The Prelude, 1805

“If my death contributes to the end of partisanship and the consolidation of the union, I shall be lowered in peace into my grave.”

Simon Bolivar Simón Bolívar 1783 – 1830 CE via Thomas Rourke
El Libertador

“A great poet belongs to no country; his works are public property, and his Memoirs the inheritance of the public.”

Lord Byron 1788 – 1824 CE
(George Gordon Byron)
The first rock-star style celebrity

“In the twentieth century, war will be dead, the scaffold will be dead, animosity will be dead, royalty will be dead, and dogmas will be dead; but Man will live. For all there will be but one country—that country the whole earth; for all there will be but one hope—that hope the whole heaven.”

Victor Hugo 1802 – 1885 CE
Literary pioneer, poet, and social justice provocateur
from Workman's Congress, 1879

“I represent a party which does not yet exist: the party of civilization. There will come from it first, the United States of Europe, then the United States of the World.”

Victor Hugo 1802 – 1885 CE
Literary pioneer, poet, and social justice provocateur
from NY Post, 194​8

“The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

Bahá'u'lláh بهاء الله‎‎, 1817 – 1892 CE
("Glory of God")

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.”

Herman Melville 1819 – 1891 CE
from Moby Dick or The Whale

“Love both the whole and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of light. Love the animals, love the plants, love each separate thing. and you will perceive the mystery of God in all until you come at last to love the whole world with a love that will then be all-embracing and universal.”

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky Фёдор Миха́йлович Достое́вский 1821 – 1881 CE
from Brothers Karamatzov

“Everywhere these days, we have ceased to understand that we only find true security in social solidarity, not in isolated individual effort.”

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky Фёдор Миха́йлович Достое́вский 1821 – 1881 CE via Constance Garnett
from Brothers Karamatzov

“There is neither Greek nor barbarian, neither rich nor poor, and the slave is as good as his master, for by birth all men are free; they are citizens of the universal commonwealth which embraces all the world, brethren of one family”

Lord Acton 1834 – 1902 CE
(John Dalberg-Acton)
Prolific historian and politician
from The History of Freedom in Antiquity, 1877

“God laughs again when two brothers divide their land with a string, saying to each other, 'This side is mine and that side is yours.' He laughs and says to Himself, 'The whole universe belongs to Me, but they say they own this portion or that portion.'”

Ramakrishna 1836 – 1886 CE

“The time for petty politics is past; the next century will bring the struggle for the domination of the world.”

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844 – 1900 CE

“There is only one sort of genuine Socialism, the democratic sort, by which I mean the organization of society for the benefit of the whole people.”

George Bernard Shaw 1856 – 1950 CE
UK playwright second only to Shakespeare
from New York Times, 85th birthday interview, 1941

“Internationalism is not an aspiration but a fact, not a sentimental ideal but a force...[though] thrown out of gear by the traditional doctrine of exclusive national sovereignty... an international mind alone agrees with the moving forces of present-day labor, commerce, science, art, and religion”

John Dewey 1859 – 1952 CE
The "Second Confucius"
from Reconstruction in Philosophy, 1920

“Class, creed and nationality are words which should find no place in the vocabulary of the Australians, because these words are synonymous with everything that is hostile to peace and happiness in the world.”

Arthur Desmond 1859 – 1929 CE
from Might Is Right

“A man's feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.”

Santayana, George 1863 – 1952 CE
(Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás)
Powerfully influential, true-to-himself philosopher/poet

“Our true nationality is mankind.”

H. G. Wells 1866 – 1946 CE
A father of science fiction and One World Government apostle

“I have lived in the pursuit of a vision… to see in imagination the society that is to be created, where individuals grow freely, and where hate and greed and envy die because there is nothing to nourish them.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”

“Mankind has to find a way to agree that its achievements are global and belong to all the nations.”

Nicholas Roerich Никола́й Константи́нович Ре́рих 1874 – 1947 CE

“Awakening of Western thought will not be complete until that thought steps outside itself and comes to an understanding with the search for a world-view as this manifests itself in the thought of mankind as a whole.”

Albert Schweitzer 1875 – 1965 CE

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”

Virginia Woolf 1882 – 1941 CE

“the master spirit of the earth shall not sleep peacefully upon the wind till the needs of the least of you are satisfied”

Kahlil Gibran 1883 – 1931 CE
from The Prophet

“What did it matter which religion we professed or which philosophy we believed, any more than which language we spoke or what clothes we wore?”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Transition

“No one who studies history (the co-operative product of many peoples, ranks, and faiths) can be a bigot of race or creed and so naturally feels themself to be a Citizen of the World, a member of that Mind Country that knows no frontiers, no political prejudices, racial discriminations, or religious animosities.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE via Shan Dao
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Age of Faith

“In progressive societies the concentration of wealth may reach a point where the strength of number in the many poor rivals the strength of ability in the few rich; then the unstable equilibrium generates a critical situation, which history has diversely met by legislation redistributing wealth or by revolution distributing poverty.”

Will (and Ariel) Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
from Lessons of History

“Dante did not accomplish his life-work until he had been driven to withdraw from his native city... in losing his birthright in Florence, Dante was to win the citizenship of the world; for in exile the genius which had been crossed in politics after being crossed in love found its life-work in creating the Divina Commedia.”

Arnold Toynbee 1889 – 1975 CE
from A Study of History

“the Perennial Philosophy may be found among the traditional lore of primitive peoples in every region of the world, and in its fully developed forms, has a place in every one of the higher religions... treated again and again, from the standpoint of every religious tradition and in all the principal languages”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE
from Perennial Philosophy

“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent… separating yourself from the rest of mankind.”

Krishnamurti 1895 – 1986 CE
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)

“If you think in terms of people divided up into countries, you won't follow me. The idea of countries is going by the boards. Young people are getting wonderfully uprooted and they're too strong to get sucked into this 'country' crap.”

Buckminster Fuller 1895 – 1983 CE

78. Water

“A world republic of law and justice must set up the devices of learning by which everybody can become a citizen of the world.”

Robert Hutchins 1899 – 1977 CE
(Robert Maynard Hutchins)
from The Great Conversation

“We are—all of us—pilgrims who struggle along different paths toward the same destination.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 1900 – 1944 CE

“It is not possible for this nation to be at once politically internationalist and economically isolationist. This is just as insane as asking one Siamese twin to high dive while the other plays the piano.”

Adlai Stevenson 1900 – 1965 CE
from Speech, 1952

“A world technology means either a world government or world suicide.”

Max Lerner 1902 – 1992 CE
(Maxwell Alan)

“When you see the earth from the moon, you don’t see any divisions there of nations or states. This is the symbol for the new mythology to come, the country we are going to be celebrating, the people we are one with.”

Joseph Campbell 1904 – 1987 CE via Shan Dao
Great translator of ancient myth into modern symbols
from Power of Myth

“For, in the final analysis, our most common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.”

John Kennedy 1917 – 1963 CE
Modern America's most popular president

from Profiles in Courage

“I'm not a chauvinist. I'm a universalist.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE
from World's Religions

“If patriotism were defined, not as blind obedience to government, not as submissive worship to flags and anthems, but rather as love of one's country, one's fellow citizens (all over the world), as loyalty to the principles of justice and democracy, then patriotism would require us to disobey our government, when it violated those principles.”

Howard Zinn 1922 – 2010 CE
Historian of the oppressed and defeated

from Writings on Disobedience and Democracy

“I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I'm a human being, first and foremost, and as such I'm for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”

Malcolm X الحاجّ مالك الشباز‎‎ 1925 – 1965 CE

“Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.”

César Chavez César Estrada Chávez 1927 – 1993 CE
(César Estrada Chávez)

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place - you belong every place - no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.”

Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014 CE

“We are challenged to develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who feels that he can live alone is sleeping through a revolution. The world in which we live is geographically one.”

Martin Luther King Jr. 1929 – 1968 CE
Leading world influence for equality, peace, non-violence, and poverty alleviation

“The further back in time, the more narrow and limited our perceptions of the world. It slowly expanded from family to clan to village to city to country. With the revolution of information technology, it now includes all the world and all the people in it. Unfortunately our conceptions of equality and justice haven’t expanded as quickly as this awareness. People becoming true citizens of the world is evolution’s main challenge for us today.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

“These cultural mind prisons. . . . have been crippling to human moral and spiritual growth… freedom of thought.. and clearly a barrier to world peace. So long as we continue to attach more importance to our own narrow group membership than to the ‘global village’ we will propagate prejudice and ignorance.

Jane Goodall 1934 CE –

18. The Sick Society

“It is certain, I think, that the best government is the one that governs the least. But there is a much-neglected corollary: the best citizen is the one who least needs governing.”

Wendell Berry 1934 CE –

75. Greed

“Times of great change and remarkable opportunity are upon us. To succeed we can no longer go it alone, but must partner with one another to share innovative and creative ways in which to rethink and restructure our individual existence within the context of our expanding global communities.”

Jean Houston 1937 CE –

“Through art as magic, the magic of the mandala embodied in the very fabric of everyday life, we can live our lives as cosmic citizens.”

José Argüelles 1939 – 2011 CE via Shan Dao
from Mandala

“Our sophisticated frivolousness makes it easy to criticize society, to become anti-establishment and make fun of traditions. But how would we do it? We could take responsibility for running the whole world economically, spiritually, psychologically, and politically.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE via Shan Dao
from Orderly Chaos — The Mandala Principle

“Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do”

John Lennon 1940 – 1980 CE

“I don’t really have any ambition, you know? I only have one thing I’d really like to see happen. I’d like to see mankind living together. Black, White, Chinese, everyone. That’s all.”

Bob Marley 1945 – 1981 CE

“Oh, I've been smiling lately, reaming about the world as one. And I believe it could be, someday it's going to come”

Cat Stevens 1948 CE – via Peace Train
(Steven Demetre Georgiou, Yusuf Islam)

“Civilizations are so quick to identify with their own particular brand of life that… they never have the humility to identify the source of the life and oneness running through their veins.”

Peter Kingsley 1953 CE –
from A Story Waiting to Pierce You

“I consider tribalism the biggest problem of our time… it could undo millennia of movement toward global integration… just when technology has brought the prospect of a cohesive planetary community within reach.”

Robert Wright 1957 CE –
from Why Buddhism is True

“Love is when you are thinking: ‘How can I make you happy?’ Attachment is when you are thinking: ‘Why aren’t you making me happy?’”

Dzogchen Pönlop 1965 CE –

“Multiculturalism should not mean that we tolerate another culture’s intolerance. If we do in fact support diversity, women’s rights, and gay rights, then we cannot in good conscience give Islam a free pass on the grounds of multicultural sensitivity.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali 1969 CE –
Powerful voice for Islamic reform
from Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now

“Your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean… yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops.”

David Mitchell 1969 CE –
from The Bone Clocks

“The more deeply we examine our minds, the less possible it becomes to find a clear distinction between where our own mind ends and other’s begin.”

Mingyur Rinpoche 1975 CE –
Modern-day Mahasiddha

“When Kansas and Colorado fall out over the waters in the Arkansas River, they don't go to war over it; they go to the Supreme Court of the United States, and the matter is settled in a just and honorable way. There is not a difficulty in the whole world that cannot be settled in exactly the same way in a world court.”

Harry S. Truman 1972 – 1984 CE

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