In 2004 I had the great gift of spending a few days in Vancouver, listening to the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. In summary, it was a profound experience and for all the wise words I heard, I took away the following:
- “Never resist a generous impulse.” Dalai Lama
- The concept of Ubunto, “to be human we need other humans.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Today, my friend and colleague Patti Morris posted this explanation of ubunto on her Facebook page. It seems to me that this week I need not add any more words to the millions of words out there. Words can be used as gifts and as weapons. These words are a gift.
“In my culture the highest praise that can be given to someone is “ubuntu” … a central tenet of African philosophy: the essence of what it is to be human … People with ubuntu are approachable and welcoming; their attitude is kindly and well-disposed; they are not threatened by the goodness in others because their own esteem and self-worth is generated by knowing they belong to a greater whole … No one comes into the world fully formed … We need other human beings in order to be human.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu
If I diminish you, I diminish myself.
Poignant words from Martin Luther King from 53 years ago.
For those who are telling me to keep my mouth shut, I can’t do that. I’m against segregation at lunch counters, and I’m not going to segregate my moral concerns. And we must know on some positions, cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And there are times when you must take a stand that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but you must do it because it is right.