Up to Me (and Us)

There is only one way to improve ourselves, and that is by some of us setting an example which the others may pick up and imitate till the new fashion spreads from east to west. Some of us are in more favorable positions than others to set new fashions. Some are much more striking personally and imitable, so to speak. 

—William James, “The Gospel of Relaxation,” in Talks for Teachers

The governments may control the schools, the  Church, the Press, milliards of rubles and millions  of disciplined men made into machines, but all  that apparently terrible organization of brute  force is nothing before the recognition of the truth  which surges in the soul of each man who knows  its power, and from whom it is communicated  to a second and a third, as one candle can light  an infinite number of others. That light need  only be kindled, and all that seemingly mighty  organization will melt away like wax before the  fire and be consumed.  

—Leo Tolstoy, Leo Tolstoy, “Christianity and patriotism,” in Selected Essays, translated by Aylmer Maude

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