view transcript only
And now, This I Believe. The living philosophies of thoughtful men and women presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow
This I Believe. The wider a man’s experience the deeper, usually, his insight into human nature, including his own. Colonel Ralph K. Strassman, of New York City, has been a reporter, publisher, soldier and advertising man; positions giving only a hint of the exciting life he has led and the varied service he has performed in his multiple careers. He was publisher of Red Book magazine for a quarter of a century. Although he has travelled the globe contributing to many of the world’s
leading newspapers he has never been satisfied with his knowledge, never content with his own ever-widening understanding of people. Against that broad background listen now to the beliefs important in the life of Colonel Strassman.
I believe in the essential and continuing importance of human beings, to themselves and for others. The whole history of what we call civilization—of art, science, philosophy, literature, and government—is essentially a record of the struggles and efforts of human beings to be themselves, of efforts to express in concrete form the urgings and the powers, which are the mysterious ingredients of the human mind and the human soul.
Life has taught me that the very fact that we tend to magnify our failures and take our successes for granted is proof of the unique drive within us. I have never learned to accept injustice, suffering, and violence as the normal state of affairs. I believe that more harm is done to individuals and nations through ignorance and stupidity than through act of malice and evil design. So I’ve always felt that the most important thing I can do in addition to making myself a better person is to learn to know my fellow man better.
I believe that the whole organization of our society is a defense against the inner desolation of the man who has no real contact with, warmth for, and interest in, other people. The search for self-
understanding and self-realization is based on the need to know oneself through others and to grow through giving and receiving.
I have learned that we have the essential values of the useful and rewarding life within ourselves, the seeds of our salvation or the seeds of our destruction, depending on how we use them. They take different forms, but basically, for me, the good life depends upon an inner contentment and adjustment and on trying to make the special contributions, which are mine, alone, for the common good. For me, this cannot involve any fatuous denial of the obvious evils, suffering, and hardships, which exist. These I will always regard as challenges because they result fundamentally from human stupidity and
human malice. I know that I, as a human being, must share the responsibility for them, unless I claim to be a plaster saint in a tin heaven.
I’ve often felt tempted, especially in times like these, to assume a material and fatalistic attitude, saying, What can one person do? If we’re going to be blown to bits any day now, why not look out for my own comfort in the meantime? Fortunately, I have not yielded to that temptation because I have been sustained by my firm belief that the mysterious entity we call the individual, or the human personality, never ceases to exist and never loses its identity. This, to me, makes our contributions to the world we live in far more important because of the good or evil we leave behind us.
This belief eases for me the pain of loss and the bitterness of disappointment and failure. The man who starts to build and works honestly and well, as a member of the great human family, will always enjoy the satisfaction of having done his part.
There the creed of Colonel Ralph K. Strassman, a vice-president of the Ward Wheelock Company, an advertising firm. A man who believes in seeing the world as it is and then doing his best to make it better.