“Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.” – Benjamin Franklin
In 218 BCE, during the Second Punic War, the great Carthaginian general Hannibal led his army from modern-day Spain all the way to Italy and toward Rome, in one of the most famous military achievements in history. As the troops neared the daunting peaks of the Alps, Hannibal’s generals warned him they would not be able to cross the mountain range with the horses and elephants they brought with them. Refusing to be deterred, Hannibal responded with the quote above: “Aut inveniam viam aut faciam.” He and his troops forged their own path across the mountains, and continued their march through Italy.
With these simple words, author, activist, and spiritual leader Marianne Williamson exposes the very heart of empathy and compassion. It’s easy to let feelings of anger, blame, or judgment cause animosity with others. But if we take a moment to analyze the behavior of those around us, Williamson suggests, we’re likely to notice that they are either acting out of love or the deeply human fear of living without it.
For all the despair, the hope, the disappointment, the sheer joy of triumphant, the pain, the emotional loss, the unexpected and the incomprehensible shortness of life, for all of the mysteries of life that leaves humanity grasping for answers – my God what is the purpose of it all?
Honestly, if I were two-faced, would I be showing you this one? – Abraham Lincoln
This self-deprecating comment is perhaps the most famous Lincoln one-liner from the Douglas debates. Lincoln made the quip in response to Douglas’ accusation that he was two-faced.
“Shoot me, for if I am an uglier man than you I don’t want to live.” – Abraham Lincoln
“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection, disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”