Touch the Stars, Renew the Earth

“Through technology, system, intelligence, reason directed towards a goal, we can touch the stars. Through passion, creativity, love, and communion, we can renew the earth.”
Sargent Shriver| Waltham, MA | October 23, 1969

In our Quote of the Week, Sargent Shriver reminds us of the power that human beings have when we are free to fully engage with our two basic impulses: one rational and scientific, one creative and intuitive. We can push beyond our limits into new frontiers, and we can also heal and repair what needs mending.

Spoken during his Remarks at the Brandeis University Panel on the New Revolution and the University, Sargent Shriver’s words reflect his personal situation as well as his era. At the time, he was US Ambassador to France, as is evident from his reference to that country and to European history. He talks about the unrest and disenchantment that he was seeing among young people, as economic uncertainty, racial discrimination, and the war in Vietnam were causing an acute distrust towards the government and other institutions. It is in this context that he reminds us of our potential as human beings, and our responsibility in putting aside petty conflicts and bureaucracy so that we may work creatively towards a more prosperous and peaceful society.

Although spoken over 48 years ago, Sargent Shriver’s words continue to be valuable for us today. As we deal with the staggering technological advancements that we have made, we are also trying to come to terms with the damage that those same advancements have brought to our environment and to our human relationships. From the development of communications tools such as the Internet, which can both unite and alienate us, to means of transportation that bring us together but wreak havoc on our environment, to weapons that are touted to keep us safe but have the potential to destroy on a mass scale, we must navigate our rapidly evolving world in ways that allow us to reach our full potential while minimizing harm to each other and to our planet.

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Peace requires the simple but powerful recognition that what we have in common as human beings is more important and crucial than what divides us.
Sargent Shriver
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