Front Cover: Wisdom Through the Ages compiled by Gary Girdhari
Wisdom Through the Ages by Gary Girdhari is a handbook and daily companion of selected quotations from humankind’s great thinkers, past and present. A former Professor of Biology (PhD) at the University of Guyana, Girdhari is concerned about the deteriorating state of modern civilization. As “an ardent believer in the mass psychology of change,” he seeks “to ventilate [his] views and reflections through the minds of really great people presented in this volume.”
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
~ Margaret Mead, American anthropologist (p.127)
In the Introduction, Girdhari recounts that his first encounter with “quotations from outstanding persons” in primary school had a profound and lasting effect on his life. Later, as a young school teacher pursuing undergraduate studies, he had aligned with the anti-colonial movement that swept across then British Guiana and other colonial territories worldwide. To him, the time had come for such a revolutionary change. It was “commonsense logic.”
Truth and love will triumph over tyranny and injustice. Throughout history tyrants always fall.
~ Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi, Leader of India’s independence movement (p.123)
The Eurocentric world vision had conflicted with the new consciousness of the so-called ordinary people, demanding freedom and independence; and seeking new national identities. As Girdhari observes in examining the nature of self and identity, the narrative of the colonial masters had had a profound influence on the mindset and behavior of their subjects.
The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
~Stephen Biko, South African anti-apartheid activist (p.161)
Through his selection of quotations, Girdhari aims “to enthuse the individual to be responsive to the power that lies within the self…” In “the pursuit of wisdom by way of truth,” he adds, we-humans can liberate ourselves from the hollow promises of those in power.
If you want to change a society, then you have to tell an alternative story.
~Ivan Illich, Croatian-Austrian philosopher (p.95)
Girdhari urges us “to think!” His selected quotations can serve as a catalyst for critical thinking. As humankind faces its greatest challenges of ecological collapse and climate change disruption, I believe that the great thinkers of our civilization have already indicated the way forward. I leave you with more of their vision for contemplation.
Religion has fueled alienation and conflict and has exacerbated intolerance and injustice and oppression.
~ Bishop Desmond Tutu, South African Anglican theologian (p.48)
The illusion that we are separate from one another is an optical delusion of our consciousness.
~ Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist (p.27)
The indigenous understanding has its basis of spirituality in a recognition of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all living things, a holistic and balanced view of the world. All things are bound together. All things connect… Humankind has not woven the web of life; we are but one thread. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
~ Rebecca Adamson, Cherokee economist & founder of First Peoples Worldwide (p.152)
As Americans head into midterm elections on November 6th, I call on our youth to vote.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.
~ Plato, Classical Greek philosopher (p.147)
All are involved! / All are consumed!
~ Martin Carter, Guyanese poet of resistance (p.131)