Leading Thoughts

IDEAS shared have the power to expand perspectives, change thinking, and move lives. Here are two ideas for the curious mind to engage with:


Amor Towles’ character Count Alexander Rostov on withholding judgement:

“The Count had to acknowledge once again the virtues of withholding judgment. After all, what can a first impression tell us about someone we’ve just met for a minute in the lobby of the hotel? For that matter, what can a first impression tell us about anyone? Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven or a brushstroke about Botticelli. By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration–and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.”

Source: A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel


Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter on rights and civility:

“If we fail to distinguish desire from right, we will not understand that rights are sensible and wise only within particular contexts that give them meaning. The Constitution protects a variety of rights, but our moral norms provide the discipline in their exercise. Sometimes what the moral norm of civility demands is that we restrain our self-expression for the sake of our community.”

Source: Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:44 PM
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