„This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo,
And we been pilgrymes, passynge to and fro“

—  Geoffrey Chaucer, Context: This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo, And we been pilgrymes, passynge to and fro; Deeth is an ende of every worldly soore. The Knight's Tale, lV, 1990 - 1992
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Geoffrey Chaucer6
scrittore, poeta, cantante, burocrate e diplomatico inglese 1343 - 1400
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„Text: Psalm 119:19. I am a stranger on the earth, hide not Thy command ments from me.
Are we what we dreamt we should be? No, but still the sorrows of life…, so much more numerous than we expected, the tossing to and fro in the world, they have covered it over, but it is not dead, it sleepeth.“

—  Vincent Van Gogh Dutch post-Impressionist painter (1853-1890) 1853 - 1890
Quote from van Gogh's first sermon, 29 October, 1876; as quoted in Vincent van Gogh, edited by Alfred H. Barr; Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1935 https://www.moma.org/documents/moma_catalogue_1996_300061887.pdf, p. 18

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„No! 'tis the present world that prompts the song,
The world we see, the world that feels the wrong,
The world of men, whose arguments ye know,
Of men, long curb'd to servitude and wo,
Men, rous'd from sloth, by indignation stung,
Their strong hands loos'd, and found their fearless tongue;
Whose voice of fire, whose deep-descending steel
Shall speak to souls, and teach dull nerves to feel.“

—  Joel Barlow American diplomat 1754 - 1812
Context: Think not, ye knaves, whom meanness styles the Great, Drones of the Church and harpies of the State, — Ye, whose curst sires, for blood and plunder fam'd, Sultans or kings or czars or emp'rors nam'd, Taught the deluded world their claims to own, And raise the crested reptiles to a throne, — Ye, who pretend to your dark host was given The lamp of life, the mystic keys of heaven; Whose impious arts with magic spells began When shades of ign'rance veil'd the race of man; Who change, from age to age, the sly deceit As Science beams, and Virtue learns the cheat; Tyrants of double powers, the soul that blind, To rob, to scourge, and brutalize mankind, Think not I come to croak with omen'd yell The dire damnations of your future hell, To bend a bigot or reform a knave, By op'ning all the scenes beyond the grave. I know your crusted souls: while one defies In sceptic scorn the vengeance of the skies, The other boasts, — “I ken thee, Power divine, “But fear thee not; th' avenging bolt is mine." No! 'tis the present world that prompts the song, The world we see, the world that feels the wrong, The world of men, whose arguments ye know, Of men, long curb'd to servitude and wo, Men, rous'd from sloth, by indignation stung, Their strong hands loos'd, and found their fearless tongue; Whose voice of fire, whose deep-descending steel Shall speak to souls, and teach dull nerves to feel.

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„We must deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had the history of the last 18 years been different.“

—  John F. Kennedy 35th president of the United States of America 1917 - 1963
Context: Let us reexamine our attitude toward the cold war, remembering that we are not engaged in a debate, seeking to pile up debating points. We are not here distributing blame or pointing the finger of judgment. We must deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had the history of the last 18 years been different. We must, therefore, persevere in the search for peace in the hope that constructive changes within the Communist bloc might bring within reach solutions which now seem beyond us. We must conduct our affairs in such a way that it becomes in the Communists' interest to agree on a genuine peace. Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy — or of a collective death-wish for the world. To secure these ends, America's weapons are nonprovocative, carefully controlled, designed to deter, and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self- restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility. For we can seek a relaxation of tension without relaxing our guard. And, for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute. We do not need to jam foreign broadcasts out of fear our faith will be eroded. We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people — but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.

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„Security, freedom, dignity, if we had these three we could say that it has been worth while being born into this world“

—  Aung San Suu Kyi State Counsellor of Myanmar and Leader of the National League for Democracy 1945
Context: Security, freedom, dignity, if we had these three we could say that it has been worth while being born into this world and I would like all the young people of Burma and young people all over the world to be able to feel that it was right that they have been born into this world.

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„We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong.“

—  Wendell Berry author 1934
Context: We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us... We must recover the sense of the majesty of the creation and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it. "A Native Hill"

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„Humanity is not a zero sum game. When we have been at our most prosperous, we have been at our most principled, and when we do well, the rest of the world does well.“

—  Jeff Flake American politician 1962
Context: When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country, and instead of addressing it, goes to look for someone to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to start in assigning blame is to look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops.Humility helps, character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly or debased appetites in us. Leadership lives by the American creed, “E pluribus unum.” From many one. American leadership looks to the world and just as Lincoln did, sees the family of man. Humanity is not a zero sum game. When we have been at our most prosperous, we have been at our most principled, and when we do well, the rest of the world does well.

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