Email this review


What do Steve Allen, Jane Goodall, Marie Cuomo, Joan Baez, Benjamin Speck, Michael York and the Dalai Lama have in common? They are but a few of the many well-known people who responded to a request from Berman (the founder of something called the Center for the Study of Contemporary Beliefs) to contribute essays on their moral convictions and how they have carried them out. Happily, the end result contains no pulpy pontificating or inspirational sermonizing. The essays are thoughtful, wise, often witty and consistently well written. They can be dipped into at random with the assurance that the reward will be a meaty idea, a lyrical passage or an insightful anecdote. The predominate themes are the oneness of humanity, the importance of compassion and love, and (frequently) the existence of a Divinity--though not necessarily the god of a particular religion. Norman Cousins lists his ""articles of faith,"" starting with: ""I am a single cell in a body of 4 billion cells. The body is humanity."" Jane Goodall (who writes mystically and lyrically about her experiences in the African jungle) says: ""While I believe that God wills the ultimate destiny of the human race, I feel sure that the destiny of each of us lies in our own hands: to succeed or fail, love or hate, create or destroy. . .to struggle upward toward a way of life dictated by human values. . ."" His Holiness, the Dalai Lama believes, ""One should act without selfishness, cultivate compassion for all living things, and develop respect for others."" And finally, Dr. Benjamin Speck: ""I still believe that humanity is potentially loving, idealistic and creative, but also potentially vicious [and] that what makes the difference is how children are raised and how societies are led."" In sum, a winner to be read and savored by a wide audience.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1985
Publisher: Dodd, Mead