Famous Quotes & Sayings

Norman Cousins Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Norman Cousins.

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The greatest force in the human body is the natural drive of the body to heal itself - but that force in not independent of the belief system. Everything begins with belief. What we believe is the most powerful option of all. — Norman Cousins

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Time is the one thing that patients need most from their doctors--time to be heard, time to have things explained, time to reassured, time to be introduced by the doctor personally to specialists or other attendants whose very existence seems to reflect something new and threatening. yet the one thing that too many doctors find most difficult to command or manage is time. — Norman Cousins

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The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started. — Norman Cousins

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We in America have everything we need except the most important thing of all-time to think and the habit of thought. — Norman Cousins

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Fortunately or otherwise we live at a time when the average individual has to know several times as much in order to keep informed as he did only thirty or forty years ago. Being "educated" today requires not only more than a superficial knowledge of the arts and sciences, but a sense of inter-relationship such as is taught in few schools. Finally, being "educated" today, in terms of the larger needs, means preparation for world citizenship; in short, education for survival. — Norman Cousins

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The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference. He has it within his means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter. — Norman Cousins

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Although a man may have no jurisdiction over the fact of his existence, he can hold supreme command over the meaning of existence for him. — Norman Cousins

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The way a book is read - which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book - can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it. — Norman Cousins

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The more serious the illness, the more important it is for you to fight back, mobilizing all your resources-spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical. — Norman Cousins

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What people most need now is to apply their conversion skills to those things that are essential for their survival. They need to convert facts into logic, free will into purpose, conscience into decision. They need to convert historical experience into a design for a sane world. — Norman Cousins

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Government in the U.S. today is a senior partner in every business in the country. — Norman Cousins

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A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life. — Norman Cousins

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For every low there is an equal but opposite high. — Norman Cousins

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The need is not to amputate the ego ... but to transcend it. — Norman Cousins

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The marvelous pharmacy that was designed by nature and placed into our being by the universal architect produces most of the medicines we need. — Norman Cousins

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Silence must be comprehended as not solely the absence of sound. It is the natural environment for serenity and contemplation. Life without silence is life without privacy. The difference between sanity and madness is the quality of our thoughts. Silence is on the side of sanity. — Norman Cousins

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We are wide-eyed in contemplating the possibility that life may exist elsewhere in the universe, but we wear blinders when contemplating the possibilities of life on earth. — Norman Cousins

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History is an accumulation of error. — Norman Cousins

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It is no longer correct to regard higher education solely as a privilege. It is a basic right in today's world. — Norman Cousins

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You are younger today than you will ever be again. Make use of it for the sake of tomorrow. — Norman Cousins

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Progress begins with the belief that what is necessary is possible. — Norman Cousins

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At a Dodger baseball game in Los Angeles, I asked Will Durant if he was ninety-four or ninety-five. "Ninety-four," he said. "You don't think I'd be doing anything as foolish as this if I were ninety-five, do you?" — Norman Cousins

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Nothing is more powerful than an individual acting out their conscience, thus helping bring the collective conscience to life. — Norman Cousins

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The old emphasis upon superficial differences that separate peoples must give way to education for citizenship in the human community. — Norman Cousins

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The essence of man is imperfection. — Norman Cousins

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Don't defy the diagnosis, try to defy the verdict. — Norman Cousins

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Drugs are not always necessary. Belief in recovery always is. — Norman Cousins

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Some people don't really know enough to make a pronouncement of doom on a human being. — Norman Cousins

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The need is to recognize that The patient is the healer, Not the doctor. — Norman Cousins

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Your heaviest artillery will be your will to live. Keep that big gun going. — Norman Cousins

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Reverence for life is more than solicitude or sensitivity for life. It is a sense of the whole, a capacity for inspired response, a respect for the intricate universe of individual life. It is the supreme awareness of awareness itself. — Norman Cousins

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On the quality of life: #1. Realize that each human being has a built-in capacity for recuperation and repair. #2. Recognize that the quality of life is all-important. #3. Assume responsibility for the quality of your own life. #4. Nurture the regenerative and restorative forces within you. #5. Utilize laughter to create a mood in which the other positive emotions can be put to work for yourself and those around you. #6. Develop confidence and ability to feel love, hope and faith, and acquire a strong will to live. — Norman Cousins

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What was most significant about the lunar voyage was not that men set foot on the moon but that they set eye on the earth. — Norman Cousins

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No one has been able to define or synthesize that precarious, splendid, and perhaps untidy instant when the creative process begins. This is what the uniqueness of the artist is all about. The transcendent right of the artist is the right to create even though he may not always know what he is doing. — Norman Cousins

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Just as there is no loss of basic energy in the universe, so no thought or action is without its effects, present or ultimate, seen or unseen, felt or unfelt. — Norman Cousins

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Infinity converts the possible into the inevitable. — Norman Cousins

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More and more, the choice for the world's people is between world warriors and world citizens. — Norman Cousins

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I have learned never to underestimate the capacity of the human mind and body to regenerate
even when prospects seem most wretched. The life force may be the least understood force on earth. Norman Cousins (in his; Anatomy of an Illness) — Norman Cousins

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I cannot affirm God if I fail to affirm man. Therefore, I affirm both. Without a belief in human unity I am hungry and incomplete. Human unity is the fulfillment of diversity. It is the harmony of opposites. It is a many-stranded texture, with color and depth. — Norman Cousins

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Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. — Norman Cousins

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The sense of paralysis proceeds not so much out of the mammoth size of the problem but out of the puniness of the purpose. — Norman Cousins

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The real wealth, not only of America, but of the world, is in the resources of the ground we stand on, and in the resources of the humankind. — Norman Cousins

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The justification for those actions was that we were living in a very hard, predatory, cloak-and-dagger world and that the only way to deal with a totalitarian enemy was to intimidate him. The trouble with this theory was that while we live in a world of plot and counterplot, we also live in a world of cause and effect. Whatever the cause for the decision to legitimize and regularize deceit abroad, the inevitable effect was the practice of deceit at home. — Norman Cousins

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The doctor knows that it is the prescription slip itself, even more than what is written on it, that is often the vital ingredient for enabling a patient to get rid of whatever is ailing him. — Norman Cousins

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Belief becomes biology. — Norman Cousins

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To be able to rise from the earth; to be able, from a station in outer space, to see the relationship of the planet earth to other planets; to be able to contemplate the billions of factors in precise and beautiful combination that make human existence possible; to be able to dwell on an encounter of the human brain and spirit with the universe — Norman Cousins

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The conquest of war and the pursuit of social justice ... must become our grand preoccupation and magnificent obsession. — Norman Cousins

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The message from the moon which we have flashed to the far corners of this planet is that no problem need any longer be considered insoluble. — Norman Cousins

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The starting point for a better world is the belief that it is possible. — Norman Cousins

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We have learned to live in a world of mistakes and defective products as if they were necessary to life. It is time to adopt a new philosophy in America. — Norman Cousins

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Laughter is a powerful way to tap positive emotions — Norman Cousins

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Laughter is inner jogging. — Norman Cousins

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Respect for the fragility and importance of an individual life is still the mark of an educated man. — Norman Cousins

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Man is not imprisoned by habit. Great changes in him can be wrought by crisis - once that crisis can be recognized and understood. — Norman Cousins

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Integration is a basic law of life; when we resist it, disintegration is the natural result, both inside and outside of us. Thus we come to the concept of harmony through integration. — Norman Cousins

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We are becoming a nation of sissies and hypochondriacs, a self medicating society easily intimidated by pain and prone to panic. We understand almost nothing about the essential robustness of the human body or its ability to meet the challenge of illness. — Norman Cousins

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Cynicism is intellectual treason. — Norman Cousins

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Life is an adventure in forgiveness — Norman Cousins

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Pain is part of the body's magic. It is the way the body transmits a sign to the brain that something is wrong. — Norman Cousins

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Intelligence and the spirit of adventure can be combined to create new energies, and out of these energies may come exciting and rewarding new prospects. — Norman Cousins

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Illness is always an interaction between [mind and body]. It can begin in the mind and affect the body, or it can begin in the body and affect the mind, both of which are served by the same bloodstream. Attempts to treat most mental diseases as though they were completely free of physical causes and attempts to treat most bodily diseases as though the mind were in no way involved must be considered archaic in the light of new evidence about the way the human body functions. — Norman Cousins

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The growth of the human mind is still high adventure, in many ways the highest adventure on earth. — Norman Cousins

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The most costly disease is boredom costly for both individual and society. — Norman Cousins

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Not every illness can be overcome. But many people allow illness to disfigure their lives more than it should. They cave in needlessly. They ignore and weaken whatever powers they have for standing erect. There is always a margin within which life can be lived with meaning and even with a certain measure of joy, despite illness. — Norman Cousins

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The heart of the matter is that some people like to cause injury or death to living things. And many of those who do not are indifferent to those who do. — Norman Cousins

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The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life.
- Cited in ALA Bulletin, Oct. 1954, p.475 — Norman Cousins

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No one really knows enough to be a pessimist. — Norman Cousins

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The poet reminds men of their uniqueness and it is not necessary to possess the ultimate definition of this uniqueness. Even to speculate is a gain. — Norman Cousins

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Words have to be crafted, not sprayed. They need to be fitted together with infinite care. — Norman Cousins

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The physician's ability to reassure the patient is a major factor in activating the body's own healing system. — Norman Cousins

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Freedom of religion, as the Founding Fathers saw it, was not just the right to associate oneself with a certain denomination but the right to disassociate without penalty. Belief or nonbelief was a matter of individual choice - a right underwritten in the basic charter of the nation's liberties. — Norman Cousins

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The control center of your life is your attitude. — Norman Cousins

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It is reasonable to expect the doctor to recognize that science may not have all the answers to problems of health and healing. — Norman Cousins

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If something comes to life in others because of you, then you have made an approach to immortality. — Norman Cousins

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Death is not the ultimate tragedy of life. The ultimate tragedy is depersonalization
dying in an alien and sterile area, separated from the spiritual nourishment that comes from being able to reach out to a loving hand, separated from the desire to experience the things that make life worth living, separated from hope. — Norman Cousins

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War is an invention of the human mind. The human mind can invent peace with justice. — Norman Cousins

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I am a single cell in the body of four billion cells. The body is humankind. I am a single cell. My needs are individual but they are not unique. I am interlocked with other human beings in the consequences of our actions, thoughts, and feelings. I will work for human unity and human peace; for a moral order in harmony with the order of the universe. Together we share the quest for a society of the whole equal to our needs, a society in which we need not live beneath our moral capacity, and in which justice has a life of its own. We are single cells in a body of four billion cells. The body is humankind.
Norman Cousins, Human Options: An Autobiographical Notebook, 1981 — Norman Cousins

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Second only to freedom, learning is the most precious option on earth. — Norman Cousins

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What was significant about the laughter ... was not just the fact that it provides internal exercise for a person ... form of jogging for the innards, but that it creates a mood in which the other positive emotions can be put to work, too. — Norman Cousins

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The American people today are involved in a warfare more deadly than the war in Vietnam, but few of them seem aware of it and even fewer of them are doing anything about it. This is a war that is being waged against the American environment, against our lands, air, and water, which are the basis of that environment. — Norman Cousins

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All men - whether they go by the name of Americans or Russians or Chinese or British or Malayans or Indians or Africans - have obligations to one another that transcend their obligations to their sovereign societies. — Norman Cousins

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The possibility of war increases in direct proportion to the effectiveness of the instruments of war. — Norman Cousins

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Pessimism is a waste of time. — Norman Cousins

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Assume responsibility for the quality of your own life — Norman Cousins

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But we have yet to make peace basic to our education. The most important subject in the world is hardly taught at all. In the spirit of this passage, the editor has taken the liberty of editing Mr. Cousins' language to make it more gender inclusive. — Norman Cousins

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Suppose I stopped taking aspirin and phenylbutazone? What about the pain? The bones in my spine and practically every joint in my body felt as though I had been run over by a truck.
I knew that pain could be affected by attitudes. Most people become panicky about almost any pain. On all sides they have been so bombarded with advertisements about pain that they take this or that analgesic at the slightest sign of an ache. We are largely illiterate about pain and so are seldom able to deal with it rationally. Pain is part of the body's magic. It is the way the body transmits a sign to the body that something is wrong. — Norman Cousins

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It makes little difference how many university courses or degrees a person may own. If he cannot use words to move an idea from one point to another, his education is incomplete. — Norman Cousins

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If there is a conflict between the easy drift of prosperity and the ordeal of peace, the ordeal of peace comes first. — Norman Cousins

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The human body experiences a powerful gravitational pull in the direction of hope. That is why the patient's hopes are the physician's secret weapon. They are the hidden ingredients in any prescription. — Norman Cousins

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Wisdom consists of the anticipation of consequences. — Norman Cousins

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Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. — Norman Cousins

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Education fails unless the Three R's at one end of the school spectrum lead ultimately to the Four P's at the other-Preparati on for Earning, Preparation for Living, Preparation for Understanding, Preparation for Participation in the problems involved in the making of a better world. — Norman Cousins

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Unobstructed access to facts can produce unlimited good only if it is matched by the desire and ability to find out what they mean and where they lead. — Norman Cousins

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Laughter is a form of internal jogging. — Norman Cousins

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The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness. — Norman Cousins

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All this sensory input, which begins in the brain, has its effect throughout the body. — Norman Cousins

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Time given to thought is the greatest time saver of all. — Norman Cousins

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In a democracy, the individual enjoys not only the ultimate power but carries the ultimate responsibility. — Norman Cousins

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Optimism doesn't wait on facts. It deals with prospects. Pessimism is a waste of time. — Norman Cousins

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Ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep. — Norman Cousins