Mar 30

"The World is One Lifeboat ..."

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | 03/30/2020 12:09PM | Quote of the Week | Service | Citizenship


"The World is One Lifeboat..."

Our Quote of the Week encapsulates Sargent Shriver's view of humanity in a simple but poetic way. The coronavirus pandemic is making more evident a basic truth about humanity of which Sargent Shriver often reminded us: that we are all connected, and if some of us are struggling, that struggle impacts all of us.


In 1975, Sargent Shriver gave an Address to the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. In it, he made the point that human beings yearn deeply for three seemingly contradictory things: independence, unity, and transcendence. He stressed that building peace and ending poverty would allow us to fulfill these deep yearnings, so that we could live freely while acknowledging our fundamental interconnectedness. To illustrate these powerful points, he used this poetic metaphor for the world as a lifeboat in a sea of stars.

The many threats that the coronavirus poses in our communities are laying bare how deeply we are all connected to each other. We may have to limit our in-person exposure to one other to slow the spread of the virus, but we are also discovering our immense capacity to serve and uplift each other in times of crisis. May the compassion and creativity that we are finding within ourselves in this moment bring us to new ways of being and doing in our communities. May we find the strength to be true citizens and to put into action what we already know: that any effort to be of service to others, particularly those who are most vulnerable, will result in strengthening us all.

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