Problems (Quotes)

Got remembering a neat quotation about problems when chatting with a friend the other day. Went to my ‘Quotations’ document to do a ‘Find’ on the word “problem.” Well! Plenty came up. Great selection, or so it seems to me. So I’m adding this collection to the quotations collection.

“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.” (phew! ) – Theodore Rubin (1923-), U.S. psychiatrist   ** this is the one I went looking for

Writer Alexander McCall Smith has the character Angus Lordie say, in Bertie’s Guide to Life and Mothers, “He [psychiatrist Dr. Macgregor] told me that the solution to so many problems is to talk about them. If you talk freely about a problem, then you take away its power to distress you.”

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Got that?” – Coach Brevin, from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares

“The dominant thinking on the left, I suppose, is some variety of a “false consciousness” argument, that the elite have pulled the wool over the eyes of the vast majority of the population, and once the latter realizes that they’ve been had, they’ll rebel, they’ll move the country in a populist or democratic socialist direction. The problem I have with this is the evident fact that most Americans want the American Dream, not a different way of life. Endless material wealth based on individual striving is the American ideal, and the desire to change that paradigm is practically nonexistent. Even the poor buy into this, which is why John Steinbeck once remarked that they regard themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” – historian & cultural critic Morris Berman being quoted in ‘Why the American Empire Was Destined to Collapse,’ by Nomi Prins [2]  [very worth reading, btw!]

“I was at a conference about peace and freedom and so on, and I was asked, being the only native there, what I saw as the solution to the problems that we have on Earth. So that’s what I suggested, you know – getting rid of private property and nation states. They asked me, really sneeringly, to please be more realistic, because, they said, private property and nation states are here to stay. And my answer to them was, that their very best scientists are trying to tell them that human life is not necessarily here to stay. So it’s time for a radical change, there’s no time for anything else.” – Native Gawitrha’in an essay in the book Circles of Strength, edited by Helen Forsey

“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I awake in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – E.B. White

“You can blame people who knock things over in the dark, or you can begin to light candles. You’re only at fault if you know about the problem and choose to do nothing.” – Paul Hawken, entrepreneur & author, The Sun (April 2002) – quoted in July/Aug. 2002 issue of Utne Reader

“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience.”  Howard Zinn **Howard Zinn on democracy & civil disobedience on YouTube here

“The world we have created today as a result of our thinking thus far has problems which cannot be solved by thinking the way we thought when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

Thomas Berry on the environmental crisis: “It is something like being in a lifeboat. There may be problems of distribution of food, there may be people that need medical care, but if something happens to the boat, the boat has to be taken care of immediately or else everything else becomes irrelevant.”

“Adding highway capacity to solve a congestion problem is like buying larger trousers to solve a weight problem.” – Magazine article

“There isn’t a problem on this earth that a doughnut cannot make better.” – Roseanne Barr

“There is not a problem with the system. The system is the problem.” – Source unknown

“The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by sceptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men [people??] who can dream of things that never were.” – John F. Kennedy

“The capacity of people to get on with what they have been doing all their lives, even when they know it is not in their best interests, is a marvel. Denial is one of the strongest of human emotions. It gets us through the shock of chronic illnesses or sudden deaths, and often it is what keeps us from making changes in life. Thus it is not enough to have a good idea or even a great one to bring about social change. People have to believe that the problem being addressed is so bad that something must be done, and they must believe that something can be done.” – Devra Davis, Ph.D in When Smoke Ran Like Water – Tales of Environmental Deception & the Battle Against Pollution – 2002

“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” – Mohandas Gandhi

“If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” – Abraham Maslow

“Not the least of my problems is that I can hardly even imagine what kind of an experience a genuine, self-authenticating religious experience would be. Without somehow destroying me in the process, how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt? If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me.” – Frederick Buechner (quoted at the front of John Irving’s novel A Prayer for Owen Meany)

“What’s really important is not what’s wrong, but what is right… No community was ever built on the needs and problems of its people. It has always been built on their gifts and capacities, and the use of the assets that are there…” – Professor John L. McKnight, Director of Community Studies, Northwestern University, Illinois

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie, in The Language of Letting Go

“If I am practicing spiritual poverty, which says that I own nothing, then the problems aren’t mine and neither are the energy and compassion pouring through my heart to try to solve them. I am just a link in the process. If I don’t take anything personally, then I can do great work without flagging. The Dalai Lama once said, ‘Try with all your might — to work very, very hard — to make the world a better place, and if all your efforts are to no avail . . . no hard feelings!’” – Bo Lozoff, *Utne Reader*

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” – Albert Ellis