Category Archives: Quotes

Quote: To transform the world (Krishnamurti)

To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves. This is our responsibility, yours and mine, because however small may be the world we live in, if we can bring about a radically different point of view in our daily existence, then perhaps we shall affect the world at large.

— J. Krishnamurti

(Cited in the Balaton Bulletin, Winter 1999)

Quote: It is unfortunate that dreams and visions (Pronk)

It is unfortunate that dreams and visions often only can be worked out at the end of one’s life.

– J. P. Pronk, former Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning, and Environment, the Netherlands

Written in a private letter to Nanda Gilden (now Gilden-de Bie), reflecting on Wouter Biesiot’s book, Fragments of a Dream

Reprinted in the Balaton Bulletin, Winter 1999

Quote: I am a practical person (Meadows)

I am a practical person. I think of myself as relentlessly realistic. I want to create change in the world, not visions in my head. I am constantly amazed, but increasingly convinced, that visioning is a tool for producing results. Olympic athletes use vision to make the difference between the superior performance their trained bodies can achieve and the outstanding performance their inspired vision can achieve. Corporate executives take formal classes in vision. All great leaders have been visionaries. Even the scientific, systems-analyst side of me has to admit that we can hardly achieve a desirable, sustainable world, if we can’t even picture what it will be like.

— Donella Meadows, “The Importance of Visioning, the Practice of Visioning,” reprinted in The Balaton Bulletin, Winter 1999

Quote: So many nations govern themselves (Ellis)

It’s amazing that so many nations govern themselves with no coherent vision of the future. They pass laws, pursue policies, and spend trillions of dollars while leaving the future largely to accident. The blueprints for the survival of human civilization are vague or ignored, and immense costs flow from this fact.

A comprehensive, long-term global vision could begin with ordinary citizens rather than with elected officials or think tanks that employ technical experts. The opportunity to begin and sustain a conversation about the future of civilization rests with you.

— Dave Ellis, Creating Your Future, Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1998, p. 222

(Cited by Donella Meadows in the Balaton Bulletin, Winter 1999)

Quote: If the world were merely seductive (E. B. White)

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

— E. B. White, as quoted by Israel Shenker in the New York Times, 11 July 1969