The Other I

February 27, 2016

However it’s said…

Filed under: Just Stuff,Questions beyond Science — theotheri @ 3:53 pm


“Three things in human life are important:

the first is to be kind;

the second is to be kind;

and the third is to be kind.”

— Henry James

However you say it, whether it’s the Golden Rule, or St. Paul’s Greatest of These, it’s love that turns out to be what matters in the end, isn’t it?

Henry James, the writer, died 100 years ago tomorrow.  His work is still vibrant, and in coming months, museums, libraries, and universities are exploring his legacy in conferences across America and Europe.  



  1. Thanks for this great quote–with an MFA in fiction, I should know Henry James’ work better than I do, but I’m more familiar with his brother William, who also said some pretty wonderful things, especially about art:

    “Single words, and conjunctions of words, effects of light on land and sea, odors and musical sounds, all bring it [a ‘sense of deeper significance’] when the mind is tuned aright. Most of us can remember the strangely moving power of passages in certain poems read when we were young, irrational doorways as they were through which the mystery of fact, the wildness and the pang of life, stole into our hearts and thrilled them. The words have now perhaps become mere polished surfaces for us; but lyric poetry and music are alive and significant only in proportion as they fetch these vague vistas of a life continuous with our own, beckoning and inviting, yet ever eluding our pursuit. We are alive or dead to the eternal inner message of the arts according as we have kept or lost this mystical susceptibility.”

    Somebody in that family must have been doing something right with those boys!


    Comment by Barbara Sullivan — February 27, 2016 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

    • Thank you for your beautiful addition to the James’ “anthology.” They did understand that some of the most important things about living can only be accessed through poetry & music, didn’t they?


      Comment by theotheri — February 28, 2016 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  2. Always liked this quote…
    When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.


    Comment by DJC — March 1, 2016 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

    • Oh, thank you, Donna — I like that even better than the James’ quote! I’m finding too that the older I get, the more important I think kindness is. What we call intelligence is the modern world is useful, of course, and can make immense contributions (or vice versa) for all of life. But kindness outstrips it in my mind by a long distance.

      Except that whatthe kind thing to do in the actual situation isn’t always that obvious to identify, is it? the temptation is to slip into enabling a person’s weakness which, ultimately, is hardly kind or truly tolerant or wise. And I see a disturbing amount of that too. Do you?


      Comment by theotheri — March 2, 2016 @ 2:41 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: