I love it when I read a book and encounter something amazing. While I was reading independently with my students (I'm currently engrossed in The Life You save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage), I happened upon this wonderful little footnote, spoken Peter Maurin, circa 1933:
"The world would be better off
if people tried to become better.
And people would become better
if they stopped trying to become
For when everybody tries to
become better off,
nobody is better off.
But when everybody tries to
become better, everybody id better off.
Everybody would be rich
if nobody tried to become richer.
And nobody would be poor
if everybody tried to be poorest.
And everybody would be
what he ought to be
if everybody tried to be
what he wants the other fellow to be."
Eighty years have passed and the words still bear truth. This is why I love reading. No amount of internet searching would reveal this tiny footnote in the opening of a relatively obscure biography. One must explore the pages to find the gems.