University of Minnesota

“If It Isn’t Fun.” – A Social Awakening?

October 20, 1947

I believe that I am becoming more aware of the world and more interested in people. Increasingly I recognize my deficiencies when I see them manifest in others. But I, nevertheless, continue to find too much fault, being intolerant of my associates’ (and my own) bigotry. Recently I even have nightmares in which I am speaking out forcefully and passionately in some public forum about choosing and leading a “good life.” But on waking, I usually find myself weak and unsure, uncommitted.

It also appears that my simple awakening these days to the more obvious of “humanity’s needs” has painted me “pink” in the eyes of some fellow students. I suspect that I should be more tolerant in dealing with my colleagues who are not yet as socially aware. In truth, the step between us is hardly high enough to trip over.

I read that these famous lines of John Donne have been proposed for the Hiroshima Memorial:

“Every man’s death diminishes me,

Because I am involved in Mankind.

And therefore, never ask to know

For whom the bell tolls.

It tolls for thee.”