„When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.“

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Yasunari Kawabata photo

„When we see the beauty of the snow, when we see the beauty of the full moon, when we see the beauty of the cherries in bloom, when in short we brush against and are awakened by the beauty of the four seasons, it is then that we think most of those close to us, and want them to share the pleasure.“

—  Yasunari Kawabata Japanese author, Nobel Prize winner 1899 - 1972
Context: Dr. Yashiro Yukio, internationally known as a scholar of Botticelli, a man of great learning in the art of the past and the present, of the East and the West, has summed up one of the special characteristics of Japanese art in a single poetic sentence: "The time of the snows, of the moon, of the blossoms — then more than ever we think of our comrades." When we see the beauty of the snow, when we see the beauty of the full moon, when we see the beauty of the cherries in bloom, when in short we brush against and are awakened by the beauty of the four seasons, it is then that we think most of those close to us, and want them to share the pleasure. The excitement of beauty calls forth strong fellow feelings, yearnings for companionship, and the word "comrade" can be taken to mean "human being". The snow, the moon, the blossoms, words expressive of the seasons as they move one into another, include in the Japanese tradition the beauty of mountains and rivers and grasses and trees, of all the myriad manifestations of nature, of human feelings as well.

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„I believe that under the surface all people are the same. […] people are all essentially the same. Similar hopes, similar dreams, similar strengths, similar weaknesses. But we're also all bound by history and culture and habits. And so conflicts arise, in part, because of some weaknesses in human nature. When we feel threatened, then we like to strike out against people who are not like us. When change is happening too quickly, and we try to hang on to those things that we think could give us a solid foundation. And sometimes the organizing principles are around issues like race, or religion. When there are times of scarcity, then people can turn on each other.“

—  Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America 1961
Context: I believe that under the surface all people are the same. […] people are all essentially the same. Similar hopes, similar dreams, similar strengths, similar weaknesses. But we're also all bound by history and culture and habits. And so conflicts arise, in part, because of some weaknesses in human nature. When we feel threatened, then we like to strike out against people who are not like us. When change is happening too quickly, and we try to hang on to those things that we think could give us a solid foundation. And sometimes the organizing principles are around issues like race, or religion. When there are times of scarcity, then people can turn on each other. And so I don't underestimate the very real challenges that we continue to face, and I don't think it is inevitable that the world comes together in a common culture and common understanding. But overall, I am hopeful. And the reason I'm hopeful is, if you look at the trajectory of history, humanity has slowly improved.

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