Pablo Casals? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: I am hoping you will be interested in researching the following quote:
Each person has inside a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts on it, he is giving a great deal of what the world needs most. It is not complicated but takes courage. It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it.
It’s all over the web and is attributed to Pablo Casals.
Quote Investigator: The common modern version of the quotation provided by the questioner has been slightly modified from the original statement which was indeed spoken by the renowned cellist Pablo Casals. In December 1959 a profile and interview of Casals by the journalist and activist Norman Cousins was published in The Saturday Review magazine. In the article Casals was referred to as Don Pablo, and the quotation used the word “man” instead of “person”. Here is an excerpt with more context: 1
“The answer to helplessness is not so very complicated,” Don Pablo said. “A man can do something for peace without having to jump into politics. Each man has inside him a basic decency and goodness. If he listens to it and acts it, he is giving a great deal of what it is the world needs most. It is not complicated but it takes courage. It takes courage for a man to listen to his own goodness and act on it. Do we dare to be ourselves? This is the question that counts—and not, must a man be helpless?”
Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1959 December 12, The Saturday Review, Don Pablo: An Editorial, [Interview of Pablo Casals by Norman Cousins], Start Page 24, Quote Page 46, Column 1, Saturday Review, Inc., New York. (Unz) ↩