Maya's Wisdom

"I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me"

If you can internalize the least portion of that, you will never be able to say of a criminal act 'I couldn't do that' no matter how heinous the crime. If a human being did it, you have to say 'I have in me all the components that are in him. However, I intend to use my energies constructively as opposed to destructively'.

If you can do that about the negative, just think what you can do with the positive.

-Maya Angelou
Oprah's Masterclass


  1. How insightful... this really got me thinking.

    There are some things that I truly don't think I could ever do. And I believe I'm justified in saying so. I know I could not rape a person, or brutally murder someone.

    And my argument is based on the fact that boys can't give birth to a baby... so clearly there are some things certain people can do that others can not :)

  2. You're missing the whole point of the argument though. You are a human being therefore it isn't impossible for you to feel or do anything that another human would do.

    She was simply making the point that if you are human (which you are) you never have the right to judge someone else's actions; because at our core we are made of the same fibers and are capable of the same things.

    It's not about men not being able to have children, it's about human beings as a species ignorantly judging one another's actions based on their own life opinions. You can do anything in the world good or bad, because you, like Hitler or like Martin Luther King are a human being.

  3. I understand that we are all humans and therefore capable and deserving of repentance.

    However, I think that you do have the right to judge someone's actions. We constantly judge people's actions in relation to our own moral compass as well as "the light of christ" or our conscience. I believe that every human conscience says that murder is wrong until it has been ignored too long to be heard.

    I understand that we don't always know someone's circumstances and therefore to say that someone is a monster because of something that they did isn't a fair statment. But I think I can say that what Hitler "did" was terrible and horrific. And if I did the same thing it would be perhaps more terrible and horrific... because I possibly have a greater understand of why what he did was wrong.

    Now, I just feel like I'm long winded, but I do agree that we often pass judgements we shouldn't. But I also think that sometimes judgements need to be passed (like a jury giving a rapist a prison sentence). And I also disagree that we're all capable of the same things. Yes, we all have hands but I think personality, and the way you think are what make our decisions different.

    Well, I'm probably just stirring the pot, but I wish we could discuss this in person. I imagine it would be an interesting discussion.

  4. To me it boils down to if you place people in the exact same situations and circumstances they won't make the same decision.

  5. Unfortunately I think we are simply going to have to agree to disagree...I guess in order to understand the statement the way I view and agree with it, you'd have to have seen the whole special from which it was taken. Although you made good points, it's still not what I view the statement means at it's core. You're right... maybe in person this debate would be better!