More from and about
Norman Cousins
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

Death is not the greatest loss in life.
The greatest loss is what dies inside us
while we live.

   

Fortunately or otherwise we live at a time when the average individual has to know several times as much in order to keep informed as he or she did only thirty or forty years ago. Being 'educated' today requires not only more than a superficial knowledge of the arts and sciences, but a sense of inter-relationship such as is taught in few schools. Finally, being 'educated' today, in terms of the larger needs, means preparation for world citizenship; in short, education for survival.
  
  
If something comes to life in others because of you, then you have 
made an approach to immortality.

      
The control center of your life is your attitude.
 
  
We must learn never to underestimate the capacity of the human mind and body to regenerate-even when the prospects seem most wretched ... What the patient expects to happen ... can be as potent in touching off biochemical processes as any medication.
  
It makes little difference how many university courses or degrees a person may own. If that person cannot use words to move an idea from one point to another, his or her education is incomplete.
  
  
The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas--a place where history comes to life.
   

Human beings fashion their consequences as surely as they fashion their goods or their dwellings. Nothing that we say, think or do is without consequences.

     

The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference.
He or she has it within their means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.

   

welcome page - contents - gallery - obstacles - quotations - the people behind the words
our current e-zine - articles and excerpts - Daily Meditations, Year Two - Year Three
     

Sign up for your free daily spiritual or general quotation
~ ~ Sign up for your free daily meditation

  

Life is an adventure in forgiveness.

   

It is reasonable to expect the doctor to recognize that science
may not have all the answers to problems of health and healing.

   

People are not imprisoned by habit.  Great changes in us can be
wrought by crisis--once that crisis can be recognized and understood.

   
    
Norman Cousins (June 24, 1915 – November 30, 1990) was a prominent political journalist, author, professor, and world peace advocate.

Cousins was born in Union City, New Jersey. At age 11, he was misdiagnosed with tuberculosis and placed in a sanatorium. Despite this, he was an athletic youth, and he claimed that as a young boy, he had “set out to discover exuberance.”

After graduating from Union Hill High School, he received a Bachelor’s degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City.

He joined the staff of the New York Evening Post (now the New York Post) in 1934, and in 1935, he was hired by Current History as a book critic. He would later ascend to the position of managing editor. He would also befriend the staff of the Saturday Review of Literature (later renamed Saturday Review), which had its offices in the same building. He would later join the staff of that publication as well by 1940. He was named editor-in-chief in 1942, a position he would hold until 1972. Under his direction, circulation of the publication would increase from 20,000 to 650,000.

Cousins’ philosophy toward his work was exemplified by his instructions to his staff, “not just to appraise literature, but to try to serve it, nurture it, safeguard it.” Cousins believed that “There is a need for writers who can restore to writing its powerful tradition of leadership in crisis.

Politically, Cousins was a tireless advocate of liberal causes, such as nuclear disarmament and world peace, which he promoted through his writings in Saturday Review. In a 1984 forum at the University of California, Berkeley entitled “Quest for Peace,” Cousins recalled the long editorial he wrote on August 6, 1945, the day the United States dropped the bomb in Hiroshima. Titled “The Modern Man is Obsolete,” Cousins, who stated that he felt “the deepest guilt” over the bomb’s use on human beings, discussed in the editorial the social and political implications of the atomic bomb and atomic energy. He rushed to get it published the next day in the Review, and the response was considerable, as it was reprinted in newspapers around the country, and enlarged into a book that was reprinted in different languages.

Cousins also wrote a collection of non-fiction books on the same subjects, such as the 1953 Who Speaks for Man? , which advocated a World Federation and nuclear disarmament. He also served as president of the World Federalist Association and chairman of the Committee for Sane Nuclear Policy, which in the 1950s, warned that the world was bound for a nuclear holocaust if the threat of the nuclear arms race was not stopped. Cousins became an unofficial ambassador in the 1960s, and his facilitating communication between the Holy See, the Kremlin and the White House helped lead to the Soviet-American test ban treaty, for which he was thanked by President John F. Kennedy and Pope John XXIII, the latter of which awarded him his personal medallion. Cousins was also awarded the Eleanor Roosevelt Peace Award in 1963, the Family Man of the Year Award in 1968, and the United Nations Peace Medal in 1971. His proudest moment by his own reckoning, however, was when Albert Einstein called him to Princeton University to discuss issues of nuclear disarmament and world federalism.

Cousins also served as Adjunct Professor of Medical Humanities for the School of Medicine at the University of California, where he did research on the biochemistry of human emotions, which he long-believed were the key to human beings’ success in fighting illness. It was a belief he maintained even as he battled heart disease, which he fought both by taking massive doses of Vitamin C and, according to him, by training himself to laugh. He wrote a collection of best-selling non-fiction books on illness and healing, as well as a 1980 autobiographical memoir, Human Options: An Autobiographical Notebook. Late in life Cousins was diagnosed with a form of arthritis then called Marie-Strumpell's disease (Ankylosing Spondylitis--although this diagnosis is currently in doubt and it has been suggested that Cosuins may actually have had Reactive arthritis). His struggle with this illness is detailed in the book and movie Anatomy of an Illness.

Told that he had little chance of surviving, Cousins developed a recovery program incorporating megadoses of Vitamin C, along with a positive attitude, love, faith, hope, and laughter induced by Marx Brothers films. "I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep," he reported. "When the pain-killing effect of the laughter wore off, we would switch on the motion picture projector again and not infrequently, it would lead to another pain-free interval."

Cousins received the Albert Schweitzer Prize in 1990. He died of heart failure on November 30, 1990 in Los Angeles, California, having survived years longer than his doctors predicted: 10 years after his first heart attack, 16 years after his collagen illness, and 26 years after his doctors first diagnosed his heart disease.

He and his wife Ellen raised five daughters.

  

  

About our people pages:
Because many visitors have asked for more information about particular people whose words
appear on the site, we'll try to give you as much information as we can about individuals.
The Amazon links should give you access to works by the author, though at times they'll
display other books if the author has written an essay or introduction for those books.

    

We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you.  Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the online reader).  All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.  Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction!

  

Other people:  Alan Watts - Albert Einstein - Albert Schweitzer - Andy Rooney - Anne Frank - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Anne Wilson Schaef
- Annie Dillard - Anthony Robbins - Ari Kiev - Artur Rubenstein - Barbara Johnson - Benjamin Disraeli
Benjamin Franklin
- Benjamin Hoff - Bernie Siegel - Bertrand Russell - Betty Eadie - Booker T. Washington
Charlotte Davis Kasl
- Cheryl Richardson - Cristina Feldman - C.S. Lewis - the Dalai Lama - Dale Carnegie - Deepak Chopra
Don Miguel Ruiz
- Earl Nightingale - Elaine St. James - Eleanor Roosevelt - Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emmet Fox
- Frederick Buechner - George Bernard Shaw - George Santayana - George Washington Carver - Gerald Jampolsky
Harold Kushner
- Harry Emerson Fosdick - Helen Keller - Henry David Thoreau - Henry James - Henry Van Dyke
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- Henry Ward Beecher - Hugh Prather - Immanuel Kant - Iyanla Vanzant - Jack Canfield
James Allen
- Jennifer James - Jim Rohn - Joan Borysenko - Joan Chittister - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - John Izzo
John Ruskin
- Joni Eareckson Tada - Joseph M. Marshall III - Julia Cameron - Kent Nerburn - Khalil Gibran
Leo Buscaglia
- Leonard Jacobson - Leslie Levine - Lucinda Bassett - Lydia Maria Child - Lynn Grabhorn - Marcus Aurelius
Marianne Williamson
- Martin Luther King, Jr. - Maya Angelou - Melody Beattie - Michael Goddart - Mitch Albom
Mohandas Gandhi
- Morrie Schwartz - Mother Teresa - M. Scott Peck - Nathaniel Branden - Nikos Kazantzakis - Norman Cousins
Norman Vincent Peale
- Og Mandino - Oprah Winfrey - Oriah - Orison Swett Marden - Pau Casals - Peace Pilgrim - Phillips Brooks
Rabindranath Tagore
- Rachel Carson - Rachel Naomi Remen - Rainer Maria Rilke - Ralph Waldo Trine - Richard Bach
Richard Carlson
- Robert Frost - Robert Fulghum - Robert Louis Stevenson - Russell Baker - Sarah Ban Breathnach
Shakti Gawain
- Soren Kierkegaard - Stephen Covey - Stephen C. Paul - Sue Patton Thoele - Susan L. Taylor
Sylvia Boorstein
- Thich Nhat Hanh - Thomas Carlyle - Thomas Kinkade - Thomas Merton - Tom Walsh - Victor Cherbuliez
Wayne Dyer
- Wilferd A. Peterson - Willa Cather - William James - William Wordsworth - Zig Ziglar