I love quotes. Love, love love them. Use ‘em all the time. These days though, they make me nervous. Before the internet came along, I trusted the quotes I happened to be partial to were actually said by the people who were said to have said them, but now . . . I question the accuracy of their authenticity each time I come across a new one and I cringe when I stumble upon an old favorite with credit given where credit is not due.
For instance, I happen to know Martin Luther King Jr. did not say, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” That was another Martin Luther, in the 16th century. I also know that Confucius never said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Lau-Tzu was the author of those 12 words. Many love this quote by Nelson Mandela, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Except Mandela didn’t say it, Marianne Wilson did.
It’s astounding how many misattributed, misworded, and false quotes have been given a life of their own, thanks in part to the fast-paced, non-fact checking, meme generating masses with an internet connection. You’d be surprised, or maybe you wouldn’t, at the number of quotes attributed to Twain and Einstein alone that were spoken by someone else.
That being said, I’d be hard pressed to come up with a * favorite * quote, I find such beauty and inspiration and comfort and wisdom in so many – each has a special meaning. Some make me laugh, some bring tears to my eyes. Some fill me with peace and hope and joy, others make me think and question and teach me something new, or provide gentle reminders to remember something I may have forgotten.
Quotes can become powerful moments of epiphany or silent sentries of reflection, they can change our perspective or solidify our own thoughts. We come to cherish them, we breathe them in and they flow through our veins. It only makes sense that we honor those who first uttered those words, those who took the time to pen them to a page, to credit them with proper reverence and respect by getting their names right.