In the description for this year’s Feldenkrais Summer Camp, The Power Within, I quoted: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
It’s been one of my favorite quotations for a long time. I have included it in every training program prospectus I created, starting with the first Strasbourg International Feldenkrais Training back in the early 1990s. Back then, I attributed it to Ralph Waldo Emerson.
I am not the only person who likes it. It pops up in books, pep talks, graduation speeches, eulogies, and memes.
Over the years, this quotation has also been attributed to others, including Henry David Thoreau and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
None of them ever said it.
Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to take a few moments to research the quote. My search revealed that the first known source was an anonymous book of aphorisms called Meditations in Wall Street, published in 1950. Thanks to research done by The New York Times, we know that the author was Henry S. Hawkins, a disgraced securities trader.
It is altogether too easy — and tempting — to pass along what you hear without checking it. That’s how rumors get started and conspiracy theories spread.
Just because someone else said something or many people repeat it doesn’t mean it’s true.
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