East of Eden – Steinbeck

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I mist fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for that is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost. – John Steinbeck. East of Eden.

I found this to be the most powerful paragraph in the book. Much later in the book he followed this thought up with-

Can you think that whatever made us –would stop trying?

Some writers write to re-read their own words.  Others write humbly then hope and pray another will find them useful. I find Steinbeck’s words most useful and I wish I could shake his hand.