For holiday seasons

Dag Hammarskjöld often responded to the cycle of holy days and holidays in the calendar by taking time to resituate himself. Here are a very few words from public statements and his private journal which can enhance our own holidays—without interpretation as none is needed. They are not all bright Christmas ornaments or diwali lights. They continue to reflect his engagement in the hard work for peace and reason. Linguists seeking exercise, and of course Hammarskjöld’s fellow Swedes, will appreciate the last beautiful text—surely a light for all traditions—in both English and the original Swedish.

Hammarskjöld wrote:

You cannot grip the world and shape it as a material thing. You can only influence its development if you recognize and respect it as a thing of the spirit.

The nerve signals from a wound are felt at once all through the body of mankind.

It is…said that our time is the age of the decisive fight between freedom and tyranny. It is true that such a fight is going on. But it has always been fought and I don’t believe that I could justifiably be called a pessimist for expressing my belief that this fight will never be over. It will go on, generation after generation, as long as human beings are human beings….  This is…not a struggle between political systems and ideologies, but a struggle within and for the hearts of men, including our own….

Beyond the attentiveness of obedience to the goal: freedom from fear.
Beyond fear: openness.
And beyond that: love.

Bortom lydnadens samling under målet: frihet från fruktan.
Bortom fruktan: öppenhet.
Och därbortom: kärlek.

(Public Papers 2, 90, 102, 256. Markings, 129, translation slightly revised; and Vägmärken [first Swedish edition of Markings], 103)