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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2002 6:42 pm 
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"Our deepest fear is not that we're inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we're powerful beyond measure... " This quote is often attributed to Nelson Mandela, but I've heard he was quoting someone else when he included this passage in his speech. Anyone know the original author? Also, I've heard several variations. Anyone know the original?
Thanks.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2002 8:22 pm 
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Posted by Marianne Williamson on July 21, 1996 at 09:56:08:
In Reply to: Mandela's speech posted by Bill Cecil on July 20, 1996 at 17:57:49:
Dear Bill,
Yep, that writing is two paragraphs from my l992 book "A RETURN TO LOVE."(In the WORK section, in a chapter called PERSONAL POWER) Seeing it printed everywhere as a Nelson Mandela quote has been a rather strange experience .. he definitely did not quote it in his inaugural, by the way. I have heard that he used the material in a lesser speech (so said his office), but I have never seen the text, so I don't know what the context or attribution was.
Thanks for the compliment.
Please keep visiting.
My best,
Marianne

"Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'who am I to be so brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are we not to be? You are a child of God: Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
~Marianne Williamson
Widely mis-attributed to Nelson Mandela
http://www.spiritualgrowth.com/worstfear.html
http://www.goddessvision.net/rice.htm

You will find it attributed as "Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural Speech"
It is not
http://www.hopesite.ca/reflect/quotes/mandela.html
"He never spoke these words in his speeches that year."
http://www.goodworksonearth.org/nelsonmandela2.html

It is correctly attributed to
© Marianne Williamson, 1992
Found in "A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles" Harper Collins, Chapter 7, Section 3, 1992.
http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/l ... tella.html
http://www.lifeenhancement.cc/quotes.php3

Here is Mandela's 1994 Inaugural Speech
http://www.yoga.com/raw/readings/mandela.html
http://www.polity.org.za/govdocs/speech ... ugpta.html


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 9:47 am 
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To answer Melissa's question about the original wording, it can be found on Marianne's web site:

http://www.marianne.com/MWourdeepestfear.html
[UPDATE (5/29/07): Dead link. Try http://marianne.com/book/index.htm and scroll down.]

If you have the older hardcover edition, the page number is 165.

The 1996 email ascribed to Marianne Williamson exerpted above is an interesting one. It is easy enough to refute the misapprehension that the quotation was used in the inaugural by simply reading the speeches (actually there were two inaugural addresses) on the ANC's web site.

What intrigues me is that Marianne was apparently told by "his office" that "he used the material in a lesser speech". The fact that no one -- not even Mandela's office -- can actually come up with a transcript or even a date for this "lesser speech", leaves me to suspect that there was really is no such quotation in any of his speeches, and that the office was simply relying on the same dubious source of the attribution that the rest of us are: thousands of pages on the Internet.

I wrote to the ANC myself last year about this. Here is their reply:

--- begin include message ---

From: "dharford"
To: "J. Finlayson-Fife" <com>
Subject: Re: Our Deepest Fear
Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2002 07:47:57 +0200

Hello John

We are aware that these words have for some years now been attributed to Nelson Mandela on the internet. We do not know how this happened

These words appear neither in the May 9, 1994 inaugural speech
(http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/mandela/1994/inaugct.html),

nor the May 10, 1994 inaugural speech
(http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/mandela/1994/inaugpta.html),

nor any of the other speeches, statements and writings by Mr. Mandela
(http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/mandela/).

Regards

Duncan

--- end included message ---


Last edited by jfinlayson on Tue May 29, 2007 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 11:48 pm 
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So does anyone know how this was ascribed to Mr Mandela in the first place.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 2:10 pm 
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Quote:
So does anyone know how this was ascribed to Mr Mandela in the first place.


Good question. I've tried pretty hard to discover the answer to it, and haven't had any luck. The trail always seems to end in a "I think I heard it somewhere" fog.


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 Post subject: NPR News Story
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 11:27 am 
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Hi,
I just stumbled across this forum while looking for this quote. I am almost sure that I heard an NPR (probably “All Things Considered”) news report about Nelson Mandela’s inaugural address in which we either heard Nelson Mandela say these words or they were attributed to him. I probably heard this report either at the time of his address or within a year after the address.

Hearing these words on the radio made a big impression on me and I have tried to find the original quotation unsuccessfully before. I just found out that these words are really Marianne Williamson’s. The irony is that I bought Marianne’s book, A Return to Love when it first came out and read it cover to cover. That book inspired me probably more than any other book I had ever read. The thought of Nelson Mandela speaking them to the South African people and to the world – if in fact he actually did that – has always been a beautiful image for me.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 10:32 am 
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Perhaps the best way to sort this out would be for someone to contact Mr. Mandela and GET HIM TO SAY these inspiring lines.

Who knows, it might be the start of a beautiful relationship between these two extraordinary people!


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 Post subject: Not his style
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:53 am 
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Quote:
Perhaps the best way to sort this out would be for someone to contact Mr. Mandela and GET HIM TO SAY these inspiring lines.


Frankly, I think it would sound really weird coming from his lips. Knowing the course his own life has taken, and having read speeches of his (including the inaugurals), both the style and content of this Williamson quote are a mismatch. It's just not his schtick. This point was driven home by the following analysis:

Quote:
People! Please! Nelson Mandela never said this. Nelson Mandela never even thought it. Nelson Mandela had bigger fish to fry at his Inauguration than worrying about the brilliance, gorgeousness, fabulousness or talent of anyone, including himself. (I mean really, can you imagine him standing before all of South Africa and nattering on about this stuff? "Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure"? How about "Our deepest fear is that we will be dragged from our beds and shot"? Oy.)
http://www.sfu.ca/~okeefe/previous.html [UPDATE (5/29/07): That page no longer exists]

The author goes on to criticize the quote itself in a way I would not, but his point about how out of place these words would be at the first post-apartheid inaugural is one I agree with. After all, it's why I decided to research the source in the first place.


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