An Analysis of the Second Chapter of Soul of a Citizen, a Book by Paul Loeb

Loeb’s second chapter of Soul of a Citizen continues to expand on earlier statements about how iconic public speakers such as Ghandi and Martin Luther King were average people. Loeb highlights the human qualities that each possessed; Gandhi stuttered as a lawyer and Martin Luther King questioned himself and wondered if his efforts were all in vain. Loeb then connects how these influential people were just like everyone else and that all people contain the same potential. One of loeb’s quotes that encompesses the whole chapter is” we wait our entire lives to find the ideal moment to get involved”.

This quote can be found in every person’s life, no matter their backgrounds or lifestyle. It seems that many people always have stories where they say that there was situation that they wished they would have acted instead of sitting back, waiting for the perfect moment. If people would begin to take the initiative when it is presented instead of waiting, communities and the environment would be much better off. I feel that when the opportunity presents itself, it is the best time to jump in. Waiting for the perfect moment normally results in regret and forlonging to go back in time and take the opportunity when it was available. Loeb also writes about the perfect standard and how you feel that you need to be perfect to get involved in your community. I know that everyone is human and will make mistakes. This is why I never hold someone to a “perfect standard”, a standard that is unachieveable by any human.

Some people see figures such as Martin Luther King and Ghandi and feel that, unless you’re perfect, you can not change or influence others. This is simply untrue and Loeb tries to convince readers that it is possible to change the world just by having a passion for something and being human. My favorite quote from chapter two was the one from Rabindranath Tagore “If you shut your door to all errors, truth will be shut out.” (pg. 49). This is my favorite quote due to it applying to everyone who has ever lived. Knowledge is only gained through the errors made throughout life and if the errors are shutout, knowledge can never be learned.

If knowledge can never be learned, the truth will never be able to differentiated from the lies. Another way this quote affected me is that it also applied to a personal level. If everyone denies the fact that they will make errors, they will never truly be able to not only learn but become a better person. Another quote by Martin Luther King “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” (pg. 63) also is important to me. King’s quote can be directly linked to how he became the face of the Civil Rights movement, but is also relevant in many more situations. Most successful entrepreneurs and inventors would never be where they are without first taking a step in faith, not knowing if their product or service was going to be profitable. Many people sometimes don’t take the risk as they are unsure where they will end up.

It is human nature to want to see what the outcome of a situation will be before getting involved. I believe that without taking that first step, no one can achieve greatness. Chapter two of Soul of a Citizen elaborated on some of the questions that I had from chapter one. Loeb also managed to expand on many of the theories that were laid down in the first chapter. I felt that the main part of the second chapter was to show the reader how both Gandhi and Martin Luther King were not the perfect people that they were made out to be and had human flaws. Paul Loeb also sets up chapter 3 of Soul of a Citizen to contain more information on how average people can tackle an issue by just taking it on at their own pace and ability.

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