Posted by: Dutch | December 29, 2009

No man is an island

Meaning

Human beings do not thrive when isolated from others. Donne was a Christian but this concept is shared by other religions, principally Buddhism.

Origin

This is a quotation from John Donne (1572-1631). It appears in Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII:

“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness….No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

– Sincere thanks to Gary Martin of The Phrase Finder

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