How I Would Help the World
Author : Helen Keller
Introduction by : Ray Silverman
Format : Paperback, 112 pages,
Release date : 2011
Helen Keller's life was deeply changed when she began to read the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg in braille. Referring to him as 'one of the noblest champions true Christianity has ever known,' she said, 'Swedenborg's message has been my greatest incitement to overcome limitations.'
Certainly, Helen Keller did much to help the world. But she felt she could help the world most by sharing with others the inspiration that came to her through reading Swedenborg's books. 'Were I but capable,' she said, 'of interpreting to others one-half of the stimulating thoughts and noble sentiments that are buried in Swedenborg's writings, I should help them more than I am ever likely to in any other way. It would be of such a joy to me if I might be the instrument of bringing Swedenborg to a world that is spiritually deaf and blind.'
Her essay How I Would Help the World is her attempt to do this. It is accompanied by an introduction by scholar Ray Silverman elucidating Helen Keller's spiritual process. This glimpse into the spiritual life of Helen Keller provides inspiration for those who may have wondered how she was able to find the strength and the courage to overcome her triple handicap. Pictures of Helen Keller are direct quotations from the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg accompany her poignant words.
Helen Keller (1880-1968) was stricken with a disease that left her blind and deaf at only nineteen months of age. The story of how her teacher, Anne Sullivan, was able to break through and help her learn to communicate became an inspiration for millions. Keller quickly learned to read and write, and later became the first blind and deaf person to earn a college degree when she graduated from Radcliffe College.
Ray Silverman serves as college chaplain and assistant professor of religion at Bryn Athyn College, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. He is the editor/reviser of Helen Keller's Light in My Darkness and has co-authored with his wife, Star, Rise Above It: Spiritual Development through the Ten Commandments. Ray has lectured nationally and internationally on theories of biblical atonement. He has a Ph.D. in English and education from the University of Michigan, and a master's degree from Wesleyan University. He is a member of the Society for Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion.
In the first part of this paperback, Ray Silverman describes Helen Keller as the world-renowned champion for blind and deaf people, a noble crusader for human rights, and a gifted writer who inspired those with limitations to rise above them . . . This glimpse into Helen Keller's spirituality is fascinating and shows what an adventuresome person she was!
- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice
'The only thing worse than being blind is having sight, but no vision.' This opening quote by Helen Keller sets the tone for what follows on the pages of this concise little book. Ray Silverman superbly introduces us to the inner dynamic of this remarkable person, Helen Keller, who carried the banner of social reform to all, and who foresaw a more spiritualized civilization ahead. Her own insight and spiritual vitality was nurtured through reading Christian Scriptures, as interpreted by the Swedish seer Emanuel Swedenborg. She fully embraced Swedenborg's teachings of a loving God, and that our purpose in life consisted of manifesting God's love in the world through service.
When I reached the end of Helen's essay, How I Would Help the World, I marveled at the wisdom it contained. And I could truly echo Ray Silverman's inspired caption to his introduction, 'Helen Keller: Seer of a New Civilization.' Although we know her as an inspiring writer and social reformer, thank you, Ray, for showing us more of the inner life of Helen Keller that motivated and sustained her to carry out her perceived mission in life in spite of her disabilities.
I highly recommend this beautifully rendered gift book to everyone, especially to people of vision who want to make a difference in the world through the increment of love and wisdom they have to offer to others.
- Ann V. Graber, Author of The Journey Home