Now Featured at the Patheos Book Club
How I Would Help the World
By Helen Keller
Introduction by Ray Silverman
"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, Hellen 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
The life and writings of blind and deaf activist and humanitarian Keller (The Story of My Life) are well known. Less known are the role of Swedenborgian Christianity in her life and her important essay on the subject. This book includes that out-of-print piece as well as a substantial essay by Ray Silverman, editor of the 1994 edition of Keller's Light in My Darkness, which made clear for the first time Keller's faith in Swedenborg's beliefs. Keller's writing is always a marvel of lucidity, and Silverman adds to the store of our understanding of her and her faith.
VERDICT: Keller's example continues to inspire many, and this brief treatise and its apparatus help to explain her inner strength and continuing appeal; excellent for school groups, church groups, and all interested readers.
—Library Journal, March 1, 2011 issue
Helen Keller, How I Would Help the World
Imagine Jesus as divine love; Christ as divine truth. Imagine people of all faiths, color, creeds--or not--practicing the love of the sacred toward themselves and others. Imagine a God no longer created in our image, hating the same people we hate, but valuing every human equally. Imagine the clergy, like Swedenborg, gleaning the truths of our sacred mythology and teaching this love. Imagine not having to know the creeds to know this sacred entity. Imagine a world where we respect the divine in every human and reach out to help them. Imagine doing unto others as we wish others to do to us. Imagine a world where people are not judged by their creeds, etc., but my their service.
This god of total love, who is not capable of hate or anger, calls us to serve and this is the God Helen Keller wants us to know. Imagine how our world would be different if everyone heard and acted on this message. Imagine! A book for everyone.
—Jola Royer, Wild Women Book Club, Michigan
Blind, but now I see
Helen Keller realized that the spiritual insight that she was granted was far more important than the physical sight and hearing that she lost. The help that she would wish to offer the world was that more people might come to have this insight as well. This small book (6 inches square and only just over 100 pages) conveys a powerful message. Originally published as a slim pamphlet, Helen's words are fleshed out photographs and explanations that give a setting and context to her sentiments.
Helen's inspiration was a Christian world view, but one that was informed by the understanding of the Christian Scriptures and the nature of God as explained in the works of Emanuel Swedenborg. One of the unique features of this lettle gem is the appendix that it lines up the statements of Helen Keller with parallel passages in the works of Swedenborg expressing the same ideas. It reveals what a deep and thoughtful student Helen was of Swedenborg's writings.