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||the path to the mother lode
Most people imagine that resolving particular problems will make them happy. If only one had more money, or love, or success, then life would feel manageable. It can be devastating to realize the falseness of such tempered optimism. A great hope gets crushed every time someone reminds us that happiness can be neither assumed nor earned; that we are all prisoners of our own flawed brains; that the ultimate aloneness in each of us is, finally, inviolable.
When you're depressed, when you're in bed and feel like you can't get out, you can't imagine doing work or accomplishing anything or anybody loving you. So when you look around you and you see these things happening to other people, they look like magic to you. They look that exotic, that strange, that impossible. And when you begin to crawl out of the pit and reengage with the world, it seems very magical. It felt as though getting out of bed yesterday was impossible, but now you're doing it. Just by returning to daily life, you're a magician.
During this time I was careful not to think about my life. My life was far below us, in an orangey-pink stucco apartment building. It seemed as though I might never have to return to it now. The salt of his shoulder buzzed on the tip of my tongue. I might never again stand in the middle of the living room and wonder what to do next. I sometimes stood there for up to two hours, unable to generate enough momentum to eat, to go out, to clean, to sleep. It seemed unlikely that someone who had just bitten and been bitten by a celebrity would have this kind of problem.
That evening, I found myself standing in the middle of my living-room floor. I had made dinner and eaten it, and then I had an idea that I might clean the house. But halfway to the broom I stopped on a whim, flirting with the emptiness in the center of the room. I wanted to see if I could start again. But, of course, I knew what the answer would be. The longer I stood there, the longer I had to stand there. It was intricate and exponential. I looked like I was doing nothing, but really I was as busy as a physicist or a politician. I was strategizing my next move. That my next move was always not to move didn't make it any easier.
There are caves full of riches but, most of of the time, I can't find a path to the mother lode.
Run into a cave and break your ankle so that people have to come find you and they see you lying at the bottom of this beautiful cave and maybe there's a waterfall and the light from the crystals makes you look really beautiful and they say "Are you okay?" and you say "I think so" and they say "oh my God have you been here alone this whole time with a broken ankle" and you say "it's okay" and they say "you're so brave" and you are brave and you look so beautiful surrounded by cave crystals and everyone stands over you and says "oh wow" and "you poor beautiful thing" and "I'm so sorry we let you run into the cave but I'm so glad we found you" and let them carry you home and promise to be your best friends forever and that everything's their fault and also they named the cave after you and you're prettier than all of your enemies and your enemies all died of jealousy while you were in the cave.
||make your own arrangements
Kleptocracies rarely value theoretical tracts. They value numbered accounts. They value the stability of their own arrangements.
She had an idea that Oriental people had their own, secret establishments. (She believed the Jews did, too.) She both admired and slightly resented this self-reliance, but had no doubt that it was the secret to holding great power, as a people. For example, when the Chinese had come to Fatou's village to take over the mine, an abiding local mystery had been: what did they eat and where did they eat it? They certainly did not buy food in the market, or from the Lebanese traders along the main road. They made their own arrangements. (Whether back home or here, the key to surviving as a people, in Fatou's opinion, was to make your own arrangements.)
His real concern is that to get ahead, he's had to make compromises with his principles (he doesn't say bribes, but that is what he means). "I've been forced to prostitute myself," he says, and now he worries that it could all be snatched away. In China, a weak, corrupt legal system may sometimes work in favor of entrepreneurs while they're clawing their way up, cutting corners along the way, but it is almost always a liability once they've made it.
Six decades ago, Robert K. Merton argued that there was a series of ways in which Americans responded to the extraordinary cultural emphasis that their society placed on getting ahead. The most common was "conformity" ... The second strategy was "ritualism" ... There was also "retreatism" and "rebellion" ... It was the fourth adaptation ... "innovation." Many Americans -- particularly those at the bottom of the heap -- believed passionately in the promise of the American dream. They didn't want to bury themselves in ritualism or retreatism. But they couldn't conform: the kinds of institutions that would reward hard work and promote advancement were closed to them. So what did they do? They innovated: they found alternative ways of pursuing the American dream. They climbed the crooked ladder.
Can we imagine a world in which the police in poor communities act not as an occupying force ... but instead as mediators of disputes, people residents can turn to for help and support, without fear of going to prison? If we stretch ourselves even further, can we imagine the police connecting residents to jobs and social services, rather than disconnecting them?
People on both sides of the aisle and on both sides of the courtroom now acknowledge that the criminal justice system needs a major overhaul. After four decades of zero tolerance and getting tough on crime, we seem poised for change. Can we seize the moment?
The reality is that, despite fears that our children are "pumped full of chemicals", everything is made of chemicals.
Maybe the microbiome is our puppet master.
If the microbiome is like a symphony, then adding in current probiotics may be the equivalent of performing the piano solo with your elbows.
Every now and then I meet someone in Manhattan who has never driven a car. Some confess it sheepishly, and some announce it proudly. For some it is just a practical matter of fact, the equivalent of not keeping a horse on West 87th Street or Avenue A. Still, I used to wonder at such people, but more and more I wonder at myself.
||racing around to come up behind you again
You have to ignore low-hanging fruit ... Life isn't supposed to be easy.
We think, 'This is Hollywood theatrics. It's not possible to do that. This is ridiculous.' And suddenly, there you have it.
Is our curse the endless pursuit of a happiness which can never be attained?
Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.
Mason, Waters, Wright, and Gilmour:
And you run and run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Three tomatoes are walking down the street -- a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind. Poppa tomato gets angry, goes over to the baby tomato, and squishes him... and says, 'Ketchup.'