Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias. For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when on prevails the other dies. Leave men free, and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically. To check the growth of inequality, liberty must be sacrificed, as in Russia after 1917. Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom; and in the end superior ability has its way.

So the conservative who resists change is as valuable as the radical who proposes it – perhaps as much more valuable as roots are more vital than the grafts. It is good that new ideas should be heard, for the sake of the few that can be used; but it is also good that new ideas should be compelled to go through the mill of objection, opposition, and contumely; this is the trial heat which innovations must survive before being allowed to enter the human race. It is good that the old should resist the young, and that the young should prod the old; out of this tension, as out of the strife of the sexes and the classes, comes a creative tensile strength, a stimulated development, a secret and basic unity and movement of the whole.


What writers have is a license also the freedom to sit – to sit, clench their fists, and make themselves be excruciatingly aware of the stuff that we’re mostly aware of only on a certain level. And that if the writer does his job right, what he basically does is remind the reader how smart the reader is. Is to wake the reader up to stuff that the reader’s been aware of all the time. And it’s not a question of the writer having more capacity than the average person. It’s that the writer is willing I think to cut off, cut himself off from certain stuff, and develop…and just, and think really hard. Which not everybody has the luxury to do.

But I gotta tell you, I just think to look across the room and automatically assume that somebody else is less aware than me, or that somehow their interior life is less rich, and complicated, and acutely perceived than mine, makes me not as good a writer. Because that means I’m going to be performing for a faceless audience, instead of trying to have a conversation with a person.

Trying to show how much he doesn’t like publicity. Except if he isn’t a genius, there’s no good reason to read the novel. You don’t open a one-thousand-page book because you’ve heard the author’s a nice guy. You read it – once you prop the thing open at all – because you understand the author is brilliant. He’s grabbed the wrong lesson: The people who seem to adore the press the way, say, Pooh loves a honey jar, look foolish; but the people who seem to hate it also risk foolishness too, because the reader knows how good press must feel, like having the prettiest girl in school drop you a smile. Like having the whole country rub against your toes and twist between your ankles.

So I think it’s got something to do with, that we’re just – we’re absolutely dying to give ourselves away to something. To run, to escape, somehow. And there’s some kinds of escape – in a sort of Flannery O’Connorish way-that end up, in a twist, making you confront yourself even more.


Not Satan, Actually

xxxxxxxxx may well have been Satan. Actually, probably worse.

“Um. Hey. Would it be cool if my friend xxxxxxxxx lived with us too?”

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

At least with Satan I could be assured a tan and the most interesting stories ever.1 This oddly-named person offered no such guarantees. But sure, cool, whatever, it doesn’t matter, I like people, right? The more the merrier, right?


Find Love Because

Perhaps for that one fine day you were able to do it. As you committed to the deepest of commitments standing among your family and friends you thought: this is it, and it is enough. No wondering when or how you will be happy. No capitulation to the random desires that endlessly flow through your mind. Nope. Just gratitude to the point of disbelief, to the point where wanting is a foreign concept.

xxxxxxxxx kinda always knew how this could happen. He and I were fresh out of Torres del Paine travelling alongside an outrageous character – a guy who hiked “off trail” an entire day so he could avoid paying the $20 entrance fee; wore Walmart boots, jeans, and a hooded sweatshirt1; and whose calories came from nothing more than a loaf of bread and some dinky cheese slices – when it was time to rest for the night. xxxxxxxxx and I shared a room while “the character” negotiated a reduced rate for his own room by vowing to not use the bed, but rather to set up his tent on the ground, inside the hostel bedroom.


Color Injections

As you were going out and doing “things” every single Friday night, there were those older friends claiming to greatly enjoy quite the opposite – “doing nothing.” They must have been kidding themselves, right? Sure, they had found a way to rationalize totally forgettable Friday evenings, but deep down they wished to be living how you were living, which was indeed how they once lived.

With youthful confidence, you vow to avoid the same mistake. Then years pass. Then your body starts aching in frustrating ways. Then, just as Legos lost appeal with time, the “things” you defined as “things” no longer deserve the same positive status. And so you chuckle and realize those older friends may not have been rationalizing anything at all. In this moment, full capitulation is possible: Ha. I was so stupid when I was 22. This humbling may even extend to your current self: Wow. I should probably drop some of my 35-year-old certainty because if I grow at all, in 10 years I’ll look back and again view my younger self as stupid.


The so-called health professionals have an even deeper, culturally health-defying effect insofar as they destroy the potential of people to deal with their human weakness, vulnerability, and uniqueness in a personal and autonomous way.

Social iatrogenesis is at work when health care is turned into a standardized item, a staple; when all suffering is hospitalized and homes become inhospitable to birth, sickness, and death; when the language in which people could experience their bodies is turned into bureaucratic gobbledegook; or when suffering, mourning, and healing outside the patient role are labeled a form of deviance.

A radical monopoly feeds on itself. Iatrogenic medicine reinforces a morbid society in which social control of the population by the medical system turns into a principal economic activity.

The remaining 39% were subjected to examination by a group of physicians, who selected 45% of these for tonsillectomy and rejected the rest. The rejected children were re-examined by another group of physicians, who recommended tonsillectomy for the 46% of those remaining after the first exam. When the rejected children were examined a third time, a similar percentage was selected for tonsillectomy so that after three exams only 65 of the initial 1000 had not been recommended for tonsillectomy. This test was conducted at a free clinic, where financial consideration could not explain the bias.


“Free Will” by Sam Harris

From the perspective of your conscious awareness, you are no more responsible for the next thing you think (and therefore do) than you are for the fact that you were born into this world.

Yes, you can do what you want – but you cannot account for the fact that your wants are effective in one case and not in another.

You can do what you decide to do – but you cannot decide what you will decide to do.


Like Ray himself, her granddad had bought the right to be privately eccentric by doing good public legal works.

Augmenting her reliable perimeter shooting was a growing taste for driving to the basket. She was no longer on speaking terms with physical pain.

Eliza was exactly half pretty.

The autobiographer now thinks that compliments were like a beverage she was unconsciously smart enough to deny herself even one drop of, because her thirst for them was infinite.

sounded like her unpretended true self.

because serious fans always need to feel uniquely connected to the object of their fandom; they jealously guard those points of connection, however tiny or imaginary, that justify the feeling of uniqueness.

There are few things harder to imagine than other people’s conversations about yourself.


There is nothing so stupid or dangerous that people won’t eagerly do it, if by doing it they will make others believe they are better or stronger or more honorable.

Any dog can do that. Are you a dog? You’re not a human being until you value something more than the life of your body. And the greater the thing you live and die for, the greater you are.