Of course binary thinking either is, or isn’t, right.
For him, the fundamental duality of life was between people for whom life is stressful – who want calm – and people for whom life is boring – who want excitement.
The first group could be annoying in their constant obsession for peace and quiet; the second group’s most annoying characteristic was their tendency to kill other people.
People think it’s easy being a narcissist, but, there’s a lot more time involved than you’d think — I mean, every day, there are people’s dreams to belittle, and their pains and griefs to dismiss — meanwhile, keeping up a constant flow about just how unfair life is to me. Some of you couldn’t last five minutes having to be a real narcissist; under the pressure, you’d break down and start caring about other people in no time.
Human lives are imperfect: in fact, they are markedly so. Yet, whatever perfection there is in each, or any, of our lives, it is characterized by our adding to the world’s often meager store of truth, or goodness, or beauty; or, perhaps, just not ruining true, good or beautiful things when we happen to find them.
I’ve read that anxiety is what lingers after the actual stressful situations or circumstances have gone; however, given what modern life is, I’m having a hard time imagining when that would be. Life is unpredictably expensive, for example, and that stress hangs over us throughout all our days.
At ten years old, he thought smugglers were hiding in these woods, and the smell of rain reminded him of hours and days spent reading about just such people.
Now, the smell of rain reminds him he needs to clean his floormats.
Entering for the first time, we saw a room, big and new, that smelled of newness and spare furniture; its most conspicuous feature was a series of brightly colored tiles covering most of the back wall. These followed no pattern my eyes could make out, but I was fascinated by them: it was as though, even then, my heart knew that art itself resides in the stories we imagine as much or more as any story explicitly told.
For that one moment, seeing past his own concerns, the world made sense: or, at least, his part in it. For the true purpose of a life is not to suffer, but to transform suffering into something that might help others.