The arts, quite simply, nourish the soul. They sustain, comfort, inspire. There is nothing like that exquisite moment when you first discover the beauty of connecting with others in celebration of larger ideals and shared wisdom.
Death affords those who are left an opportunity to reevaluate everything. And though we would give all we have to defer that opportunity, it exists anyway. It allows us to see the flimsiness of our expectations, to realize there is not expectation without disappointment; it allows us the possibility to being more sensitive, more vulnerable, to let others support us, and to notice the integrity and love often left unobserved in life's fast pace. Mainly, it gives us the chance to live life in the present.
The idea that positive illusions are in the service of sef-esteem virtually requires that they stay in check. If one develops substantially unrealistic expectations regarding the future that greatly exceed what one is actually able to accomplish, then one is set up for failure and disappointment, leading to lower self-esteem.
We are to regard the mind, not as a piece of iron to be laid upon the anvil and hammered into any shape, nor as a block of marble in which we are to find the statue by removing the rubbish, nor as a receptacle into which knowledge may be poured; but as a flame that is to be fed, as an active being that must be strengthened to think and to feel -- and to dare, to do, and to suffer.
There is one expanding horror in American life. It is that our long odyssey toward liberty, democracy and freedom-for-all may be achieved in such a way that utopia remains forever closed, and we live in freedom and hell, debased of style, not individual from one another, void of courage, our fear rationalized away.
The sickness of our times for me has been just this damn thing that everything has been getting smaller and smaller and less and less important, that the romantic spirit has dried up, that there is no shame today. We're all getting so mean and small and petty and ridiculous, and we all live under the threat of extermination.