The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.
I hope that my achievements in life shall be these -- that I will have fought for what was right and fair, that I will have risked for that which mattered, and that I will have given help to those who were in need that I will have left the earth a better place for what I've done and who I've been.
The point of mythology or myth is to point to the horizon and to point back to ourselves: This is who we are this is where we came from and this is where we're going. And a lot of Western society over the last hundred years - the last 50 years really - has lost that. We have become rather aimless and wandering.
So I go to my first book signing, and these two girls came up and gave me a piece of paper: '10 reasons you should date our dad. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. He's a lawyer.' He didn't know what was going on. He didn't even know me. They called him, and he came down and asked me out that day. Now I'm dating their dad!
It's no mystery why many of us in the media can't get enough of the fabricators Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass, the latter of whom concocted more than a score of bogus feature stories for the New Republic (and who wrote for other magazines, including this one, once) in the mid-1990s. Anyone--journalist, student, academic--who has ever stared at a blank screen, their brains grinding emptiness, and thought, How can I fill this hole? knows that in those desperate moments before a deadline, almost anyone can do almost anything: make stuff up, plagiarize, scribble senseless half-truths.
Thinking is another attribute of the soul; and here I discover what properly belongs to myself. This alone is inseparable from me. I am -- I exist: this is certain; but how often? As often as I think; for perhaps it would even happen, if I should wholly cease to think, that I should at the same time altogether cease to be. I now admit nothing that is not necessarily true: I am therefore, precisely speaking, only a thinking thing, that is, a mind, understanding, or reason, -- terms whose signification was before unknown to me. I am, however, a real thing, and really existent; but what thing? The answer was, a thinking thing. The question now arises, am I aught besides? I will stimulate my imagination with a view to discover whether I am not still something more than a thinking being. Now it is plain I am not the assemblage of members called the human body; I am not a thin and penetrating air diffused through all these members, or wind, or flame, or vapour, or breath, or any of all the things I can imagine; for I supposed that all these were not, and, without changing the supposition, I find that I still feel assured of my existence.
Philosophy is perfectly right in saying that life must be understood backward. But then one forgets the other clause - that it must be lived forward. The more one thinks through this clause, the more one concludes that life in temporality never becomes properly understandable, simply because never at any time does one get perfect repose to take the stance - backward.
The Media is an abstraction (because a newspaper is not concrete and only in an abstract sense can be considered an individual), which in association with the passionlessness and reflection of the times creates that abstract phantom, the public, which is the actual leveler. . . . More and more individuals will, because of their indolent bloodlessness, aspire to become nothing, in order to become the public, this abstract whole, which forms in this ridiculous manner: the public comes into existence because all its participants become third parties. This lazy mass, which understands nothing and does nothing, this public gallery seeks some distraction, and soon gives itself over to the idea that everything which someone does, or achieves, has been done to provide the public something to gossip about. . . . The public has a dog for its amusement. That dog is the Media. If there is someone better than the public, someone who distinguishes himself, the public sets the dog on him and all the amusement begins. This biting dog tears up his coat-tails, and takes all sort of vulgar liberties with his leg--until the public bores of it all and calls the dog off. That is how the public levels.
The individual (no matter how well-meaning he might be, no matter how much strength he might have, if only he would use it) does not have the passion to rip himself away from either the coils of Reflection or the seductive ambiguities of Reflection; nor do the surroundings and times have any events or passions, but rather provide a negative setting of a habit of reflection, which plays with some illusory project only to betray him in the end with a way out: it shows him that the most clever thing to do is nothing at all.