We must never forget that Black History is American History. The achievements of African Americans have contributed to our nation's greatness.
My father was a scared man. And he communicated his anxiety to me, so that perhaps more than most writers I wanted to make a practical go of it. And my career was eminently practical. I fastened on to this magazine, the New Yorker, that seemed to me to be the top of its class and I tried to get into it, and I did get into it. It was kind of calculating. Kind of crass.But I framed it to myself as a kind of altruistic ambition. Most jobs in the world were competitive, you had to push someone aside, but writing and art I thought weren't like that. You brought something new into the world without displacing anything else. To entertain people, or to hold out a standard of beauty or to even inform them seemed so self-evidently out of what my father called the rat race. Dog eat dog, in his phrase. He had a despairing picture of the capitalist world, as losers in that system tend to do.
Lawrence had done it in a way, and Joyce. But I think it's an important thing to do now and then, to describe the sex act as our descent, or adventure, into a primordial or strange world, having very little to do with how we look in suits or what our educations have been. It's a well of darkness, as it were, that leaves you refreshed.
All personal breakthroughs being with a change in beliefs. So how do we change? The most effective way is to get your brain to associate massive pain to the old belief. You must feel deep in your gut that not only has this belief cost you pain in the past, but it's costing you in the present and, ultimately, can only bring you pain in the future. Then you must associate tremendous pleasure to the idea of adopting a new, empowering belief.
Never write an advertisement which you wouldn't want your own family to read. You wouldn't tell lies to your own wife. Don't tell them to mine. Do as you would be done by. If you tell lies about a product, you will be found out -- either by the Government, which will prosecute you, or by the consumer, who will punish you by not buying your product a second time. Good products can be sold by honest advertising. If you don't think the product is good, you have no business to be advertising it.
Perhaps, on the whole, embarrassment and perplexity are a kind of natural accompaniment to life and movement; and it is better to be driven out of your senses with thinking which of two things you ought to do than to do nothing whatever, and be utterly uninteresting to all the world.
Humans have the ability to shift perspective. We can experience the world through our senses. Or we can remove ourselves from our senses and experience the world even less directly. We can think about our life, rather than thinking in our life. We can think about what we think about our life, and we can think about what we think about that. We can shift perceptual positions many times over.
The dust of many crumbled cities settles over us like a forgetful doze, but we are older than those cities. We began as a mineral. We emerged into plant life and into the animal state, and then into being human, and always we have forgotten our former states, except in early spring when we slightly recall being green again. That's how a young person turns toward a teacher. That's how a baby leans toward the breast, without knowing the secret of its desire, yet turning instinctively. Humankind is being led along an evolving course, through this migration of intelligences, and though we seem to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dream, and that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are.
We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.
When you awaken to what I call the Authentic Self, which is the spiritual or evolutionary impulse, what begins to emerge is the dawning recognition of the fact that each one of us, at our highest level, is that Authentic Self, which is actually the same energy and intelligence that originally inspired the entire creative process. You begin to intuit and feel directly connected to the very impulse that initiated the whole event fourteen billion years ago and is driving it right now.
Is no one inspired by our present picture of the universe? Our poets do not write about it; our artists do not try to portray this remarkable thing. The value of science remains unsung by singers: you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age.