Who is left in the ghetto is the one man in a thousand in any age, in any culture, who through some mysterious workings of force within his soul will stand in defiance against any master. He is that one human in a thousand whose indomitable spirit will not bow. He is the one man in a thousand whose indomitable spirit cannot bow. He is the one man in a thousand who will not walk quietly to Umschlagplatz. Watch out for him, Alfred Funk, we have pushed him to the wall.
Everything dies eventually. We all know that. People, cities, whole civilizations. Nothing lasts. So if existence was just binary, dead or alive, here or not here, what would be the fucking point in anything? My mom used to say that's why we have memory. And the opposite of memory - hope. So things that are gone can still matter. So we can build off our pasts and make futures.
Theologians talk about a prevenient grace that precedes grace itself and allows us to accept it. I think there must also be a prevenient courage that allows us to be brave - that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that precious things have been put into our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm. And therefore, this courage allows us, as the old men said, to make ourselves useful. It allows us to be generous, which is another way of saying exactly the same thing.
Whereas life separates meaning from emotion, art unites them. Story is an instrument by which you create such epiphanies at will, the phenomenon known as aesthetic emotion...Life on its own, without art to shape it, leaves you in confusion and chaos, but aesthetic emotion harmonizes what you know with what you feel to give you a heightened awareness and a sureness of your place in reality.