This Must Be the Place

Being intelligent means that you have an easy accessibility to perspective. This can be the most corruptive and crippling of insights. To see other’s points of view is to destroy one’s own thoughts of competition and will; it destroys the will to get ahead or to survive in a capitalistic free for all. At the same time, it’s the most important insight the human race will ever have. Compassion is the balance of the world.

—Dylan Van Dam

Time stops for the duration of a cigarette: when you’re smoking, you’re acutely present to yourself; you step outside the unconscious forward rush of life. This is why the condemned are allowed a final cigarette, this is why (or so the story goes) gentlemen in evening dress stood puffing at the rail as the titanic went down: it’s a lot easier to leave the world if you’re certain you’ve really been in it.

—Jonathan Franzen - sifting the ashes