Call it historical schadenfreude: I’ve been greatly comforted over the past couple of months by reading historical accounts of just how much worse things used to be a hundred years ago.
How were these writers able to endow their characters with such sentimentality while totally cutting themselves off from the emotional lives of their loved ones in real life? Or is it the inverse? Perhaps the well-adjusted person, who shares his vulnerabilities honestly in the social world, lacks the burning impulse to produce great writing.
As he travels around the country, Eggers must see a country with total freedom, but lacking in direction and meaning. How do we create meaning for ourselves in a world that presents us with few challenges and offers us few opportunities?
Anyone hoping for a reversal of the spiral of inequality has to answer two questions. First, what policies do you think would do the trick? Second, how would you get the political power to make those policies happen?
The difference between the drowning child and the distant child is one of duty versus altruism.