Despair (via armchair-armadillo)
I used to believe that the human race as a whole was basically a few steps above wolves.
That given the slightest change in circumstances, we would all, sooner or later, tear each other to shreds. That we were, at root, self-interested, cowardly, envious and potentially dangerous in groups. I have since come to believe — after many meals with many different people in many, many different places — that though there is no shortage of people who would do us harm, we are essentially good.
That the world is, in fact, filled with mostly good and decent people who are simply doing the best they can. Everybody, it turns out, is proud of their food (when they have it). They enjoy sharing it with others (if they can). They love their children. They like a good joke. Sitting at the table has allowed me a privileged perspective and access that others, looking principally for “the story,” do not, I believe, always get.
People feel free, with a goofy American guy who has expressed interest only in their food and what they do for fun, to tell stories about themselves — to let their guard down, to be and to reveal, on occasion, their truest selves. …
People, wherever they live, are not statistics. They are not abstractions. … I’m not saying that sitting down with people and sharing a plate is the answer to world peace. Not by a long shot.
But it can’t hurt.— Anthony Bourdain on CNN (3/18/2013)
Whenever I become discouraged (which is on alternate Tuesdays, between three and four) I lift my spirits by remembering: The artists are on our side! I mean those poets and painters, singers and musicians, novelists and playwrights who speak to the world in a way that is impervious to assault because they wage the battle for justice in a sphere which is unreachable by the dullness of ordinary political discourse.
The billionaire mandarins of our culture can show us the horrors of war on a movie screen and pretend they are making an important statement (“War is hell,” says the general as he orders his troops forward into no man’s land). But the artists go beyond that, to resistance, defiance.— Howard Zinn, Artists of Resistance (2001)