the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own - populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness - an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk."
"Let's recall that getting esteemed individuals and thinkers together to discuss ideas towards reform is how we got a Constitution written once upon a time. It's got a long and respected tradition and has been effective in the past. The key aspect to my effort is not to get the defenders of the status quo together (the George Wills or Thomas Friedmans or David Brooks types) but those who have already demonstrated that they understand that the status quo is a one-way trip off a historical cliff. There are a decent number of those non-status quo esteemed thinkers around, and if I could aid their efforts by bringing them together, I would sleep better at night thinking I had done something helpful and positive rather than just bitched about problems we all already realize are out there."
"As I've said many times, these people saw sights, and lived lives, and experienced things that the vast majority of people in the modern world, not only will never experience, but can't even envision."