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."
"We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins."
"We feel properly embarrassed when we are caught doing something that makes us look inept, knuckleheaded, or inappropriate. Maybe the difference is this: we feel embarrassed because we look bad, and we feel shame because we think we are bad. When we are embarrassed, we feel socially foolish. When we are shamed, we feel morally unworthy."
"The difference between guilt and shame is very clear--in theory. We feel guilty for what we do. We feel shame for what we are. A person feels guilt because he did something wrong. A person feels shame because he is something wrong. We may feel guilty because we lied to our mother. We may feel shame because we are not the person our mother wanted us to be."