“You don’t want to be content with yourself. People who are, are insufferable, the walking dead. But you don’t want to be entirely driven, either, because then you just skate over the world and never touch it. My father works not to get money but to work. But real work is valued in money, so he does work to get it - as a measure. But there’s always someone richer, always someone better at something than you are. We judge narrowly, by measures rather than the soul. It wouldn’t matter if you were at the top of everything. You know why? I figured this out because so many people approach me with the idea that I’ve got it made. No. You see, everyone, no matter what his accomplishment, is made to feel insignificant by the scale of things. Not by nature, which is miraculously kind in this regard - but all things that are done by groups of people and nations. The economy. War. Cities. Then they look about and see vast constructions and efforts: huge airplanes crossing the Atlantic at three hundred miles an hour; buildings that rise a quarter of a mile into the air; networks of road that cover millions of miles, a single square foot of which a human being would be hard-pressed to lift; armies that invade and conquer continents; cities that stretch to the horizon. Every time you open your eyes, everywhere you turn, we’ve built immense cities to inhuman scale and thrown bridges across rivers and straits, and yet, individually, well, most people can’t even draw a house, much less build one, or the Empire State Building. No wonder everyone feels like an ant. So the ants, indomitable of spirit, set out to correct that disproportion, and wind up throwing their lives away in competition with other ants.” Catherine Thomas Hale, In Sunlight and in Shadow
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