Each mountain ridge in this landscape has a distinct contour, with various peaks whose heights reflect evolutionary time. That is, within humankind's evolutionary landscape there are several naturally selected systems that contribute to channeling human experience toward religious paths. In the processing of human experience, these systems, and their components, interact and develop interrelated functions - as do geological, hydrological, and organic systems in the drainage process.
Self-destructive addiction is merely the medium for desperate people to internalize their frustration, resistance, and powerlessness. In other words, we can safely ignore the drug hysteria that periodically sweeps through the United States. Instead we should focus our ethical concerns and political energies on the contradictions posed by the persistence of inner-city poverty in the midst of extraordinary opulence. In the same vein, we need to recognize and dismantle the class- and ethnic-based apartheids that riddle the U.S. landscape.
I think at the moment we did not even want to break the seal [on the inner chamber of the tomb of Tutankhamen], for a feeling of intrusion had descended heavily upon us... We felt that we were in the presence of the dead King and must do him reverence, and in imagination could see the doors of the successive shrines open one.
In the relentless search for advancement and material progress we have perhaps alienated ourselves from our Earth. I feeltingly witnessed this innate appreciation of belonging when the Colombian Indians greeted strangers on a street in Bogatá. Tribal people are the beacons that illuminate the importance of these connections. If we destroy them, we smother these lights, and so make our future far less human. I believe their survival, far from being a fringe concern, is one of the greatest humanitarian concerns of our time.
I am deeply sensitive to the spell of nationalism. I can play about thirty Bohemian folk songs... on my mouth-organ. My oldest friend, who is Czech and a patriot, cannot bear to hear me play them because he says I do it in such a schmalzy way, 'crying into the mouth organ'. I do not think I could have written the book on nationalism which I did write, were I not capable of crying, with the help of a little alcohol, over folk songs, which happen to be my favourite form of music.
And I thought how sad it was that, for all our sophisticated intellect, for all our noble aspirations, our aggressive behavior was not just similar in many ways to that of the chimpanzees - it was even worse. Worse because human beings have the potential to rise above their baser instincts, whereas chimpanzees probably do not.
The only phenomenon with which writing has always been concomitant is the creation of cities and empires, that is the integration of large numbers of individuals into a political system, and their grading into castes or classes. It seems to have favored the exploitation of human beings rather than their enlightenment.