“We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality & prevents exploration & experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty & fumbling.” —John W. Gardner, Self-Renewal (1963)
I kept noticing a self-help cliche that people say to each other all the time, and share on Facebook incessantly. We say to each other: 'Nobody can help you except you.' It made me realize: we haven't just started doing things alone more, in every decade since the 1930s. We have started to believe that doing things alone is the natural state of human beings, and the only way to advance. We have begun to think: I will look after myself, and everybody else should look after themselves, as individuals. Nobody can help you but you. Nobody can help me but me. These ideas now run so deep in our culture that we even offer them as feel-good bromides to people who feel down - as if it will lift them up. But John has proven that this is a denial of human history, and a denial of human nature. It leads us to misunderstand our most basic instincts. And this approach to life makes us feel terrible.
I think this whole idea of creating a universe, and then living in the middle of it always attracted me.