“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and the flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”
“I think it’s only in a crisis that Americans see other people. It has to be an American crisis, of course. If two countries fight that do not supply the Americans with some precious commodity, then the education of the public does not take place. But when the dictator falls, when the oil is threatened, then you turn on the television and they will tell you where the country is, what the language is, how to pronounce the names of the leaders, what the religion is all about, and maybe you can cut out recipes in the newspaper of Persian dishes. I will tell you. The whole world takes an interest in this curious way Americans educate themselves.”
- From The Names by Don DeLillo, quoted in Notes on a Foreign Country, An American Abroad in a Post-American World by Suzy Hansen
King Haakon VII of Norway, as quoted by Lynne Olson in Last Hope Island,
“was known to his people as ‘Herre Konge’ (‘Mr. King’) rather than ‘Your Majesty.'”
“Every January, the Davos gathering sounds a little more bemused about what is happening in the world outside. In 2016 it worried about the threat of mass disease, just as the Ebola threat was receding. In 2015, its annual report dwelt on the return of geopolitics following Russia’s annexation of Crimea the year before. In its first report in 2006 it was anxious about epidemics and the risk of terrorism after the Asian flu crisis and the London Underground attacks. And so on. Davos specializes in projecting the future from a recent past that took it by surprise.”
- Edward Luce in The Retreat of Western Liberalism
I believe I know the only cure, which is to make one’s center of life inside of one’s self, not selfishly or excludingly, but with a kind of unassailable serenity – to decorate one’s inner house so richly that one is content there, glad to welcome anyone who wants to come and stay, but happy all the same when one is inevitably alone.
- Edith Wharton
This from Suzy Hansen:
“Here’s the thing: no one ever tells Americans that when they move abroad, even if they are empathetic and sensitive humans-even if they come clean about their genetic inability to learn languages, even if they consider themselves leftist critics of their own government-that they will inevitably, and unconsciously, spend those first months in a foreign country feeling superior to everyone around them and to the nation in which they now have the privilege to live.”
She doesn’t mean it as a compliment.