A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is the desire to hold on to it: to possess it and give it weight in our lives. There is an urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.’
But beauty is fugitive, it is frequently found in places to which we may never return or else it results from a rare conjunction of season, light and weather. How then to possess it, how to hold on to the floating train, the halva-like bricks or the English valley?
Alain De Botton
Sliding back up to Auckland on the State Highway One, sturdy across the Waikato river lies burning Huntly Power Station, the building responsible for 50% of the country’s electricity-generating greenhouse gas emissions. It is mirrored in the stream it daily disturbs to cool its furnaces. Upstream, the Waikato is churned through eight hydroelectric power stations, together generating less than half the amount of GWh as at Huntly. And so it goes, the great disharmony of a tranquil scene.
The harm was this: we wanted to leave Iraq (and Afghanistan) stable to advance American goals. We did so by spending our time and money on obviously pointless things, while most Iraqis lacked access to clean water, regular electricity, and medical or hospital care.
As one Iraqi told me, “It is like I am standing naked in a room with a big hat on my head. Everyone comes in and helps put flowers and ribbons on my hat, but no one seems to notice that I am naked.”
How beautiful is forgetting! What relief it would be for the world to lose some of its contents!
tree of codes, jonathan safran foer