Yossarian kept nodding in the co-pilot’s seat and tried not to listen as Milo prattled on. Nately’s whore was on his mind, as were Kraft and Orr and Nately and Dunbar, and Kid Sampson and McWatt, and all the poor and stupid and diseased people he had seen in Italy, Egypt and North Africa and knew about in other areas of the world, and Snowden and Nately’s whore’s kid sister were on his conscience, too. Yossarian thought he knew why Nately’s whore held him responsible for Nately’s death and wanted to kill him. Why the hell shouldn’t she? It was a man’s world, and she and everyone younger had every right to blame him and everyone older for every unnatural tragedy that befell them; just as she, even in her grief, was to blame for every man-made misery that landed on her kid sister and on all other children behind her. Someone had to do something sometime. Every victim was a culprit, every culprit a victim, and somebody had to stand up sometime to try to break the lousy chain of inherited habit that was imperiling them all. In parts of Africa little boys were still stolen away by adult slave traders and sold for money to men who disemboweled them and ate them. Yossarian marveled that children could suffer such barbaric sacrifice without evincing the slightest hint of fear or pain. He took it for granted that they did submit so stoically. If not, he reasoned, the custom would certainly have died, for no craving for wealth or immortality could be so great, he felt, as to subsist on the sorrow of children.
There are some novelists whose work actors love but who could not write a simple scene for the stage. They write the scenes actors dream, and Conrad was that for Alice.
- Listen: “An idle and selfish class loves to see mischief being made, even if it is made at its own expense.”
- Ha, he laughs.
- He’s complaining about Tory views on Spanish liberal insurgents of the 1830’s, based in London. “Of course I do not defend political crimes. It is repulsive to me by tradition, by sentiment, and even by reflection. But some of these men struggled for an idea, openly, in the light of day, and sacrificed to it all that to most men makes life worth living. Moreover a sweeping assertion is always wrong, since men are infinitely varied; and harsh words are useless because they cannot combat ideas. And the ideas (that live) should be combatted, not the men who die.”
It was a letter Conrad had written to a newspaper. So Patrick listened to his contemporary.
- How can I convert you? She would ask in the darkness of the bedroom.
- The trouble with ideology, Alice, is that it hates the private. You must make it human.
- These are my favourite lines. I’ll whisper them. “I have taught you that the sky in all its zones is mortal…. Let me now re-emphasize the extreme looseness of the structure of all objects.”
"I write to discover what I know."
— Flannery O’Connor
The Novel Démeublé
Willa Cather is such a genius
"green and greener"
Green marketer and media pro Josh Dorfman:
What’s the difference between green and greener?More than meets the eye. Those of us tracking green products have grown accustomed to looking for signals like eco-friendly and nontoxic materials or natural and organic ingredients or recyclability. Those are essential attributes. But even a product as seemingly innocuous as an organic cotton T-shirt — sewn in a factory in China on machines made from a factory in Korea that bought parts for those machines from a company in Germany that got the raw materials for the metal from an iron ore mine in Australia that bought the machines to extract the ore from the Caterpillar company here in the U.S. that sourced parts for those machines from all over the world (and on and on) — is inextricably connected to the impacts of that entire global supply chain. So the concept of green is amorphous. The best we can do is make greener choices.
Medical marijuana entrepreneur Troy Dayton:
Green is keeping up with the sustainability practices of your peers. Greener is inspiring them to do more.
Composting worm guru Bentley Christie:
Interesting question, but rather challenging to answer I must say! The term “green” gets used so much these days, it’s hard to say for sure what it really means. Once you start tossing greener into the mix, I think it can end up sending the wrong message to a lot of people. It starts to sound a lot more like a competition — “my green is greener than your green!” — and the real point of all this can end up lost. Most people don’t like feeling as though they are not doing a good job at something, and I think this is why militant environmentalism has never been all that effective (in the grand scheme of things). My aim is always to try and emphasize the fun/interesting/rewarding side of the activities I’m passionate about (composting, gardening, etc.) rather than nagging people about their environmental responsibilities. Everyone wants to have fun, right? This way, being “greener” just means you’re having more fun! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Eco coder Jereme Monteau:
Green and greener have become overloaded words. They have become tags for things that are associated with being less destructive and more sustainable. It means being conscious of the impacts the decisions you make have on the environmental system you are a part of. Being green seems to imply using less energy for example, while being greener probably means not consuming that energy in the first place. It seems that in the last 10 years, these words have lost their impact. People seem a little jaded with the concept of green, which is a little sad. But on the flip side it seems that some so-called green practices have actually permeated our lifestyles — CF light bulbs for example. I’ve seen cloud computing companies use green messaging in their marketing to position their services as more efficient than others or as a way to save energy, which is hilarious to me. While computer hardware has become more powerful, the software that runs on it has become more and more bloated and less efficient, requiring more CPU cycles to achieve basic tasks like serving up Web pages. I haven’t run the numbers of anything, but I would guess that the power it takes to serve up your average website today is a much larger number than it was 10 years ago. Regardless of the words we use to describe it, it is promising to see people trying to live a more examined life. In general we seem to be more concerned with their impact on the planet on its populations than we were 10 years ago.
Green marketing guru John Rooks:
Green is good. Greener is next. Green is a fixed. Greener is moving. A green company can be inauthentic (doing good things for the marketing halo for example). Green is CSR [corporate social responsibility] for your company. Greener is CSR with your company. “Green” can be co-opted; A moving target can’t. We need to embrace it — green or sustainability or whatever we’re calling it — as a moving target and hang on. The companies that understand and plan for that will thrive.
Nonprofit activist Lindsay Clarke:
Admittedly, the work Breaking Ground does is more humanitarian than environmental. We’re 100 percent committed to sustainability, which for us means the ability of the communities we work with to reap the benefits of our contribution long after we’ve implemented a project and left. We’re in the business of long-term solutions, not just relief. Implicit in that notion is environmental sustainability. For instance, we work with palm oil producers. When grown en masse on monoculture plantations, palm trees strip the soil of its nutrients and render the land useless. The farmers we work with, however, are small-hold farmers. They rely on their land not just for the palm oil they sell in the market, but for the food they feed their families. Their food crops are interspersed among their palm trees, thus if they exhaust the potential of the land, they’ll go hungry. (This, by the way, is not something any American NGO needs to tell them. They know far more about living sustainably than any city- or suburb-bred Westerner does. What we do is help them access micro credit to diversify their trade, and help them cut out the middlemen transporters who rob them of their profits.) Thus, our work is both social and environmental, and I think an analogy can be made here regarding the “green” vs. “greener” question. Breaking Ground enables Cameroonians to implement their own local solutions to the problems they face as a result of living at the periphery of the world economy. We aren’t trying to fundamentally restructure the world, at least not in the large scale. The coffee and cocoa farmers with whom we work, for instance, sell their products into the same global system that exploits them. We help them work that system by sustainably increasing their yields and getting a more fair price at the point of sale, but ultimately, we’re not changing the system. In that sense, I guess we help them achieve a position in the world that is “fairer” but maybe not “fair.” I think the same relationship applies to “green” versus “greener.” Being “greener” means making meaningful steps to the way in which you consume resources without fundamentally changing the structure of your life: using compact fluorescent light bulbs, buying organic food, driving a hybrid car, etc. To be “green” would mean starting from scratch and making real changes in the way you live: going off the grid, eating seasonally and growing your own organic food, or trading your car in for a bike or your own two feet. Trendy as the concept might be, I think few people actually achieve “green,” but I think the “greener” movement is a great step in the right direction.
Renewable energy entrepreneur Quayle Hodek:
There’s a big difference between thinking green and actually being green. To me, green ideas, lifestyles, choices, and products are those where the environmental impact is considered, and has at least a smaller negative impact than a traditional choice. Ideally of course, being green should actually speak to a net positive impact, instead of just harm reduction. So today’s ‘green’ is actually just the first step. Greener is constantly pushing the boundary, moving the change to the edge of what’s possible and feasible. It’s learning, discussing, and choosing to engage in things like organic farming, renewable energy and efficiency, reducing and recycling. Those who are ‘greener’ are active participants in a process, an evolution. There’s a radical re-thinking of our place in the world, and the search for more healthy and fulfilling lifestyles. Green doesn’t have to mean going back to a pre-industrial or pre-technological existence. It’s about doing more with less. It’s about not wasting resources and trashing the environment. Green implies respect for the planet and for others, by making positive choices, and being conscious of the range of effects our lifestyles have.
Energy efficiency entrepreneur Peter Troast:
The concept of green has suffered from so much misappropriation, to the point where pretty much anything you buy has some sort of leafy green symbol on it to demonstrate its “greenness,” from Cheetos to gasoline. I think, in a way, this is a good thing, because it shows that the concept of environmental consideration has entered the mainstream. I think “greener,” or my preferred term, “post-green,”is the next logical step, which will mean getting beyond the shallow, leafy green symbols and really starting to determine what our priorities should be. For example, if we were forced to choose between organic vegetables with a high embodied energy, or locally produced vegetables with genetic mutations, which should we pick? A great example of this in the energy efficiency world is the debate going on right now about spray foam insulation. For particular applications, it’s one of the best insulations we have from an R-value and air sealing standpoint, but it has high embodied energy andglobal warming potential because of the blowing agents emitted during installation. Alternately, we have cellulose insulation that doesn’t have quite the R-value or air sealing qualities as spray foam, but it’s made from recycled materials. I think “greener” means really evaluating things on this level, and making the smartest decisions we can make from an informed, conscious standpoint. “Greener” requires a boatload of information, and education.
Outdoor filmmaker and entrepreneur Nick Callanan:
I talk to a lot of trendy people who say green is so in right now. I find that characterization obtuse; for, if green goes out of style, then what? Please not pastels again!? ”Greener” is actually a new term for me, but I do like the idea that people might be framing their responsibility to the earth in degrees. It’s not just “I drive a Prius, so now I have earned the right to sleep with a clear conscience.” On this scale, I suppose, it would be real good if a vast majority of humans arose from bed tomorrow and cranked their personal green dial all the way to maximum green. However, I have to say, we lose a lot of collective energy when people frame it as a personal issue. We’re all in this together, and the sooner people wake up and embrace the fact that we are all welcome members of a community which depends on a healthy earth for its survival and success, the better off we all will be.
Environmentalists and mangrove preservationists Toby Jacobs and Scott Duncan:
Green is being eco-friendly as a luxury after everything else is taken care of. Greener is making the environment the only priority.
Hiker, musician, and photographer Leon Godwin:
I can’t say that I know. It’s getting to be such a useless word, as corporations begin to use it as a marketing and branding point. Don’t get me wrong, many companies are really trying to be green and are making great strides, but many more are using ‘Green’ for surface value only, to get the green-minded consumer at the point of purchase, and are not doing anything that could be considered sustainable. So I guess my take on it is that ‘green’ may only be a surface quality, a marketing term. ‘Greener’ are those companies that know sustainability is more economically viable in the long-term and are willing to forgo immediate monetary profits for increased profits in the health and well-being of the planet. As an avid composter, I would also point out that the ‘greenest’ things on this planet are often actually brown.
Jensen: How many different types of mushrooms are there?
Stamets: There are an estimated one to two million species of fungi, of which about 150,000 form mushrooms. A mushroom is the fruit body — the reproductive structure — of the mycelium, which is the network of thin, cobweblike cells that infuses all soil. The spores in the mushroom are somewhat analogous to seeds. Because mushrooms are fleshy, succulent, fragrant, and rich in nutrients, they attract animals — including humans — who eat them and thereby participate in spreading the spores through their feces.
Our knowledge of fungi is far exceeded by our ignorance. To date, we’ve identified approximately 14,000 of the 150,000 species of mushroom-forming fungi estimated to exist, which means that more than 90 percent have not yet been identified. Fungi are essential for ecological health, and losing any of these species would be like losing rivets in an airplane. Flying squirrels and voles, for example, are dependent upon truffles, and in old-growth forests, the main predator of flying squirrels and voles is the spotted owl. This means that killing off truffles would kill off flying squirrels and voles, which would kill off spotted owls.
That’s just one food chain that we can identify; there are many thousands more we cannot. Biological systems are so complex that they far exceed our cognitive abilities and our linear logic. We are essentially children when it comes to our understanding of the natural world. …
Jensen: Of course this raises the question of boundaries: Is that tomato-fungus-virus one entity or three? Where does one organism stop and the other begin?
Stamets: Well, humans aren’t just one organism. We are composites. Scientists label species as separate so we can communicate easily about the variety we see in nature. We need to be able to look at a tree and say it’s a Douglas fir and look at a mammal and say it’s a harbor seal. But, indeed, I speak to you as a unified composite of microbes. I guess you could say I am the “elected voice” of a microbial community. This is the way of life on our planet. It is all based on complex symbiotic relationships.
A mycelial “mat,” which scientists think of as one entity, can be thousands of acres in size. The largest organism in the world is a mycelial mat in eastern Oregon that covers 2,200 acres and is more than two thousand years old. Its survival strategy is somewhat mysterious. We have five or six layers of skin to protect us from infection; the mycelium has one cell wall. How is it that this vast mycelial network, which is surrounded by hundreds of millions of microbes all trying to eat it, is protected by one cell wall? I believe it’s because the mycelium is in constant biochemical communication with its ecosystem.
I think these mycelial mats are neurological networks. They’re sentient, they’re aware, and they’re highly evolved. They have external stomachs, which produce enzymes and acids to digest nutrients outside the mycelium, and then bring in those compounds that it needs for nutrition. As you walk through a forest, you break twigs underneath your feet, and the mycelium surges upward to capture those newly available nutrients as quickly as possible. I say they have “lungs,” because they are inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide, just like we are. I say they are sentient, because they produce pharmacological compounds — which can activate receptor sites in our neurons — and also serotonin-like compounds, including psilocybin, the hallucinogen found in some mushrooms. This speaks to the fact that there is an evolutionary common denominator between fungi and humans. We evolved from fungi. We took an overground route. The fungi took the route of producing these underground networks that are highly resilient and extremely adaptive: if you disturb a mycelial network, it just regrows. It might even benefit from the disturbance.
I have long proposed that mycelia are the earth’s “natural Internet.” I’ve gotten some flak for this, but recently scientists in Great Britain have published papers about the “architecture” of a mycelium — how it’s organized. They focused on the nodes of crossing, which are the branchings that allow the mycelium, when there is a breakage or an infection, to choose an alternate route and regrow. There’s no one specific point on the network that can shut the whole operation down. These nodes of crossing, those scientists found, conform to the same mathematical optimization curves that computer scientists have developed to optimize the Internet. Or, rather, I should say that the Internet conforms to the same optimization curves as the mycelium, since the mycelium came first.