We live in a world of diverse cultures, and we know very little about social engineering and how to ‘build nations.’ And when we cannot be sure how to improve the world, hubristic visions pose a grave danger.
It’s all very well for us to sit here in the West with our high incomes and cushy lives, and say it’s immoral to violate the sovereignty of another state. But if the effect of that is to bring people in that country economic and political freedom, to raise their standard of living, to increase their life expectancy, then don’t rule it out.
The group of writers I had grown up with in the ’60s – Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, James Simmons, John Hewitt, Paul Muldoon – formed a very necessary and self-sustaining group.
A sure sign of a soul-based workplace is excitement, enthusiasm, real passion; not manufactured passion, but real involvement. And there’s very little fear.
No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.
‘Easter’ is a movable event, calculated by the relative positions of sun and moon, an impossible way of fixing year by year the anniversary of a historical event, but a very natural and indeed inevitable way of calculating a solar festival. These changing dates do not point to the history of a man, but to the hero of a solar myth.
Health care historically has been a very siloed field that’s organized around medical specialties – urology, cardiac surgery, and so forth – and around the supply of these specialty services. The patient is the ping-pong ball that moves from service to service.
Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.
We historians are increasingly using experimental psychology to understand the way we act. It is becoming very clear that our ability to evaluate risk is hedged by all sorts of cognitive biases. It’s a miracle that we get anything right.
Poetry is a mixture of common sense, which not all have, with an uncommon sense, which very few have.