I read this in the same (June 9 and 16, 2008) issue of The New Yorker as my previous post, in an article by James Wood:
‘Nietzsche said that if a human being put his ear to the heart chamber of the world and heard the roar of existence, the “innumerable shouts of pleasure and woe,” he would surely break into pieces. But a newspaper, pumping its inky current of despair, might serve as well…’
And ‘A large proportion of life involves our refusing to put our ear to the mundane heart chamber, lest we die from hearing ‘the roar which lies on the other side of silence.’
It’s a challenge simply to live mindfully in the world today, without shutting your eyes to what’s happening to the planet and its people, but without getting sucked in by the undertow.
I know I can do no good for anyone (least of all myself) by submitting to despair, and sustained anger corrodes, so despite my clear-sighted view of where things are headed, I choose to live with kindness, optimism, wonder and affection. In the end it’s all I can do.