Paradise is exactly where you are right now, only much, much better.
Your next-door neighbor . . . is not a man; he is an environment. He is the barking of a dog; he is the noise of a piano; he is a dispute about a party wall; he is drains that are worse than yours, or roses that are better than yours.
Owning your own home is America’s unique recipe for avoiding revolution and promoting pseudoequality at the same time. To keep citizens puttering in their yards instead of sputtering on the barricades, the government has gladly deprived itself of billions in tax revenues by letting home “owners” deduct mortgage-interest payments.
What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?
If one considered life as a simple loan, one would perhaps be less exacting. We possess actually nothing; everything goes through us.
One should keep old roads and old friends.
Sixty years ago, you could simply take your children out into the barn; even if you lived in the cities, there were working men all around you. Chances are your son would learn to use his body. But more and more now the children are going to the Internet . . . and the danger is that it will simply cause deeper isolation among many young males than they already have. It is a lie to say that there is communication going on. It is just a form of chatter. True communication takes place when two people are standing close to each other — maybe a foot away — so that you can feel when the other person is lying, through his body.
We really are fifteen countries, and it’s remarkable that each of us thinks we represent the real America. The Midwesterner in Kansas, the black American in Durham — both are certain they are the real American.
It is grossly selfish to require of one’s neighbor that he should think in the same way, and hold the same opinions. Why should he? If he can think, he will probably think differently. If he cannot think, it is monstrous to require thought of any kind from him.
There is little lonelier than small-town life when small talk is the principal means of peace.
Say “I love you” to those you love. The eternal silence is long enough to be silent in, and that awaits us all.
All that a city will ever allow you is an angle on it — an oblique, indirect sample of what it contains, or what passes through it; a point of view.
In living in the world by his own will and skill, the stupidest peasant or tribesman is more competent than the most intelligent worker or technician or intellectual in a society of specialists.
Forget the damned motor car and build the cities for lovers and friends.
Sometimes a neighbor whom we have disliked a lifetime for his arrogance and conceit lets fall a single commonplace remark that shows us another side, another man, really; a man uncertain, and puzzled, and in the dark like ourselves.
An old man sat outside the walls of a great city. When travelers approached they would ask the old man, “What kind of people live in this city?” And the old man would answer, “What kind of people lived in the place where you came from?” If the travelers answered, “Only bad people lived in the place where we came from,” then the old man would reply, “Continue on; you will find only bad people here.” But if the travelers answered, “Only good people lived in the place where we have come from,” then the old man would say, “Enter, for here, too, you will find only good people.”