You deprive yourself if you do not experience what humankind has experienced, including doubt and sorrow.

The earth is reaching the end of its tolerance for our presumptions.

If my remarks seem political, the whole of our life together is political, and to banish whatever sounds like politics from a conversation about where we are going and what we are doing is to trivialize and disable the conversation.

If bankers wrecked the economy, what sense does it make to drug-test the unemployed who need help surviving the wreck?

Democracy, in its essence and genius, is imaginative love for and identification with a community with which, much of the time and in many ways, one may be in profound disagreement.

And yet, the beautiful persists, and so do eloquence and depth of thought, and they belong to all of us because they are the most pregnant evidence we can have of what is possible in us.

We’re cultural creatures and meaning doesn’t simply generate itself out of thin air; it’s sustained by a cultural framework.

I would say, for the moment, that community, at least community larger than the immediate family, consists very largely of imaginative love for people we do not know or whom we know very slightly.

Nothing could be more miraculous than the fact that we have a consciousness that makes the world intelligible to us and are moved by what is beautiful.

I grew up with the confidence that the greatest privilege was to be alone and have all the time you wanted.

I am convinced that the broadest possible exercise of imagination is the thing most conducive to human health, individual and global.

There is a great deal of questioning now of the value of the humanities, those aptly named disciplines that make us consider what human beings have been, and are, and will be. Sometimes I think they should be renamed Big Data.

We are, as we have always been, dangerous creatures, the enemies of our own happiness. But the only help we have ever found for this, the only melioration, is in mutual reverence.

I have spent my life watching, not to see beyond the world, merely to see, great mystery, what is plainly before my eyes. I think the concept of transcendence is based on a misreading of creation. With all respect to heaven, the scene of the miracle is here, among us.