Tests and exams do not determine who is in the right standing. Tests and exams only determine who is left standing. However even if you are knocked down you can still rise again. How far you go in life does not depend on tests and exams but on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the old, sympathetic and tolerant with others who are not as strong as yourself.
That family glaze of common references, jokes, events, calamities-that sense of a family being like a kitchen midden layer upon layer of the things daily life is made of. The edifice that lovers build is by comparison delicate and one-dimensional.
That man can destroy life is just as miraculous a feat as that he can create it, for life is the miracle, the inexplicable. In the act of destruction, man sets himself above life he transcends himself as a creature. Thus, the ultimate choice for a man, inasmuch as he is driven to transcend himself, is to create or to destroy, to love or to hate.
The actual tragedies of life bear no relation to one's preconceived ideas. In the event, one is always bewildered by their simplicity, their grandeur of design, and by that element of the bizzare which seems inherent in them.
The AIDS epidemic has rolled back a big rotting log and revealed all the squirming life underneath it, since it involves, all at once, the main themes of our existence sex, death, power, money, love, hate, disease and panic. No American phenomenon has been so compelling since the Vietnam War.
The aim of art, the aim of a life can only be to increase the sum of freedom and responsibility to be found in every man and in the world. It cannot, under any circumstances, be to reduce or suppress that freedom, even temporarily. No great work has ever been based on hatred and contempt. On the contrary, there is not a single true work of art that has not in the end added to the inner freedom of each person who has known and loved it.