The Reader

I had no one to point at. Certainly not my parents, because I had nothing to accuse them of. The zeal for letting in the daylight, with which, as a member of the concentration camps seminar, I had condemned my father to shame, had passed, and it embarrassed me. But what other people in my social environment had done, and their guilt, were in any case a lot less bad than what Hanna had done. I had to point at Hanna. But the finger I pointed at her turned back to me. I had loved her. Not only had I loved her, I had chosen her. I tried to tell myself that I had known nothing of what she had done when I chose her. I tried to talk myself into the state of innocence in which children love their parents. But love of our parents is the only love for which we are not responsible.

from Bernhard Schlink “The Reader”

The Analects

15.32 The Master said, “The gentleman makes plans to realize the Way; he does not make plans to secure food. If you decide to till the field [and plant crops], there still will be times when you will go hungry. If you decide to devote yourself to learning, there will be times when you may receive an official stipend [for putting your knowledge to work]. The gentleman worries about the Way. He does not worry about being poor.

From Confucius “The Analects”

The Botany of Desire

Somewhere between those two poles, all gardeners—indeed, all of us—stake out their ground, some of them, like Appleseed, leaning to the side of Dionysian wildness (he’d love this garden now); others, like the scientists at Monsanto, pushing toward the Apollonian satisfactions of control. (The lab coats would probably have liked the garden better earlier in the season, before all hell broke loose.) Still others are harder to place on the continuum: I mean, where exactly do you put the marijuana grower tending his hydroponic closet of clones—that Apollonian edifice dedicated to the pursuit of Dionysian pleasure? It’s a good thing one doesn’t have to take sides.

From: Michael Pollan “The Botany of Desire”

The Botany of Desire

Indeed, Ireland’s was surely the biggest experiment in monoculture ever attempted and surely the most convincing proof of its folly. Not only did the agriculture and diet of the Irish come to depend utterly on the potato, but they depended almost completely on one kind of potato: the Lumper. Potatoes, like apples, are clones, which means that every Lumper was genetically identical to every other Lumper, all of them descended from a single plant that just happened to have no resistance to Phytophthora infestans. The Incas too built a civilization atop the potato, but they cultivated such a polyculture of potatoes that no one fungus could ever have toppled it. In fact, it was to South America that, in the aftermath of the famine, breeders went to look for potatoes that could resist the blight. And there, in a potato called the Garnet Chile, they found it.

from Michael Pollan “The Botany of Desire”

All God’s Children Can Dance

This hurt the first time she said it, but after he had gone with her long enough, Yoshiya began to enjoy dancing. As he let himself go and moved his body in time to the music, he would come to feel that the natural rhythm inside him was pulsing in perfect unison with the basic rhythm of the world. The ebb and flow of the tide, the dancing of the wind across the plains, the course of the stars through the heavens: he felt certain that these things were by no means occurring in places unrelated to him.

from Haruki Murakami “After the Quake: Stories” (Translated by Jay Rubin)