“I am still both artist and muse. Because of my feminist upbringing, I used to interpret the role of muse with scepticism. It was, I used to think, related to looks, not intellect, and so inevitably ephemeral and ultimately destroyed by time.
Now I’m not so sure. In the muse that is myself, I am only just beginning to penetrate layers of 20-something years of tightly woven emotional, psychological and intellectual fabric that are enriched, not eroded, by the slow decay of the physical self.”
In an excerpt from from his recent project “A Week at The Airport“, Alain de Botton interviews the head of British Airways, and considers the true yield of ‘profitless’ industries:
“Considered collectively, as a cohesive industry, civil aviation had never in its history shown a profit. Just as significantly, neither had book publishing. In this sense, then, the CEO and I, despite our apparent differences, were in much the same sort of business, each one needing to justifying itself in the eyes of humanity not so much by its bottom line as by its ability to stir people’s souls. It seemed no less absurd to evaluate an airline according to its profit-and-loss statement than to judge a great poet by his or her royalty statements. The stock market could never put a price on the thousands of moments of beauty and interest that occurred around the world every day under the airline’s banner: it could not describe the sight of Nova Scotia from the air, it had no room in its optics for the camaraderie enjoyed by employees in the Hong Kong ticket office, it had no means of quantifying the ecstasy of takeoff. In order to understand such things properly, society would have to learn to look at airlines as one might consider a work of art.”
“The things that make you strong, and make you feel as though you’ve accomplished something, are not the easy ones; it’s the things you had to work and struggle through. Those are what give us our depth—that make us not just gray and plain and nothing, but give us depth and texture and longing.”
– Dr. Jerri Nielsen, the emergency-room doctor who discovered she had breast cancer while over-wintering in Antarctica in 1999, died June 23rd. She was 57.