The scales of justice cannot function unless the whole truth is placed upon them. Whether or not our faulty systems, set up to honor the colonizing, rich, white, and male, recognize what hangs in the balance, our souls do. It is the health of our consciousness that is weighed now. And always. In these circumstances, to feel out of balance is an honest assessment of the corruption we are weighed against. In times like these our pain, and also our numbness, is a marker of our health, not our illness.

Chani Nicholas

I think that there are writers who I don’t necessarily agree with in terms of their politics, but whose writings are sort of a baseline for how to think about certain things — V. S. Naipaul, for example. His “A Bend in the River,” which starts with the line, “The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.” And I always think about that line, and I think about his novels when I’m thinking about the hardness of the world sometimes, particularly in foreign policy, and I resist and fight against sometimes that very cynical, more realistic view of the world. And yet, there are times where it feels as if that may be true.

Barack Obama to Michiko Kakutani