Survivor Guilt

With the passage of time, the guilt of the survivor just over having had the good fortune to go on living may grow rather than diminish. The richness of his own life and experience may produce in him a heightened sense of the forfeit that his unfortunate companion made in losing life in such an untimely fashion.


We can not be found until we are lost. The experience of being lost separates one way of being from another, much the way oceans separate continents. A person who has not had the experience of being lost has not explored much of life.


Facts engage our attention when they serve to flesh out an inner fiction that already holds us in its thrall. So the invention of a new inner fiction is the invention of a new domain of inquiry.


A father is a rumor of the world.

A father bears before his children’s eyes the whole weight of the responsibility of the silence of history.

A father is caught between the tenderness of children and the terror of the world.

It is not at all uncommon for a son or daughter to get to know his or her father in later years as a tender, frightened man who pretended to be neither.

The fathers who remove themselves from relationship with their children until their children are no longer infants or toddlers but already little separate people often do so out of fear of activating their own envy of what very little ones can claim by right of entitlement. These removals are a complex amalgam of abandonment and protection.

Fatherhood is many lifetimes, many commingled lifelines in the making.


Except in extremity, we rarely beg for what we truly need.

We are most radical when we acknowledge the simplicity of our aims and urges.

If we hate our own needs, we will find ourselves needing to hate more and more.

We have to meet our needs in the sense of making their acquaintance before we can meet them in the sense of using them to make satisfaction possible.

If someone provides us with what we have needed desperately for a long time, we are sure to respond not just with love and gratitude but also with hatred and resentment, because they have, as we experience it, been so slow in coming. What possible excuse can they give us for their indifference?

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