Scholars discern motions in history & formulate these motions into rules that govern the rises & falls of civilizations. My belief runs contrary, however. To wit: history admits no rules; only outcomes.What precipitates outcomes? Vicious acts & virtuous acts.What precipitates acts? Belief.Belief is both prize & battlefield, within the mind & in the mind’s mirror, the world. If we believe humanity is a ladder of tribes, a colosseum of confrontation, exploitation & bestiality, such a humanity is surely brought into being, & history's Horroxes, Boerhaaves & Gooses shall prevail. You & I, the moneyed, the privileged, the fortunate, shall not fare so badly in this world, provided our luck holds. What of it if our consciences itch? Why undermine the dominance of our race, our gunships, our heritage & our legacy? Why fight the natural (oh, weaselly word!) order of things?Why? Because of this:—one fine day, a purely predatory world shall consume itself. Yes, the devil shall take the hindmost until the foremost is the hindmost. In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul. For the human species, selfishness is extinction.Is this the doom written within our nature?If we believe that humanity may transcend tooth & claw, if we believe divers races & creeds can share this world as peaceably as the orphans share their candlenut tree, if we believe that leaders must be just, violence muzzled, power accountable & the riches of the Earth & its Oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass. I am not deceived. It is the hardest of worlds to make real. Torturous advances won over generations can be lost by a single stroke of a myopic president’s pen or a vainglorious general’s sword.A life spent shaping a world I want Jackson to inherit, not one I fear Jackson shall inherit, this strikes me as a life worth the living.
David Mitchell
Appearing nude on film was not easy when I was twenty-six in Body Heat; it was even harder when I was forty-six in The Graduate, on the stage, which is more up close and personal than film. After my middle-age nude scene, though, I unexpectedly got letters from women saying, I have not undressed in front of my husband in ten years and I am going to tonight. Or, I have not looked in the mirror at my body and you gave me permission.These affirmations from other women were especially touching to me because when I began The Graduate I'd just come through a period when I felt a great loss of confidence, when my rheumatoid arthritis hit me hard and I literally couldn't walk or do any of the things that I was so used to doing. It used to be that if I said to my body, Leap across the room now, it would leap instantly. I don't know how I did it, but I did it. I hadn't realized how much my confidence was based on my physicality. On my ability to make my body do whatever I wanted it to do.I was so consumed, not just by thinking about what I could and couldn't do, but also by handling the pain, the continual, chronic pain. I didn't realize how pain colored my whole world and how depressive it was. Before I was finally able to control my RA with proper medications, I truly had thought that my attractiveness and my ability to be attractive to men was gone, was lost. So for me to come back and do The Graduate was an affirmation to myself. I had my body back. I was back.
Kathleen Turner