From an Interview with Woody Allen by Anthony De Curtis
I think that my generation grew up with a value system heavily marked by films. You know, there was no television, we didn't read books. Your values and everything you thought about life you got from this overwhelmingly powerful image of the movies.
You'd go into a beautiful movie theatre -- you know, even the neighbourhood movie theatres were beautifully carpeted, chandeliers, brass, they were gorgeous. You'd go in and suddenly on some ugly, broken-down, sun-drenched street in Brooklyn on a summer afternoon, suddenly you're in a totally different world and there's a pirate ship off Spain. You saw all of that as real as could be.
Then that picture was over and there were six people living in a penthouse on Park Avenue and going to nightclubs and all the women were beautiful, and all the guys were attractive, and everybody always had the right thing to say.
This is overwhelming when you're a kid. And it forms your value system, and it's hard to outgrow it.
Danny Maseng: The niggun is a song without words because, ultimately speaking, to reach God no words will suffice. And it's done through the universal language which, in Hasidic Judaism, is music. There are ten levels of prayer and above them is music. But there ain't no happy in it that is not connected with a little, bitter after-taste. Life is beautiful. Isn't it sweet, isn't it awesome; I'm going to die tomorrow.
It's this wonderful tension between aspiration and reality. In my dreams you don't even know how high I can go. The reality is that I'm going to be heartbroken thoroughly and completely right here on this earth. And a beautiful niggun manages to trace that distance.
Lawrence Kushner: One of the main principles that governs Hasidism was not only can you serve God with joy but if you're bummed out you can't serve God. So Hasidism is resolute, monomaniacal, about saying that you have to find a way to access the joy that you have. Joy brings you close to God.
I was told they were when I was young but I know they aren't now. Here's a 110 year old man. He likes top-down power.
“The world is worse than in the past,” he said. “I don’t like the permissiveness here. Everything’s allowed. At one time, young people weren’t as cheeky as they are now. They had to think about a profession and about making a living. They were carpenters, tailors. That doesn’t exist today. Now it’s all high-tech. Things come easily, without effort, without the manual labor of the past. When were children, our parents told us, “You’ll marry this one, not that one. Today, children decide everything. Once upon a time, parents had the last word.”
And he's against automation just like Gandhi who is worshipped as a saint.
“Once, a shoemaker worked on several pairs of shoes. He knew how much he would earn each day. Today, the machine makes a hundred pairs of shoes. So there are a hundred pairs of shoes - and what do people do? There aren’t jobs for everyone. So all the shops are full, but everybody walks around barefoot and naked.”
I’ve always heard that bakeries tend to just give stuff away at the end of the day, because they’re gonna throw it out anyway. I didn’t know for sure though, partly because I never go to bakeries, but also because I’m shy about asking for things that shouldn’t obviously be mine. But I was walking home late at night the other day, and I saw the bakery owners closing up shop. The lights were on, but the door was locked. I thought, hell, why not try this out? I knocked and pointed at the doughnuts. They were hesitant, but opened up, and asked in broken English, “What you want?” I asked for 2 chocolate doughnuts. They put in 3 and threw in 2 bear claws too for free. It was the most exhilarating doughnut purchase of my life. I finally learned the truth of this ‘free baked goods myth’. It was true, and I didn’t even have to ask. I did have to knock though.
Rising divorce-rates in the modern world don't reflect a decline in marital happiness. There have always been happy and unhappy marriages. The difference between past and present lies in what people do when they find themselves in an unhappy marriage.
In some cultures, it's socially unacceptable to get a divorce. Also, if a woman is a housewife she might have little hope of providing for her family on her own. In these circumstances, few seek a divorce. Instead, marriages endure which are without passion, love or even friendship. Sometimes even without basic respect. One of my Iranian friends has parents who try to avoid being in the same room together. Such a couple would almost certainly divorce in a culture where it was more acceptable.
In modern countries, it is common for married people to divorce when neither partner is abusive or unfaithful and sometimes even when there is still a functional friendship - because one or both feel that the marriage is no longer providing what they want.
And, one should not consider divorce a failure. If two people live together happily for 3, 5 or 10 years but not for life, why is that a failure?
I think I suffer from the only behavioral disorder that does not appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. This is rather odd because the disorder has been known for at least two centuries, ever since the Reverend Thomas Dibdin published his great work in 1809, Bibliomania; or Book-Madness: containing some account of the history, symptom, and cure of this fatal illness.
The symptoms are as follows: The sufferer cannot pass a bookshop, or even an establishment that might have a few books for sale, without entering and buying a book. He spends far more on books than he ought or than his income can bear; he reads books arithmetically but accumulates them geometrically, so that there is a kind of Malthusian crisis in his house that will be solved only after his death, when his widow sells them en masse. (Practically all bibliomaniacs are men.)