"Writing is a skill, not a talent, and thus one's ability as a writer can be improved by thoughtful effort. The problem with some people is that they graduate college as good writers, experience early success on account of that, and thus never devote themselves diligently to the relentless quest for improvement that could make them great writers."
"If the promotion of the self is understood in terms of absolute autonomy, people inevitably reach the point of rejecting one another. Everyone else is considered an enemy from whom one has to defend oneself. Thus society becomes a mass of individuals placed side by side, but without any mutual bonds. . . . In this way, any reference to common values and to a truth absolutely binding on everyone is lost, and social life ventures on to the shifting sands of complete relativism. At that point, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining: even the first of the fundamental rights, the right to life."