What does a man need — really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in, and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all — in the material sense. And we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, and preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.
Our noses too, and our eyes and ears, are political instruments, protesters. An aesthetic response is a political action. . . . We know instinctively, aesthetically, when a fish stinks, when the sense of beauty is offended. Standing for these moments — and these moments occur each day, within every airless office building, seated in each crippling chair, inundated by senseless noise and fattened on industrial food — standing for our responses, these aesthetic reverberations of truth in the soul, may be the primary civic act of the citizen, the origin of caution and of the precautionary principle itself, with its warnings to stop, look, and listen.
If you're condemned to death they have to give you one last meal of your choice. What is that all about? A group of people plans to kill you, so they want you to eat something you like? Do they think the food part will take your mind off the dying part? Or do they prefer to kill you when you're just coming off a peak experience and full of positive energy?