author, publisher, and professor
On the evening of November 21, 1998, I read the following statement to Quentin Crisp in his room in New York City. As he sat on his bed, I sat next to him so that he could see the page on which these words were typed in large letters.
To be human is to be in transformation.
Ever changing, we are connected by physical, mental, emotional and spiritual forces more powerful than ourselves.
We experience each moment of our lives with a sense of our relative powerlessness. We choose what we do within the limits of time and space, culture and society, this and that.
As we live our lives, moment to moment, awareness of our
powerlessness can, paradoxically, empower us and can allow us to see what and who and where we really are. This awareness is possible in each moment.
With this specifically human awareness, our capacity for empathy and compassion connects us, consciously and unconsciously, to other human beings, to other living things, to all of life.
Here we are...
Quentin listened quietly as I read each word and when I finished reading he smiled and said: "Yes. We are in transformation, arent we!"
Here we are Quentin...
In a spirit of transformation, with love and gratitude.
from Connolly's book, What Does It Mean To Be Human (forthcoming), St. Martins Press.
Copyright © 2000 by Richard Connolly and Estate of Quentin Crisp. All rights reserved.
Photograph copyright © by Susumu Sato. All rights reserved. Used by permission.