‘I think, for most of my life, until I did kind of wake up to forests and to trees… I did share this cultural consensus that meaning is a private thing that we do for ourselves and by ourselves…
We can make purpose and make meaning completely arbitrarily. It consists mostly of trying to be more in yourself, of accumulating in one form or another. And when you do subscribe to a culture like that and you are confronted with the reality of your own mortality, as I was when I was living in Stanford, that sense of stockpiling personal meaning starts to feel a little bit pointless.
And I think what was happening to me at that time, as I was turning outward and starting to take the non-human world seriously, is my sense of meaning was shifting from something that was entirely about me and authored by me outward into this more collaborative, reciprocal, interdependent, exterior place that involved not just me but all of these other ways of being that I could make kinship with….’
Richard Powers in an interview with Ezra Klein.