Get rid of sanctity and morality, Hogan’s translation says. His reading, like the others, points to the basic goodness of people. We all know, on some level, what is right and good and moral, and those who take it upon themselves to instruct us in those things more often than not just get in the way. We have a harder time rediscovering love on our own, which is the only true way to get to it, if someone is whispering in our ear or shouting from a platform about what it’s supposed to look like and sound like and feel like. The teens I once worked with were barely functional (much less successful) in “normal” environments, frequently crashing into one set of rules or another. Almost without exception, though, when the situation was genuinely important they not only knew what was necessary and right, they did it without instruction or argument. Remarkable, really.

Also from Hogan: Do your work as best you can. Don’t think about what you get for it. Stay focused.

Just stay at the center of the circle, says Mitchell. On my good days I have a sense of where the center is, and on my better days I can spend some time there.

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