i am currently reading a douglas coupland novel that is quite good. he is a great student of culture in the west. here is a perceptive quote from "all families are psychotic" that captures the central theme of the story:
"our lives are geared mainly to deflect the darts thrown at us by the laws of probability. the moment we're able, we insulate ourselves from random acts of hate and destruction. it's always been there - in the neighborhoods we build, the walls between our houses, the wariness with which we treat the unknown. one person in six million will be struck by lightning. fifteen people in a hundred will experience clinical depression. one woman in sixteen will experience breast cancer. one child in 30,000 will experience a serious limb deformity. one american in five will be victim of a violent crime. a day in which nothing bad happens is a miracle, a day in which all the things that could have gone wrong didn't. the dull day is a triumph of the human spirit, and boredom is a luxury unprecedented in the history of our species."