"Everybody writing about human beings in any serious way will say the same thing. When we’re good, we’re very, very good, and when we’re bad, we’re horrid. This is not news, because we’re so much more inventive and we have two hands, the left and the right. That is how we think. It’s all over our literature, and it’s all over the way we arrange archetypes, the good version, the bad version, the god, the devil, the Abel, the Cain, you name it. We arrange things in pairs like that because we know about ourselves. 
It’s also true that there is a rescue thing in people, and not just rescuing the family, which is kind of obvious from a biological point of view. But why is it that some people will jump into a freezing river and swim out to a downed plane for total strangers? What is that about? 
And it seems to be that it’s part of your concept of who you are. That’s why some people run into the burning buildings, because if they don’t, their concept of who they are will be violated. They wouldn’t be who they thought they were.”

Read our full interview with Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood on plague, end times and human nature: http://ow.ly/ojpUH
Photograph by Christopher Wahl. High-res

"Everybody writing about human beings in any serious way will say the same thing. When we’re good, we’re very, very good, and when we’re bad, we’re horrid. This is not news, because we’re so much more inventive and we have two hands, the left and the right. That is how we think. It’s all over our literature, and it’s all over the way we arrange archetypes, the good version, the bad version, the god, the devil, the Abel, the Cain, you name it. We arrange things in pairs like that because we know about ourselves.

It’s also true that there is a rescue thing in people, and not just rescuing the family, which is kind of obvious from a biological point of view. But why is it that some people will jump into a freezing river and swim out to a downed plane for total strangers? What is that about?

And it seems to be that it’s part of your concept of who you are. That’s why some people run into the burning buildings, because if they don’t, their concept of who they are will be violated. They wouldn’t be who they thought they were.”

Read our full interview with Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood on plague, end times and human nature: http://ow.ly/ojpUH

Photograph by Christopher Wahl.