In an exclusive interview at her London home, Madonna bares her soul
about the joys and challenges of marriage and motherhood and her very
personal, and provocative, view of faith.
By Jeanne Marie Laskas
On a crisp spring afternoon in London, Madonna’s house is filled with
the scents and sounds of Saturday. A yummy dish spiced with apples is
cooking in the kitchen, laughter is drifting down from upstairs and
Madonna’s 8-year-old daughter, Lourdes ("Lola”), is running around
excitedly in a back room. "Look how cool, Mommy!” she is saying
eagerly. "Isn’t this cool?"
The house is straight out Mary Poppins, grand and old with gloriously
high ceilings and massive woodwork painted elegant black, situated in a
quintessentially British neighborhood within kite-flying distance of
Hyde Park. A lone vase of fresh-cut red roses sits beneath a majestic
museum-quality oil painting in the foyer, where a member of Madonna’s
staff has asked me to wait. The feel of this place, which was entirely
renovated by Madonna, is decidedly more European manor than Material
Girl McMansion. Could this be the sign of yet another new Madonna?
Happily married to second husband, Guy Ritchie, for four years,
Madonna, 46, has found in marriage and parenthood the most satisfying
second act of her life. The mother of two, with son Rocco now a
4-year-old learning to play chess with his dad, Madonna is a devout
student of the ancient Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah, a spiritual
quest she credits for her decision to start writing children’s books.
Her first, The English Roses, became an international bestseller in
2003, and she is just now releasing her fifth, Lotsa de Casha. She
donates all her profits from the books to the Spirituality for Kids
Foundation, an education and outreach arm of the Kabbalah Centre.
"Hello,” she says casually, quietly appearing in the foyer. She’s
dressed in a navy-blue workout suit, Nikes and a trucker’s cap pulled
tight over her head, shadowing her eyes and a face unadorned with
makeup. In person, and even in this unambitious outfit, she is
beautiful, perhaps even more so than she appears on film and video. She
has a chiseled bone structure, creamy skin and wide, intelligent blue
She leads me to her office, a spacious room strewn with manuscripts
from her children’s books and featuring big windows that open to a lush
garden courtyard. This, she says, is where she spends most of her time
when the kids are in school and Guy is off working on his movie
projects. The couple also have homes in Los Angeles, New York City and
the English countryside, but London is where the business of raising
her family happens.
We sit together for hours, while she casually wraps her legs in a lotus
position. (She is perfectly fit and famously flexible from years of
yoga.) She ponders each of my questions carefully, seriously, and
occasionally gets lost in thought while toggling or chewing on her
zipper. It occurs to me that this Madonna isn’t so much reinvented as
she is reintegrated. Having almost single-handedly redefined pop
culture in the 1980s and 1990s, the Madonna of the new millennium is
softer, wiser—an artist with a social conscience, a spiritual seeker
refusing easy answers. This Madonna is every bit as powerful as the old
one, but—look out, world!—this one has a purpose.
Madonna: You’ll join me in some tea? You’ve come to London, you must have tea!
Interviewer: Of course! Can you tell me how you came to decide to live in London?
Madonna: I moved her for love. Yeah, no other reason. I never thought
in a million years I’d live in London. In fact, I quite disliked the
place for a while. When I first started coming here, when I was just
starting out my career as a singer, the press was so terrible to me. In
those days I paid attention to what people wrote about me, and it hurt
my feelings. So this was always a place I’d get in and out of as
quickly as possible. Then I met my husband. I realized that if I didn’t
live here, I wouldn’t get to see him very much. We had a long-distance
relationship for a year where we would both take turns going back and
forth to see each other, and I would be in Los Angeles making a film,
or New York, and he’s come, but it was very inconsistent. The way I
looked at it is, I’ve established my career already, and I have the
ability and the freedom to move wherever I want, whereas my husband
doesn’t. I thought, somebody has to make a compromise. He was a
filmmaker, working mostly in London. It just seemed like it was my move
to make, which I did. Then I just fell in love with London, and Guy
started taking me to the countryside and I started to actually feel
comfortable here. When I’d be in America for a while, I’d start to
really miss London, so now I prefer being here. Funny the way things
Interviewer: But don’t you sometimes miss the good old USA?
Madonna: I kind of like that I’m a Yank in England—I like being a fish
out of water. They’re not really interested in spoiling you here if
you’re a celebrity. I feel like I get left alone here. I ride my bike,
I put my hat on, and I feel more free here. I go to Hyde Park, I ride
to the recording studio, I ride to my friend’s house.
Interviewer: Do you remember first meeting Guy? What was your initial attraction to him?
Madonna: He has a great wit—that’s the first thing I noticed when I met
him, his incredible sense of humor and his use of language—I found that
very attractive. He made me laugh, but he was funny in a clever way,
not in an obvious way. He made me think. He’s very well read, very
Interviewer: You once said that marriage is both harder and better than you’d ever expected. What did you mean by that?
Madonna: Marriage is hard. No one can prepare you—maybe they can, but I
didn’t grow up with a mother, you know, someone to give me her insight
about what married life was going to be. When you’re married, you can’t
run away. I mean, you can run way, but that’s not my style. I’m not a
quitter. It’s taken me a long time to realize what the whole point of
marriage is, and I don’t think it has anything to do with our romantic
notions—like walks together, and sending flowers to one another, and
bringing up children together. Those are all manifestations, but the
whole point of marriage is for each and every one of us to learn how to
get along with one person, and to learn to love that person
unconditionally. And if you can do it with one person, then your whole
attitude toward the world and humanity can change. It’s easier to have
unconditional love for your children. They’re young and they’re cute,
and they get away with it. Somehow, when a grown-up behaves badly or
immaturely, you immediately find yourself making little lists—okay, I’m
writing that down, I’m going to remember you did that. "The list where
you irritated me is getting longer!” That’s what I do.
Interviewer: So you’re the type who will confront your husband when something is wrong?
Madonna: Yes. If I have a problem, I want to work it out, right now. My
husband is like, "I don’t want to talk about it right now. I need to
think about it. Let’s talk about it in two days.” Two days? No! I have
to be right now! I have to prove that you’re wrong now! Sometimes I
need to learn to bite my tongue. And that’s the whole give-and-take
about marriage—you don’t always get your way. And let’s face it—until
you get married, you get your way. Once you get married, you suddenly
have to think of somebody else before you make decisions, before you
speak. That’s about putting your ego in check, about growing up and
about putting somebody else in front of you. Marriage is a tool for
each and every one of us to ultimately make the world a better place.
Because if you can get along with your husband or wife, and work toward
loving them unconditionally, chances are you’re going to be a lot more
compassionate and a lot less judgmental toward your fellow man.
Interviewer: Do you feel that this time you married for the right
reason, whereas you didn’t with your first marriage, to Sean Penn?
Madonna: Oh, yeah. I wasn’t even thinking when I got married last time,
I was just thinking, Oh, you’re so talented, you’re so cute! It was all
excitement. I’d just become famous, the whole thing was crazy. He’s a
brilliant man and all, but I wasn’t thinking past my nose. I was 26. We
were both forces to be reckoned with. I wasn’t interested in making
compromises—I just wanted to do what I wanted to do. And he wanted to
do what he wanted to do. When I got married this time, I’d already had
two children, and I was very clear what my priorities were. Making my
marriage and my children and my spiritual life work are my priorities.
Interviewer: Can you talk about your early days of motherhood and how it changed you?
Madonna: Motherhood was the beginning of my own journey asking the
question, Why am I here? I had to stop and think: What am I going to
teach my daughter? What do I believe in? I don’t even know what I
believe in, and if I don’t know, how am I going to teach my daughter
anything? What have I been put on this earth for? What’s the whole
point of life? What’s important, what isn’t important? Is there life
beyond this physical world we live in? Everything. When I started
asking, a teacher appeared, and my husband appeared. Everything kind of
came at the same time, when I decided to pull my head out of my
ass—forgive my vulgarity. But I decided to think beyond my career,
beyond what I did for myself as an artist. I was into freedom of
speech, freedom of expression, women’s rights, and that’s all great.
But that’s one tiny little percentage of the world out there that needs
to be explored, and I wasn’t really dealing with the big picture.
Motherhood was my triggering point for trying to understand the meaning
Interviewer: As a child, were you introduced to any of these big-picture questions?
Madonna: I was raised in a very Catholic house. So religion was a big
part of my life—going to school, reading the Bible, praying to Jesus,
going to confession, thinking about good, bad, what’s a sin, what’s an
original sin, what’s a venial sin, but that’s all morals and ethics.
Morals and ethics change depending on what corner you’re standing one,
and to me, don’t answer the bigger questions. Also, religion requires
you to be a sheep, and to not dig deep. I never really got a lot of my
questions answered, so consequently, I just sort of moved away from
religion. My mother was a very religious person, and my father still
is. He’s a very decent person, but I don’t think all religious people
are decent. I think they hide behind the cloak of being religious—they
don’t have compassion for their fellow men, they’re judgmental of
people who are not their religion, and I don’t subscribe to any of
that. I studied Hinduism, I was searching for all of these things right
before I got pregnant. Then when I was pregnant, the desire to try to
understand became even more apparent. And when I met my husband, he was
searching, too, but he was searching from an intellectual point of
view, he was reading theories of evolution, and the Big Bang, physics
and science of how did the world really get created. He was approaching
it from an intellectual point of view, and I was approaching it from an
intuitive and emotional point of view, which is the essential
difference between men and women anyway. We met each other at the
perfect time—he grew up, like me, wanting to break all the rules. Why
did we want to break all the rules? Because the rules didn’t make
sense, that’s why. The rules didn’t give any answers, so I was being
rebellious for no particular reason, and so was he, in his way. I don’t
reject the idea that Jesus Christ walked on this earth, and He was a
divine being, and He had a very important message to bring to the
world, but I reject the religious behavior of any religious
organization that does not encourage you to ask questions and do your
own exploration. Nobody can make sense of the world we live in these
days. You read about wars, you read about the senseless killings, and
the famines, and the AIDS epidemics, and you think, where is this all
going? What’s the point? Why did God create this world if we’re all
selfish and are going to cause our own destruction and extinction? Why
doesn’t anybody want to know that—that’s what amazes me. We live in a
society that encourages people to just live, base all decisions on what
we see—everything is about marketing, advertising. We are raised to
believe the world begins and ends with our five senses. No one is
encourage to have a spiritual life—if you want to have a spiritual life
now, you’re considered a geek or a weirdo, or you’re a religious zealot
or a nut. We live in a world that’s full of distractions and tinsel and
things that are going to constantly distract us from looking inward. So
you’re always at odds with yourself. I do care about the state of my
soul. But there’s this great movie playing down the street … or There’s
a football game I want to watch. And we are constantly bombarded with
this seduction of the senses.
Interviewer: Of course you spent a lot of your career seducing our
senses. You were part of the machinery—the engine—creating our pop
culture. Do you now say, "I was a distraction”?
Madonna: Yeah, I know I was. Definitely. Listen, there were some times
I really had an altruistic goal, I really did want to help people. And
then other times, I just wanted to show off—let’s call a spade a spade.
And I knew I could get away with it, and I knew I could get people to
pay attention to me. Do I think I helped people? Yeah, I do. Do I think
I hindered people? Yes I do. I wasn’t really clear on what I was doing
yet, my point of view. I wasn’t thinking responsibility, I wasn’t
thinking everything I say and do has an effect on the world around me.
Sometimes now I sit back and say, What was I thinking before I was
thinking, you know?
Interviewer: How did you help people and how did you hinder them?
Madonna: I helped people who got my message, 10 or 15 years ago, to
believe in your dreams, and to not let anybody get in the way. If
you’re really passionate about something, no matter where you are, no
matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done or where you’ve come
from, just go for it. I think that helped a lot of people. I hurt
people by confusing them. Sometimes I was being overtly sexual for the
sake of showing off, when I didn’t need to be. One minute I was saying
believe in yourself, and the next I was saying just be sexually
provocative for the sake of being sexually provocative. Now that’s
confusing. Ultimately, none of us wants to be judged or approved of or
loved because of the way we look or how sexy we are. We want people to
appreciate us for who we are on the inside. So I didn’t exactly help
people by being an exhibitionist. I think I hurt myself, too, because I
ended up devaluing my original message, that anybody could do
anything—it’s about what’s on the inside. Then I was glorifying the
outside. I was just a person who was not thinking. I let myself be
tricked. Yeah, be tricked—by the physical world, knowing I was getting
attention, letting it pump up my ego. Aren’t I great, they’re writing
about me, my picture’s on the cover of every magazine, I’m so fabulous.
I wasn’t saying those things out loud, but deep down inside, they were
Interviewer: You’ve been very open about how drawn you’ve become to the
study of Kabbalah, an ancient spiritual quest that teaches principles
of personal responsibility, and keeping the ego in check, and
giving—all of which are principles shared by many of the world’s
religions. So, why Kabbalah?
Madonna: It is not a religion—it’s a belief system. You can come from
any religious background to study Kabbalah, but it’s too weird for
people, too foreign. They can’t get their heads around it, so they have
to devalue it by saying it’s a trend or a cult. All this nonsense about
how only celebrities are into it just makes me laugh, because to say
you’re a Kabbalist, there’s nothing easy about it. It’s not enough just
to read a book. You have to change, and the only way you can change
your nature is to constantly, constantly study.
Interviewer: It’s a belief system that’s been around for thousands and
thousands of years, so how could anyone access this wisdom by
approaching it as fashionable?
Madonna: It isn’t until you’ve been studying for several years before
you can let it inform your life. That’s why I started writing
children’s books. I can assure you, five years ago—and I’ve been
studying for nine years—there’s no way I would’ve said, I’m going to
write kids’ books and give all the money away to charity. That’s not
anything that was ever in my agenda. It took me a long time before I
could go from the girl sitting in the back of the class [at the
Kabbalah Centre], wowed by all the information, keeping notes to
thinking, there is a point to this life, now I know why there’s chaos
and suffering and pain in the world, and I actually can do something
about it, and the world doesn’t revolve around me. It takes a lot of
time, and you need to be with somebody who’s also interested in it,
because you can’t be in a relationship where you are going down that
road on your own. It felt really good to publish a book and to know it
got into the hands of lots of kids, and to start reading letters from
children who read The English Roses and said, "You know, when I read
your book it made me think of how horrible me and my girlfriends were
to this girl in school.” I thought, it’s so cool I’m helping kids, and
I never thought I’d be doing that. I like the idea that people can
change, and that everybody has to go through a painful process before
they can realize that they’re idiots. I’ve written a sequel to The
English Roses, and that’s going to be my thing, I’m going to keep
writing sequels and start an English Roses thing—my ultimate goal is to
have a TV series, in episodes, each one having to do with girls finding
themselves in challenging situations.
Interviewer: That’s interesting, especially since I’ve read that you don’t let your own kids watch TV. Is that true?
Madonna: True. My kids don’t watch TV—we have TV’s, but they’re not hooked up to anything but movies.
Interviewer: Your kids don’t say, "Oh please, Mom?”
Interviewer: They’ve never had TV?
Madonna: No. TV is trash. I was raised without it. I didn’t miss
anything. TV is poison. No one even talks about it around here. It’s
like a moot point. We don’t have magazines or newspapers in the house,
Interviewer: Do you feel you have to censor some of the racier entertainment you’ve been famous for from your daughter?
Madonna: She doesn’t come to me and ask me much. She knows I’m a
singer. She’s seen me on stage performing. She knows I made videos for
MTV, but she doesn’t watch it, so she doesn’t ask any questions. My
kids have my records and play them once in a while, but they’re sick of
my music. They come see my shows all the time, but who wants to hear my
music in this house? I don’t want to hear it. They both like listening
to music. They play disco tag every night and they dance while they’re
playing tag. My son is quite an imaginative dancer. It’s a fun game.
There’s a whole performance involved, and you dance, and you’re
supposed to fake the other person out that you’re not interested in
tagging them by dancing. We all play—I play, my husband, the nanny.
It’s fun. Every night before bed. My so uses all his adrenaline and
then passes out—that’s a good night.
Interviewer: What kind of mom would you say you are?
Madonna: I’m the disciplinarian. Guy’s the spoiler. When Daddy gets
home, they’re going to get chocolate. I’m a more practical person—I
worry about their teeth, and make sure they’re taking care of
themselves, and my daughter’s hygiene is good, what they wear, making
sure they’re getting schoolwork done. That is not my husband’s area of
expertise. He’s the fun guy. He takes them out once a week to this
kids’ restaurant, and they go into the kitchen and make pizzas and draw
on the tablecloths, and they have disco balls and really loud music,
and that was his idea—I never would’ve thought of it. I’m doctor’s
appointments, lessons, homework. I’m the boring one—I do all the
necessary stuff, and he does all the fun stuff.
Interviewer: Is this how you imagined parenting to be?
Madonna: Yeah, because I’m a very disciplined person. I’m very
scheduled, I make lists, I stick to the plan. We’re totally opposite.
Guy is Mr. Spontaneous. My husband does all sorts of things—he’s
teaching Rocco how to play chess right now—he’s a chess junkie, my
husband. And he plays soccer with them—we have a house in the
countryside, and we have horses and chickens—he’s just more into doing
wild stuff, outside, taking them out on bikes. He’s good cop, I’m bad
Interviewer: So, as the disciplinarian, do you have any good tricks?
Madonna: I just take things away. I take privileges away. They get to
watch movies every Sunday, so if they’re naughty, they get their movie
taken away. They have to be particularly naughty for that one—if
they’re just a little naughty, then no stories before bed. My daughter
has a problem picking up in her room, so if you leave your clothes on
the floor, they’re going to be gone when you come home. So we’ve gone
through periods of almost emptying her room—we take all of her clothes
and put them in a trash bag, and they get stuck somewhere, and she has
to earn all of her clothes back, by being tidy, picking up her room,
making her bed in the morning, hanging up her clothes, stuff like that.
We also have a little bit of a homework issue with her—she goes in an
out of doing it—after about 20 minutes, she’s had enough and she’s not
doing it anymore. We try to give incentives. If she gets her homework
done, then she gets to play a computer game, which she loves.
Interviewer: Do you find that raising a boy is different from raising a girl?
Madonna: Yeah, way different. Girls care a lot more about the way they
look than boys do. That’s problematic—we have at least three tantrums a
week. Lola’s been like that since she was 4. Very into clothes and the
way she looks—it gets worse as they get older. But we have a motto:
Clothes are not worth crying about. So if you’re going to throw a
tantrum about your clothes, they’re going to get taken away. So we have
gotten down to one outfit; she wears the same outfit every day to
school until she learns her lesson, and then she calms down, and can go
back to being normal in the morning when we get ready for school. I
hope my son doesn’t turn out like that—it doesn’t seem like it. He
likes to play soccer, chess, play Uno, all card games, board games.
Card games like Yu-Gi-Oh! They usually involve superheroes or some kind
Interviewer: Do you have an ideal of what kind of man he’ll grow into?
Madonna: I just want him to be … curious and inquisitive. I never want
him to take no for an answer. I don’t want him to settle for
mediocrity. I want him to ask questions and never stop until he gets
the answers. I want him to be compassionate toward other human beings.
For my daughter, it’s exactly the same.
Interviewer: Does Lola remind you of yourself as a little girl?
Madonna: I was way more scared of my father as an authority figure, and
way more respectful—I would never talk back to my parents, ever. My
daughter is not that way at all. Certain aspects of her are like
me—she’s a show girl. She loves to dance, to perform, she’s not shy at
all. She walks into a room, she’ll talk to anybody, she’s very
Interviewer: Do you think of yourself as being the same type of mom as your own mother was?
Madonna: No. My mother died when I was 6, so there’s not a lot I
remember. But I know she was very affectionate, nai"ve. She was very
young and religious, and she didn’t have any expectations of herself
other than to be a good mother, and a good wife. That’s very different
Interviewer: Do you feel any sort of spiritual connection with her now?
Madonna: [She falls silent for a while, looking down, balancing her
chin on her bent knee.] I don’t know. My mother was a religious zealot,
a Catholic—there were always nuns and priests in my house growing up. I
don’t know how curious my mother was, how much she pushed to know what
was going on behind the curtain, and that’s my personality—I want to
know what’s going on behind what I can see. I’ve read some letters
she’d written. My mother was certain she was doing the right thing, so
maybe we have that in common. I think about her, but she’s an
ideal—she’s not really a reality. She’s an energy—I feel she’s there,
somewhere, but it’s kind of intangible. Now that I’m a mother, I know
more what it was like to be her. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been
like for her to be dying and have six children. I can’t imagine that
feeling of leaving your children and not knowing what’s going to happen
to them. I feel her pain now. I understand who my mother was by being a
mother. I guess I’m really only getting to know my mother now.
Interviewer: Do you talk to your children about the grandmother they never got to meet?
Madonna: Not with my son so much, he’s too young. But my daughter
always says, "Mom, what was it like? Why did she die? Did you miss her?
Where did she go?”
Interviewer: On a much lighter note, a lot of people want to know how
you stay in such wonderful shape. What do you eat, how do you work out?
Madonna: I eat healthy food—not a vegetarian diet, but I mostly eat
fish. I have a cook who came originally to be a macrobiotic chef here
in our house, but then we didn’t want to eat strictly macrobiotic
anymore. But it’s very similar—whole grains, eating things by season,
staying away from food that’s been bioengineered in any way, things
that are about to be extinct. She prepares food like really good sushi,
great cod or salmon. And vegetables. It doesn’t sound very exciting,
does it? It’s got a Japanese flair to it, which is quite nice. We don’t
eat any dairy here, we’re a TV- and dairy-free house. I do yoga four
days a week, and Pilates two days a week, sometimes three. In the
morning, around 11. I have a routine. I get up at 7:30 when the kids
get up. They leave at 8:15. My son’s in preschool—they’re both at the
same school, she’s in third grade. They get dressed, eat breakfast and
go off to school. There are no school buses here so a driver takes them
to school. Sometimes my husband takes them to school. I come into my
office. I talk to my staff, we talk about what we’re going to do that
day—I have several business entities and projects going on. Then I
exercise, and after that I go to do the project—my record, my film, my
this, my that. No matter what, I always come home to put my kids to
bed. Unless there’s a situation, I’m out of town or I can’t come home,
my husband does it. We always make sure one of us is here. Then we eat
dinner at 9 or 9:30. My husband does jujitsu and doesn’t get done until
then, which is irritating. We eat dinner late, we go to bed late, I get
up early—not a lot of sleep goes on here. I don’t see a lot of my
girlfriends. If anything falls by the wayside, it’s my friends. I stay
in contact with them by phone or e-mail, but I don’t have a lot of
time. I wish I did, but I don’t. Now my girlfriends are all married and
have kids, and they have the same problem, too. They understand. If
they don’t have kids, they don’t understand exactly, but that’s their
problem. When they do, they will.
Interviewer: Your good friends are Gwyneth Paltrow and Stella McCartney?
Madonna: Gwyneth and Stella are my closest friends here in England. But
I have a few others—my sister is a good friend of mine, she lives in
Los Angeles. Rosie O’Donnell is a good friend of mine, she lives in New
York. I have another really good friend named Monica, she lives in Los
Angeles. They’re sprinkled everywhere. Those people I stay in touch
with, and sometimes they have to come and kidnap me and force me to go
out and have fun, have a drink, chit-chat, stop working. If I have a
night off and my husband’s gone somewhere, I just stay home and work.
It’s hard for me to stop working, because I have a lot of stuff to do.
If I want to make records, and write children’s books, and make films,
then I’ve got to work a lot. I hardly ever go out, to parties, even to
restaurants. When you have a husband, two kids, and a lot of jobs, you
just don’t go out that much. I don’t think I’m missing anything. It’s
nice to spend time with friends and catch up, but I’m happy with my
Interviewer: You seem calm, happy.
Madonna: Settled, yeah. I’m more settled than I’ve ever been. I’m more
sure about what I’m doing. I feel happy about the things I’ve
accomplished. I’m less worried and anxiety-ridden than I used to be.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments. Of worry, doubt, pulling my
hair out. About career, anything. Am I doing the right thing? Should I
be doing this? Is that right? Is it good enough? Will people understand
this? Should I take this job, or that job? What am I doing? Sure. But
less and less.
Interviewer: Do you ever think about how you want to be remembered?
Madonna: I’m a person who’s searching. I don’t see myself as a
holier-than-thou, righteous soul, but I’m a person who’s been through a
lot. I’ve lived the highest highs, and the lowest lows. I’ve attained
all those things everyone wants to attain, and I’m here to say, it
doesn’t mean s---. If you don’t have the other things in your life,
than all the money in the world, and all the beautiful children in the
world, and all the talented husbands in the world are not going to make
you happy. I’m coming from a point of view now, from experience, that I
can help people, share what I know. I think about everything I do, how
is this going to affect people? What will they get out of this? Am I
adding to the chaos of the world—am I part of the problem, or the