"How many fleeting associations combine to make up a life? How many rusty pipes do we mistake for owls? A vast majority of our waking hours are filled not with witty jokes or brilliant thoughts or epic feelings but with tiny, private mind-motions — thoughts that are hardly even thoughts at all, that don’t rise to the level of sharing with another human being. That millisecond when — again and again — a rusty pipe looks like an owl, or a newscaster’s voice reminds you of a long-gone uncle, or a daily routine sets off a small chain of involuntary associations. These things are almost nothing, and yet they are who we are."
Sam Anderson, writing for NYT New Sentences