What happens when you get out of your own thoughts and pay attention, via The Writer’s Almanac, commemorating the birthday of W. Somerset Maugham. He’d become a doctor and practiced in the slums of London.
I saw how men died. I saw how they bore pain. I saw what hope looked like, fear and relief; I saw the dark lines that despair drew on a face; I saw courage and steadfastness. I saw faith shine in the eyes of those who trusted in what I could only think was an illusion and I saw the gallantry that made a man greet the prognosis of death with an ironic joke because he was too proud to let those about him see the terror of his soul. — W. Somerset Maugham
They also quoted him as saying this, which is a strong argument for a solid education system that fosters a love of reading:
To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. — W. Somerset Maugham