...when then Twin Towers collapsed nobody trampled each other, nobody panicked, all that savage social Darwinism you could promise didn’t happen. People aided each other in kind of extraordinary ways: a quadriplegic accountant was carried down sixty-nine stories by his coworkers who didn’t do any accounting for what he owed them on the way.
...there was this moment in which relations were completely different, both at a practical level but also at an emotional level. Everybody says everybody made eye contact, they cared about how you were, boundaries came down. And that was terrifying to the Bush administration and to Wall Street, which was essentially Al Qaeda’s target. And they had to get us back to business—remember that campaign, America Open For Business and all that other stuff? This is a long way around saying that what actually happens in disasters is that they demonstrate that people are actually very good at being communists in the sense that they instantly abandon capitalism, that they love these relationships of mutual aid, because the astonishing thing about disasters is that people are often weirdly joyous in them, because they’ve recovered a sense of agency, a sense of power, etc...-- Rebecca Solnit