A big thing that I also think about is accidents.
And as I said, my mother did not believe in randomness. What is the nature of accidents?
And how are we going to assign what the responsibility and the causes are, outside of a court of law?
I was able to see that in a firsthand way, when I went to beautiful Dong village, in Guizhou, the poorest province of China.
And I saw this beautiful place. I knew I wanted to come back.
And I had a chance to do that, when National Geographic asked me if I wanted to write anything about China.
And I said yes, about this village of singing people, singing minority.
And they agreed, and between the time I saw this place and the next time I went, there was a terrible accident.
A man, an old man, fell asleep, and his quilt dropped in a pan of fire that kept him warm.
60 homes were destroyed, and 40 were damaged. Responsibility was assigned to the family.
The man's sons were banished to live three kilometers away, in a cowshed.
And, of course, as Westerners, we say, "Well, it was an accident. That's not fair. It's the son, not the father."
When I go on a story, I have to let go of those kinds of beliefs.
It takes a while, but I have to let go of them and just go there, and be there.
And so I was there on three occasions, different seasons.
And I began to sense something different about the history,
and what had happened before, and the nature of life in a very poor village,
and what you find as your joys, and your rituals, your traditions, your links with other families.
And I saw how this had a kind of justice, in its responsibility.
I was able to find out also about the ceremony that they were using, a ceremony they hadn't used in about 29 years.
And it was to send some men -- a Feng Shui master sent men down to the underworld on ghost horses.
Now you, as Westerners, and I, as Westerners, would say well, that's superstition.
But after being there for a while, and seeing the amazing things that happened,
you begin to wonder whose beliefs are those that are in operation in the world, determining how things happen.