Ask John Jeremiah Sullivan.

Over at the Paris Review, John Jeremiah Sullivan responds to a reader from the south “raised in a religious cult” who is attempting to “throw off the shackles of [a] religious upbringing and become an intelligent well-formed adult.” JJS’s sage advice: “[D]on’t fall for the inferiority/superiority racket. We’re not on a ladder here. We’re on a web.”

I previously mentioned JJS’s profile of the Williams Sisters here, which, on further consideration, was a bit of a disappointment—if only because JJS was given such limited access to them, and he was not able to find an inroad to their psyche as he did in his Axl Rose profile (where, famously, JJS wasn’t allowed to interview the Guns N’ Roses frontman himself, but interviewed Rose’s childhood friend). But that is a judgment only from the exceedingly high standard most of his pieces have established. Seeing him respond in this format shows he has a wise approach to such questions, and to the world itself.