24 Random Quotes from the Library's collection

Civilized human beings are alarmingly ignorant of the fact that they are continuous with their natural surroundings. It is as necessary to have air, water, plants, insects, birds, fish, and mammals as it is to have brains, hearts, lungs, and stomachs. The former are our external organs in the same way that the latter are our internal organs.
Alan Watts
1970
As I analyze the history of biology and higher animals and culture and so forth, what I see as a continuous theme from the very beginning is the conquest of dimensionality. Life conquers dimensions. Life begins as a fixed slime in one place with no eyes, no ears, no nothing. And it evolves tactile awareness. Then it slowly becomes—through the sequestering of pigment-sensitive cells onto its surface—it acquires the notion of a gradient of light and darkness. And then, through the formation of lenses, it’s able to stabilize an impression of the exterior world. It evolves progressively more advanced forms of locomotion. Eventually it evolves memory and complex cognitive interior maps for anticipating the future. This is a description of a strategy for the conquest of dimensionality.
Terence McKenna
1993
The fact of the matter is: nobody knows what’s going on. Nobody knows. Nobody has the faintest idea. The best guesses are lies, you may be sure of it. And so to pretend that one human being will lead another out of the dark night of ignorance and into the shining light of truth is ludicrous. Absolutely grotesque! A product of this empowering of the human image that has gone on through several thousand years of dominator culture. If you want a teacher, try a waterfall or a mushroom or a mountain wilderness or a storm-pounded seashore. This is where the action is.
Terence McKenna
1989
In no period of human history has there been such an epidemic of moral perversity, such a universal churning up of jealousy, greed, hatred and mutual suspicion. Every people, weak or strong, is constantly indulging in a violent dream of rendering itself thoroughly hurtful to others. In this galloping competition of hurtfulness, on the slope of a bottomless pit, no nation dares to stop or slow down. A scarlet fever with a raging temperature has attacked the entire body of mankind, and political passion has taken the place of creative personality in all departments of life.
Rabindranath Tagore
1922
Man has taken centuries to discuss the question of his own true nature and has not yet come to a conclusion. He has been building up elaborate religions to convince himself, against his natural inclinations, of the paradox that he is not what he is but something greater.
Rabindranath Tagore
1922
Maybe death is stronger than life because life always seems to require an effort; death is something into which you slide effortlessly. Maybe nothing will overcome something in the end. Wouldn’t that be awful? And so we resist change, ignorant of the fact that change is life, and that ‘nothing’ is invariably the obverse face of ‘something.’
What I’d like to suggest is that we look at technology as something that is really a human function, a human capacity. From day one, language is a technology of communication, isn’t it? The stick that even chimpanzees use to help them dig up plants and what have you—that’s a technology. It’s a tool. Our tool-making capacity is really an extension of natural functions. I mean, an airplane does something that a bird does, but we’ve built it. So I look at technology neither as the villain or as the savior.
We must develop progress—or rather, a program (and I can’t stay on this long)—that will drive the nation to a guaranteed annual income.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
1967
We have to pay people for the work done on their behalf by machinery, because otherwise the manufacturer won’t be able to move the goods off the shelf. Now, that seems an outrageous idea, frankly in disaccord with the Protestant ethic. “You mean give people money? Where’s the money going to come from?” Well, money never did come from anywhere. It’s like asking: where do inches come from? It’s simply a question of realizing that technology was invented to save labor. That doesn’t mean in order to dismiss your employees, it means to let them have a vacation—in other words, a shorter workweek—and for you yourself, as the owner, less to do, so that you can go and gaze at the Moon or make love to your lady friend. Why not do it? Well, everybody feels guilty about it.
Alan Watts
Consider shells and teeth; although not alive or even made of organic materials, they are part of an animal’s body because they were deposited by its cells and are integrated into its form. The same can be said of the machines and other human creations that cement civilization together and are so integral to Metaman’s existence; they too are part of Metaman.
Gregory Stock
1993
Our present rough way of applying the causal principle is quite superficial. We are like a child who judges a poem by the rhyme and knows nothing of the rhythmic pattern. Or we are like a juvenile learner at the piano, just relating one note to that which immediately precedes or follows. To an extent this may be very well when one is dealing with very simple and primitive compositions; but it will not do for the interpretation of a Bach Fugue. Quantum physics has presented us with very complex processes and to meet them we must further enlarge and refine our concept of causality.
Rabindranath Tagore
1922
The best thing to do is to relax and enjoy the tininess of us and the enormity of the rest of the universe. Of course, if you’re feeling depressed by that, you can always look out at the other way and think of how big you are compared to the atoms and the parts of atoms, and then you’re an enormous universe to those atoms. So you can sort of stand in the middle and enjoy everything both ways.
Richard Feynman
1983
If you exploit your passions, you’re going to get a big thrill, but it doesn’t last. When you begin to get older, you realize “Well that was fun while we had it, but I haven’t really learned very much from it, and now what?”
There is nothing in atoms per se that predicts chemical compounding. There is nothing in chemical compounds per se that predicts biological protoplasm. There is nothing in biological protoplasm per se that predicts camel and palm tree and the respiratory exchange of gases between the mammals and the vegetation. In fact, you discover that the larger complex of Universe is never being predicted by the lesser.
Richard Buckminster Fuller
1975
In the greatest examples of any form of art, a miraculous balance is achieved. The whole displays its component parts, each with its own value enhanced; and the parts lead up to a whole, which is beyond themselves, and yet not destructive of themselves.
Alfred North Whitehead
1938
You say, “My guru is very wise and he’s instructed me to do this, that, and the other.” But it was you who decided on this guru. How did you know he was a good one? See? You gave him his authority because you picked him out. It always comes back to you, but we like to pretend it doesn’t.
Alan Watts
1965
The ambition that seeks power in the augmentation of dimension is doomed; for that perfection which is in the inner quality of harmony becomes choked when quantity overwhelms it in a fury of extravagance.
Rabindranath Tagore
1922
The latest approach to media study considers not only the “content” but the medium and the cultural matrix within which the particular medium operates.
Marshall McLuhan
1964
We already realize that in a multilevel system which is self-organizing at least at a macroscopic and microscopic level, it is no longer the same if we assume that energy organizes matter or that the reverse holds. If the emphasis is on matter systems organizing energy, a microscopic, Darwinian description seems to follow. If the aspect of an energy system organizing matter is in the foreground, a macroscopic description in terms of ultracycles imposes itself, in which entire ecosystems evolve to higher complexity.
Erich Jantsch
1980
A sufficient number of people will have integrated this state of global electronic selfhood that it will be irreversible.
Terence McKenna
1983
Establishing electronic connections with the nervous system will eventually confer upon us some of the “psychic” powers we have long dreamed of. Controlling transmitting electrodes by thought and thereby being able to operate electronic devices with our minds would be akin to telekinesis. Implanted telephones would allow communication not far removed from telepathy. Today various businesses have dedicated communication links tying together distant sites. Perhaps future humans will create similar links to those they love.
Gregory Stock
1993
Under the combined force of the multiplication (in numbers) and expansion (in radius of influence) of human individuals on the surface of the globe, the noösphere has for the last century shown signs of a sudden organic compression upon itself and compenetration. This is without any doubt the most massive and the most central of the events the earth has experienced in our day.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
1951
I mean, are you saying that it’s only a game? Is that all there is to it? What do you think? You see, this, again, is a question that everybody has to think things through. What did you want? Didn’t you want a game? Did you want it to be serious in the end? Think about the question. What kind of a thing would you like God to be? What would you like to do for eternity? Really?
If there is no single, central, ruling Self inside the mind, what makes us feel so sure that one exists? What gives that myth its force and strength? A paradox: perhaps it’s because there are no persons in our heads to make us do the things we want—nor even ones to make us want to want—that we construct the myth that we’re inside ourselves.
Marvin Minsky
1985


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