24 Random Quotes from the Library's collection

It’s mainly when our other systems start to fail that we engage the special agencies involved with what we call “consciousness.” Accordingly, we’re more aware of simple processes that don’t work well than of complex ones that work flawlessly. This means that we cannot trust our offhand judgments about which of the things we do are simple, and which require complicated machinery. Most times, each portion of the mind can only sense how quietly the other portions do their jobs.
Marvin Minsky
My body is also my total environment, and this must be measured by light-years in the billions.
Over time, the universe has become more complicated. New levels of complexity become the foundations for yet deeper levels of complexity. And this phenomenon of the production and conservation of what I call novelty is not something which goes on only in the biological domain or only in the cultural domain or only in the domain of physics. It is a trans-categorical impulse in reality, meaning: it’s everywhere. Everywhere! The universe was born in a state of great simplicity. There were no atoms, there were no molecules, there were no stars. There was only a plasmic ocean of energy. The physics for describing this were very simple. As time passed, you could almost imagine complexity crystallizing out of a universe that cools. As it cools, new properties emerge.
Terence McKenna
Of course there exists in living organisms a selective mechanism for the play of consciousness. We have merely to look into ourselves to perceive it—the nervous system. We are in a positive way aware of one single ‘interiority’ in the world: our own directly, and at the same time that of other men by immediate equivalence, thanks to language. But we have every reason to think that in animals too a certain inwardness exists, approximately proportional to the development of their brains.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
One learns that a human being is not an organism in an environment, but is an organism-environment—that is to say, a unified field of behavior. If you describe, carefully, the behavior of any organism, you cannot do so without at the same time describing the behavior of the environment. And by that you know that you’ve got a new entity of study.
This world wide web has a structure that is kind of brain-like. Because what do you have in the brain? You have neurons connected by synapses. Or, if you look at it at a higher level, you have concepts that are collected by associations. That was also part of the inspiration of Tim Berners-Lee: hyperlinks are associations between texts. So the web is a little bit kind of like a nervous system.
Francis Heylighen
Right now, the worldwide epidemic of youth-bashing is the most counter-productive thing we could possibly generate. I mean, we’re leaning on the very people who are going to have to save the situation. Why not admit the obsolescence and bankruptcy of the old models and take our foot off the neck of youth, and honor an interest in psychedelic experimentalism, sexual redefining of roles, a new look at how we relate to work, a new look at how we relate to community? Instead of marginalizing youth culture and defining it as a phase, misguided, naïve, foolish, we should say these are the uncorrupted people in society who have not yet felt the hammer of the programming and the guilt and the creodes of economic necessity, and try to build upward and outward from youth culture rather than suppressing it. For this reason I will be appearing at a rave tonight that starts after my bedtime.
Terence McKenna
I have never seen a truly superior person, I don’t believe. And if I have, they were so humble and self-effacing that they never would have claimed that superiority as their own. If somebody tells you they’re a superior person—my god, they’re automatically to be taken off the active list. That alone screws the pooch right there!
Terence McKenna
Metapatterns can be thought of as those key patterns that exemplify the sphericity of the deepest forms of knowledge, the interlinking of all things and ideas in the universe.
The machine is not an it to be animated, worshiped, and dominated. The machine is us, our processes, an aspect of our embodiment. We can be responsible for machines; they do not dominate or threaten us. We are responsible for boundaries; we are they.
Donna Haraway
The difference between mind and brain is that brain deals only with memorized, subjective, special-case experiences and objective experiments, while mind extracts and employs the generalized principles and integrates and interrelates their effective employment. Brain deals exclusively with the physical, and mind exclusively with the metaphysical. Wealth is the product of the progressive mastery of matter by mind, and is specifically accountable in forward man-days of established metabolic regeneration advantages spelled out in hours of life for specific numbers of individuals released from formerly prescribed entropy-preoccupying tasks for their respectively individual yet inherently co-operative elective investment in further anti-entropic effectiveness.
Richard Buckminster Fuller
By virtue of his acquirement of the gift of individual reflection, Man displays the extraordinary quality of being able to totalize himself collectively upon himself, thus extending on a planetary scale the fundamental vital process which causes matter, under certain conditions, to organize itself in elements which are ever more complex physically, and psychologically ever more centered. Thus (provided always that we accept the organic nature of the social phenomenon) we see being woven around us, beyond any unity hitherto acknowledged or even foreseen by biology, the network and consciousness of a Noösphere.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Why a physical universe at all, in that case? If god is in some way responsible for the existence of a creation, and if this creation is basically a snare, why did he do it?
Alan Watts
Well, then the question is: what’s it about? What we are doing—by replacing one behavior after another, never resting, never satisfied—is, in practical terms: we’re accelerating the entire temporal continuum. We seem to be pushing process toward some kind of dimensional apotheosis of some sort. We’re not content to let things rest. And human history is the record of this process, which begins as a kind of random walk across the epigenetic landscape of culture. But the random walk finds a compass heading. And this compass heading has many names. You can call it unity. You can call it God. You can call it a chicken in every pot. You can call it completion. But whatever it is, freedom seems to be its central feature. We want freedom. We want freedom from the constraints of the cycles of the sun and the moon. We want freedom from drought and weather, freedom from the movement of game, and the growth of plants. Freedom from control by mendacious popes and kings, freedom from ideology, freedom from want. And this idea of freeing ourselves has become the compass of the human journey. That which doesn’t free doesn’t serve.
Terence McKenna
We will never have peace in the world until men everywhere recognize that ends are not cut off from means. Because the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process. And ultimately, you can’t reach good ends through evil means because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
A scanning process that observes the world bit by bit soon persuades its user that the world is a great collection of bits, and these he calls separate things or events. We often say that you can only think of one thing at a time. The truth is that in looking at the world bit by bit we convince ourselves that it consists of separate things; and so give ourselves the problem of how these things are connected and how they cause and effect each other. The problem would never have arisen if we had been aware that it was just our way of looking at the world which had chopped it up into separate bits, things, events, causes, and effects.
The one aspect of reality that I have close acquaintance with—in fact, to adopt the languages of philosophers—the only aspect of the world that I have direct acquaintance with is my own consciousness. I know nothing about the world. The only thing I really know about the world, the only thing I have direct knowledge of, is my sensations.
Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience.
Hunter S. Thompson
To eat in order to live—sort of, that it’s good for you—is… what do you mean, “good for you?” It means that it helps you to go on into the future. But what is the point of going on into the future when all the meals ahead of you are these unappetizing things that are just going to enable you to go on into the future?
The farther and more deeply we penetrate into matter, by means of increasingly powerful methods, the more we are confounded by the interdependence of its parts. Each element of the cosmos is positively woven from all the others: from beneath itself by the mysterious phenomenon of ‘composition,’ which makes it subsistent through the apex of an organised whole; and from above through the influence of unities of a higher order which incorporate and dominate it for their own ends.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
What fire can you expect to animate my good will? If I am to devote myself ardently and sincerely to the work of the cosmos, if I am to be able to compete on equal terms with the children of the earth, I must be convinced not only of the merit of what I do but of its value. I must believe in what I am doing.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
If, again, the whole of my labour were harvested, if the whole of my suffering were meaningful and fruitful, if all the betterment achieved by my work were made permanent and handed on, then I might perhaps be able to take comfort. All that was best of me would survive in the lasting evidence of my passage, for in it would be preserved and made eternal all the effective value of my life.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
This AI that is coming into existence is, to my mind, not artificial at all, not alien at all. What it really is, is: it’s a new confirmational geometry of the collective Self of humanity.
Language gives a group of humans a collective intelligence far greater than individual human intelligence and allows each human to benefit from the collective intelligence as if he came up with it all himself.