November 11, 2016

Olaf Stapledon Quotes

“Animals that were fashioned for hunting and fighting in the wild were suddenly called upon to be citizens, and moreover citizens of a world-community. “

“But the very success which had intoxicated them rendered them also too complacent to learn from less prosperous competitors. “

“Distrust, not merely the old distrust of nation for nation, but a devastating distrust of human nature, gripped men like the dread of insanity. “

“For in a declining civilization it is often the old who see furthest and see with youngest eyes. “

“For the former, activity, any kind of activity, was an end in itself; for the latter, activity was but a progress toward the true end, which was rest, and peace of mind. Action was to be undertaken only when equilibrium was disturbed. “

“How could I describe our relationship even to myself without either disparaging it or insulting it with the tawdry decoration of sentimentality? “

“Humanity also suffered; though, save in the regions near the seat of war, it was in general only the children and the old people who suffered greatly. “

“In the tide of these wild thoughts we checked our fancy, remembering that only on the rare grains called planets can life gain foothold, and that all this wealth of restless jewels was but a waste of fire. “

“Men endured so much for war, but for peace they dared nothing. “

“Men with sound eyes need not concern themselves with the arguments of blind men to prove that seeing cannot occur. “

“My dear, it is a great strength to have faced the worst and to have *felt* it a feature of beauty. Nothing ever after can shake one. “

“Once more I struck out into the ocean of space, heading for another near star. Once more I was disappointed. “

“Philosophy is an amazing tissue of really fine thinking and incredible, puerile mistakes. It’s like one of those rubber ‘bones’ they give dogs to chew, damned good for the mind’s teeth, but as food – no bloody good at all. “

“Strange that in my remoteness I seemed to feel, as never before, the vital presence of Earth as of a creature alive but tranced and obscurely yearning to wake. “

“Those who achieved power were satisfied so long as they could merely retain it, and advertise it uncritically in the conventionally self-assertive manners. “

“Unless he was one of the furiously successful minority, he was apt to be haunted by moments of brooding, too formless to be called meditation, and of yearning, too blind to be called desire. “

“We have no government and no laws, if by law is meant a stereotyped convention supported by force, and not to be altered without the aid of cumbersome machinery. “

“We of today must conceive our relation to the rest of the universe as best we can; and even if our images must seem fantastic to future men, they may none the less serve their purpose today. “

“Why did you make only one of me? It’s going to be lonely being me. “