Quotes as Playlists

“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by the ones who could not hear the music.” -Nietzsche

“Thinking is not unifying or making the appearance familiar under the guise of a great principle. Thinking is learning all over again how to see, directing one’s consciousness, making of every image a privileged place” ­-Albert Camus

All evolution in thought and conduct must at first appear as heresy and misconduct. – George Bernard Shaw

What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.
Adam Smith

Human-reality is free because it is not enough. It is free because it is perpetually wrenched away from itself and because it has been separated by a nothingness from what it is and from what it will be.
Jean-Paul Sartre

Modern invention has been a great leveler. A machine may operate far more quickly than a political or economic measure to abolish privilege and wipe out the distinctions of class or finance. – Ivor Brown

“…The level of policy in a democracy cannot rise above the average level of understanding of the population. In a democracy, the distribution of knowledge is as important as the distribution of wealth.” (Daly, Herman, Farley, Ecological Economics)

Guys like you are in what we call the ‘reality-based community’ of people who believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do. – Bush aid to journalist

Increasingly ubiquitous products for consumerism carry “prescribed attitudes and habits, certain intellectual and emotional reactions which bind the consumers more of less pleasantly to the producers, and through the latter, to the whole.” ­-Herbert Marcuse

“Our struggle to navigate the space of possible pains and pleasures produces most of human culture.” -Sam Harris

“work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-­surrender.” ­Bhagavad Gita

“whoever is educated [by possibility] remains with anxiety; he does not permit himself to be deceived by its countless falsification and accurately remembers the past. The assaults of anxiety, even though they be terrifying, will not be such that he flees from them. For him, anxiety becomes a serving spirit that against its will leads him where he wishes to go.” ­­-Kierkegaard

“No complex behaviors in free-ranging humans are caused by a linear and additive set of causes. Any important outcome, like adolescent delinquent behavior, has a myriad of interrelated causes, and each of these causes has a myriad of potential effects, inducing a squared myriad of environmental complexity even before one gets to the certainty that the environmental effects co-determine each other, or that the package interacts with the just-as-myriad effects of genes.” -Turkheimer

“We must do away with all explanation, and description alone must take its place.” -Marcuse

“technology has become the great vehicle of reification” ­-Herbert Marcuse

“Imitation is suicide” -Emerson

“We may be like the young boy who loves to take things apart. He is bright enough to disassemble a watch, and maybe even bright enough to get it back together so that it works. But what if he tries to “improve” it?…The boy can understand what is visible, but he cannot understand the precise engineering calculations that determine exactly how strong each spring should be…Attempts on his part to improve the watch will probably only harm it…I fear…we, too, do not really understand what makes the [lives] we are tinkering with tick.” ­Drexler on Nanosystems

“It is not God that I do not accept, you understand, it is this world of God’s, created by God, that I do not accept and cannot agree to accept. With one reservation: I have a childlike conviction that the sufferings will be healed and smoothed over, that the whole offensive comedy of human contradictions will disappear like a pitiful mirage, a vile concoction of man’s Euclidean mind, feeble and puny as an atom, and that ultimately, at the world’s finale, in the moment of eternal harmony, there will occur and be revealed something so precious that it will suffice for all hearts, to allay all indignation, to redeem all human villainy, all bloodshed; it will suffice not only to make forgiveness possible, but also to justify everything that has happened with men—let this, let all of this come true and be revealed, but I do not accept it and do not want to accept it!” -Dostoyevsky as Ivan Karamazov

“We evidently know what we mean by length if we can tell what the length of any and every object is, and for the physicist nothing more is required. To find the length of an object, we have to perform certain physical operations. The concept of length is therefore fixed when the operations by which length is measured are fixed: that is, the concept of length involves much and nothing more than the set of pertains by which length is determined. In general, we mean by any concept nothing more than a set of operations; the concept is synonymous with the corresponding set of operations”
“Physics ‘does not measure the objective qualities of the external and material world­­these are only the results obtained by the accomplishment of such operations.’ Objects continue to persist only as ‘convenient intermediaries,’ as obsolescent ‘cultural posits.'” -Herbert Marcuse

“Philosophy was thus to supply the norms for social criticism and the ideal of liberation which would guide social change and individual self­-transformation” ­-Herbert Marcuse

“Critical philosophic thought is necessarily transcendent and abstract. Philosophy shares this abstractness with all genuine thought, for nobody really thinks who does not abstract from that which is given. who does not relate the facts to the factors which have made them, who does not­­ in his mind­­undo facts. abstractness is the very life of thought, the token of its authenticity.” -Herbert Marcuse

“One might ask what remains of philosophy? What remains of thinking, intelligence, without anything hypothetical, without any explanation? However, what is at stake is not the definition or the dignity of philosophy. It is rather the chance of preserving and protecting the right, and the need to think and speak in terms other than those of common usage­­terms which are meaningful, rational, and valid precisely because they are other terms.” -Marcuse

“Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.” ­Kant

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity – Yeats

Culture: the cry of men in face of their destiny – Camus

“freedom of will is the ability to do gladly that which I must do.” ­Carl Jung

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.” -Reinhold Niebuhr

Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self­-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.” -Steven Pressfield

“AI is the study of techniques for solving exponentially hard problems in polynomial time by exploiting knowledge about the problem domain.” ­Elaine Rich

“Let an ultra-intelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.” ­Irving John Good 1965

“a future of meaningless gleaming techno-progress burning” through our cosmic endowment (Nyan Sandwich)

“’Plants’ with ‘leaves’ no more efficient than today’s solar cells could out compete real plants, crowding the biosphere with an inedible foliage. Tough omnivorous ‘bacteria’ could out­-compete real bacteria: They could spread like blowing pollen, replicated swiftly, and reduce the biosphere to dust in a matter of days. Dangerous replicators could easily be too tough, small, and rapidly spreading to stop—at least if we make no preparation. We have trouble enough controlling viruses and fruit flies.” ­Eric Drexler

“A mind that stays at the same capacity cannot live forever; after a few thousand years it would look more like a repeating tape loop than a person. To live indefinitely long, the mind itself must grow, … and when it becomes great enough, and looks back.. what fellow feeling can it have with that soul that it was originally?” ­Vernor Vinge

“If one could only say just once: ‘this is clear’, all would be saved. But these men vie with one another in proclaiming that nothing is clear, all is chaos, that all man has is his lucidity and his definite knowledge of the walls surrounding him.” ­-Albert Camus

”The feeling of absurdity does not spring from the mere scrutiny of a fact or an impression but that it bursts from the comparison between a bare fact and a certain reality, between an action and the world that transcends it. The absurd is essentially a divorce. It lies in neither of the elements compared; it is born of their confrontation”-Albert Camus

Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie.” ~ Stephen King

The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants. – Camus

“We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth” -Ray Bradbury

“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.” -Ernest Hemingway

What is true is already so.
Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse.
Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away.
And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with.
Anything untrue isn’t there to be lived.
People can stand what is true,
for they are already enduring it.
-Eugene Gendlin

Goebbels was in favor of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise. – Chomsky

“When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” – C.S. Lewis

If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done – Wittgenstein

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” ­Emily Dickinson

“And it occurred to me that in this new millennial life of instant and ubiquitous connection, you don’t in fact communicate so much as leave messages for one another, these odd improvisational performances, often sorry bits and samplings of ourselves that can’t help but seem out of context. And then when you do finally reach someone, everyone’s so out of practice or too hopeful or else embittered that you wonder if it would be better not to attempt contact at all.” —Chang-rae Lee, Aloft

“In quoting others, we cite ourselves.” – Julio Cortázar


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