“Perhaps it would be simpler if you just did what you're told and didn't try to understand things.”
“The truth isn't easily pinned to a page. In the bathtub of history the truth is harder to hold than the soap and much more difficult to find.”
“It's going to look pretty good, then, isn't it," said War testily, "the One Horseman and Three Pedestrians of the Apocalypse.”
“It was quite impossible to describe.
Here is what it looked like.
It looked like a piano sounds shortly after being dropped down a well. It tasted yellow, and it felt Paisley. It smelled like the total eclipse of the moon. ”
“Despite rumor, Death isn't cruel--merely terribly, terribly good at his job.”
“It's vital to remember who you really are. It's very important. It isn't a good idea to rely on other people or things to do it for you, you see. They always get it wrong.”
“Some people think this is paranoia, but it isn't. Paranoids only think everyone is out to get them. Wizards know it.”
“The thief, as will become apparent, was a special type of thief. This thief was an artist of theft. Other thieves merely stole everything that was not nailed down, but this thief stole the nails as well.”
“It is a well-known established fact throughout the many-dimensional worlds of the multiverse that most really great discoveries are owed to one brief moment of inspiration. There's a lot of spadework first, of course, but what clinches the whole thing is the sight of, say, a falling apple or a boiling kettle or the water slipping over the edge of the bath. Something goes click inside the observer's head and then everything falls into place. The shape of DNA, it is popularly said, owes its discovery to the chance sight of a spiral staircase when the scientist=s mind was just at the right receptive temperature. Had he used the elevator, the whole science of genetics might have been a good deal different.
This is thought of as somehow wonderful. It isn't. It is tragic. Little particles of inspiration sleet through the universe all the time traveling through the densest matter in the same way that a neutrino passes through a candyfloss haystack, and most of them miss.
Even worse, most of the ones that hit the exact cerebral target, hit the wrong one.
For example, the weird dream about a lead doughnut on a mile-high gantry, which in the right mind would have been the catalyst for the invention of repressed-gravitational electricity generation (a cheap and inexhaustible and totally non-polluting form of power which the world in question had been seeking for centuries, and for the lack of which it was plunged into a terrible and pointless war) was in fact had by a small and bewildered duck.
By another stroke of bad luck, the sight of a herd of wild horses galloping through a field of wild hyacinths would have led a struggling composer to write the famous Flying God Suite, bringing succor and balm to the souls of millions, had he not been at home in bed with shingles. The inspiration thereby fell to a nearby frog, who was not in much of a position to make a startling contributing to the field of tone poetry.
Many civilizations have recognized this shocking waste and tried various methods to prevent it, most of them involving enjoyable but illegal attempts to tune the mind into the right wavelength by the use of exotic herbage or yeast products. It never works properly.”
“There was a man and he had eight sons. Apart from that, he was nothing more than a comma on the page of History. It's sad, but that's all you can say about some people.”
“I don’t know what to do,” he said. “No harm in that. I’ve never known what to do,” said Rincewind with hollow cheerfulness. “Been completely at a loss my whole life.” He hesitated. “I think it’s called being human, or something.”
“If failure had no penalty success would not be a prize.”
“I don't regret it, you know. I would do it all again. Children are our hope for the future."
THERE IS NO HOPE FOR THE FUTURE, said Death.
"What does it contain, then?"
“They suffered from the terrible delusion that something could be done. They seemed prepared to make the world the way they wanted it or die in the attempt, and the trouble with dying in the attempt was that you died in the attempt.”
“There are eight levels of wizardry on the Disc; after sixteen years Rincewind has failed to achieve even level one. In fact it is considered opinion of some of his tutors that he is incapable even of achieving level zero, which most normal people are born at; to put it another way, it has been suggested that when Rincewind dies the average occult ability of the human race will actually go up by a fraction.”
“As they say in Discworld, we are trying to unravel the Mighty Infinite using a language which was designed to tell one another where the fresh fruit was.”
“Talent just defines what you do,” he said. “It doesn’t define what you are. Deep down, I mean. When you know what you are, you can do anything.”
“Oh, there's plenty of reasons. I just don't know which one.”
“Not much call for a barbarian hairdresser, I expect,' said Rincewind. 'I mean, no-one wants a shampoo-and-beheading.”
“Of course, like all the informal inhabitants of the University the roaches were a little unusual, but there was something particularly unpleasant about the sound of billions of very small feet hitting the stones in perfect time.
Rincewind stepped gingerly over the marching column. The Librarian jumped it.
The Luggage, of course, followed them with a noise like someone tapdancing over a bag of crisps.”
“It didn't look like the kind of snow that whispers down gently in the pit of the night and in the morning turns the landscape into a glittering wonderland of uncommon and ethereal beauty. It looked like the kind of snow that intends to make the world as bloody cold as possible.”
“The gods," he said. "Imprisoned in a thought. And perhaps they were never more than a dream.”
“Rincewind rather enjoyed times like this. They convinced him that he wasn’t mad because, if he was mad, that left no word at all to describe some of the people he met.”
“Despite rumor, Death isn’t cruel—merely terribly, terribly good at his job.”
“He had spent years in search of boredom, but had never achieved it. Just when he thought he had it in his grasp his life would suddenly become full of near-terminal interest.”
“what is there in this world that makes living worthwhile?” Death thought about it. CATS, he said eventually, CATS ARE NICE.”
“For example, a popular spell at the time was Pelepel’s Temporal Compressor, which on one occasion resulted in a race of giant reptiles being created, evolving, spreading, flourishing and then being destroyed in the space of about five minutes, leaving only its bones in the earth to mislead forthcoming generations completely.”
“The value of choice is not in the size of the action but in its effect”
“If churches saw their mission in the same way, there is no telling what might happen. What if people were invited to come tell what they already know of God instead of to learn what they are supposed to believe? What if they were blessed for what they are doing in the world instead of chastened for not doing more at church? What if church felt more like a way station than a destination? What if the church’s job were to move people out the door instead of trying to keep them in, by convincing them that God needed them more in the world than in the church?”
“Dann kam Achill das Vieh. Des Mörders Eintritt in den Tempel, der, als er im Eingang stand, verdunkelt wurde. Was wollte dieser Mensch. Was suchte er bewaffnet hier im Tempel. Grässlichster Augenblick: Ich wusst es schon. Dann lachte er. Jedes Haar auf meinem Kopf stand mir zu Berge, und in die Augen meines Bruders trat der reine Schrecken. Ich warf mich über ihn und wurde weggeschoben wie ein Ding aus Nichts [...] Lachend, alles lachend. Ihm an den Hals griff. An die Kehle ging [...] Des Bruders Augen aus den Höhlen quellend. Und in Achills Gesicht die Lust. Die nackte grässliche männliche Lust [...] Nun hob der Feind, das Monstrum, im Anblick der Apollon-Statue sein Schwert und trennte meines Bruders Kopf vom Rumpf.”
“The west, and especially the United States, has shown no serious or sustained interest in the Middle East until the last half century. We tend to be comfortably ignorant of the history of Western interventionism in the region over centuries — or even over a millennium. We are only superficially aware of Middle Eastern critiques of Western policies that touch on oil, finances, political intervention, Western-sponsored coups, Western support for pro-Western dictators, and carte blanche American support for Israel in the complex Palestinian problem — which, after all, had its roots not in Islam, but in Western persecution and butchery of European Jews. European powers have also exported their local quarrels and parleyed them into two world wars that were fought out partly on Middle Eastern soil, as was much of the Cold War as well. All this suggests that many other causative factors are at work that have at least as much explanatory power for the current turmoil as does “Islam.”
It is not simply a matter of “blaming the West” as some readers might rush to suggest here. I argue that deeper geopolitical factors have created numerous confrontational factors between the East and the West that predate Islam, continued with Islam and around Islam, and may be inherent in the territorial imperatives and geopolitical outlook of any states that occupy those areas, regardless of religion.”
“The human mind needs boundaries. Without them it would fall in on itself, like a crushed honeycomb.”
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