David Eagleman · 110 pages
Rating: (11.1K votes)
“...you are battered and bruised in the collisions between reminiscence and reality.”
“When we're in a human body, we don't care about universal collapse - instead, we care only about a meeting of the eyes, a glimpse of bare flesh, the caressing tones of a loved voice, joy, love, light, the orientation of a house plant, the shade of a paint stroke, the arrangement of hair.”
“Among all the creatures of creation, the gods favor us: We are the only ones who can empathize with their problems.”
“Love was not specified in the design of your brain; it is merely an endearing algorithm that freeloads on the leftover processing cycles.”
“Although we credit God with designing man, it turns out He's not sufficiently skilled to have done so. In point of fact, He unintentionally knocked over the first domino by creating a palette of atoms with different shapes. Electron clouds bonded, molecules bloomed, proteins embraced, and eventually cells formed and learned how to hang on to one another like lovebirds. He discovered that by simmering the Earth at the proper distance from the Sun, it instinctively sprouted with life. He's not so much a creator as a molecule tinkerer who enjoyed a stroke of luck: He simply set the ball rolling by creating a smorgasbord of matter, and creation ensued.”
“Everything that creates itself upon the backs of smaller scales will by those same scales be consumed.”
“The missing crowds make you lonely. You begin to complain about all the people you could be meeting. But no one listens or sympathizes with you, because this is precisely what you chose when you were alive.”
“Every atom in your body is the same quark in different places at the same moment in time.”
“Humans have discovered that they cannot stop Death, but at least they can spit in his drink.”
“So poorly did you know yourself that you were always surprised at how you looked in photographs or how you sounded on voice mail. In this way, much of your existence took place in the eyes, ears, and fingertips of others. And now that you’ve left the Earth, you are stored in scattered heads around the globe. Here in this Purgatory, all the people with whom you’ve ever come in contact are gathered. The scattered bits of you are collected, pooled, and unified. The mirrors are held up in front of you. Without the benefit of filtration, you see yourself clearly for the first time. And that is what finally kills you.”
“And once again the Rewarder and the Punisher stalk off, struggling to understand why knowing the code behind the wine does not diminish its pleasure on your tongue, why knowing the inescapability of heartache does not reduce its sting, why glimpsing the mechanics of love does not alter its intoxicating appeal.”
“When you arrive in the afterlife, you find that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley sits on a throne. She is cared for and protected by a covey of angels.
After some questioning, you find out that God's favorite book is Shelley's Frankenstein. He sits up at night with a worn copy of the book clutched in his mighty hands, alternately reading the book and staring reflectively at the night sky.”
“I came here for the same reason doctors wear uniforms of long white coats...They don't do it for their benefit, but for yours.”
“And in this form, they find themselves longing to ascend mountains, wander the seas, and conquer the air, seeking to recapture the limitlessness they once knew.”
“But it turns out your thousand trillion trillion atoms were not an accidental collection: each was labeled as composing you and continues to be so wherever it goes. So you’re not gone, you’re simply taking on different forms.”
“Creators, powerless, fleeing from the things they have wrought.”
“This moment of lucidity does not last long. But it serves as the punishment for your sins, a Promethean entrails-pecking moment, crouching half-horse half-man, with the knowledge that you cannot appreciate the destination without knowing the starting point; you cannot revel in the simplicity unless you remember the alternatives.
And that's not the worst of your revelation. You realize that the next time you return here, with your thick horse brain, you won't have the capacity to ask to become a human again. You won't understand what a human is. Your choice to slide down the intelligence ladder is irreversible. And just before you lose your final human faculties, you painfully ponder what magnificent extraterrestrial creature, enthralled with the idea of finding a simpler life, chose in the last round to become a human.”
“And just before you lose your final human faculties, you painfully ponder what magnificent extraterrestrial creature, enthralled with the idea of finding a simpler life, chose in the last round to become a human.”
“They come to understand, with awe, the complexity of the compound identity that existed on the Earth. They conclude with a shudder that the Earthly you is utterly lost, unpreserved in the afterlife. You were all these ages, and you were none.”
“Platoons and plays and stores and congresses do not end - they simply move on to a different dimension.”
“You were all these ages, they concede, and you were none.”
“with the knowledge that you cannot appreciate the destination without knowing the starting point; you cannot revel in the simplicity unless you remember the alternatives.”
“Of all the Programmers' planets, ours is the supercomputing golden child, the world that inexplicably provides enough power to light up the galaxy.”
“everyone knows what He’s thinking when He retires to His bed at night: that one of His best gifts—the ability to have faith in an unseen hereafter—has backfired.”
“In a world darksome as this'n I believe a blind man ort to be better sighted than most.”
“I suppose people move on, history moves on, and there will, sadly, always be something more terrible waiting around the corner.”
“I am human. I talk and I listen and I read.”
“(One day, when I own a house, I’ll keep a full library of books. Books are different from other possessions—they’re more like friends.)”
“Mia: Where do their other things go? Like mobile phones and all the music on ipods? I imagine mountains of phones. Songs forgotten in clouds.”
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