Quotes from The Three-Body Problem

Liu Cixin ·  400 pages

Rating: (60K votes)


“No, emptiness is not nothingness. Emptiness is a type of existence. You must use this existential emptiness to fill yourself.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“It was impossible to expect a moral awakening from humankind itself, just like it was impossible to expect humans to lift off the earth by pulling up on their own hair. To achieve moral awakening required a force outside the human race.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“To effectively contain a civilization’s development and disarm it across such a long span of time, there is only one way: kill its science.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Is it possible that the relationship between humanity and evil is similar to the relationship between the ocean and an iceberg floating on its surface? Both the ocean and the iceberg are made of the same material. That the iceberg seems separate is only because it is in a different form. In reality, it is but a part of the vast ocean.…”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Your lack of fear is based on your ignorance.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem



“I’m a simple man without a lot of complicated twists and turns. Look down my throat and you can see out my ass.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“In the shooter hypothesis, a good marksman shoots at a target, creating a hole every ten centimeters. Now suppose the surface of the target is inhabited by intelligent, two-dimensional creatures. Their scientists, after observing the universe, discover a great law: “There exists a hole in the universe every ten centimeters.” They have mistaken the result of the marksman’s momentary whim for an unalterable law of the universe. The farmer hypothesis, on the other hand, has the flavor of a horror story: Every morning on a turkey farm, the farmer comes to feed the turkeys. A scientist turkey, having observed this pattern to hold without change for almost a year, makes the following discovery: “Every morning at eleven, food arrives.” On the morning of Thanksgiving, the scientist announces this law to the other turkeys. But that morning at eleven, food doesn’t arrive; instead, the farmer comes and kills the entire flock.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“In China, any idea that dared to take flight would only crash back to the ground. The gravity of reality is too strong.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Every era puts invisible shackles on those who have lived through it, and I can only dance in my chains.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“In the face of madness, rationality was powerless.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem



“Even if God were here, it wouldn’t do any good. The entire human race has reached the point where no one is listening to their prayers.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Sometimes I thought life was precious, and everything was so important; but other times I thought humans were insignificant, and nothing was worthwhile. Anyway, my life passed day after day accompanied by this strange feeling, and before I knew it, I was old.…”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Take those frauds who practice pseudoscience - do you know who they're most afraid of?"

"Scientists, of course."

"No. Many of the best scientists can be fooled by pseudoscience and sometimes devote their lives to it. But pseudoscience is afraid of one particular type of people who are very hard to fool: stage magicians. In fact, many pseudoscience hoaxes were exposed by stage magicians.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“By the time you’re my age, you’ll realize that everything you once thought mattered so much turns out to mean very little.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Overly literal translations, far from being faithful, actually distort meaning by obscuring sense.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem



“The creation myths of the various peoples and religions of the world pale when compared to the glory of the big bang.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Why are you all like this?” Evans suddenly became furious. “Why does one have to save people to be considered a hero? Why is saving other species considered insignificant? Who gave humans such high honors? No, humans do not need saving. They’re already living much better than they deserve.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“You must know that a person’s ability to discern the truth is directly proportional to his knowledge.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“My father then said, ‘Mike, I’ve told you how dinosaurs went extinct. An asteroid crashed into the Earth. The world first became a sea of fire, and then sank into a prolonged period of darkness and coldness.… One night, you woke from a nightmare, saying that you had dreamt that you were back in that terrifying age. Let me tell you now what I wanted to tell you that night: If you really lived during the Cretaceous Period, you’d be fortunate. The period we live in now is far more frightening. Right now, species on Earth are going extinct far faster than during the late Cretaceous. Now is truly the age of mass extinctions! So, my child, what you’re seeing is nothing. This is only an insignificant episode in a much vaster process. We can have no sea birds, but we can’t be without oil. Can you imagine life without oil? Your last birthday, I gave you that lovely Ferrari and promised you that you could drive it after you turned fifteen. But without oil, it would be a pile of junk metal and you’d never drive it. Right now, if you want to visit your grandfather, you can get there on my personal jet and cross the ocean in a dozen hours or so. But without oil, you’d have to tumble in a sailboat for more than a month.… These are the rules of the game of civilization: The first priority is to guarantee the existence of the human race and their comfortable life. Everything else is secondary.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Evans: We don't know what extraterrestrial civilization is like, but we know humanity.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem



“She was like a star, always so distant. Even the light she shone on me was always cold.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Luckily, the forest was so dense that the two escaped without injury, though one of the men peed in his pants.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“The creation myths of the various peoples and religions of the world pale when compared to the glory of the big bang. The three-billion-year history of life’s evolution from self-reproducing molecules to civilization contains twists and romances that cannot be matched by any myth or epic. There is also the poetic vision of space and time in relativity, the weird subatomic world of quantum mechanics … these wondrous stories of science all possess an irresistible attraction. Through the medium of science fiction, I seek only to create my own worlds using the power of imagination, and to make known the poetry of Nature in those worlds, to tell the romantic legends that have unfolded between Man and Universe.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Pan-Species Communism. It’s an ideology I invented. Or maybe you can call it a faith. Its core belief is that all species on Earth are created equal.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Should could no longer feel grief. She was now like a Geiger counter that had been subjected to too much radiation, no longer capable of giving any reaction, noiselessly displaying a reading of zero.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem



“Afterwards, the princeps asked the science consul, “Did we destroy a civilization in the microcosmos in this experiment?” “It was at least an intelligent body. Also, Princeps, we destroyed the entire microcosmos. That miniature universe is immense in higher dimensions, and it probably contained more than one intelligence or civilization that never had a chance to express themselves in macro space. Of course, in higher dimensional space at such micro scales, the form that intelligence or civilization may take is beyond our imagination. They’re something else entirely. And such destruction has probably occurred many times before.” “Oh?” “In the long history of scientific progress, how many protons have been smashed apart in accelerators by physicists? How many neutrons and electrons? Probably no fewer than a hundred million. Every collision was probably the end of the civilizations and intelligences in a microcosmos.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Is it possible that the relationship between humanity and evil is similar to the relationship between the ocean and an iceberg floating on its surface? Both the ocean and the iceberg are made of the same material. That the iceberg seems separate is only because it is in a different form. In reality, it is but a part of the vast ocean.… It was impossible to expect a moral awakening from humankind itself, just like it was impossible to expect humans to lift off the earth by pulling up on their own hair. To achieve moral awakening required a force outside the human race.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“A woman should be like water, able to flow over and around anything.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Can the fundamental nature of matter really be lawlessness? Can the stability and order of the world be but a temporary dynamic equilibrium achieved in a corner of the universe, a short-lived eddy in a chaotic current?”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem


“Maybe in the future this theory will be disproven. But two great cosmological discoveries of this century—Hubble’s law, and observation of the cosmic microwave background–show that the big bang theory is currently the most plausible explanation for the origin of the universe.”
― Liu Cixin, quote from The Three-Body Problem



About the author

Liu Cixin
Born place: Beijing, China
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