Gavin Extence · 407 pages
Rating: (18K votes)
“If you had to relive your life exactly as it was – same successes and failures, same happiness, same miseries, same mixture of comedy and tragedy – would you want to? Was it worth it?”
“When I read these books, I no longer felt like I was confined to a very tiny world. I no longer felt housebound and bedbound. Really, I told myself, I was just brainbound. And this was not such a sorry state of affairs. My brain, with a little help from other people's brains, could take me to some pretty interesting places, and create all kinds of wonderful things. Despite its faults, my brain, I decided, was not the worst place in the world to be.”
“The most important thing I learned [...] was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist.”
“The first thing I learned that day was this: what you think you know about a person is only a fraction of the story.”
“I'm saying that death is the easiest thing in the world. It's only dying that's terrible.”
“In life, there are no true beginnings or endings.”
“Well, for each of us the brain creates a whole, unique universe. It contains everything we know. Everything we see or touch. Everything we feel and remember. In a sense, our brains create all of reality for us. Without the brain, there's nothing. Some people find this idea scary, but I think it's rather beautiful.”
“... not all scars are bad, Alex. Some are worth hanging on to ...”
“I knew how many zeroes there were in a quintillion, but I thought that algebra lived in ponds.”
“In life, there are no true beginnings or endings. Events flow into each other, and the more you try to isolate them in a container, the more they spill over the sides, like canal-water breaching its artificial banks. A related point is that the things we label 'beginnings' and 'endings' are often, in reality, indistinguishable. They are one and the same thing. This is one of the things the Death card symbolizes in tarot - an end that is also a new beginning.”
“Because sometimes chance and circumstance can seem like the most appalling injustice, but we just have to adapt. That’s all we can do.”
“In case you didn't know, in secondary school - especially in the early years of secondary school - diversity is not celebrated. In secondary school, being different is the worst crime you can commit. Actually, in secondary school, being different is pretty much the only crime you can commit.Most of the things the UN considers crimes are not considered crimes at secondary school. Being cruel is fine. Being brutal is fine. Being obnoxious is fine. Being superficial is especially fine. Explosive acts of violence are fine. taking pleasure in the humiliation of others is fine. Holding someone's head down the toilet is fine (and the weaker the someone, and the dirtier the toilet, the finer it is). None of these things will hurt your social standing. But being different - that's unforgivable. Being different is the fast-track to
Pariah Town. a pariah is someone who's excluded from mainstream society. And if you know that at twelve years of age, you're probably an inhabitant of Pariah Town.”
“Even very low-probability events can, and indeed do, occur.”
“Fear distorts the world. Fear sees demons where only shadows dwell.”
“It's possible to find order in chaos, and it's equally possible to find chaos underlying apparent order. Order and chaos are slippery concepts. They're like a set of twins who like to swap clothing from time to time. Order and chaos frequently intermingle and overlap, the same as beginnings and endings. Things are often more complicated, or more simple, than they seem. Often it depends on your angle. I think that telling a story is a way of trying to make life's complexity more comprehensible. It's a way of trying to separate order from chaos, patterns from pandemonium.”
“Although I don't use it nearly so much anymore, I've decided, five years down the line, that Mr. Treadstone's verdict on 'kind of' was kind of unjust. Obviously, this phrase can be redundant or reductive, or just plain stupid in some sentences, but not in all sentences. I wouldn't, for example, use a sentence like 'Antarctica is kind of cold', or 'Hitler was kind of evil'. But sometimes, things aren't black and white. And sometimes 'kind of' expresses this better than any other phrase. For example, when I tell you that my mother was kind of peculiar, I can think of no better way of putting this.”
“If you're a boy, any display of sensitivity is gay. Compassion is gay. Crying is supergay. Reading is usually gay. Certain songs and types of music are gay. 'Enola Gay' would certainly be thought gay. Love songs are gay. Love itself is incredibly gay, as are any other heartfelt emotions. Singing is gay, but chanting is not gay. Wanking contests are not gay. Neither is all-male cuddling during specially designated periods in football matches, or communal bathing thereafter. (I didn't invent the rules of gay - I'm just telling you what they are.)”
“Don't you think it's good to serve your country?' I asked. 'No, I don't,' Mr Peterson said. 'I think it's good to serve your principles. And in the army you don't get to pick and choose your fights according to your conscience. You kill on command. Don't ever surrender your right to make your own moral decisions, kid.”
“I think a reading group should have a snappy name to attract members, don't you?'
Mr Peterson didn't ask about my snappy name, but I could tell his curiosity was piqued.
'The Secular Church of Kurt Vonnegut,' I said.
'Jesus F Christ,' said Mr Peterson.”
“brain creates a whole, unique universe. It contains everything we know. Everything we see or touch. Everything we feel and remember. In a sense, our brains create all of reality for us. Without the brain, there’s nothing. Some people find this idea scary, but I think it’s rather beautiful.”
“They sent the shrink round yesterday. He's put me on Prozac. Prozac! He thinks I'm depressed.'
'Aren't you depressed?'
'I wasn't depressed.'
'You did try to kill yourself,' I pointed out.
'Yes. That's what he said too. Apparently that's a classic symptom. It's not thought a sane plan of action for someone in my situation.”
“All these thoughts drifted like clouds through the virtual space of my mind's eye - tiny electrical and chemical signals that combined to create an entire world - but then, after a while, everything just kind of melted away. All that was left was a calm blue void. I felt very happy.”
“I knew that iridium-193 was one of two stable isotopes of iridium, a very rare, very dense metal, but I didn't know that the periodic table even existed.
I knew how many zeroes there were in a quintillion, but I thought that algebra lived in ponds.
I'd picked up a few Latin words, and a smattering of Elvish, but my French was non-existent.
I'd read more than one book of more than one thousand pages (more than once), but I wouldn't have been able to identify a metaphor if it poked me in the eye.
By secondary-school standards, I was quite a dunce.”
“[...] from what I'd been able to ascertain online, the Swiss were a reassuringly practical people. They had a long, proud history of staying out of wars, preferring to devote themselves to more constructive endeavours like science, secure banking and building extremely accurate clocks.”
“Being gay. This has surprisingly little to do with what you do with your private parts (or, more accurately, what you’d like to do with your private parts). Being gay is more a state of mind, or sometimes, less often, a state of body. You could almost include it as a sub-crime in 2) and 3), but really, it goes beyond both of these categories. And because of the number of times it crops up as a specific accusation, it definitely deserves its own special category. But the best way to explain what ‘being gay’ means is to tell you some of the things that are gay. If you’re a boy, any display of sensitivity is gay. Compassion is gay. Crying is supergay. Reading is usually gay. Certain songs and types of music are gay. ‘Enola Gay’ would certainly be thought gay. Love songs are gay. Love itself is incredibly gay, as are any other heartfelt emotions. Singing is gay, but chanting is not gay. Wanking contests are not gay. Neither is all-male cuddling during specially designated periods in football matches, or communal bathing thereafter. (I didn’t invent the rules of gay–I’m just telling you what they are.) Girls can be gay too, but it’s much harder for them. And girls don’t tend to call each other gay as much as boys do. When a girl is gay, she’s called a dyke. Reasons for being a dyke include having thick limbs, bad hair or flat shoes.”
“I tapped on the door, with all the power of a farting flea.”
“He had an extraordinarily casual air about him. I'd noticed that before, when he had tossed himself out the window.”
“Two thousand years ago Jesus is crucified, three days later he walks out of a cave and they celebrate with chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps and beautifully decorated eggs. I guess these were things Jesus loved as a child.”
“have another tangerine as he begins to expound upon how only in the unpolluted air can man truly be free to contemplate the complexities of existence. I”
“But I wasn’t gonna be too scared to love the folks that took the time to love me back, and I sure wasn’t gonna chase them that don’t.”
“I'm none too big on giving advice,'
Aunt Al said. 'Most times when folks ask for advice, they already know what they should do. They just want to hear it from someone else.”
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