“In other centuries, human beings wanted to be saved, or improved, or freed, or educated. But in our century, they want to be entertained. The great fear is not of disease or death, but of boredom. A sense of time on our hands, a sense of nothing to do. A sense that we are not amused.”
“Professor Johnston often said that if you didn't know history, you didn't know anything. You were a leaf that didn't know it was part of a tree.”
“The purpose of history is to explain the present - to say why the world around us is the way it is. History tells us what is important in our world, and how it came to be. It tells us what is to be ignored, or discarded. That is true power - profound power. The power to define a whole society.”
“It is especially difficult for modern people to conceive that our modern, scientific age might not be an improvement over the prescientific period.”
“But where will this mania for entertainment end? What will people do when they get tired of television? When they get tired of movies? We already know the answer—they go into participatory activities: sports, theme parks, amusement rides, roller coasters. Structured fun, planned thrills. And what will they do when they tire of theme parks and planned thrills? Sooner or later, the artifice becomes too noticeable. They begin to realize that an amusement park is really a kind of jail, in which you pay to be an inmate.
‘This artifice will drive them to seek authenticity. Authenticity will be the buzzword of the twenty-first century. And what is authentic? Anything that is not devised and structured to make a profit. Anything that is not controlled by corporations. Anything that exists for its own sake and assumes its own shape. But of course, nothing in the modern world is allowed to assume its own shape. The modern world is the corporate equivalent of a formal garden, where everything is planted and arranged for effect. Where nothing is untouched, where nothing is authentic.”
“Safety is the last refuge of the scoundrel!”
“In reality, time doesn't pass; we pass. Time itself is invariant. It just is. Therefore, past and future aren't separate locations, the way New York and Paris are separate locations. And since the past isn't a location, you can't travel to it.”
“If you [don't] know history, then [you don't] know anything. You [are] a leaf that [doesn't] know it [is] part of a tree.”
“Because in the late twentieth century, you couldn't seriously ask other people to think that you believed in honor and truth, and the purity of the body, the defense of women, the sanctity of true love, and all the rest of it.
But apparently, Andre really had believed it.”
“These wafers had entered the mythology of the company, including their names: Tunguska, Vesuvius, Tokyo. The Vesuvius wafer put you on the Bay of Naples at 7:00 a.m. on August 24, A.D. 79, just before burning ash killed everyone. Tunguska left you in Siberia in 1908, just before the giant meteor struck, causing a shock wave that killed every living”
“Temporal provincials were convinced that the present was the only time that mattered, and that anything that had occurred earlier could be safely ignored.”
“And in that moment, their situation was clear to him. Their guides were both dead. One machine was gone. Their return marker was shattered. Which meant they were stuck in this place. Trapped here, without guides or assistance. And with no prospect of ever getting back. Not ever.”
“Today, everybody expects to be entertained, and they expect to be entertained all the time. Business meetings must be snappy, with bullet lists and animated graphics, so executives aren’t bored. Malls and stores must be engaging, so they amuse as well as sell us. Politicians must have pleasing video personalities and tell us only what we want to hear. Schools must be careful not to bore young minds that expect the speed and complexity of television. Students must be amused—everyone must be amused, or they will switch: switch brands, switch channels, switch parties, switch loyalties.”
“The very concept of time travel makes no sense, since time doesn’t flow. The fact that we think time passes is just an accident of our nervous systems—of the way things look to us. In reality, time doesn’t pass; we pass. Time itself is invariant. It just is. Therefore, past and future aren’t separate locations, the way New York and Paris are separate locations. And since the past isn’t a location, you can’t travel to it.”
“Is he dead? Blue asked, staring down at the prostrate body.
kitterick shook his head.'No,but he will remain in a coma for several hours.And there will be a substantial headache when he wakes up. And tremors.Something of a limp.Blurred vision.Impaired hearing.A few facialtics.Some nausea,loss of appetite, occasional hallucinations,flatulence,a weakness in the back. The nerve damage will repair itself in a few years.Providing he rests of course.”
“Now I can rejoice that I knew you, rather than mourn because I lost you.”
“The sublime moment of cooking, though, is really the moment when nature becomes culture, stuff becomes things. It is the moment when the red onions have been chopped and the bacon has been sliced into lardons and the chestnuts have been peeled, and they are all mijotéing together in the pot, and then—a specific moment—the colors begin to change, and the smells gather together just at the level of your nose. Everything begins to mottle, bend from raw to cooked. The chestnuts, if you’re doing chestnuts, turn a little damp, a little weepy. That’s what they do; everything weeps.”
“George Herbert was wrong. Living well isn’t the best revenge; loving well is.”
“Dance of the Sugar Plum Bikey. Yes, that's got a nice ring to it.”
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