18 votes

What is/are your favorite quote/s?

"Dead people receive more flowers than living ones because regret is stronger than gratitude."

-Anne frank

It is quite hard to convince someone on something if their income depends on them not understanding it."

27 comments

  1. Sahasrahla
    Link
    From Epictetus' Discourses: I just find it a nice reminder in personal adversity that facing our challenges gives us an opportunity to become better than we were.

    From Epictetus' Discourses:

    What kind of a man do you suppose Heracles would have become if it hadn’t been for the famous lion, and the hydra, the stag, the boar, and the wicked and brutal men whom he drove away and cleared from the earth? What would he have turned his hand to if nothing like that had existed? Isn’t it plain that he would have wrapped himself up in a blanket and gone to sleep?

    First of all, then, he would surely never have become a Heracles if he had slumbered the whole of his life away in such luxury and tranquility; and even if he had, what good would that have been to him? What would have been the use of his arms and of all his strength, endurance, and nobility of mind if such circumstances and opportunities hadn’t been there to rouse him and exercise him?

    I just find it a nice reminder in personal adversity that facing our challenges gives us an opportunity to become better than we were.

    8 votes
  2. skeetcha
    Link
    "Think for yourself and allow others the privilege of doing so too." -Voltaire

    "Think for yourself and allow others the privilege of doing so too." -Voltaire

    6 votes
  3. [3]
    geosmin
    (edited )
    Link
    Warning: Spoilers from Peter Watt's Blindsight ahead. Seriously, this is pretty much the book's big reveal.

    Warning: Spoilers from Peter Watt's Blindsight ahead.

    Seriously, this is pretty much the book's big reveal.

    You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?

    Maybe you think it gives you free will. Maybe you've forgotten that sleepwalkers converse, drive vehicles, commit crimes and clean up afterwards, unconscious the whole time. Maybe nobody's told you that even waking souls are only slaves in denial.

    Make a conscious choice. Decide to move your index finger. Too late! The electricity's already halfway down your arm. Your body began to act a full half-second before your conscious self 'chose' to, for the self chose nothing; something else set your body in motion, sent an executive summary—almost an afterthought— to the homunculus behind your eyes. That little man, that arrogant subroutine that thinks of itself as the person, mistakes correlation for causality: it reads the summary and it sees the hand move, and it thinks that one drove the other.

    But it's not in charge. You're not in charge. If free will even exists, it doesn't share living space with the likes of you.

    Insight, then. Wisdom. The quest for knowledge, the derivation of theorems, science and technology and all those exclusively human pursuits that must surely rest on a conscious foundation. Maybe that's what sentience would be for— if scientific breakthroughs didn't spring fully-formed from the subconscious mind, manifest themselves in dreams, as full-blown insights after a deep night's sleep. It's the most basic rule of the stymied researcher: stop thinking about the problem. Do something else. It will come to you if you just stop being conscious of it.

    Every concert pianist knows that the surest way to ruin a performance is to be aware of what the fingers are doing. Every dancer and acrobat knows enough to let the mind go, let the body run itself. Every driver of any manual vehicle arrives at destinations with no recollection of the stops and turns and roads traveled in getting there. You are all sleepwalkers, whether climbing creative peaks or slogging through some mundane routine for the thousandth time. You are all sleepwalkers.

    Don't even try to talk about the learning curve. Don't bother citing the months of deliberate practice that precede the unconscious performance, or the years of study and experiment leading up to the gift-wrapped Eureka moment. So what if your lessons are all learned consciously? Do you think that proves there's no other way? Heuristic software's been learning from experience for over a hundred years. Machines master chess, cars learn to drive themselves, statistical programs face problems and design the experiments to solve them and you think that the only path to learning leads through sentience? You're Stone-age nomads, eking out some marginal existence on the veldt—denying even the possibility of agriculture, because hunting and gathering was good enough for your parents.

    Do you want to know what consciousness is for? Do you want to know the only real purpose it serves? Training wheels. You can't see both aspects of the Necker Cube at once, so it lets you focus on one and dismiss the other. That's a pretty half-assed way to parse reality. You're always better off looking at more than one side of anything. Go on, try. Defocus. It's the next logical step.

    Oh, but you can't. There's something in the way.

    And it's fighting back.

    *

    Evolution has no foresight. Complex machinery develops its own agendas. Brains—cheat. Feedback loops evolve to promote stable heartbeats and then stumble upon the temptation of rhythm and music. The rush evoked by fractal imagery, the algorithms used for habitat selection, metastasize into art. Thrills that once had to be earned in increments of fitness can now be had from pointless introspection. Aesthetics rise unbidden from a trillion dopamine receptors, and the system moves beyond modeling the organism. It begins to model the very process of modeling. It consumes ever-more computational resources, bogs itself down with endless recursion and irrelevant simulations. Like the parasitic DNA that accretes in every natural genome, it persists and proliferates and produces nothing but itself. Metaprocesses bloom like cancer, and awaken, and call themselves I.

    *

    The system weakens, slows. It takes so much longer now to perceive—to assess the input, mull it over, decide in the manner of cognitive beings. But when the flash flood crosses your path, when the lion leaps at you from the grasses, advanced self-awareness is an unaffordable indulgence. The brain stem does its best. It sees the danger, hijacks the body, reacts a hundred times faster than that fat old man sitting in the CEO's office upstairs; but every generation it gets harder to work around this— this creaking neurological bureaucracy.

    I wastes energy and processing power, self-obsesses to the point of psychosis. Scramblers have no need of it, scramblers are more parsimonious. With simpler biochemistries, with smaller brains—deprived of tools, of their ship, even of parts of their own metabolism—they think rings around you. They hide their language in plain sight, even when you know what they're saying. They turn your own cognition against itself. They travel between the stars. This is what intelligence can do, unhampered by self-awareness.

    I is not the working mind, you see. For Amanda Bates to say "I do not exist" would be nonsense; but when the processes beneath say the same thing, they are merely reporting that the parasites have died. They are only saying that they are free.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      reese
      Link Parent
      Well, there's a book I need to read. Do you have any other science fiction recommendations with similar themes?

      Well, there's a book I need to read. Do you have any other science fiction recommendations with similar themes?

      2 votes
      1. Sahasrahla
        Link Parent
        Just a note if you haven't seen it, but the author makes the book available for free on his website under a creative commons license. As for books with similar themes, Snow Crash by Neal...

        Just a note if you haven't seen it, but the author makes the book available for free on his website under a creative commons license. As for books with similar themes, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is based on similar ideas. There's also a non-fiction book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (which I haven't read, so I can't say too much about it) by Julian Jaynes that I think is the inspiration for such ideas:

        At the heart of this classic, seminal book is Julian Jaynes's still-controversial thesis that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but instead is a learned process that came about only three thousand years ago and is still developing.

        3 votes
  4. [3]
    pseudolobster
    Link
    Kurt Vonnegut
    I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.
    • Kurt Vonnegut
    5 votes
    1. [2]
      Sahasrahla
      Link Parent
      This one is really good. I think very often we can take our happiness for granted and let it pass us by unnoticed while any tragedy in our lives is far too easy to dwell on.

      This one is really good. I think very often we can take our happiness for granted and let it pass us by unnoticed while any tragedy in our lives is far too easy to dwell on.

      3 votes
      1. pseudolobster
        Link Parent
        One of the things I love about Vonnegut is even though he's a professional cynic, he's never actually cynical. Another favourite of mine from him:

        One of the things I love about Vonnegut is even though he's a professional cynic, he's never actually cynical.

        Another favourite of mine from him:

        Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies - "God damn it, you've got to be kind."
        6 votes
  5. Amarok
    Link
    That one floats through my head every time I see a pair of edgelords warring over the genre of a song in the comment section.

    All music is folk music. I ain't never heard no horse sing a song. - Louis Armstrong

    That one floats through my head every time I see a pair of edgelords warring over the genre of a song in the comment section.

    5 votes
  6. Adam_Black_Arts
    Link
    "Wherever you go, there you are." --Buckaroo Banzai "Do your work, then step back. The only way to serenity." -- Tao te Ching "In a hundred years, who's gonna care?" -- Sarah Conner's co-worker...

    "Wherever you go, there you are." --Buckaroo Banzai

    "Do your work, then step back. The only way to serenity." -- Tao te Ching

    "In a hundred years, who's gonna care?" -- Sarah Conner's co-worker

    These three quotes are getting me through a lot of Nonsense & Bullshit (tm) this year.

    4 votes
  7. suspended
    Link
    François-René de Chateaubriand

    Forests precede civilizations and deserts follow them.

    • François-René de Chateaubriand
    4 votes
  8. Arshan
    Link
    "If God has made us in his image, we have returned him the favor." "A witty saying proves nothing." Voltaire

    "If God has made us in his image, we have returned him the favor."

    "A witty saying proves nothing."

    • Voltaire
    4 votes
  9. pseudochron
    Link
    "Life is like a baboon's ass: colorful and full of shit." ― Anonymous

    "Life is like a baboon's ass: colorful and full of shit."
    ― Anonymous

    4 votes
  10. stromm
    Link
    My grandmother said, "Never do, write or say anything you don't want everyone to learn". She also said, "Never inconvenience another when you aren't willing to inconvenience yourself".

    My grandmother said, "Never do, write or say anything you don't want everyone to learn".

    She also said, "Never inconvenience another when you aren't willing to inconvenience yourself".

    4 votes
  11. Loire
    Link
    I'm particularly partial to latin quotes:

    I'm particularly partial to latin quotes:

    Non Est Ad Astra Mollis e Terris Via
    There is no easy path from the earth to the stars.

    Acta est fabula, plaudite
    If I have played the part well then applaud as I exit.

    Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?
    For how long [, Cataline,] must you abuse our patience?

    4 votes
  12. [2]
    Leonidas
    Link
    This is from the speech given by former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva before he turned himself in on April 7th, 2018 on charges of corruption and money laundering. A judge has just...

    This is from the speech given by former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva before he turned himself in on April 7th, 2018 on charges of corruption and money laundering. A judge has just ordered for him to be released because the charges were false and politically motivated.

    There's no use in trying to stop my ideas. They're already in the air and you can't imprison them! There's no use in trying to stop my dreams, because when I stop dreaming, I'll be dreaming through your minds and dreams! There's no point in thinking everything's going to stop the day Lula has a heart attack. That's nonsense! Because my heart will be beating through yours, and there are millions of hearts! The powerful can kill one, two, or a hundred roses. But they'll never stop the arrival of spring, and our fight is in search of spring!

    4 votes
    1. Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      Wow. Didn't know he was such a great orator. Wish I was old enough to remember him.

      Wow. Didn't know he was such a great orator. Wish I was old enough to remember him.

      2 votes
  13. mrbig
    Link
    Grandpa, while dealing with severe neurological issues

    - How are you, sir?
    - Better than yesterday, worse than tomorrow!

    Grandpa, while dealing with severe neurological issues

    4 votes
  14. WendigoTulpa
    Link
    I recently finished Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, and as someone who can be very nostalgic and quick to hate when beloved things change, I really loved this passage. I bolded the part...

    I recently finished Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck, and as someone who can be very nostalgic and quick to hate when beloved things change, I really loved this passage. I bolded the part that feels like a quote.

    The lines of change are down. We, or at least I, can have no conception of human life and human thought in a hundred years or fifty years. Perhaps my greatest wisdom is the knowledge that I do not know. The sad ones are those who waste their energy in trying to hold it back, for they can only feel bitterness in loss and no joy in gain.

    4 votes
  15. reese
    Link
    This one has stuck with me for a long time: — Horace Walpole

    This one has stuck with me for a long time:

    The world is a comedy to those that think; a tragedy to those that feel.

    — Horace Walpole

    3 votes
  16. mat
    Link
    “It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of...

    “It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history.”

    ― Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

    3 votes
  17. Gyrfalcon
    Link
    I always find new favorites, but here's a few I like right now: Jana Stanfield Dwight D. Eisenhower Robert A. Heinlein

    I always find new favorites, but here's a few I like right now:

    I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.

    Jana Stanfield

    Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies—in the final sense—a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

    Robert A. Heinlein

    3 votes
  18. moonbathers
    Link
    "Be excellent to each other." - Bill S. Preston, Esq. (also Abraham Lincoln)

    "Be excellent to each other." - Bill S. Preston, Esq. (also Abraham Lincoln)

    3 votes
  19. monarda
    Link
    Oh, I have two! I know this one is tried and true, but when I first saw it, it was brand spanking new. I found it in a newspaper and placed it on the refrigerator. I eventually rewrote it to have...

    Oh, I have two!

    I know this one is tried and true, but when I first saw it, it was brand spanking new. I found it in a newspaper and placed it on the refrigerator. I eventually rewrote it to have "I" statements instead of "you" statements,

    "If I always do what I have always done, I will always get what I have always got."

    I try to remember this when I find that I am in a rut so that I can do something new and different.

    And this one from Tacitus because to me it so aptly describes the placation of our society.

    "The following winter [A.D. 79] was spent in very beneficial consultations. For in order that the scattered and barbaric Britons, a people ready for war, might be accustomed to pleasure by means of peace and relaxation, Agricola, by praising the enthusiastic and scolding the lazy, urged on individuals and assisted communities to construct temples, market places, and homes… Gradually the Britons yielded to the enticing vices: the covered porticoes, the baths, and the elegance of banquets. And this condition was called “civilization” among simple Britons, although it was part of their slavery."
    Tacitus, Agricola 21

    3 votes
  20. boredop
    Link
    "It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out." Carl Sagan "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled."...

    "It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out."
    Carl Sagan

    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled."
    Richard Feynman.

    "Ya gotta believe!"
    Tug McGraw

    3 votes
  21. [2]
    anahata
    Link
    Why is this in ~music? It also needs some tags like ask.survey.

    Why is this in ~music? It also needs some tags like ask.survey.

    2 votes
    1. cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Thanks. Moved to ~talk and added ask.survey tag.

      Thanks. Moved to ~talk and added ask.survey tag.

      1 vote