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We each have within ourselves the ability to shape our own destinies. That much we understand. But, more important, each of us has an equal ability to shape the destiny of the universe. Ah, that you find more difficult to believe. But I tell you it is so. You do not have to be the leader of the Council. You do not have to be king or monarch or the head of a clan to have a significant impact on the world around you. In the vastness of the ocean, is any drop of water greater than another? No, you answer, and neither has a single drop the ability to cause a tidal wave. But, I argue, if a single drop falls into the ocean, it creates ripples. And these ripples spread. And perhaps - who knows - these ripples may grow and swell and eventually break foaming upon the shore. Like a drop in the vast ocean, each of us causes ripples as we move through our lives. The effects of whatever we do - insignificant as it may seem - spread out beyond us. We may never know what far-reaching impact even the simplest action might have on our fellow mortals. Thus we need to be conscious, all of the time, of our place in the ocean, of our place in the world, of our place among our fellow creatures. For if enough of us join forces, we can swell the tide of events - for good or for evil.

 
 

You must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. Only then will you know that any path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question. This question is one that only a very old man asks. My benefactor told me about it once when I was young, and my blood was too vigorous for me to understand it. Now I do understand it. I will tell you what it is: Does this path have heart? All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. They are paths going through the bush, or into the bush. In my own life I could say I have traversed long, long paths, but I am not anywhere. My benefactor's question has meaning now. Does this path have heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.


Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting - place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.


Concentrate! So certain are you, always with you what cannot be done. Hear you nothing what I say? The only difference is in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned. Try not, do, or do not, there is not try.

Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not - for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminescent beings are we, not this crude matter! You must feel the Force around you, everywhere.


It says here that you are to be posted on the Frontier. It says here that you've been decorated. And they sent you here to be posted?

Actually sir, I'm here at my own request. I've always wanted to see the Frontier. Yes sir. Before it's gone.

 
 

My life fades. All that remanins are memories. I remember a time of chaos, ruined dreams, this wasted land.

But most of all I remember the Road Warrior, the man we called Max... A shell of a man, a burnt out desolate man, a man haunted by the demons of his past. A man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to live again.

 
 

You city folk, you worry about a lot of shit, don't you? You all come up here about the same age, with the same problems. You spend about fifty weeks a year getting knots in your rope and then you think two weeks up here will untie them for you. None of you get it. Do you know what the secret of life is? One thing, just one thing. you stick to that and everything else don't mean shit.

That's great, but what's the one thing?

That's what you gotta figure out.


No computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. They are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error. In can only be attributable to human error.


And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.


Aside from the more obvious physical differences, that may be the one thing that most distinguishes women from men. They think differently, and so they do things differently. Many people get upset by these differences, but can you imagine how boring life would be if we all thought and acted in exactly the same way? Actually, it's much more fun this way.


And when the lamb had opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven which lasted the space of about half an hour. And I saw the seven angles who were standing before the throne of God, and to them were given seven trumpets.

 
 

From all your furthest bounds, pour ye now in, ye bold billows of my whole foregone life, and top this one piled comber of my death! Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering beast; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.


All alone, or in twos
The ones who really love you
Walk up and down outside the wall
Some hand in hand
Some gathered together in bands
The bleeding hearts and artists
Make their stand
And when they’ve given you their all
Some stagger and fall, after all its not easy
Banging your heart against some mad buggers wall

 
 

This man beside us also has a hard fight with an unfavouring world, with strong temptations, with doubts and fears, with wounds of the past which have skinned over, but which smart when they are touched. It is a fact, however surprising. And when this occurs to us we are moved to deal kindly with him, to bid him be of good cheer, to let him understand that we are also fighting a battle; we are bound not to irritate him, nor press hardly upon him nor help his lower self.


A brave warrior had a fine stallion for a horse. The whole tribe commented on how lucky he was to have such a fine horse. Maybe, he said. One day the horse ran away. The members of the tribe lamented and said how unlucky the warrior was. Maybe, he said. Some time later, the horse returned, bringing a herd of beautiful horses with it. How fortunate, the tribe commented. Maybe, the warrior said. Then the warrior’s son was riding the stallion and fell and broke his leg. Surely this was a run of bad luck, members of the tribe told the warrior, shaking their heads. Maybe, he said. Later the chief led a raid against a neighboring tribe. Several of the young braves were killed, but the warrior’s son was not among them, because he had to remain behind due of his injured leg.


The ship, out of danger? Don't grieve Admiral - it is logical. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.

 
 

It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.


Wagner. That’s the word that was churning in my mind without surfacing. Dr. Wagner: he’s the one I need. He will be able to tell me that I’m raving, that I’ve given flesh to ghosts, that none of it’s true. What a relief it would be to learn that I’m sick.

I found Dr. Wagner’s number in the telephone book. I tried calling, but his office was obviously closed on Sunday. I absolutely had to talk to Dr. Wagner. I don’t know why, but I had to. Talking was the panacea. The therapy of the word.

This morning I called Dr. Wagner at nine. The doctor seemed to remember me, and, impressed by the urgency in my voice, he said to come at once, at nine-thirty, before his regular appointments. He seemed cordial, sympathetic.

Did I dream the visit to Dr. Wagner, too? The secretary asked fore my vital statistics, prepared a card, had me pay in advance. Dr. Wagner received me with professional affability. With a wide gesture he made me sit opposite him, at his desk. He gave his rotating chair a push, turning his back to me. He sat with his head bowed and hands clasped. There was nothing left but for me to speak.

I spoke, and it was like a dam bursting; everything came out, from beginning to end. Wagner did not interrupt once, did not nod or show disapproval. For all the response he made, he could have been fast asleep. But that must have been his technique. I talked and talked., The therapy of the word. Then I waited for the word, his word, that would save me.

Wagner stood up very, very slowly. Without turning to me, he came around his desk and went to the window. He looked out, his hands folded behind his back, absorbed in thought. In silence, for ten, fifteen minutes. Then, still with his back to me, in a colorless voice, calm, reassuring: "Monsieur, vous Ítes fou."

He did not move, and neither did I. After another five minutes, I realized that we wasn’t going to add anything. That was it. End of session. I left without saying good-bye.


To translate it into UNIX system administration terms, the post-modern, politically correct atheists were like people who had suddenly found themselves in charge of a big and unfathomably complex computer system (viz. Society) with no documents or instructions of any kind, and so whose only way to keep the thing running was to invent and enforce certain rules with a kind of neo-Puritanical rigor, because they were at a loss to deal with any deviations from what they saw as the norm.

Whereas people who were wired into a church were like the UNIX system administrators who, while they might not understand everything, at least had some documentation, some FAQs and How-tos and README files, providing some guidance on what to do when thing's got out of whack. They were, in other words, capable of displaying adaptability.

 
 

I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the 'ratio studiorum' of the Jesuits. It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory, it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach - if not the Kingdom of Heaven - the moment in which their document is printed. It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation.

DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can reach salvation. To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself: a long way from the baroque community of revellers, the user is closed within the lonel iness of his own inner torment.


You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You've moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas, a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast a space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears, and the summit of his knowledge. You've just crossed over, this is the dimension of imagination.


Even now, twenty years later, I can see him wrapping his girlfriend’s pantyhose around his neck before heading out on ambush. It was his one eccentricity. The pantyhose, he said, had the properties of a good-luck charm. He liked putting his nose into the nylon and breathing in the scent of his girlfriend’s body; he liked the memories this inspired; he sometimes slept with the stockings up against his face, the way an infant sleeps with a flannel blanket, secure and peaceful. More than anything, though, the stockings were a talisman for him. They kept him safe. They gave access to a spiritual world, where things were soft and intimate, a place where he might someday take his girlfriend to live.

Like many of us, he felt the pull of superstition, and he believed firmly and absolutely in the protective power of the stockings. They were like body armor, he thought. Whenever we saddled up for a late-night ambush, putting on our helmets and flak jackets, he would make a ritual out of arranging the nylons around his neck, carefully tying a knot, draping the two legs sections over his left shoulder. There were some jokes, of course, but we came to appreciate the mystery of it all. He was invulnerable. Never wounded, never a scratch. In August, he tripped a Bouncing Betty, which failed to detonate. And a week later he got caught in the open during a fierce little firefight, no cover at all, but he just slipped the pantyhose over his nose and breathed deep and let the magic do its work. It turned us into a platoon of believers. You don’t dispute facts.

But then, near the end of October, his girlfriend dumped him. It was a hard blow. He went quiet for a while, staring down at her letter, then after a time he took out the stockings and tied them around his neck as a comforter. "No sweat," he said. "The magic doesn’t go away."


I walked over to the Group W bench, where they put you if may not be moral enough to join the Army after committing your special crime. And I said, "I didn't get nothing, I had to pay fifty dollars and pick up the garbage." The sergeant came over, he had some paper in his hand, held it up, and said, "This peice a paper's got 47 words 37 sententences we wanna know details of the crime all about the crime aresting officers name time of the crime and anything else you gotta say...." 45 minutes, and no one understood a word that he said. I filled out the Massacre with the four part harmony, and everything was fine. I put down my pencil and turned over the piece of paper, and there... there on the other side... in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on the other side, in parentheses, capitol letters, quotated, read the following words: 'Have you rehabilitated yourself?' I went over to the sergeant, said, "Sergeant, you got a lot of damn gall, to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean its just that I'm sitting here on the bench, I mean I'm just sitting here on the Group W bench, because you wanna know if I'm moral enough to join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after being a litterbug?"

 
 

We live in a world that has walls and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. My existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like Honor, Code, Loyalty. We use these words as a backbone of a life spent defending something, you use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket under the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.


We divide human drives into three groups: (1) those drives that can be satisfied with minimal effort; (2) those that can be satisfied but only at the cost of serious effort; (3) those that cannot be adequately satisfied no matter how much effort one makes. The power process is the process of satisfying the drives of the second group. The more drives there are in the third group, the more there is frustration, anger, eventually defeatism, depression, etc.

In modern industrial society natural human drives tend to be pushed into the first and third groups, and the second group tends to consist increasingly of artificially created drives.


We're really lucky to have two visionaries here, they're like fire and ice.

My role is kind of like the middleman, sort of like lukewarm water.

 
 

Being an adult means facing responsibility, yet still taking the time to have fun.

Right! It’s sort of like coming home on Friday night and doing your homework right away so that your Saturday night is free to just party.

No I like the way I said it better.


I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling in to that starry expanse, of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it might have landed. I must admit, however, such conjecture is futile. Still, the question of about whose hands might one day hold the book are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed. And so I close, realizing that perhaps, the ending has not yet been written.


You killed my mother, you killed my father, you killed my people! You took my father's sword....

Ah, that must have been when I was younger. There was a time boy, when steel meant more to me than gold or jewels.

The Riddle of Steel.

Yes, you know what it is, don't you boy? Shall I tell it to you? It's the least I can do. Steel isn't strong boy, flesh is stronger. Look up there, on the rocks, that beautiful girl. [He points to a girl standing on a cliff above] Come to me my child, come to me. [The girl walks off the cliff and her body shatters the structure below] That is strength, boy, that is power! What is steel, compared to the hand that wields it? Look at the desire in your heart, the strength of your body. Such a waste. I gave you this. Contemplate this on the Tree of Woe. Crucify him.


True enough, physics also was divided into separate fields, each of which was capable of devouring a short lifetime of work without having satisfied the hunger for deeper knowledge. The mass of insufficiently connected experimental data was overwhelming here also. In this field, however, I soon learned to scent out which was able to lead to fundamentals and to turn aside from everything else, from the multitude of things which clutter up the mind and divert it from the essential. The hitch in this, was, of course, the fact that one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect (upon me) that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year.


A thing is what it is irrespective of whether or not either you or I or anyone else perceives it, remembers it, thinks of it, and so on. This is the deepest core ... Commonsensically, the proposition is a truism. I, for one, am as intent as the most embattled classical realist on securing it dialectically. The phenomenalists, since they either ignore or explicitly deny that acts "exist", cannot even begin to do that.

 
 

Consequently, no one can really doubt that a mental state which he perceives in himself exists, and that it exists just as he perceives it. Anyone who would push his doubt this far would reach a state of absolute doubt, a skepticism which would certainly destroy itself, because it would have destroyed any firm basis upon which it could endeavor to attack knowledge.


Who was the best pilot I ever saw? Well, I'll tell ya, I've seen a lot of them. Most of them are just pictures on a wall, back at some place that doesn't even exist anymore. Some of them are right here in this room. And some of them are still out there somewhere, doing what they always do, going up each day in a hurdling piece of machinery, putting their hides out on the line, hanging it out over the edge, pushing back the outside of that envelope and hauling it back in ... but there was one pilot I once saw who I think truly did have the right ... Who was the best pilot I ever saw? Well, you're looking at him.


I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the Shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.

 
 

It was the year of fire, the year of destruction, the year we took back what was ours. It was the year of rebirth, the year of great sadness, the year of pain, and the year of joy. It was a new age, it was the end of history. It was the year everything changed.


The hand drew near, the face promised him the tortures of the Abyss, where he would be dragged for his great folly in daring the curse of the Tower. The skeletal hand touched his heart. Then, trembling, it halted.

"Know this," he said calmly, looking up at the Tower, pitching his voice so that it could be heard by those within. "I am the master of past and present! My coming was foretold. For me, the gates will open."

The skeletal hand shrank back and, with a slow sweeping motion of invitations, parted the darkness. The gates swung open upon silent hinges. He passed through them without a glance at the hand or the pale visage that was lowered with reverence. As he entered, all the black and shapeless, dark and shadowy things dwelling within the Tower bowed in homage.

Then he stopped, looked around him, and said, "I am home."


And here am I, setting up shop in the finest University in the land. But the old man forgot one thing: this country of his is Christian, and Anglo-Saxon. And so are her corridors of power, and those who stalk them guard them with jealousy and venom. So what now, grin and bear it? No. I'm going to take them on, all of them, one by one, and run them off their feet.

 
 

A race is hard, it requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape. But how long does that last? You go home, maybe your dinner's burnt, maybe you haven't got a job. In the face of life's realities, I would like to give you something more prominent. I have no formula for winning the race, everyone runs in their own way. Where does the power come from to see the race to its end? From within. That is how you run a straight race.


So I jump ship in Hong Kong, and I make my way over to Tibet, and I get in as a looper over there at a course in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddie, a jock. So I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dali Lama himself, the twelfth son of the Lama: the flowing robes, the grace, bald - striking. So I'm on the first tee with him, I give him the driver, and he hauls off and wacks one (big hitter, the Lama), long, right into a ten thousand foot crevice right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? "Gunga Gulunga, Gunga Gunkala Gulunga." So we finish the eighteen, and he's gonna stiff me! And I say "Hey! Lama! Hey, how about something, you know, for the effort?" And he says, "Oh, ah, it won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that going for me, which is nice.


The frontier moves with the sun and pushes the red man and his wilderness forth in front of it. Until one day, there will be nowhere left. And then our race will be no more, or be not us. The frontier place is for people like my white son and his woman and their children. But one day there will be no more frontier, and men like you will go too, like the Mohicans. And new people will come, work, struggle. Some will make their life. But once, we were here.

 
 

Ask ten different scientists what we should best do to protect our environment, our health, our genetics, and you'll get ten different answers. But all the scientists agree on one thing: one day, it may happen in a hundred years, or a thousand, or even a million, but one day, our Sun will cool off and go out. And if we are still confined to Earth when that happens, not only will all of us be lost, but we'll also loose -- Marilyn Monroe. And Lao Tsu, and Shakespeare, and Einstein, Buddy Holly, Eristophanes. All of it. It will all have been for nothing -- unless we go to the stars.


In the midst of the chaos when the wind is howling, you can hear the ancient song of the ones who went before and know that peace will come.

 
 

One day, I will die. And so will he, and you, and every one of us under this roof. You must put these things in proportion. And I think I can do that now.


Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

 
 

There seems to be no good reason at all to think that human-level intelligence is the maximal level attainable by a physical object in our universe: to think that no configuration of matter can, even in principle, achieve higher-than-human intelligence is just anthropo-hubristic and insane. Whether a machine with super-human intelligence can actually be built by us is a more of an open question. As the reader will be able to deduce from the following discussions, I am leaning towards thinking that, provided scientific progress is allowed to continue unhampered by civilizational collapse or other societal obstacles, we will eventually be able to do it. The timing of the event is extremely uncertain, but it seems reasonable to say that there's a good chance that it will happen before the end of the 21st century, and it is very hard to rule out the possibility that it will happen a lot sooner.


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