“We condition the masses to hate the country,” concluded the Director. “But simultaneously we condition them to love all country sports. At the same time, we see to it that all country sports shall entail the use of elaborate apparatus. So that they consume manufactured articles as well as transport. Hence those electric shocks.”
“I see,” said the student, and was silent, lost in admiration.” —Brave New World, Chapter Two by Aldous Huxley.
- Gibarian: You think you're dreaming me.
- Chris Kelvin: You're not Gibarian.
- Gibarian: No? Who am I then?
- Chris Kelvin: A puppet.
- Gibarian: And you're not? Or maybe you're my puppet. But like all puppets you think you're actually human. It's the puppets' dream, being human.
There is something in me that refuses to grow up.
It’s not about gullibility (although sometimes, probably, it is). It’s more about believing that the reality given to us in sensation is the only and ultimate truth about the world, and should be taken seriously. It’s wrong on so many levels that it doesn’t even seem to be worth arguing against. And it’s also infinitely boring.
Some people look old when they are not yet 30.
I hope to die looking for wonders.
There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Pick a nice day, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] suggests, and try it.
The first part is easy. All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it’s going to hurt.
That is, it’s going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground. Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard.
Clearly, it is the second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.
One problem is that you have to miss the ground accidentally. It’s no good deliberately intending to miss the ground because you won’t. You have to have your attention suddenly distracted by something else when you’re halfway there, so that you are no longer thinking about falling, or about the ground, or about how much it’s going to hurt if you fail to miss it.
It is notoriously difficult to prize your attention away from these three things during the split second you have at your disposal. Hence most people’s failure, and their eventual disillusionment with this exhilarating and spectacular sport.
If, however, you are lucky enough to have your attention momentarily distracted at the crucial moment by, say, a gorgeous pair of legs (tentacles, pseudopodia, according to phyllum and/or personal inclination) or a bomb going off in your vicinty, or by suddenly spotting an extremely rare species of beetle crawling along a nearby twig, then in your astonishment you will miss the ground completely and remain bobbing just a few inches above it in what might seem to be a slightly foolish manner.” —Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker Guide to The Galaxy.