Neal Stephenson Quotes

Neal Stephenson Quotes

Seven billion who need to be kept happy, and docile, until the end. How do you do that? What's the best way to calm down a scared kid, get them to go back to sleep? Tell them a story. Some shit about Jesus or whatever.

That's not what I'm asking. I'm asking, what's your vice and what brand of trouble does it lead to?

Our opponent is an alien starship packed with atomic bombs," I said. "We have a protractor.

She's a woman, you're a dude. You're not supposed to understand her. That's not what she's after.... She doesn't want you to understand her. She knows that's impossible. She just wants you to understand yourself. Everything else is negotiable.

the difference between poets and mystics . . . The mystic nails a symbol to one meaning that was true for a moment but soon becomes false. The poet, on the other hand, sees that truth while it's true but understands that symbols are always in flux and that their meanings are fleeting.

A few dud universes can really clutter up your basement.

If you can't test it, it's not theorics - it's metatheorics. A branch of philosophy. So, if you want to think of it this way, our test equipment is what defines the boundary separating theorics from philosophy.

Supposing that originally there was nothing but one creator, how could ordinary binary sexual relations come into being?

They knew many things but had no idea why. And strangely this made them more, rather than less, certain that they were right.

Juanita believes that nothing is provably true or provably false in the Bible. Because if it's provably false, then the Bible is a lie, and if it's provably true, then the existence of God is proven and there's no room for faith.

Because, Jack, you volunteered to be taken down into eternal torment in place of her. This is the absolute minimum (unless I'm mistaken) that any female requires from her man.

I’m ready to commit to her at any time. But for god’s sake, I’m not even sure she’s heterosexual. It’d be madness to put a lesbian in charge of my ejaculatory functions.

Dr. Turing of Cambridge says that the soul is an illusion and that all that defines us as human beings can be reduced to a series of mechanical operations.

It is exciting to discover electrons and figure out the equations that govern their movement; it is boring to use those principles to design electric can openers. From here on out, it's all can openers.

Just aiming a speely input device, or a Farspark chambre, or whatever you call it... a speelycaptor... at something doesn't collect what is meaningful to me. I need someone to gather it in with all their senses, mix it round in their head, and make it over into words.

Ninety-nine percent of everything that goes on in most Christian churches has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual religion. Intelligent people all notice this sooner or later, and they conclude that the entire one hundred percent is bullshit, which is why atheism is connected with being intelligent in people's minds.

We're not hunter-gatherers anymore. We're all living like patients in the intensive care unit of a hospital. What keeps us alive isn't bravery, or athleticism, or any of those other skills that were valuable in a caveman society. It's our ability to master complex technological skills. It is our ability to be nerds. We need to breed nerds.

... when I saw any of those kinds of beauty I knew I was alive, and not just in the sense that when I hit my thumb with a hammer I knew I was alive, but rather in the sense that I was partaking of something-something was passing through me that it was in my nature to be a part of.

Debbie insisted on following the rhythm of the waves. Typical duck-squeezer sex: slow, frustrating, in-tune with nature.

The curt maneuver forced hearty laughter from all of the fathers in the ballroom, who were delighted by the illusion of danger and the impotence of Nature.

You’re British, you’re a priest, you’re a medical doctor, you can handle a rifle, you know Morse Code, and most importantly of all, you’re a fucking pain in the ass – so off you go!

I’d rather stub out cigarettes on my tongue than go shopping.

People wait until they have a need for some history and then they customize it to suit their purposes.

Gold is the corpse of value...

If money is a science, then it is a dark has gone on its own rules

. . . if money is a science, then it is a dark science, darker than alchemy. It split away from Natural Philosophy millennia ago, and has gone on developing ever since, by its own rules.

How does a poor country defeat rich ones?” “Indeed, the answer is not by acquiring wealth in the sense that France has it.” “Meaning vineyards, farms, peasants, cows?” “But rather to play a sort of trick and redefine wealth to mean something novel.” “Currency!” “Indeed.

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