Millennia Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 39 quotes )
Today history is no more than a thin thread of the remembered stretching over an ocean of the forgotten, but time moves on, and an epoch of millennia will come which the inextensible memory of the individual will be unable to encompass; whole centuries and millennia will therefore fall away, centuries of paintings and music, centuries of discoveries, of battles, of books, and this will be dire, because man will lose the notion of his self, and his history, unfathomable, unencompassable, will shrivel into a few schematic signs destitute of all sense.
The magic in these Masonic rituals is very, very old. And way back in those days, it worked. As time went on, and it started being used for spectacle, to consolidate what were only secular appearances of power, it began to lose its zip. But the words, moves, and machinery have been more or less faithfully carried down over the millennia, through the grim rationalizing of the World, and so the magic is still there, though latent, needing only to touch the right sensitive head to reassert itself.
Any sensible ruler would have killed off Leonard, and Lord Vetinari was extremely sensible and often wondered why he had not done so. He'd decided that it was because, imprisoned in the priceless, inquiring amber of Leonard's massive mind, underneath that bright investigative genius was a kind of willful innocence that might in lesser men be called stupidity. It was the seat and soul of that force which, down the millennia, had caused mankind to stick its fingers in the electric light socket of the Universe and play with the switch to see what happened - and then be very surprised when it did.
Oh Lord Most High, Creator of the Cosmos, Spinner of Galaxies, Soul of Electromagnetic Waves, Inhaler and Exhaler of Inconceivable Volumes of Vacuum, Spitter of Fire and Rock, Trifler with Millennia? what could we do for Thee that Thou couldst not do for Thyself one octillion times better? Nothing. What could we do or say that could possibly interest Thee? Nothing. Oh, Mankind, rejoice in the apathy of our Creator, for it makes us free and truthful and dignified at last. No longer can a fool point to a ridiculous accident of good luck and say, 'Somebody up there likes me.' And no longer can a tyrant say, 'God wants this or that to happen, and anyone who doesn't help this or that to happen is against God.' O Lord Most High, what a glorious weapon is Thy Apathy, for we have unsheathed it, have thrust and slashed mightily with it, and the claptrap that has so often enslaved us or driven us into the madhouse lies slain!" -The prayer of the Reverend C. Horner Redwine
(Ravic speaking of a butterfly caught in the Louvre) In the morning it would search for flowers and life and the light honey of blossoms and would not find them and later it would fall asleep on millennial marble, weakened by then, until the grip of the delicate, tenacious feet loosened and it fell, a thin leaf of premature autumn.
Was there to be any end to the gradual improvement in the techniques and artifices used by the replicators to ensure their own continuation in the world? There would be plenty of time for improvement. What weird engines of self-preservation would the millennia bring forth? Four thousand million years on, what was to be the fate of the ancient replicators? They did not die out, for they are past masters of the survival arts. But do not look for them floating loose in the sea; they gave up that cavalier freedom long ago. Now they swarm in huge colonies, safe inside gigantic lumbering robots, sealed off from the outside world, communicating with it by tortuous indirect routes, manipulating it by remote control. They are in you and in me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence. They have come a long way, those replicators. Now they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines.
What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.
The scriptures present a God who delights in genocide, rape, slavery, and the execution of nonconformists, and for millennia those writings were used to rationalize the massacre of infidels, the ownership of women, the beating of children, dominion over animals, and the persecution of heretics and homosexuals. Humanitarian reforms such as the elimination of cruel punishment, the dissemination of empathy-inducing novels, and the abolition of slavery were met with fierce opposition in their time by ecclesiastical authorities and their apologists. The elevation of parochial values to the realm of the sacred is a license to dismiss other people’s interests, and an imperative to reject the possibility of compromise.
It never occurred to me that any of these pleasures were a reward for being a pretty good kid, any more than I needed to restructure my life just to avoid an eternity of being spit-roasted on a subterranean barbecue. If this sounds flip, smug, or disrespectful, it's not meant to be. Obviously, there is great wisdom, beauty, and relevance in millennia worth of collected theological teaching from around the world. The question I'm grappling with is: why didn't these big themes and major stick-and-carrot extremes resonate with me? I just never bought into the concept. Maybe I'm part of a small minority, but I don't think so.
Over the millennia the seed of stories planted in the fertile soil of bits and scraps of facts was watered by wishes and began to take root and grow. Eventually, a bountiful fruit of rumors burst forth, to be spread on the wind of whispers that said we hid a fabled hoard of gold. Nothing could convince the believers that it was not true. The truth does not glitter for these people like gold does.
As with our earlier worship of saints and facts, there is something silly about grown men and women striving to reduce their vision of themselves and of civilization to bean counting. The message of the competition/efficiency/marketplace Trinity seems to be that we should drop the idea of ourselves developed over two and a half millennia. We are no longer beings distinguished by our ability to think and to act consciously in order to affect our circumstances. Instead we should passively submit ourselves and our whole civilization -- our public structures, social forms and cultural creativity -- to the abstract forces of unregulated commerce. It may be that most citizens have difficulty with the argument and would prefer to continue working on the idea of dignified human intelligence. If they must drop something, they would probably prefer to drop the economists.
In some men compassion for a woman goes beyond all conceivable limits. Their responsiveness places her in unrealizable positions, not to be found in the world, existing only in imagination, and on account of her they are jealous of the surrounding air, of the laws of nature, of the millennia that went by before her.
A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time proof that humans can work magic.
We live in the Age of the Higher Brain, the cerebral cortex that has grown enormously over the last few millennia, overshadowing the ancient, instinctive lower brain. The cortex is often called the new brain, yet the old brain held sway in humans for millions of years, as it does today in most living things. The old brain can’t conjure up ideas or read. But it does possess the power to feel and, above all, to be. It was the old brain that caused our forebears to sense the closeness of a mysterious presence everywhere in Nature.
The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. In a cosmic perspective, most human concerns seem insignificant, even petty. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries about the Cosmos and our place within it, explorations that are exhilarating to consider. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. I believe our future depends on how well we know this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.
What is it that you contain? The dead. Time. Light patterns of millennia opening in your gut. Every minute, in each of you, a few million potassium atoms succumb to radioactive decay. The energy that powers these tiny atomic events has been locked inside potassium atoms ever since a star-sized bomb exploded nothing into being. Potassium, like uranium and radium, is a long-lived radioactive nuclear waste of the supernova bang that accounts for you. Your first parent was a star.
Because the egoic mind has led us to feel separate from our immortal Ground of Being over the millennia, we have invented a number of immortality symbols to give us a precarious sense of security and identity in life. Traditionally, these have been religious in character, such as the belief in everlasting life after death, in the West, and the belief in reincarnation, in the East. However, today, it is money that provides the primary immortality symbol. It is our obsession for money that is driving humanity to extinction. For when we do not face our fears with full consciousness and intelligence, these fears will eventually come along to haunt us.
If we have plain old ordinary fear then we are within reach of a solution. Fear has been with humankind for millennia and we do know what to do about it--pray about it, talk about it, feel the fear, and do it anyway. "Artistic" fear, on the other hand, sounds somehow nastier and more virulent, like it just might not yield to ordinary solutions--and yet it does, the moment we become humble enough to try ordinary solutions.