Random Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 223 quotes )
You meet a wizard in downtown Chicago. The wizard tells you he can make you more attractive if you pay him money. When you ask how this process works, the wizard points to a random person on the street. You look at this random stranger. The wizard says, "I will now make them a dollar more attractive." He waves his magic wand. Ostensibly, this person does not change at all; as far you can tell, nothing is different. But - somehow - this person is suddenly more appealing. The tangible difference is invisible to the naked eye, but you can't deny that this person is vaguely sexier. This wizard has a weird rule, though - you can only pay him once. You can't keep giving him money until you're satisfied. You can only pay him one lump sum up front. How much cash do you give the wizard?
My main reason for scepticism about the Huxley/Sagan theory is that the human brain is demonstrably eager to see faces in random patterns, as we know from scientific evidence, on top of the numerous legends about faces of Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, or Mother Teresa, being seen on slices of toast, or pizzas, or patches of damp on a wall. This eagerness is enhanced if the pattern departs from randomness in the specific direction of being symmetrical.
When I took Psychology 101, the professor taught us about random reinforcement. Put three groups of rats in three separate cages, each equipped with a bar. The first group of rats got a pellet every time they pressed the bar. The second group never got pellets, no matter how often they pressed. And the third group got pellets just once in a while. The first group, the professor said, eventually gets bored with the guaranteed reward and the rats who never get treats give up, too. But the random rats will press on that bar forever, hoping each time they press that this time the magic will happen, that this time they’ll get lucky. It was at that moment in class that I realized that I had become my father’s rat.
The world of science lives fairly comfortably with paradox. We know that light is a wave, and also that light is a particle. The discoveries made in the infinitely small world of particle physics indicate randomness and chance, and I do not find it any more difficult to live with the paradox of a universe of randomness and chance and a universe of pattern and purpose than I do with light as a wave and light as a particle. Living with contradiction is nothing new to the human being.
For everything there is a season. I'd miss having the seasons, people from New York like to say by way of indicating the extraordinary pride they take in not living in Southern California. In fact Southern California does have seasons (it has for example "fire season" or "the season when the fire comes," and it also has the season when the rains comes, but such Southern California seasons, arriving as they do so theatrically as to seem strokes of random fate, do not inexorably suggest the passage of time. Those other seasons, the ones so prized on the East Coast, do. Seasons in Southern California suggest violence, but not necessarily death. Seasons in New York-the relentless dropping of the leaves, the steady darkening of the days, the blue nights themselves-suggest only death.
Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long.
Four billion people on this earth, but my imagination is still the same. It's bad with large numbers. It's still taken by particularity. It flits in the dark like a flashlight, illuminating only random faceswhile all the rest go blindly by, never coming to mind and never really missed. . . . I can't tell you how much I pass over in silence.
Unless, of course, there's no such thing as chance;...in which case, we should either-optimistically-get up and cheer, because if everything is planned in advance, then we all have a meaning and are spared the terror of knowing ourselves to be random, without a why; or else, of course, we might-as pessimists-give up right here and now, understanding the futility of thought decision action, since nothing we think makes any difference anyway, things will be as they will. Where, then, is optimism? In fate or in chaos?
What I like about The Sims is that I don't have a normal life at all, so I play this game where these people have these really boring, mundane lives. It's fun. My Sims family is called the Cholly family. I don't know why I picked that name; it's kind of random. The teenage daughter is my favourite, because I just had her go through this Goth phase. She's really kind of nerdy and she just became a concert violinist, which is pretty huge for the family. And she got into private school. But she started wearing black lipstick and she dyed her hair purple. It's pretty huge.
Books are everywhere; and always the same sense of adventure fills us. Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books; they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack. Besides, in this random miscellaneous company we may rub against some complete stranger who will, with luck, turn into the best friend we have in the world.
Science fiction is a dialogue, a tennis match, in which the Idea is volleyed from one side of the net to the other. Ridiculous to say that someone 'stole' an idea: no, no, a thousand times no. The point is the volley, and how it's carried, and what statement is made by the answering 'statement.' In other words if Burroughs initiates a time-gate and says it works randomly, and then Norton has time gates confounded with the Perilous Seat, the Siege Perilous of the Round Table, and locates it in a bar on a rainy night do you see both the humor and the volley in the tennis match?
Once, on a walk by a river- Eskdale in low reddish sunlight, with a dusting of snow- his daughter quoted to him an opening verse by her favourite poet. Apparently, not many young women loved Phillip Larkin the way she did. 'If I were to construct a religion/ I should make use of water.' She said she liked the laconic use of 'called in'- as if he would be, as if anyone ever is. They stopped to drink coffee from a flask, and Perowne, tracing a line of lichen with a finger, said that if he ever got the call, he'd make us of evolution. What better creation myth? An unimaginable sweep of time, numberless generations spawning by infinitesimal steps complex living beauty out of inert matter, driven on by the blind furies of random mutation, natural selection and environmental change, with the tragedy of forms continually dying, and lately the wonder of minds emerging and with them morality, love, art, cities- and the unprecedented bonus of this story happening to be demonstrably true.
The days that followed passed slowly. I lay in my hotel room and watched the kind of strange European TV that would probably make perfect sense if I understood the language, but because I didn’t, the programs just seemed dreamlike and baffling. In one studio show a group of Scandinavian academics watched as one of them poured liquid plastic into a bucket of cold water. It solidified, they pulled it out, handed it around the circle, and, as far as I could tell, intellectualized on its random misshapenness. I phoned home but my wife didn’t answer. It crossed my mind that she might be dead. I panicked. Then it turned out that she wasn’t dead. She had just been at the shops.
A lot of that, "Have you ever noticed that [specific Florida player] is like the [dated cultural reference] version of [obscure player from the middle 1980s] except that his [some ridiculous stoner concept about grizzly bears] has been filtered through the political ideology of [random indie artist currently on tour with Built to Spill]?" We all have to pay the rent, rockers. I know who I am.
You know, I really think that when God puts together families, he sticks his finger into the white pages and selects a group of people at random and then says to them all, 'Hey! You're going to spend the next seventy years together, even though you have nothing in common and don't even like each other. And, should you not feel yourself caring about any of this group of strangers, even for a second, you will just feel dreadful
For the last century, almost all top political appointments [on the planet Earth] had been made by random computer selection from the pool of individuals who had the necessary qualifications. It had taken the human race several thousand years to realize that there were some jobs that should never be given to the people who volunteered for them, especially if they showed too much enthusiasm. As one shrewed political commentator had remarked: “We want a President who has to be carried screaming and kicking into the White House — but will then do the best job he possibly can, so that he’ll get time off for good behavior.