People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
The intelligent man is never bored.
Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.
It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
To bring about destruction by overcrowding, mass starvation, anarchy, the destruction of our most cherished values, there is no need to do anything. We need only do nothing except what comes naturally, and breed and how easy it is to do nothing.
Is not all this an extraordinary concatenation of coincidence?
Pelorat said, If you list it like that?
List it any way you please, said Trevize. I don't believe in extraordinary concatenations of coincidence.
Arthur Clarke says that I am first in science and second in science fiction in accordance with an agreement we have made. I say he is first in science fiction and second in science.
Of course, the reader might argue that I was as stubborn in my viewpoint as they were in theirs. Yes, indeed, but I was right and they were wrong and that made the difference.
Stoop, then, or you will be beaten to your knees. Stoop voluntarily, and you may save a remnant. You have depended on metal and power and they have sustained you as far as they could. You have ignored mind and morale and they have failed you.
There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death.
Eventually, it had to be accepted that God had created invisible stars and this was the very first hint that perhaps the Universe had not been created with human welfare as its primary object (a point I have never seen stressed in histories of science).
The infinity of potential knowledge may be infinitely greater than the infinity of my actual knowledge.
It has always been my ambition to die in harness with my head face down on a keyboard and my nose caught between two of the keys.
Most of the iron that has found its way into the Earth's core and its surface rocks -- and into our own blood, as well -- once existed in white dwarfs that exploded.
I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it.
I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say that one is an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or agnostic. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.
The lucky few who can be involved in creative work of any sort will be the true elite of mankind, for they alone will do more than serve a machine.
No vision of God and heaven ever experienced by the most exalted prophet can, in my opinion, match the vision of the universe as seen by Newton or Einstein.
Democracy cannot survive overpopulation.
Democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, but it disappears. It doesn't matter if someone dies, the more people there are, the less one person matters.
I don't think I've ever held a racket in my hand ... There's got to be somebody in the US who isn't trying to play tennis and stinking up the court.
Carbon is the basis of human life and iron of robot life. It becomes easy to speak of C Fe when you wish express a culture that combines the best of the two on an equal but parallel basis.
She's qualified all right. She understands robots like a sister--comes from hating human beings so much, I think.
Since emotions are few and reasons are many (said the robot Giscard) the behavior of a crowd can be more easily predicted than the behavior of one person.
The dangers that face the world can, every one of them, be traced back to science. The salvations that may save the world will, every one of them, be traced back to science.
However, I continue to try and I continue, indefatigably, to reach out. There's no way I can single-handedly save the world or, perhaps, even make a perceptible difference -- but how ashamed I would be to let a day pass without making one more effort.
The Solarians have given up something mankind has had for a million years; something worth more than atomic power, cities, agriculture, tools, fire, everything; because it's something that made everything possible ... The tribe, sir. Cooperation between individuals.
A neat and orderly laboratory is unlikely. It is, after all, so much a place of false starts and multiple attempts.
If we only obey those rules that we think are just and reasonable, then no rule will stand, for there is no rule that some will not think is unjust and unreasonable.
It was odd how that last deed caught the imagination of the world. All that Andrew had done before had not swayed them. But he had finally accepted even death to be human, and the sacrifice was too great to be rejected.
Goodbye, Hari, my love. Remember always -- all you did for me.
-I did nothing for you.
-You loved me and your love made me -- human.
Anything you make forbidden gains sexual attractiveness. Would you be particularly interested in women's breasts if you lived in a society in which they were displayed at all times?
I wouldn't want the people of Baleyworld to live that long as a general thing. The pace of historical and intellectual advance would then become too slow. Those at the top would stay in power too long. Baleyworld would sink into conversation and decay -- as your world has done.
The essential building block is...the true love that is impossible to define for those who have never experienced it and unnecessary to define for those who have.
One might accept death reasoningly, with every aspect of the conscious mind, but the body was a brute beast that knew nothing of reason.
When, however, the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion--the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, probably right.
How then to enforce peace? Not by reason, certainly, nor by education. If a man could not look at the fact of peace and the fact of war and choose the former in preference to the latter, what additional argument could persuade him? What could be more eloquent as a condemnation of war than war itself? What tremendous feat of dialectic could carry with it a tenth the power of a single gutted ship with its ghastly cargo?
Do not forget that a traitor within our ranks, known to us, can do more harm to the enemy than a loyal man can do good to us.
Any fool can tell a crisis when it arrives. The real service to the state is to detect it in embryo.
It's just science fiction so it's allowed to be silly, and childish, and stupid. It's just science fiction, so it doesn't have to make sense. It's just science fiction, so you must ask nothing more of it than loud noises and flashing lights.
The advance of genetic engineering makes it quite conceivable that we will begin to design our own evolutionary progress.
No one can possibly have lived through the Great Depression without being scarred by it. No amount of experience since the depression can convince someone who has lived through it that the world is safe economically.
We must not be taken in by the myth of youth, the unending propaganda to the effect that young men are younger than old men; that they are better looking; that they are slimmer, stronger and more athletic; that they can hold a girl in more romantic fashion and speak more sweetly.
I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing -- to be clear.
I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing--to be clear. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might (if I were good enough) get me a Pulitzer prize. I would write merely clearly and in this way establish a warm relationship between myself and my readers, and the professional critics--Well, they can do whatever they wish.
Suppose we were to teach creationism. What would be the content of the teaching? Merely that a creator formed the universe and all species of life ready-made? Nothing more? No details?
No one suggests that writing about science will turn the entire world into a model of judgment and creative thought. It will be enough if they spread the knowledge as widely as possible.
Humanity is cutting down its forests, apparently oblivious to the fact that we may not be able to live without them.
When asked for advice by beginners. Know your ending, I say, or the river of your story may finally sink into the desert sands and never reach the sea.
I figure that if God actually does exist, he is big enough to understand an honest difference of opinion.
Uncertainty that comes from knowledge (knowing what you don't know) is different from uncertainty coming from ignorance.
No individual death among human beings is important. Someone who dies leaves his work behind and that does not entirely die. It never entirely dies as long as humanity exists.
I am all for cultural diversity and would be willing to see each recognizable group value its cultural heritage. I am a New York patriot, for instance, and if I lived in Los Angeles, I would love to get together with other New York expatriates and sing Give My Regards to Broadway.
God, how that stings! I've spent a lifetime loving science fiction and now I find that you must expect nothing of something that's just science fiction.
It is almost impossible to think of something no one has thought of before, but it is always possible to add different frills.
You don't need to predict the future. Just choose a future -- a good future, a useful future -- and make the kind of prediction that will alter human emotions and reactions in such a way that the future you predicted will be brought about. Better to make a good future than predict a bad one.
To test a perfect theory with imperfect instruments did not impress the Greek philosophers as a valid way to gain knowledge.
Life is glorious when it is happy; days are carefree when they are happy; the interplay of thought and imagination is far superior to that of muscle and sinew.
Now any dogma, based primarily on faith and emotionalism, is a dangerous weapon to use on others, since it is almost impossible to guarantee that the weapon will never be turned on the user.
My feeling is, quite simply, that if there is a God, He has done such a bad job that he isn't worth discussing.
The history of science is full of revolutionary advances that required small insights that anyone might have had, but that, in fact, only one person did.
The human mind works at low efficiency. Twenty percent is the figure usually given. When, momentarily, there is a flash of greater power, it is termed a hunch, or insight, or intuition.
I am not responsible for what other people think. I am responsible only for what I myself think, and I know what that is. No idea I've ever come up with has ever struck me as a divine revelation. Nothing I have ever observed leads me to think there is a God watching over me.
When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.
Force yourself to laugh and you'll soon find something to laugh about. A being causes his own feelings. Splurge on it!
Radiation, unlike smoking, drinking, and overeating, gives no pleasure, so the possible victims object.
The Foundation has secrets. They have books, old books -- so old that the language they are in is only known to a few of the top men. But the secrets are shrouded in ritual and religion, and may use them.
Writing is a lonely job. Even if a writer socializes regularly, when he gets down to the real business of his life, it is he and his type writer or word processor. No one else is or can be involved in the matter.
It is odd that, though no one who has never studied chess would dream he could beat a Grand Master, so many strict amateurs with little or no scientific training are convinced they can point out the 'obvious' flaws in Einstein's theories.
Any technological advance can be dangerous. Fire was dangerous from the start, and so (even more so) was speech -- and both are still dangerous to this day -- but human beings would not be human without them.
There was this superstitious fear on the part of the pygmies of the present for the relics of the giants of the past.
You wait for the war to happen like vultures. If you want to help, prevent the war. Don't save the remnants. Save them all.
They absorb carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. What could be more desirable? And they look good in the bargain. Stop chopping down the rain forests and plant more saplings, and we're on our way.
Aimless extension of knowledge, however, which is what I think you really mean by the term curiosity, is merely inefficiency. I am designed to avoid inefficiency.
Aimless extension of knowledge, however, which is what I think you really mean by the term curiosity, is merely inefficiency. I am designed to avoid inefficiency." -R. Daneel Olivaw.
There's nothing to it. All you have to do is take a close look at yourself and you will understand everyone else. We're in no way different ourselves... You show me someone who can't understand people and I'll show you someone who has built up a false image of himself.
All knowledge is one. When a light brightens and illuminates a corner of a room, it adds to the general illumination of the entire room. Over and over again, scientific discoveries have provided answers to problems that had no apparent connection with the phenomena that gave rise to the discovery.
The world is being Americanized and technologized to its limits, and that makes it dull for some people. Reaching the Moon restores the frontier and gives us the lands beyond.
It is change, continuing change, inevitable change that is the dominant factor in society today.
It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our every man must take on a science fictional way of thinking.
Why is it, I wonder, that anyone who displays superior athletic ability is an object of admiration to his classmates, while one who displays superior mental ability is an object of hatred?
Naturally, since the Sumerians didn't know what caused the flood anymore than we do, they blamed the gods. (That's the advantage of religion. You're never short an explanation for anything.).
After years of finding mathematics easy, I finally reached integral calculus and came up against a barrier. I realized that this was as far as I could go, and to this day I have never successfully gone beyond it in any but the most superficial way.
No matter how carefully records are kept and filed and computerized, they grow fuzzy with time. Stories grow by accretion. Tales accumulate -- like dust. The longer the time lapse, the dustier the history -- until it degenerates into fables.
This idea standardized time zones was first advanced and fought for by Sandford Fleming of Canada and Charles F. Dowd of the United States. I mention them chiefly because like so many benefactors of mankind they have been rewarded by total obscurity.
A myth or legend is simply not made up out of a vacuum. Nothing is -- or can be. Somehow there is a kernel of truth behind it, however distorted that might be.
Emotionally I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.
The City was the acme of efficiency, but it made demands of its inhabitants. It asked them to live in a tight routine and order their lives under a strict and scientific control.
It was childish to feel disappointed, but childishness comes almost as naturally to a man as to a child.
Intuition is the art, peculiar to the human mind, of working out the correct answer from data that is, in itself, incomplete or even, perhaps, misleading.
Early in my school career, I turned out to be an incorrigible disciplinary problem. I could understand what the teacher was saying as fast as she could say it, I found time hanging heavy, so I would occasionally talk to my neighbor. That was my great crime, I talked in school.
Feminine intuition? Is that what you wanted the robot for? You men. Faced with a woman reaching a correct conclusion and unable to accept the fact that she is your equal or superior in intelligence, you invent something called feminine intuition.
Where is the world whose people don't prefer a comfortable, warm, and well-worn belief, however illogical, to the chilly winds of uncertainty.
To introduce something altogether new would mean to begin all over, to become ignorant again, and to run the old, old risk of failing to learn.
The elderly man, flushed with pleasure, was recounting in voluble fashion his experiences and impressions. His wife joined in periodically, with meticulous corrections involving completely unimportant points; these being given and taken in the best of humor.
I want to be a human being, nothing more and nothing less. ... I don't suppose we can ever stop hating each other, but why encourage that by keeping the old labels with their ready-made history of millennial hate?
University President: Why is it that you physicists always require so much expensive equipment? Now the Department of Mathematics requires nothing but money for paper, pencils, and erasers ... and the Department of Philosophy is better still. It doesn't even ask for erasers.
The tyranny that now exists is actual. That which may exist in the future is potential. If we are always to draw back from change with the thought that the change may be for the worse, then there is no hope at all of ever escaping injustice.
Korell is that frequent phenomenon in history : the republic whose ruler has every attribute of the absolute monarch but the name. It therefore enjoyed the usual despotism unrestrained even by those two moderating influences in the legitimate monarchies: regal honor and court etiquette.
It is always useful, you see, to subject the past life of reform politicians to rather inquisitive research.
Saying something is 'too bad' is easy. You say you disapprove, which makes you a nice person, and then you can go about your business and not be interested anymore. It's a lot worse than 'too bad.' It's against everything decent and natural.
All normal life, Peter, consciously or otherwise, resent domination. If the domination is by an inferior, or by a supposed inferior, the resentment becomes stronger.
The peace and joy of the Christmas season was marred by a proclamation of a general strike of all the military forces of the world. Panic reigns in the hearts of all the patriots of every persuasion. Meanwhile, fears of universal disaster sank to an all-time low over the world.
I prefer rationalism to atheism. The question of God and other objects-of-faith are outside reason and play no part in rationalism, thus you don't have to waste your time in either attacking or defending.
There are many aspects of the universe that still cannot be explained satisfactorily by science; but ignorance implies only ignorance that may someday be conquered. To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.
Limmar Ponyets was completely a-lather when the call reached his receiver -- which proves that the old bromide about telemessages and the bathtub holds true even in the dark, hard space of the Galactic Periphery.
It is a mistake, he said, to suppose that the public wants the environment protected or their lives saved and that they will be grateful to any idealist who will fight for such ends. What the public wants is their own individual comfort.
Dalton's records, carefully preserved for a century, were destroyed during the World War II bombing of Manchester. It is not only the living who are killed in war.
The Earth should not be cut up into hundreds of different sections, each inhabited by a self-defined segment of humanity that considers its own welfare and its own national security to be paramount above all other consideration.
I believe that scientific knowledge has fractal properties, that no matter how much we learn, whatever is left, however small it may seem, is just as infinitely complex as the whole was to start with. That, I think, is the secret of the Universe.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
The further a device is removed from human control, the more authentically mechanical it seems, and the whole trend in technology has been to devise machines that are less and less under direct human control and more and more under their own apparent will.
The young specialist in English Lit, ...lectured me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the Universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern knowledge is that it is wrong.
There's so much knowledge to be had that specialists cling to their specialties as a shield against having to know anything about anything else. They avoid being drowned.
The whole business is the crudest sort of stratagem, since we have no way of foreseeing it to the end. It is a mere paying out of rope on the chance that somewhere along the length of it will be a noose.
Science is a set of rules to keep us from telling lies to each other. All scientists really have is a reputation for telling the truth.
There is nothing frightening about an eternal dreamless sleep. Surely it is better than eternal torment in Hell and eternal boredom in Heaven.
When life is so harsh that a man loses all hope in himself, then he raises his eyes to a shining rock, worshipping it, just to find hope again, rather than looking to his own acts for hope and salvation. Yes, atheism IS a redemptive belief. It is theism that denies man's own redemptive nature.
The whole world might know you and acclaim you, but someone in the past, forever unreachable, forever unknowing, spoils it all.
What is really amazing, and frustrating, is mankind's habit of refusing to see the obvious and inevitable until it is there, and then muttering about unforeseen catastrophes.
Whenever I have endured or accomplished some difficult task -- such as watching television, going out socially or sleeping -- I always look forward to rewarding myself with the small pleasure of getting back to my typewriter and writing something.
It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to UNlearn.
The age of the pulp magazine was the last in which youngsters, to get their primitive material, were forced to be literate.
In theory, there is nothing the computer can do that the human mind can not do. The computer merely takes a finite amount of data and performs a finite number of operations upon them. The human mind can duplicate the process.
All of a sudden, space isn't friendly. All of a sudden, it's a place where people can die... Many more people are going to die. But we can't explore space if the requirement is that there be no casualties; we can't do anything if the requirement is that there be no casualties.
The rotten tree-trunk, until the very moment when the storm-blast breaks it in two, has all the appearance of might it ever had.
I received the fundamentals of my education in school, but that was not enough. My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true architecture, I got out of the public library.
I received the fundamentals of my education in school, but that was not enough. My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true architecture, I got out of the public library. For an impoverished child whose family could not afford to buy books, the library was the open door to wonder and achievement, and I can never be sufficiently grateful that I had the wit to charge through that door and make the most of it.
I would argue that a truly developed country would be beyond Presidents and Kings. In a world with some semblance of equality, each liberal-minded woman, each gay person, and indeed almost every person could be their own President. In a world of equals, what real service does a ruler provide?
There are no nations! There is only humanity. And if we don't come to understand that right soon, there will be no nations, because there will be no humanity.
Pierre Curie, a brilliant scientist, happened to marry a still more brilliant one--Marie, the famous Madame Curie--and is the only great scientist in history who is consistently identified as the husband of someone else.