Best 62 of Olaf Stapledon quotes - MyQuotes

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Olaf Stapledon
By Anonym 15 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

We have no government and no laws, if by law is meant a stereotyped convention supported by force, and not to be altered without the aid of cumbersome machinery.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Even if the powers destroy us," he said, "who are we, to condemn them? As well might a fleeting word judge the speaker that forms it. Perhaps they use us for their own high ends, use our strength and our weakness, our joy and our pain, in some theme inconceivable to us, and excellent." But I protested, "What theme could justify such waste, such futility? And how can we help judging; and how otherwise can we judge than by the light of our own hearts, by which we judge ourselves? It would be base to praise the Star Maker, knowing that he was too insensitive to care about the fate of his worlds." Bvalltu was silent in his mind for a moment. Then he looked up, searching among the smoke-clouds for a daytime star. And then he said to me in his mind, "If he saved all the worlds, but tormented just one man, would you forgive him? Or if he was a little harsh only to one stupid child? What has our pain to do with it, or our failure? Star Maker! It is a good word, though we can have no notion of its meaning. Oh, Star Maker, even if you destroy me, I must praise you. Even if you torture my dearest. Even if you torment and waste all your lovely worlds, the little figments of your imagination, yet I must praise you. For if you do so, it must be right. In me it would be wrong, but in you it must be right.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Very soon the heavens presented an extraordinary appearance, for all the stars directly behind me were now deep red, while those directly ahead were violet. Rubies lay behind me, amethysts ahead of me.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Is the beauty of the Whole really enhanced by our agony? And is the Whole really beautiful? And what is beauty? Throughout all his existence man has been striving to hear the music of the spheres, and has seemed to himself once and again to catch some phrase of it, or even a hint of the whole form of it. Yet he can never be sure that he has truly heard it, nor even that there is any such perfect music at all to be heard. Inevitably so, for if it exists, it is not for him in his littleness. But one thing is certain. Man himself, at the very least, is music, a brave theme that makes music also of its vast accompaniment, its matrix of storms and stars. Man himself in his degree is eternally a beauty in the eternal form of things. It is very good to have been man. And so we may go forward together with laughter in our hearts, and peace, thankful for the past, and for our own courage. For we shall make after all a fair conclusion to this brief music that is man.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

But in spite of this material prosperity he was a slave. His work and his leisure consisted of feverish activity, punctuated by moments of listless idleness which he regarded as both sinful and unpleasant. Unless he was one of the furiously successful minority, he was apt to be haunted by moments of brooding, too formless to be called meditation, and of yearning, too blind to be called desire. For he and all his contemporaries were ruled by certain ideas which prevented them from living a fully human life.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Individuals of the earlier species had suffered from an almost insurmountable spiritual isolation from one another. Not even lovers, and scarcely even the geniuses with special insight into personality, ever had anything like accurate vision of one another... The most precious gift that a lover could bring to the beloved was not virginity but sexual experience. The union, it was felt, was the more pregnant the more each party could contribute from previous sexual and spiritual intimacy with others.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

It was strange to us that none of these three victims made any attempt to resist the attack. Indeed, not one inhabitant in any of these worlds considered for a moment the possibility of resistance. In every case the attitude to disaster seemed to express itself in such terms as these: "To retaliate would be to wound our communal spirit beyond cure. We choose rather to die. The theme of spirit that we have created must inevitably be broken short, whether by the ruthlessness of the invader or by our own resort to arms. It is better to be destroyed than to triumph in slaying the spirit. Such as it is, the spirit that we have achieved is fair; and it is indestructibly woven into the tissue of the cosmos. We die praising the universe in which at least such an achievement as ours can be. We die knowing that the promise of further glory outlives us in other galaxies. We die praising the Star Maker, the Star Destroyer.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Our outworn economic system dooms millions to frustration.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

In a sick world even the hale are sick.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

It is better to be destroyed than to triumph in slaying the spirit... We die praising the universe in which at least such an achievement as ours can be.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

So might we ourselves look down into some rock-pool where lowly creatures repeat with naive zest dramas learned by their ancestors æons ago.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

For the former, activity, any kind of activity, was an end in itself; for the latter, activity was but a progress toward the true end, which was rest, and peace of mind. Action was to be undertaken only when equilibrium was disturbed.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

But why," he said with animation, "do the English not read their own great literature?" Victor laughed triumphantly, and said, "Because at school they are made to hate it.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

It seemed to me that I now saw the Star Maker in two aspects: as the spirit's particular creative mood that had given rise to me, the cosmos; and also, most dreadfully, as something incomparably greater than creativity, namely as the eternally achieved perfection of the absolute spirit. Barren, barren and trivial are these words. But not barren the experience.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

I am the scent that he will follow always, hunting for God.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

He should avail himself of their resources in such ways as to advance the expression of the spirit in the life of mankind. He should use them so as to afford to every human being the greatest possible opportunity for developing and expressing his distinctively human capacity as an instrument of the spirit, as a centre of sensitive and intelligent awareness of the objective universe, as a centre of love of all lovely things, and of creative action for the spirit.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Why is it that all individuals today, at least all who are socially conscious, are in one way or another tortured by social guilt? Because whatever they do is fatally false, falsified by the pressure of an utterly false society. If you live solely for individual contacts and personal service, then you betray your obligation to the suffering millions with whom you have no contact. If you live for economic or social and political action to cure the sick world, then, either you will be entirely ineffective, or else you will gain power, and so be corrupted by power; and then you will contribute to the burden of the institutionalism and mechanized tyranny that is turning all men into robots. If you withdraw from the world to purge your soul of the world’s poison, seeking a lone salvation in religious discipline and contemplation, then again you betray your immediate obligation to your fellows, even if you innocently suppose you will discover truth invaluable to a future generation. No! As I see it, do what you will, you are damned, just because you are all of a piece with a damned world, a damned species.

By Anonym 18 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

The future needed service, not pity, not piety; but in the past lay darkness, confusion, waste, and all the cramped primitive minds, bewildered, torturing one another in their stupidity, yet one and all in some unique manner, beautiful.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

No visiting angel, or explorer from another planet, could have guessed that this bland orb [Earth] teemed with vermin, with world-mastering, self-torturing, incipiently angelic beasts.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

To say that the cosmos was expanding is equally to say that its members were contracting. The ultimate centers of power, each at first coincident... themselves generated the cosmical space by their disengagement from each other.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

The one reasonable goal of social life was affirmed to be the creation of a world of awakened, of sensitive, intelligent, and mutually understanding personalities, banded together for the common purpose of exploring the universe and developing the human spirit's manifold potentialities.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

[S]ervants of darkness had no lasting joy in their service. In all of them the will for darkness was a perversion of the will for the light. In all but a few maniacs the satisfaction of the will for darkness was at all times countered by a revulsion which the unhappy spirit either dared not confess even to itself, or else rejected as cowardly and evil.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

I see, indeed I know, that in some sense God is love, and God is wisdom, and God is creative action, yes and God is beauty; but what God actually is, whether the maker of all things, or the fragrance of all things, or just a dream in our own hearts, I have not the art to know. Neither have you, I believe; nor any man, nor any spirit of our humble stature.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Philosophy is an amazing tissue of really fine thinking and incredible, puerile mistakes. It's like one of those rubber 'bones' they give dogs to chew, damned good for the mind's teeth, but as food - no bloody good at all.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

...the whole of American life was organized around the cult of the powerful individual, that phantom ideal which Europe herself had only begun to outgrow in her last phase. Those Americans who wholly failed to realize this ideal, who remained at the bottom of the social ladder, either consoled themselves with hopes for the future, or stole symbolical satisfaction by identifying themselves with some popular star, or gloated upon their American citizenship, and applauded the arrogant foreign policy of their government.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Even when all the worlds have frozen or exploded, and all the suns gone dead and cold, there'll still be time. Oh, God, what for?

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Sooner or later for good or ill, a united mankind, equipped with science and power, will probably turn its attention to the other planets, not only for economic exploitation, but also as possible homes for man. . . . The goal for the solar system would seem to be that it should become an interplanetary community of very diverse worlds . . . . Through the pooling of this wealth of experience, through this 'commonwealth of worlds,' new levels of mental and spiritual development should become possible, levels at present quite inconceivable to man.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

In the tide of these wild thoughts we checked our fancy, remembering that only on the rare grains called planets can life gain foothold, and that all this wealth of restless jewels was but a waste of fire.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

The Tibetan missionaries in their mood of bright confidence disconcerted the imperial governments by laughing the new movement into frustration. For a sham faith cannot stand ridicule.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

All this long human story, most passionate and tragic in the living, was but an unimportant, a seemingly barren and negligible effort, lasting only for a few moments in the life of the galaxy. When it was over, the host of the planetary systems still lived on, with here and there a casualty, and here and there among the stars a new planetary birth, and here and there a fresh disaster.

By Anonym 16 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

In this passionately social world, loneliness dogged the spirit. People were constantly “getting together,” but they never really got there. Everyone was terrified of being alone with himself; yet in company, in spite of the universal assumption of comradeship, these strange beings remained as remote from one another as the stars. For everyone searched his neighbour’s eyes for the image of himself, and never saw anything else. Or if he did, he was outraged and terrified.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

No visiting angel, or explorer from another planet could have guessed that this bland orb teemed with vermin, with world-mastering, self-torturing, incipiently angelic beasts.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Myriads of individuals, each one unique, live out their lives in rapt intercourse with one another, contribute their heart's pulses to the universal music, and presently vanish, giving place to others. All this age-long sequence of private living, which is the actual tissue of humanity's flesh, I cannot describe. I can only trace, as it were, the disembodied form of its growth.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

I loathe the urchin's cruelty to the cat, but I will not loathe the urchin. I loathe Hitler's mass-torturing, but not Hitler; and the money-man's heartlessness, but not the man. I love the swallow's flight, and I love the swallow; the urchin's gleam of tenderness, and the urchin.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

The creator, if he should love his creature, would be loving only a part of himself; but the creature, praising the creator, praises an infinity beyond himself.

By Anonym 20 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

With characteristic lack of false modesty, John once said to me, "My looks are a rough test of people. If they don't begin to see me beautiful when they have had a chance to learn, I know they're dead inside, and dangerous.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Great are the stars, and man is of no account to them. But man is a fair spirit, whom a star conceived and a star kills. He is greater than those bright blind companies. For though in them there is incalculable potentiality, in him there is achievement, small, but actual. Too soon, seemingly, he comes to his end. But when he is done he will not be nothing, not as though he had never been; for he is eternally a beauty in the eternal form of things.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

The cosmos exploded, actualizing its potentiality of space and time. The centers of power, like fragments of a bursting bomb, were hurled apart. But each one retained in itself, as a memory and a longing, the single point of the whole; and each mirrored in itself aspects of all the others throughout all the cosmical space and time.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

And so we may go forward together with laughter in our hearts, and peace, thankful for the past, and for our own courage. For we shall make after all a fair conclusion to this brief music that is man.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

[T]he individual in whom the will for the light is strong and clear finds his heart inextricably bound up with the struggle of the forces of light in his native place and time. Much as he may long for the opportunity of fuller self- expression in a happier world, he knows that for him self-expression is impossible save in the world in which his mind is rooted. The individual in whom the will for the light is weak soon persuades himself that his opportunity lies elsewhere.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

This microcosm was pregnant with the germ of a proper time and space, and all the kinds of cosmical beings. Within this punctual cosmos the myriad but not unnumbered physical centers of power, which men conceive vaguely as electrons, protons, and the rest, were at first coincident with one another. And they were dormant. The matter of ten million galaxies lay dormant in a point.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

The expansion of the whole cosmos was but the shrinkage of all its physical units and of the wavelengths of light.

By Anonym 19 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

The truth of the matter was something much more subtle and tremendous than any plain physical miracle could ever be. But never mind that. The important thing was that, when I did see the stars (riotously darting in all directions according to the caprice of their own wild natures, yet in every movement confirming the law), the whole tangled horror that had tormented me finally presented itself to me in its truth and beautiful shape. And I knew that the first, blind stage of my childhood had ended.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Henceforth the cosmos, once a swarm of blazing galaxies, each a swarm of stars, was composed wholly of star-corpses. These dark grains drifted through the dark void, like an infinitely tenuous smoke rising from an extinguished fire. Upon these motes, these gigantic worlds, the ultimate populations had created here and there with their artificial lighting a pale glow, invisible even from the innermost ring of lifeless planets.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

In you, humanity is precarious; and so, in dread and in shame, you kill the animal in you. And its slaughter poisons you.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

A nation . . . is just a society for hating foreigners.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

No influence of ours can save your species from destruction. Nothing could save it but a profound change in your own nature; and that cannot be. Wandering among you, we move always with fore-knowledge of the doom which your own imperfection imposes on you. Even if we could, we would not change it; for it is a theme required in the strange music of the spheres.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

It seemed to me that I, the spirit of so many worlds, the flower of so many ages, was the Church Cosmical, fit at last to be the bride of God. But instead I was blinded and seared and struck down by terrible light.

By Anonym 17 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

Many of the great economic masters, though they had originally favored radio-bliss in moderation as an opiate for the discontented workers, now turned against it. Their craving was for power; and for power they needed slaves whose labor they could command for their great industrial ventures. They therefore developed an instrument which was at once an opiate and a spur. By every method of propaganda they sought to rouse the passions of nationalism and racial hatred. They created, in fact, the "Other Fascism", complete with lies, with mystical cult of race and state, with scorn of reason, with praise of brutal mastery, with appeal at once to the vilest and to the generous motives of the deluded young.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Olaf Stapledon

This kind of internal "telepathic" intercourse, which was to serve me in all my wanderings, was at first difficult, innefective, and painful. But in time I came to be able to live through the experiences of my host with vividness and accuracy, while yet preserving my own individuality, my own critical intelligence, my own desires and fears. Only when the other had come to realize my presence within him could he, by a special act of volition, keep particular thoughts secret from me.