His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink.
What have I always believed? That on the whole, and by and large, if a man lived properly, not according to what any priests said, but according to what seemed decent and honest inside, then it would, at the end, more or less, turn out all right.
What's a philosopher?' said Brutha. Someone who's bright enough to find a job with no heavy lifting,' said a voice in his head.
Fear is a strange soil. It grows obedience like corn, which grow in straight lines to make weeding easier. But sometimes it grows the potatoes of defiance, which flourish underground.
Gods don't like people not doing much work. People who aren't busy all the time might start to think.
Humans! They lived in a world where the grass continued to be green and the sun rose every day and flowers regularly turned into fruit, and what impressed them? Weeping statues. And wine made out of water! A mere quantum-mechanistic tunnel effect, that'd happen anyway if you were prepared to wait zillions of years. As if the turning of sunlight into wine, by means of vines and grapes and time and enzymes, wasn't a thousand times more impressive and happened all the time...
The merest accident of microgeography had meant that the first man to hear the voice of Om, and who gave Om his view of humans, was a shepherd and not a goatherd. They have quite different ways of looking at the world, and the whole of history might have been different. For sheep are stupid, and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led.
The figures looked more or less human. And they were engaged in religion. You could tell by the knives (it's not murder if you do it for a god).
There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.
That's why it's always worth having a few philosophers around the place. One minute it's all is truth beauty and is beauty truth, and does a falling tree in the forest make a sound if there's no one there to hear it, and then just when you think they're going to start dribbling one of 'em says, incidentally, putting a thirty-foot parabolic reflector on a high place to shoot the rays of the sun at an enemy's ships would be a very interesting demonstration of optical principles.
The people who really run organizations are usually found several levels down, where it is still possible to get things done.
It's hard to explain," said Brutha. "But I think it's got something to do with how people should behave... you should do things because they're right. Not because gods say so. They might say something different another time.
When you can flatten entire cities at a whim, a tendency towards quiet reflection and seeing-things-from-the-other-fellow's-point- of-view is seldom necessary.
Sometimes the crime follows the punishment, which only serves to prove the foresight of the Great God." "That's what my grandmother used to say," said Brutha automatically. "Indeed? I would like to know more about this formidable lady." "She used to give me a thrashing every morning because I would certainly do something to deserve it during the day," said Brutha. "A most complete understanding of the nature of mankind,.
‘Yes, but humans are more important than animals,’ said Brutha. ‘This is a point of view often expressed by humans,’ said Om.
is, as it were, a sojourn in a cave. What can we know of reality? For all we see of the true nature of existence is, shall we say, no more than bewildering and amusing shadows cast upon the inner wall of the cave by the unseen blinding light of absolute truth, from which we may or may not deduce some glimmer of veracity, and we as troglodyte seekers of wisdom can only lift our voices to the unseen and say, humbly, ‘Go on, do Deformed Rabbit ... it’s my favorite.’.
Om began to feel the acute depression that steals over every realist in the presence of an optimist.
Probably the last man who knew how it worked had been tortured to death years before. Or as soon as it was installed. Killing the creator was a traditional method of patent protection.
Last night there seemed to be a chance. Anything was possible last night. That was the trouble with last nights. They were always followed by this mornings.
But is all this true?" said Brutha. Didactylos shrugged. "Could be. Could be. We are here and it is now. The way I see it is, after that, everything tends towards guesswork." "You mean you don't KNOW it's true?" said Brutha. "I THINK it might be," said Didactylos. "I could be wrong. Not being certain is what being a philosopher is all about.
Death paused. YOU HAVE PERHAPS HEARD THE PHRASE, he said, THAT HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE? ‘Yes. Yes, of course.’ Death nodded. IN TIME, he said, YOU WILL LEARN THAT IT IS WRONG.
It is a popular fact that nine-tenths of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong. Not even the most stupid Creator would go to the trouble of making the human head carry around several pounds of unnecessary gray goo if its only real purpose was, for example, to serve as a delicacy for certain remote tribesmen in unexplored valleys.
You can die for your country or your people or your family, but for a god you should live fully and busily, every day of a long life.
No other library anywhere, for example, has a whole gallery of unwritten books - books that would have been written if the author hadn't been eaten by an alligator around chapter 1, and so on. Atlases of imaginary places. Dictionaries of illusory words. Spotter's guides to invisible things. Wild thesauri in the Lost Reading Room. A library so big that it distorts reality and has opened gateways to all other libraries, everywhere and everywhen...
Slave is an Ephebian word. In Om we have no word for slave,' said Vorbis. 'So I understand,' said the Tyrant. 'I imagine that fish have no word for water.
Take it from me, whenever you see a bunch of buggers puttering around talking about truth and beauty and the best way of attacking Ethics, you can bet your sandals it's all because dozens of other poor buggers are doing all the real work around the place.
And it all meant this: that there are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal, kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do. Vorbis loved knowing that. A man who knew that, knew everything he needed to know about people.
Words are the litmus paper of the minds. If you find yourself in the power of someone who will use the word "commence" in cold blood, go somewhere else very quickly. But if they say "Enter", don't stop to pack.
Humans! They lived in a world where the grass continued to be green and the sun rose every day and flowers regularly turned into fruit, and what impressed them? Weeping statues. And wine made out of water!.
I like the idea of democracy. You have to have someone everyone distrusts," said Brutha. "That way, everyone's happy.
Brother Preptil, the master of the music, had described Brutha's voice as putting him in mind of a disappointed vulture arriving too late at the dead donkey.
He knew from experience that true and obvious ideas, such as the ineffable wisdom and judgment of the Great God Om, seemed so obscure to many people that you actually had to kill them before they saw the error of their ways...
Om rubed his head. This wasn't god-like thinking. It seemed simpler when you were up here. It was all a game. You forgot that it wasn't a game down there. People died. Bits got chopped off. We're like eagles up here, he thought. Sometimes we show tortoise how to fly. Then we let go.
History has to be observed. Otherwise it’s not history. It’s just … well, things happening one after another.
All libraries, everywhere, are connected by the bookworm holes in space created by the strong space-time distortions found around any large collections of books. Only a very few librarians learn the secret, and there are inflexible rules about making use of the fact. Because it amounts to time travel, and time travel causes big problems.
Furnishing was not a priority in the Citadel. Shelves, stools, tables... There was a rumor among the novices that priests towards the top of the hierarchy had golden furniture, but there was no sign of it here. The room was as severe as anything in the novices' quarters although it had, perhaps, a more opulent severity; it wasn't the forced bareness of poverty, but the starkness of intent.
Gods didn’t mind atheists, if they were deep, hot, fiery, atheists like Simony, who spend their whole life hating gods for not existing. That sort of atheism was a rock. It was nearly belief ….
In the rain-forests of Brutha’s subconscious the butterfly of doubt emerged and flapped an experimental wing, all unaware of what chaos theory has to say about this sort of thing ….