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E. B. White – Writings from The New Yorker 1927-1976 (1957)

My experience with humans, unfortunately, was largely confined to my experience with you. But even that limited association taught me that humans have no capacity for adapting themselves to anything at all. Furthermore, they have no intention of adapting themselves. Human beings are motivated by a deeply rooted desire to change their environment and make it adapt to them. Men won’t adapt to space, space will adapt to men—and that’ll be a mess, too.

“Fred on Space”

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Isaac Asimov – Second Foundation (1953)

The Student put his hand upon the sheaf of calculating paper he had brought with him and said, “Are you sure that the problem is a factual one?”

“The premises are true. I have distorted nothing.”

“Then I must accept the results, and I do not want to.”

“Naturally. But what have your wants to do with it?”

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Isaac Asimov – Second Foundation (1953)

And then again, in a society given over, as that of the First Empire was, to the physical sciences and inanimate technology, there was a vague but mighty sociological push away from the study of the mind. It was less respectable because less immediately useful; and it was poorly financed since it was less profitable.

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Isaac Asimov – Foundation and Empire (1952)

It was strange that a world which had been untouched through the vast conquering sweeps and retreats of a millennia, and equally untouched by the civil wars and palace revolutions of other millennia–should lie dead at last. It was strange that the Glory of the Galaxy should be a rotting corpse.

And pathetic!

For centuries would yet pass before the mighty works of fifty generations of humans would decay past use. Only the declining powers of men themselves, rendered them useless now.

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Isaac Asimov – Foundation and Empire (1952)

If, from a distance of seven thousand parsecs, the fall of Kalgan to the armies of the Mule had produced reverberations that had excited the curiosity of an old Trader, the apprehension of a dogged captain, and the annoyance of a meticulous mayor–to those on Kalgan itself, it produced nothing and excited no one. It is the invariable lesson to humanity that distance in time, and in space as well, lends focus. It is not recorded, incidentally, that the lesson has ever been permanently learned.

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Robin McKinley – Spindle’s End (2000)

Rosie could feel him thinking, but he was silent for long enough that she had the opportunity to notice that he was the only one of all of them who was not blundering over his own feet. She felt him notice her noticing—there was a certain sense of “at last” about it—and then he said: The things that aren’t there are not there in different ways. Some of them are almost there and some of them are nearly not-there.

Narl said slowly, “Yes. This seems to be a—neither here nor there sort of place. And the things here are neither here nor there either.”

“Only they don’t seem to—upset Flinx’s sense of balance,” said Rosie.

“Perhaps cats are neither here nor there all the time,” said Narl, and Flinx, picking up the gist of this through Rosie, gave Narl a thoughtful look before returning to his tail.