Vassily: My father says that the things you showed me are valueless, gewgaws and trinkets.
Peddler: …Value’s in what people think. Not in what’s real. Value’s in dreams, boy.
…The use of overstrong filters becomes a questionable habit.
“Look, we all have a thirst for wonder. It’s a deeply human quality. Science and religion are both bound up with it. What I’m saying is, you don’t have to make stories up, you don’t have to exaggerate. There’s wonder and awe enough in the real world. Nature’s a lot better at inventing wonders than we are.”
Balashëv found Davout seated on a barrel in the shed of a peasant’s hut, writing–he was auditing accounts. Better quarters could have been found him, but Marshal Davout was one of those men who purposely put themselves in most depressing conditions to have a justification for being gloomy. For the same reason they are always hard at work and in a hurry.
How far a translator can reasonably drift from a literal text has everything to do with the fabric of human associations—with what lies mentally close to what, and what lies far away.
“Nuncle, how can you even think of not attending? This will be history, alive…”
“I prefer my history dead. Dead history is writ in ink, the living sort in blood.”
(Asha Greyjoy and Rodrik the Reader)
–NO, YOU CAN’T RIDE A CAT. WHO EVER HEARD OF THE DEATH OF RATS RIDING A CAT? THE DEATH OF RATS WOULD RIDE SOME KIND OF DOG.
Each of us is a tiny being, permitted to ride on the outermost skin of one of the smaller planets for a few dozen trips around the local star. …
… If the Earth were as old as a person, a typical organism would be born, live, and die in a sliver of a second. We are fleeting, transitional creatures, snowflakes fallen on the hearth fire. That we understand even a little of our origins is one of the great triumphs of human insight and courage.
Nothing seems to us changed. Out of the unreal shadows of the night comes back the real life that we had known. We have to resume it where we had left off, and there steals over us a terrible sense of the necessity for the continuance of energy in the same wearisome round of stereotyped habits, or a wild longing, it may be, that our eyelids might open some morning upon a world that had been refashioned anew in the darkness for our pleasure, a world in which things would have fresh shapes and colors, and be changed, or have other secrets,…
(of being awake before dawn, and the light rises)
…Eventually, a large fraction of the trillion neurons in the man’s brain become involved with computing the visual and auditory data just acquired. Sodium and potassium gates open and close. Electrical currents speed along neuron fibers. Molecules flow from one nerve ending to the next.
All of this is known. What is not known is why, after about a minute, the man walks over to the woman and smiles.