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Harlan Ellison

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NO ONE GETS OUT OF CHILDHOOD ALIVE. It's not the first time I've said that. But among the few worthy bon mots I've gotten off in sixty-seven years, that and possibly one other may be the only considerations eligible for carving on my tombstone. (The other one is the one entrepreneurs have misappropriated to emboss on buttons and bumper stickers: The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.
(I don't so much mind that they pirated it, but what does honk me off is that they never get it right. They render it dull and imbecile by phrasing it thus: "The two most common things in the universe are..."
(Not things, you insensate gobbets of ambulatory giraffe dung, elements! Elements is funny, things is imprecise and semi-guttural. Things! Geezus, when will the goyim learn they don't know how to tell a joke.
--
Introduction to Blast Off : Rockets, Robots, Ray Guns, and Rarities from the Golden Age of Space Toys (2001) by S. Mark Young, Steve Duin, Mike Richardson, p. 6; the quote on hydrogen and stupidity is said to have originated with an essay of his in the 1960s, and is often misattributed to Frank Zappa, who made similar remarks in The Real Frank Zappa Book (1989): "Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe."

 
Harlan Ellison

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Nature consists of the elements given by the senses. Primitive man first takes out of them certain complexes of these elements that present themselves with a certain stability and are most important to him. The first and oldest words are names for "things". ... The sensations are no "symbols of things". On the contrary the "thing" is a mental symbol for a sensation-complex of relative stability. Not the things, the bodies, but colours, sounds, pressures, times (what we usually call sensations) are the true elements of the world.

 
Ernst Mach
 

The fashionable ideology that "artificial" lacks the inherent goodness of "natural" is an appealing, but hopelessly simplistic notion of the intellectually chic. Artifice is the result of a deliberate intent to make. Nature also "makes" things, using a set of basic building blocks common throughout the universe. Exchanging infinite time for deliberate design, nature has ingeniously built plants, planets, galaxies and unimaginable constructs which seem to structure the universe itself. What we call "natural" is simply the result of whatever set of rules nature has followed in fashioning our observable reality. On planet Earth, nature has manipulated the common elements to fashion everything from bacteria to the molten core of the planet. Discoveries in the "nano" technologies of bio, molecular, and micro engineering will re-edit the nomenclature of "natural" versus "unnatural", blurring if not erasing the line of distinction between "machine" and "organism", "natural" and "unnatural", "God-given" and "man-made".

 
Syd Mead
 

There cannot be a single, simple body which is infinite, either, as some hold, one distinct from the elements, which they then derive from it, nor without this qualification. For there are some who make this (i.e. a body distinct from the elements) the infinite, and not air or water, in order that the other things may not be destroyed by their infinity. They are in opposition one to another — air is cold, water moist, and fire hot—and therefore, if any one of them were infinite, the rest would have ceased to be by this time. Accordingly they say that what is infinite is something other than the elements, and from it the elements arise.

 
Anaximander
 

The Buddha said, "Elements come together and form this body. At the time of appearing, elements appear. At the time of disappearing, elements disappear. When elements appear, I do not say "I" appear. When elements disappear, I do not say "I" disappear. Past moments and future moments do not arise in sequence. Past elements and future elements are not in alignment. This is the meaning of ocean mudra samadhi."
Closely investigate these words by the Buddha. Attaining the way and entering realization does not necessarily require extensive learning or realization. Anyone can attain the way through a simple verse of four lines. Even scholars of extensive learning can enter realization through a one line verse.

 
Dogen
 

The memory of all things is in all things, Danlo remembered. Nothing is ever truly lost.
"The true Elder Eddas," he said "are universal memories. The One memory is just the memory of the universe itself. The way the universe evolves in conscioiusness of itself and causes itself to be. We are just this blessed consciousness, nothing more, nothing less. We are the light inside light that fuses into the atoms of our bodies; we are the fire that whirls across the stellar deeps and dances all things into being."
"Now you are speaking mystically again, Little Fellow."
"About some things there is no other way to speak."

 
David Zindell
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