Before we work on artificial intelligence, why don’t we do something about natural stupidity?
I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.
For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3.
There can be too much communication between people.
We live at a time when man believes himself fabulously capable of creation, but he does not know what to create. Lord of all things, he is not lord of himself. He feels lost amid his own abundance. With more means at its disposal, more knowledge, more techniques than ever, it turns out that the world today goes the same way as the worst of worlds that have been: it simply drifts.
Just because everything is different doesn’t mean anything has changed.
So there he is at last. Man on the moon. The poor, magnificent bungler! He can’t even get to the office without undergoing the agonies of the damned, but give him a little metal, a few chemicals, some wire, and 20 or 30 billion dollars and vroom! there he is, up on a rock a quarter of a million miles up in the sky.
Without meaning to belittle the wonders of science, I do not think they can absolve mankind of suffering, desire, madness, and death.
Even when I protest the assembly-line production of our food, our songs, our language, and eventually our souls, I know that it was a rare home that baked good bread in the old days. Mother’s cooking was with rare exceptions poor, that good unpasteurized milk touched only by flies and bits of manure crawled with bacteria, the healthy old-time life was riddled with aches, sudden death from unknown causes, and that sweet local speech I mourn was the child of illiteracy and ignorance. It is the nature of a man as he grows older, a small bridge in time, to protest against change, particularly change for the better.
Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.
We do not like to look at the shadow side of ourselves; therefore there are many people in our civilized society who have lost their shadow altogether, have lost the third dimension, and with it they have usually lost the body. The body is a most doubtful friend because it produces things we do not like. . . . Sometimes it forms the skeleton in the cupboard, and everybody naturally wants to get rid of such a thing.
I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.
We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.
A new idea is rarely born like Venus attended by graces. More commonly it’s modeled of baling wire and acne. More commonly it wheezes and tips over.
There are two classes of people who tell what is going to happen in the future: those who don’t know and those who don’t know they don’t know.
The world is still full of divinity and strangeness, Mr. Shawnessy said. The scientist stops, where all men do, at the doors of birth and death. He knows no more than you and I why a seed remembers the oak of 20 million years ago, why dust acquires the form of a woman, why we behold the earth in space and time. He hasn’t yet solved the secret of a single name upon the earth. We may pluck the nymph from the river, but we won’t pluck the river from ourselves: this coiled divinity is still all murmurous and strange. There are sacred places everywhere. The world is still man’s druid grove, where he wanders hunting for the Tree of Life.