21st Century Quotes

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The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Alvin Toffler
You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Set your mind on a definite goal and observe how quickly the world stands aside to let you pass.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Questions you cannot answer are usually far better for you than answers you cannot question.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
A quitter never wins-and-a winner never quits.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
More gold had been mined from the mind of men than the earth it self
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Morality doesn’t mean ‘following divine commands’. It means ‘reducing suffering’. Hence in order to act morally, you don’t need to believe in any myth or story. You just need to develop a deep appreciation of suffering.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Silence isn’t neutrality; it is supporting the status-quo.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
It takes a certain ingenuous faith - but I have it - to believe that people who read and reflect more likely than not come to judge things with liberality and truth.
A.C. Grayling (The Heart of Things: Applying Philosophy to the 21st Century)
We refuse to believe that which we don't understand.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Humans think in stories rather than in facts, numbers, or equations, and the simpler the story, the better.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Humans were always far better at inventing tools than using them wisely.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
I'm a 21st-century kid trapped in a 19th-century family.
Bill Watterson (There's Treasure Everywhere)
I would teach how science works as much as I would teach what science knows. I would assert (given that essentially, everyone will learn to read) that science literacy is the most important kind of literacy they can take into the 21st century. I would undervalue grades based on knowing things and find ways to reward curiosity. In the end, it's the people who are curious who change the world.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished upon anyone who will accept them. If you are influenced by "opinions" when you reach DECISIONS, you will not succeed in any undertaking.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
The illiterate of the 21st Century are not those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.
Alvin Toffler (Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth, and Power at the Edge of the 21st Century)
Put your foot upon the neck of the fear of criticism by reaching a decision not to worry about what other people think, do, or say.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
We should never underestimate human stupidity. Both on the personal and on the collective level, humans are prone to engage in self-destructive activities.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Perhaps we shall learn, as we pass through this age, that the 'other self" is more powerful than the physical self we see when we look into a mirror.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Middle age has been defined as what happens when a person's broad mind and narrow waist change places.
A.C. Grayling (The Heart of Things: Applying Philosophy to the 21st Century)
I will eliminate hatred, envy, jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism, by developing love for all humanity, because I know that a negative attitude toward others can never bring me success. I will cause others to believe in me, because I will believe in them, and in myself.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
I make sure to always have some spinach between my teeth so people are disinclined to bother me. Survival strategies for the 21st century.
Graham Parke
If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
If we were in Victorian England I would have called him dashing;but, since we lived in the 21st century I would have to settle for the wordier GQ model hot.
Penny Reid (Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1))
Those who succeed in an outstanding way seldom do so before the age of 40. More often, they do not strike their real pace until they are well beyond the age of 50.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
There is a difference between WISHING for a thing and being READY to receive it. No one is ready for a thing, until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be BELIEF, not mere hope or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
TELL THE WORLD WHAT YOU INTEND TO DO, BUT FIRST SHOW IT.This is the equivalent of saying "deeds, and not words, are what count most.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
One of the greatest fictions of all is to deny the complexity of the world and think in absolute terms:
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
In a world gushing blood day and night, you never stop mopping up pain.
Aberjhani (The River of Winged Dreams)
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before You can ever win a prize.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
The greatest crimes in modern history resulted not just from hatred and greed, but even more so from ignorance and indifference.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Nobody has ever killed themselves over a broken arm. But every day, thousands of people kill themselves because of a broken heart. Why? Because emotional pain hurts much worse than physical pain.
Oliver Markus Malloy (Bad Choices Make Good Stories (Omnibus): How The Great American Opioid Epidemic of The 21st Century Began - a Memoir)
To win the big stakes in this changed world, you must catch the spirit of the great pioneers of the past, whose dreams have given to civilization all that it has of value, the spirit that serves as the life-blood of our own country – your opportunity and mine, to develop and market our talents.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Neglecting to broaden their view has kept some people doing one thing all their lives.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Your little buddy just gave me the greatest    Christmas gift I've ever gotten.
Kyle Keyes (Under the Bus)
Heathenism is a state of mind. You can take it that I’m referring to one who does not see his world. He has no mental light. He destroys almost unwittingly. He cannot feel any Gods presence in his life. He is the 21st century man.
David Bowie
First, if you want reliable information, pay good money for it. If you get your news for free, you might well be the product.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Remember that it is not the lawyer who knows the most law, but the one who best prepares his case, who wins.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
One who has loved truly, can never lose entirely. Love is whimsical and temperamental. Its nature is ephemeral, and transitory. It comes when it pleases,and goes away without warning. Accept and enjoy it while it remains, but spend no time worrying about its departure. Worry will never bring it back.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Helen Keller became deaf, dumb, and blind shortly after birth. Despite her greatest misfortune, she has written her name indelibly in the pages of the history of the great. Her entire life has served as evidence that no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as reality.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Feminism needs Zero Tolerance over baby angst. In the 21st century, it can't be about who we might make, and what they might do, anymore. It has to be about who we are, and what we're going to do.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
Philosophers are very patient people, but engineers are far less patient, and investors are the least patient of all.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
So if you want to know the truth about the universe, about the meaning of life, and about your own identity, the best place to start is by observing suffering and exploring what it is. The answer isn’t a story.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Remember,too,that all who succeed in life get off to a bad start,and pass through many heartbreaking struggles before they "arrive". The turning point in the lives of those who succeed usually comes at some moment of crisis,through which they are introduced to their "other selves".
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
this is the 21st century and we need to redefine r/evolution. this planet needs a people’s r/evolution. a humanist r/evolution. r/evolution is not about bloodshed or about going to the mountains and fighting. we will fight if we are forced to but the fundamental goal of r/evolution must be peace. we need a r/evolution of the mind. we need a r/evolution of the heart. we need a r/evolution of the spirit. the power of the people is stronger than any weapon. a people’s r/evolution can’t be stopped. we need to be weapons of mass construction. weapons of mass love. it’s not enough just to change the system. we need to change ourselves. we have got to make this world user friendly. user friendly. are you ready to sacrifice to end world hunger. to sacrifice to end colonialism. to end neo-colonialism. to end racism. to end sexism. r/evolution means the end of exploitation. r/evolution means respecting people from other cultures. r/evolution is creative. r/evolution means treating your mate as a friend and an equal. r/evolution is sexy. r/evolution means respecting and learning from your children. r/evolution is beautiful. r/evolution means protecting the people. the plants. the animals. the air. the water. r/evolution means saving this planet. r/evolution is love.
Assata Shakur
he cut through the 21st Century Gallery, past the big plastic statues of Pluto and Mickey, animal headed gods of lost America
Philip Reeve (Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles, #1))
Awake,arise,and assert yourself,you dreamers of the world. Your star is now in ascendancy.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
At present, people are happy to give away their most valuable asset—their personal data—in exchange for free email services and funny cat videos. It’s a bit like African and Native American tribes who unwittingly sold entire countries to European imperialists in exchange for colorful beads and cheap trinkets.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Before this generation lose the wisdom, one advice - read books.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
The greatest discovery of the 21st century will be the discovery that Man was not meant to live at the speed of light.
Marshall McLuhan (The Global Village: Transformations in World Life and Media in the 21st Century)
Lieutenant Belguzar? Did you hear me?” “No, sir. Sorry. Could you repeat your question?” “What happened on the second of April? I want every detail; everything you were contemplating.
Behcet Kaya (Murder on the Naval Base)
I really didn't foresee the Internet. But then, neither did the computer industry. Not that that tells us very much of course--the computer industry didn't even foresee that the century was going to end.
Douglas Adams
The only limitation is that which one sets up in one's own mind.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
From The Other Side, Uncle Roscoe was still exercising his Second Amendment rights. Protecting me from my stalker? Or was his gun going to get me killed?
M.S.M. Barkawitz (Feeling Lucky)
If you are really in love with someone, you never worry about the meaning of life.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
In the past, censorship worked by blocking the flow of information. In the 21st century, censorship works by flooding people with irrelevant information. People just don't know what to pay attention to, and they often spend their time investigating and debating side issues.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
The great challenge of the twenty-first century is to raise people everywhere to a decent standard of living while preserving as much of the rest of life as possible.
Edward O. Wilson
If you cannot afford to waste time, you will never find the truth.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
In the information-communication civilization of the 21st Century, creativity and mental excellence will become the ethical norm. The world will be too dynamic, complex, and diversified, too cross-linked by the global immediacies of modern (quantum) communication, for stability of thought or dependability of behaviour to be successful.
Timothy Leary (Chaos & Cyber Culture)
But I couldn’t help thinking—Who the hell eats bats? Probably nothing.
M.S.M. Barkawitz (Feeling Lucky)
Be there a picnic for the devil, an orgy for the satyr, and a wedding for the bride.
Roman Payne (The Basement Trains (a 21st century poem))
Get up you lazy bastard. The Governor wants a word with you,” said a guard. 
He opened his eyes and smiled. There was another guard standing near the cell door in 
anticipation of any trouble. The prisoner smiled at him, too. 
Now what can the Governor want from me? He wondered. His dishevelled form seemed 
incapable of coherent thought. “It’s nice of him to remember me,” he said aloud, trying to 
concentrate.
“Surprising he’s got any time for a worthless shit like you,” said the first guard. 
“I once used to be a very important person,” the prisoner said feebly.
Max Nowaz (The Arbitrator)
Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
One potential remedy for human stupidity is a dose of humility. National, religious and cultural tensions are made worse by the grandiose feeling that my nation, my religion and my culture are the most important in the world – hence my interests should come before the interests of anyone else, or of humankind as a whole. How can we make nations, religions and cultures a bit more realistic and modest about their true place in the world?
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
We are living in an era in which billions of people are grappling to promote communication, tolerance, and understanding over the more destructive forces of war, terrorism, and political chaos that have characterized the beginning of the 21st Century.
Aberjhani (Journey through the Power of the Rainbow: Quotations from a Life Made Out of Poetry)
If you give up before your goal has been reached, you are a "quitter." A QUITTER NEVER WINS AND A WINNER NEVER QUITS. Lift this sentence out, write it on a piece of paper in letters an inch high, and place it where you will see it every night before you go to sleep, and every morning before you go to work
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
I sat in my brown-belted gi at the painted metal table outside of Einstein’s and Peet’s with Mr. Ho, my Kenpo Karate instructor in his black-belted gi, and my bronze, canine psychologist, wearing his/her Lacoste eyeglasses.
M.S.M. Barkawitz (Feeling Lucky)
The gold cross around his neck lay itself upon me.
M.S.M. Barkawitz (Feeling Lucky)
Time (again, Time) like the soul, wears many faces, many bodies and climates and attitudes. The past is one face, the present a second and the future yet another.
Aberjhani (Elemental: The Power of Illuminated Love)
Comfort took a distant second to fashion where footwear was concerned. Unless of course, one was fleeing!
M.S.M. Barkawitz (Feeling Lucky)
If I were a lesbian, I’d probably be one of those lipstick lesbians, which I of course had in my pocket for touch-ups later.
M.S.M. Barkawitz (Feeling Lucky)
Salute to the Smiling Faces of the 21st Century.
Daisaku Ikeda
Minds are the real estate of the 21st century.
Chuck D
Individual humans know embarrassingly little about the world, and as history has progressed, they have come to know less and less. A hunter-gatherer in the Stone Age knew how to make her own clothes, how to start a fire, how to hunt rabbits, and how to escape lions. We think we know far more today, but as individuals, we actually know far less. We rely on the expertise of others for almost all our needs.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
A man friends are more capable of working him harm than strangers; and his greatest danger lies in his own habits.
Aleister Crowley
Richard Feynman once wrote, “If you ever hear yourself saying, ‘I think I understand this,’ that means you don’t.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
If you are ready for the secret, you already possess one half of it,therefore, you will readily recognize the other half the moment it reaches your mind.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
In a world in which everything is interconnected, the supreme moral imperative becomes the imperative to know.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
I'd leave all my haters in my motherfucking dust.
Lee Matthew Goldberg (Stalker Stalked)
As people age, they confuse changes in themselves with changes in the world, and changes in the world with moral decline—the illusion of the good old days.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Misuse of reason might yet return the world to pre-technological night; plenty of religious zealots hunger for just such a result, and are happy to use the latest technology to effect it.
A.C. Grayling (The Heart of Things: Applying Philosophy to the 21st Century)
The two stalkers who had finally found one another. Watching each other all night until we collapsed from exhaustion.
Lee Matthew Goldberg (Stalker Stalked)
With the right combination of Long Island blue heavens swimming in my bloodstream, I could be perfection.
Lee Matthew Goldberg (Stalker Stalked)
IF - and this is the greatest of them all - I had the courage to see myself as I reallyam, I would find out what is wrong with me, and correct it, then I might have a chance to profit by my mistakes and learn something from the experience of others,for I know that there is something WRONG with me, or I would now be where I WOULD HAVE BEEN IF I had spent more time analyzing my weaknesses, and less time building alibis to cover them.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Anger does not make history. Power does. And power may be supplemented by anger, but it derives from more fundamental realities; geography, demographics, technology, and culture.
George Friedman (The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century)
NEVERLAND:The imaginary island home of Peter Pan and the lost boys. A place where you never grow up. Michael Jackson’s former retreat. An accurate description of the 21st century.
Daniel Prokop (Leaving Neverland: Why Little Boys Shouldn't Run Big Corporations)
The better you know something, the less you remember about how hard it was to learn. The curse of knowledge is the single best explanation I know of why good people write bad prose.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Disappointment over love affairs generally has the effect of driving men to drink, and women to ruin; and this, because most people never learn the art of transmuting their strongest emotions into dreams of a constructive nature.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Increasing consciousness = increasing complexity.
Ken Wilber (Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening)
Remember that your real wealth can be measured not by what you have, but by what you are.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
The first thing you need to know about yourself is that you are not a story.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Beyond them stood a far greater number of men, all dressed like human versions of classic tin soldiers; dark blue jackets, white shirts, red sashes and black top hats. Definitely not 21st century military uniform; I’d have thought that they were actors had they not, on a drum roll, unshouldered their rifles and fired into the air.
Oliver Dowson (There's No Business Like International Business: Business Travel – But Not As You Know It)
The biology of empathy allows us to comprehend our connection to each other, to other living things, and to the physical world that supports life.
George Lakoff (The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain)
Lately, I have been wondering if there is time left for daydreaming in this 21st-century world of constant communication.
James Thurber (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty)
It takes a lot of courage to fight biases and oppressive regimes, but it takes even greater courage to admit ignorance and venture into the unknown. Secular education teaches us that if we don’t know something, we shouldn’t be afraid of acknowledging our ignorance and looking for new evidence. Even if we think we know something, we shouldn’t be afraid of doubting our opinions and checking ourselves again. Many people are afraid of the unknown, and want clear-cut answers for every question. Fear of the unknown can paralyse us more than any tyrant. People throughout history worried that unless we put all our faith in some set of absolute answers, human society will crumble. In fact, modern history has demonstrated that a society of courageous people willing to admit ignorance and raise difficult questions is usually not just more prosperous but also more peaceful than societies in which everyone must unquestioningly accept a single answer. People afraid of losing their truth tend to be more violent than people who are used to looking at the world from several different viewpoints. Questions you cannot answer are usually far better for you than answers you cannot question.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
When the faithful are asked whether God really exists, they often begin by talking about the enigmatic mysteries of the universe and the limits of human understanding. ‘Science cannot explain the Big Bang,’ they exclaim, ‘so that must be God’s doing.’ Yet like a magician fooling an audience by imperceptibly replacing one card with another, the faithful quickly replace the cosmic mystery with the worldly lawgiver. After giving the name of ‘God’ to the unknown secrets of the cosmos, they then use this to somehow condemn bikinis and divorces. ‘We do not understand the Big Bang – therefore you must cover your hair in public and vote against gay marriage.’ Not only is there no logical connection between the two, but they are in fact contradictory. The deeper the mysteries of the universe, the less likely it is that whatever is responsible for them gives a damn about female dress codes or human sexual behaviour.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Talk about delusional. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. His mother’s doctor reported she’d recently been plagued by wild imaginings, too. Make believe ran in his family. He was nuttier than a jar of peanut butter.
Diane L. Kowalyshyn (Crossover (Cross your Heart and Die, #1))
When people design web pages, they often cater to the taste of the Google search algorithm rather than to the taste of any human being.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
When a thousand people believe some made-up story for one month, that’s fake news. When a billion people believe it for a thousand years, that’s a religion, and we are admonished not to call it “fake news” in order not to hurt the feelings of the faithful (or incur their wrath). Note, however, that I am not denying the effectiveness or potential benevolence of religion. Just the opposite. For better or worse, fiction is among the most effective tools in humanity’s tool kit. By bringing people together, religious creeds make large-scale human cooperation possible. They inspire people to build hospitals, schools, and bridges in addition to armies and prisons. Adam and Eve never existed, but Chartres Cathedral is still beautiful.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
When a thousand people believe some made-up story for a month - that's fake news. When a billion people believe it for a thousand years - that's religion, and we are admonished to call it fake news in oder not to for the feelings of the faithful.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Humans vote with their feet.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
I love humanity, surprisingly, as I observe 21st century with hawk eyed vision, I realize the more I love humanity the less I love Human as an individual.
Ankita Singhal
I am a 21st century person who was accidentally launched in the 20th. I have a deep nostalgia for the future
FM-2030
Another [change] affects Chip and Joanna Gaines. This couple, who had reached unfathomable heights of popularity with their ‘Fixer Upper’ TV program in the 21st century, are instead homeless and living in a large cardboard box behind the Waco, Texas, bus station.” “That’s harsh,” said Eddie. “What did they do to deserve that?” “Nothing. It’s just one of those undesirable consequences that we could not avoid. It was either that or lose Australia.
Steve Bates (Back To You)
... the Kindle is a "roach motel" device: its license terms and DRM ensure that books can check in, but they can't check out.
Cory Doctorow (Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century)
The first step is to tone down the prophecies of doom, and switch from panic mode to bewilderment. Panic is a form of hubris. It comes from the smug feeling that I know exactly where the world is heading – down. Bewilderment is more humble, and therefore more clear-sighted. If you feel like running down the street crying ‘The apocalypse is upon us!’, try telling yourself ‘No, it’s not that. Truth is, I just don’t understand what’s going on in the world.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
People rarely appreciate their ignorance, because they lock themselves inside an echo chamber of like-minded friends and self-confirming news feeds, where their beliefs are constantly reinforced and seldom challenged.3
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
The adventure of awakening is among the most universal of human dramas.
Ken Wilber (Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening)
There's a power struggle going on across Europe these days. A few cities are competing against each other to see who shall emerge as the great 21st century European metropolis. Will it be London? Paris? Berlin? Zurich? Maybe Brussels, center of the young union? They all strive to outdo one another culturally, architecturally, politically, fiscally. But Rome, it should be said, has not bothered to join the race for status. Rome doesn't compete. Rome just watches all the fussing and striving, completely unfazed. I am inspired by the regal self-assurance of this city, so grounded and rounded, so amused and monumental, knowing she is held securely in the palm of history. I would like to be like Rome when I am an old lady.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Homo sapiens is just not built for satisfaction. Human happiness depends less on objective condition and more on our own expectations. Expectations, however, tend to adapt to conditions, including to the condition of other people. When things improve, expectations balloon, and consequently even dramatic improvement in conditions might leave us as dissatisfied as before.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
We are no longer in the dispensation of age and experience. We are in the era of knowledge and information. Information leads a true leader and a true leader leads others.
Israelmore Ayivor
Have you seen those zombies who roam the streets with their faces glued to their smartphones? Do you think they control the technology, or does the technology control them?
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Thousands of years before our liberal age, ancient Buddhism went further by denying not just all cosmic dramas, but even the inner drama of human creation. The universe has no meaning, and human feelings too are not part of a great cosmic tale. They are ephemeral vibrations, appearing and disappearing for no particular purpose. That’s the truth. Get over it.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
It takes cognitive toil and literary dexterity to pare an argument to its essentials, narrate it in an orderly sequence, and illustrate it with analogies that are both familiar and accurate.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Instead of engaging in cutthroat competition, we should strive to create value. In economic terms, this means a transition from a consumer economy - the mad rush for ownership and consumption - to a constructive economy where all human beings can participate in the act of creating lasting worth.
Daisaku Ikeda (For the Sake of Peace: A Buddhist Perspective for the 21st Century)
Wherever you go in the next catastrophé Be it sickroom, or prison, or cemet’ry Do not fear that your stay will be solit’ry Countless souls share your fate, you’ll have company!
Roman Payne (The Basement Trains (a 21st century poem))
Your circumstances and situations never keep you down. The only things that keep you down and keep you stuck are your thoughts.
John Kehoe (Mind Power Into the 21st Century)
Intelligence is the ability to solve problems. Consciousness is the ability to feel things such as pain, joy, love, and anger. We tend to confuse the two because in humans and other mammals intelligence goes hand in hand with consciousness. Mammals solve most problems by feeling things. Computers, however, solve problems in a very different way.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
The danger is that if we invest too much in developing AI and too little in developing human consciousness, the very sophisticated artificial intelligence of computers might only serve to empower the natural stupidity of humans.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
The most practical of all methods for controlling the mind is the habit of keeping it busy with a definite purpose, backed by a definite plan." And "A man whose mind is filled with fear not only destroys his own chances of intelligent action, but he transmits these destructive vibrations to the minds of all who come in contact with him, and destroys, also, their chances.
Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century)
Fifty thousand years ago there were these three guys spread out across the plain and they each heard something rustling in the grass. The first one thought it was a tiger, and he ran like hell, and it was a tiger but the guy got away. The second one thought the rustling was a tiger and he ran like hell, but it was only the wind and his friends all laughed at him for being such a chickenshit. But the third guy thought it was only the wind, so he shrugged it off and the tiger had him for dinner. And the same thing happened a million times across ten thousand generations - and after a while everyone was seeing tigers in the grass even when there were`t any tigers, because even chickenshits have more kids than corpses do. And from those humble beginnings we learn to see faces in the clouds and portents in the stars, to see agency in randomness, because natural selection favours the paranoid. Even here in the 21st century we can make people more honest just by scribbling a pair of eyes on the wall with a Sharpie. Even now we are wired to believe that unseen things are watching us.
Peter Watts (Echopraxia (Firefall, #2))
we can remind ourselves of the reasons to strive for good style: to enhance the spread of ideas, to exemplify attention to detail, and to add to the beauty of the world.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Becoming a leader is the same as becoming a fully integrated human being,
Ken Wilber (Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening)
Classic writing, with its assumption of equality between writer and reader, makes the reader feel like a genius. Bad writing makes the reader feel like a dunce.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
A writer, like a cinematographer, manipulates the viewer’s perspective on an ongoing story, with the verbal equivalent of camera angles and quick cuts.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Not only rationality, but individuality too is a myth. Humans rarely think for themselves. Rather, we think in groups. Just as it takes a tribe to raise a child, it also takes a tribe to invent a tool, solve a conflict, or cure a disease. No individual knows everything it takes to build a cathedral, an atom bomb, or an aircraft. What gave Homo sapiens an edge over all other animals and turned us into the masters of the planet was not our individual rationality but our unparalleled ability to think together in large groups.1
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Don't ever think you're better than a drug addict, because your brain works the same as theirs. You have the same circuits. And drugs would affect your brain in the same way it affects theirs. The same thought process that makes them screw up over and over again would make you screw up over and over as well, if you were in their shoes. You probably already are doing it, just not with heroin or crack, but with food or cigarettes, or something else you shouldn't be doing.
Oliver Markus Malloy (Bad Choices Make Good Stories - The Heroin Scene in Fort Myers (How the Great American Opioid Epidemic of The 21st Century Began #2))
...maybe strength in the 21st century isn't about dominance....it's about the capacity to evoke....the ability to spark the enduring bonds of shared values, intrinsic motivation, and mutually committed perseverance. It is, in short, not the power merely to command, subordinate, demean, insult — and then crow about it with impunity. It's the power to inspire, animate, infuse, spark, evoke — and then connect, link, and collaborate, to be a force multiplier.
Umair Haque
We don't even realize something is broken until someone else shows us a better way
Alexis Ohanian (Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed)
On the first day of a college you will worry about how will you do inside the college? and at the last day of a college you will wonder what will you do outside the college?
Amit Kalantri
What is the value of libraries? Through lifelong learning, libraries can and do change lives, a point that cannot be overstated.
Michael E. Gorman (Our Enduring Values: Librarianship in the 21st Century)
Many experiments have shown that readers understand and remember material far better when it is expressed in concrete language that allows them to form visual images,
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
In explaining any human shortcoming, the first tool I reach for is Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Identity is defined by conflicts and dilemmas more than by agreement.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Change Is the Only Constant
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Starving children have no liberties.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
In our modern world, we look unkindly on mistakes and imperfection. But this is far from the samurai ideal. Mistakes are part of the learning process and if you haven't made them then you are, indeed, dangerous because it means you have never learned anything. Mistakes, to a samurai, are the proof of your learning.
Alexei Maxim Russell (Instruction Manual for the 21st Century Samurai)
Indeed, many movies about artificial intelligence are so divorced from scientific reality that one suspects they are just allegories of completely different concerns. Thus the 2015 movie Ex Machina seems to be about an AI expert who falls in love with a female robot only to be duped and manipulated by her. But in reality, this is not a movie about the human fear of intelligent robots. It is a movie about the male fear of intelligent women, and in particular the fear that female liberation might lead to female domination. Whenever you see a movie about an AI in which the AI is female and the scientist is male, it’s probably a movie about feminism rather than cybernetics. For why on earth would an AI have a sexual or a gender identity? Sex is a characteristic of organic multicellular beings. What can it possibly mean for a non-organic cybernetic being?
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
I sat up in the strange bed fearing it had been a dream, afraid I would never see her again. Not because I wanted anything from her, only her presence. The disappearance of the presence of beauty is the most despairing of events on this time-wheel of ours that rolls onward towards death.
Roman Payne (The Basement Trains (a 21st century poem))
People fear that being trapped inside a box, they will miss out on all the wonders of the world. As long as Neo is stuck inside the matrix, and Truman is stuck inside the TV studio, they will never visit Fiji, or Paris, or Machu Picchu. But in truth, everything you will ever experience in life is within your own body and your own mind. Breaking out of the matrix or travelling to Fiji won’t make any difference. It’s not that somewhere in your mind there is an iron chest with a big red warning sign ‘Open only in Fiji!’ and when you finally travel to the South Pacific you get to open the chest, and out come all kinds of special emotions and feelings that you can have only in Fiji. And if you never visit Fiji in your life, then you missed these special feelings for ever. No. Whatever you can feel in Fiji, you can feel anywhere in the world; even inside the matrix.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land: enough! This moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On Nov. 4, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough.
Barack Obama
Entertainment is temporary happiness, but the real happiness is permanent entertainment.
Amit Kalantri
The quality of the relationships that students have in class with their peers and teachers is important to their success in school.
Bob Pletka (Educating the Net Generation: How to Engage Students in the 21st Century)
The best words not only pinpoint an idea better than any alternative but echo it in their sound and articulation, a phenomenon called phonesthetics, the feeling of sound.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Kingdom citizenship is a spiritual reality, but it is also a mentality. As believers, we already have the Spirit of God, but we need to learn the mind and the heart of God.
Myles Munroe (Rediscovering the Kingdom: Ancient Hope for Our 21st Century World)
Today, the richest 1 percent own half the world’s wealth. Even more alarmingly, the richest one hundred people together own more than the poorest four billion.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Perhaps in the twenty-first century populist revolts will be staged not against an economic elite that exploits people but against an economic elite that does not need them anymore.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Being a samurai is all about selfless service and if the lord abuses the servant, it is no longer a situation of service; it becomes the situation of a victim. It is never acceptable for a samurai to be a victim. It is never acceptable to allow a lord to abuse you or rob you of your dignity. In such a situation, it is acceptable to walk away.
Alexei Maxim Russell (Instruction Manual for the 21st Century Samurai)
The liberal story instructs me to seek freedom to express and realise myself. But both the ‘self’ and freedom are mythological chimeras borrowed from the fairy tales of ancient times. Liberalism has a particularly confused notion of ‘free will’. Humans obviously have a will, they have desires, and they are sometimes free to fulfil their desires. If by ‘free will’ you mean the freedom to do what you desire – then yes, humans have free will. But if by ‘free will’ you mean the freedom to choose what to desire – then no, humans have no free will.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
When you push someone's head under water for 5 minutes, they will drown. It doesn't matter if the person is a sinner or a saint. It's just a natural process. If their head is under water, the lack of oxygen will make them drown. That rule applies to everyone, good or bad, equally. It doesn't matter if the drowning person has strong moral fiber. And it doesn't matter if you're a good or a bad person, once you become addicted to drugs. What happens next is inevitable. It's a natural process that happens in everyone's brain, once the drugs take over. So don't ever fool yourself into thinking that only weak or bad people get addicted.
Oliver Markus Malloy (Bad Choices Make Good Stories - The Heroin Scene in Fort Myers (How the Great American Opioid Epidemic of The 21st Century Began #2))
A samurai chooses to serve a master and does it out of respect and love, not because they are forced. Service to them is not demeaning; service is an expression of their prowess and their pride; they serve because only they are strong enough to serve with such flawless perfection and such consummate ability. It is a source of pride to them.
Alexei Maxim Russell (Instruction Manual for the 21st Century Samurai)
If you really want truth, you need to escape the black hole of power and allow yourself to waste a lot of time wandering here and there on the periphery. Revolutionary knowledge rarely makes it to the center, because the center is built on existing knowledge
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
In an age of bombs guzzling blood, skylarks merge peace with thought and action.
Aberjhani (The River of Winged Dreams)
That natural disasters are required to provide Americans with a glimpse of reality in their own country is an indication of the deep rot infecting the official political culture.
Tariq Ali (The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad)
His Kingdom on this earth was to rule the visible world of man from the invisible realm of the spirit.
Myles Munroe (Rediscovering the Kingdom: Ancient Hope for Our 21st Century World)
Your actions show what you know, and your replies to obstacles give clarity into what you will learn.
Grace Sara (Awakening in the 21st Century: Considering Existence)
I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.
Oliver Markus Malloy (Bad Choices Make Good Stories - Finding Happiness in Los Angeles (How The Great American Opioid Epidemic of The 21st Century Began, #3))
Between life’s stimuli and our habitual responses exists choice.
Ken Wilber (Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening)
It is much harder to struggle against irrelevance than against exploitation.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
If the future of humanity is decided in your absence, because you are too busy feeding and clothing your kids, you and they will not be exempt from the consequences.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
I hurried out of the lobby and turned the corner into the English hall, so I didn’t see the guy in front of me until it was too late. “Oh!” I exclaimed as we bumped shoulders. “Sorry!” Then I realized who I’d bumped into, and I immediately regretted my apologetic tone. If I’d known it was David Stark, I would have tried to hit him harder, or maybe stepped on his foot with the spiky heel of my new shoes for good measure. I did my best to smile at him, though, even as I realized my stomach was jumping all over the place. He must have scared me more than I’d thought. David scowled at me over the rims of his ridiculous hipster glasses, the kind with the thick black rims. I hate those. I mean, it’s the 21st century. There are fashionable options for eyewear. “Watch where you’re going,” he said. Then his lips twisted in a smirk. “Or could you not see through all that mascara?” I would’ve loved nothing more than the tell him to kiss my ass, but one of the responsibilities of being a student leader at The Grove is being polite to everyone, even if he is a douchebag who wrote not one, but three incredibly unflattering articles in the school paper about what a crap job you’re doing as SGA president. And you especially needed to be polite to said douchebag when he happened to be the nephew of Saylor Stark, President of the Pine Grove Junior League, head of the Pine Grove Betterment Society, Chairwoman of the Grove Academy School Board, and, most importantly, Founder and Organizer of Pine Grove’s Annual Cotillion. So I forced myself to smile even bigger at David and said, “Nope, just in a hurry. Are you, uh… are you here for the dance?” He snorted. “Um, no. I’d rather slam my testicles in a locker door. I have some work to do on the paper.
Rachel Hawkins (Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1))
When a thousand people believe some made-up story for one month, that's fake news. When a billion people believe it for a thousand years, that's a religion, and we are admonished not to call it "fake news" in order not to hurt the feelings of the faithful (or incur their wrath).
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
‎What color is a chameleon placed on a mirror? ... The chameleon responding to its own shifting image is an apt analog of the human world of fashion. Taken as a whole, what are fads but the response of a hive mind to its own reflection? In a 21st-century society wired into instantaneous networks, marketing is the mirror; the collective consumer is the chameleon.
Kevin Kelly (Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World)
Only by remembering to say 'no' will the women of 21st century regain their voice and remember their power. 'No' is the most important word in a woman's dialectic arsenal, and it is the one word that our employers, our leaders, and quite often, the men in our lives would do anything to prevent us from saying. No, we will not serve. No, we will not settle for the dirty work, the low-paid work, the unpaid work. No, we will not stay late at the office, look after the kids, sort out the shopping. We refuse to fit the enormity of our passion, our creativity, and our potential into the rigid physical prison laid down for us since we were small children. No. We refuse. We will not buy your clothes and shoes and surgical solutions. No, we will not be beautiful; we will not be good. Most of all, we refuse to be beautiful and good.
Laurie Penny (Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism)
German is a much more precise language than English. Americans throw the word love around for everything: I love my wife! I love all my friends! I love rock music! I love the rain! I love comic books! I love peanut butter! The word you use to describe your feelings for your wife should not be the same word you use to describe your feelings for peanut butter. In German, there are a dozen different words that describe varying degrees of liking something a lot. Germans almost never use the word love, unless they mean a deep romantic love. I have never told my parents I love them, because it would sound melodramatic, inappropriate, and almost incestuous. In German, you tell your mother that you hold her very dear, not that you are in love with her.
Oliver Markus Malloy (Bad Choices Make Good Stories - The Heroin Scene in Fort Myers (How the Great American Opioid Epidemic of The 21st Century Began #2))
The computer focuses ruthlessly on things that can be represented in numbers. In so doing, it seduces people into thinking that other aspects of knowledge are either unreal or unimportant. The computer treats reason as an instrument for achieving things, not for contemplating things. It narrows dramatically what we know and intended by reason.
George Friedman (The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century)
So the best advice I can give a fifteen-year-old stuck in an outdated school somewhere in Mexico, India, or Alabama is: don’t rely on the adults too much. Most of them mean well, but they just don’t understand the world. In the past, it was a relatively safe bet to follow the adults, because they knew the world quite well, and the world changed slowly. But the twenty-first century is going to be different. Because of the increasing pace of change, you can never be certain whether what the adults are telling you is timeless wisdom or outdated bias.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Unfortunately, teaching kids to embrace the unknown while maintaining their mental balance is far more difficult than teaching them an equation in physics or the causes of the First World War. You cannot learn resilience by reading a book or listening to a lecture. Teachers themselves usually lack the mental flexibility that the twenty-first century demands, since they themselves are the product of the old educational system.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
While we may continue to use the words smart and stupid, and while IQ tests may persist for certain purposes, the monopoly of those who believe in a single general intelligence has come to an end. Brain scientists and geneticists are documenting the incredible differentiation of human capacities, computer programmers are creating systems that are intelligent in different ways, and educators are freshly acknowledging that their students have distinctive strengths and weaknesses.
Howard Gardner (Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century)
Water takes the shape of whatever container holds it, whether it be in a glass, a vase or a river bank. Likewise, your subconscious will create and manifest according to the images you habitually project upon it through your daily thinking. This is how your destiny is created. Your life is in your hands, to make of it what you choose.
John Kehoe (Mind Power Into the 21st Century)
She told herself, finally, that she must face it or die . . . But this was just a whisper in the self, that flutter within which starts as a tiny plea and fights to grow in strength and resonance. So, she stood by it and fought for it, but not before her life and her love took the losses redemption almost always exacts from the redeemed.
Jonathan Epps (Until Morning Comes)
So if you blame Facebook, Trump, or Putin for ushering in a new and frightening era of post-truth, remind yourself that centuries ago millions of Christians locked themselves inside a self-reinforcing mythological bubble, never daring to question the factual veracity of the Bible, while millions of Muslims put their unquestioning faith in the Quran. For millennia, much of what passed for “news” and “facts” in human social networks were stories about miracles, angels, demons, and witches, with bold reporters giving live coverage straight from the deepest pits of the underworld. We have zero scientific evidence that Eve was tempted by the serpent, that the souls of all infidels burn in hell after they die, or that the creator of the universe doesn’t like it when a Brahmin marries a Dalit—yet billions of people have believed in these stories for thousands of years. Some fake news lasts forever.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
When you live under such an oligarchy, there is always some crisis or the other that takes priority over boring stuff such as healthcare and pollution. If the nation is facing external invasion or diabolical subversion, who has the time to worry about overcrowded hospitals and polluted rivers? By manufacturing a never-ending stream of crises, a corrupt oligarchy can prolong its rule indefinitely.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Humans have this remarkable ability to know and not to know at the same time. Or more correctly, they can know something when they really think about it, but most of the time they don’t think about it, so they don’t know it. If you really focus, you realise that money is fiction. But usually you don’t focus. If you are asked about it, you know that football is a human invention. But in the heat of the match, nobody asks you about it. If you devote the time and energy, you can discover that nations are elaborate yarns. But in the midst of a war you don’t have the time and energy. If you demand the ultimate truth, you realise that the story of Adam and Eve is a myth. But how often do you demand the ultimate truth?
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
It was a cooler morning than usual, but it was a welcomed difference. The many childhood summers she had spent on the French Riviera were now a simple memory, her younger adult years in the Caribbean now packed away into the past. The cooler New England temperatures helped to mitigate the heat of her present concerns.
Jonathan Epps (Until Morning Comes)
Technology isn’t bad. If you know what you want in life, technology can help you get it. But if you don’t know what you want in life, it will be all too easy for technology to shape your aims for you and take control of your life. Especially as technology gets better at understanding humans, you might increasingly find yourself serving it, instead of it serving you.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
In the age of Facebook and Instagram you can observe this myth-making process more clearly than ever before, because some of it has been outsourced from the mind to the computer. It is fascinating and terrifying to behold people who spend countless hours constructing and embellishing a perfect self online, becoming attached to their own creation, and mistaking it for the truth about themselves.20 That’s how a family holiday fraught with traffic jams, petty squabbles and tense silences becomes a collection of beautiful panoramas, perfect dinners and smiling faces; 99 per cent of what we experience never becomes part of the story of the self. It is particularly noteworthy that our fantasy self tends to be very visual, whereas our actual experiences are corporeal. In the fantasy, you observe a scene in your mind’s eye or on the computer screen. You see yourself standing on a tropical beach, the blue sea behind you, a big smile on your face, one hand holding a cocktail, the other arm around your lover’s waist. Paradise. What the picture does not show is the annoying fly that bites your leg, the cramped feeling in your stomach from eating that rotten fish soup, the tension in your jaw as you fake a big smile, and the ugly fight the happy couple had five minutes ago. If we could only feel what the people in the photos felt while taking them! Hence if you really want to understand yourself, you should not identify with your Facebook account or with the inner story of the self. Instead, you should observe the actual flow of body and mind. You will see thoughts, emotions and desires appear and disappear without much reason and without any command from you, just as different winds blow from this or that direction and mess up your hair. And just as you are not the winds, so also you are not the jumble of thoughts, emotions and desires you experience, and you are certainly not the sanitised story you tell about them with hindsight. You experience all of them, but you don’t control them, you don’t own them, and you are not them. People ask ‘Who am I?’ and expect to be told a story. The first thing you need to know about yourself, is that you are not a story.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
We are now creating tame humans that produce enormous amounts of data and function as very efficient chips in a huge data-processing mechanism, but these data-cows hardly maximize the human potential. Indeed, we have no idea what our full human potential is, because we know so little about the human mind. And yet we don’t invest much in exploring the human mind, instead focusing on increasing the speed of our internet connections and the efficiency of our Big Data algorithms. If we are not careful, we will end up with downgraded humans misusing upgraded computers to wreak havoc on themselves and on the world.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
We rode the basement trains all night, speeding through the subterrains. I held her chin in the cup of my hand and her eyes held tight to mine, imploring me to reveal to her the mystery of that which awaits us on the pavement above, come the day we ascend from this labyrinth of trains... 'We will ride these beautiful basement trains forever,' said I, 'nothing awaits us; and as your beauty folds, so do my dreams. Come, my love, let us wander these tunnels of the endless city. This holy, endless city!
Roman Payne (The Basement Trains (a 21st century poem))
Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you’re on the road to reading everything. And reading is key. There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far. The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them. I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of children’s books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading. I’ve seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy. It’s tosh. It’s snobbery and it’s foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn’t hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you. Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant. We need our children to get onto the reading ladder: anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy. [from, Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming]
Neil Gaiman
Whether [new Protestant church movements] place their emphasis on new worship styles, expressions of the Holy Spirit’s power, evangelism to seekers, or Bible teaching, these so-called new movements still operate out of the fallacious assumption that the church belongs firmly in the town square, that is, at the heart of Western culture. And if they begin with this mistaken belief about their position in Western society, all their church planting, all their reproduction will simply mirror this misapprehension.
Alan Hirsch (The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church)
More than 90 percent of these accidents are caused by very human errors: somebody drinking alcohol and driving, somebody texting a message while driving, somebody falling asleep at the wheel, somebody daydreaming instead of paying attention to the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated in 2012 that 31 percent of fatal crashes in the United States involved alcohol abuse, 30 percent involved speeding, and 21 percent involved distracted drivers.7 Self-driving vehicles will never do any of these things. Though they suffer from their own problems and limitations, and though some accidents are inevitable, replacing all human drivers by computers is expected to reduce deaths and injuries on the road by about 90 percent.8 In other words, switching to autonomous vehicles is likely to save the lives of one million people every year.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
English: Ô, take this eager dance you fool, don’t brandish your stick at me. I have several reasons to travel on, on to the endless sea: I have lost my love. I’ve drunk my purse. My girl has gone, and left me rags to sleep upon. These old man’s gloves conceal the hands with which I’ve killed but one! Francais: Idiot, prends cette danse ardente, au lieu de tendre ton bâton. J'en ai des raisons de voyager encore sur la mer infinie: J'ai perdu l'amour et j'ai bu ma bourse. Ma belle m'a quitté, j'ai ses haillons pour m'abriter. Mes gants de vieillard cachent les mains d'un fameux assassin!
Roman Payne (The Basement Trains (a 21st century poem))
Whenever politicians start talking in mystical terms, beware. They might be trying to disguise and excuse real suffering by wrapping it up in big incomprehensible words. Be particularly careful about the following four words: sacrifice, eternity, purity, redemption. If you hear any of these, sound the alarm. And if you happen to live in a country whose leader routinely says things like ‘Their sacrifice will redeem the purity of our eternal nation’ – know that you are in deep trouble.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Why are Muslims being “preserved” in some time capsule of centuries gone by? Why is it okay that we continue to live in a world where our women are compared to candy waiting to be consumed? Why is it okay for women of the rest of the world to fight for freedom and equality while we are told to cover our shameful bodies? Can’t you see that we are being held back from joining this elite club known as the 21st century? Noble liberals like yourself always stand up for the misrepresented Muslims and stand against the Islamophobes, which is great but who stands in my corner and for the others who feel oppressed by the religion? Every time we raise our voices, one of us is killed or threatened. . . . What you did by screaming “racist!” was shut down a conversation that many of us have been waiting to have. You helped those who wish to deny there are issues, deny them. What is so wrong with wanting to step into the current century? There should be no shame. There is no denying that violence, misogyny and homophobia exist in all religious texts, but Islam is the only religion that is adhered to so literally, to this day. In your culture you have the luxury of calling such literalists “crazies.” . . . In my culture, such values are upheld by more people than we realise. Many will try to deny it, but please hear me when I say that these are not fringe values. It is apparent in the lacking numbers of Muslims willing to speak out against the archaic Shariah law. The punishment for blasphemy and apostasy, etc, are tools of oppression. Why are they not addressed even by the peaceful folk who aren’t fanatical, who just want to have some sandwiches and pray five times a day? Where are the Muslim protestors against blasphemy laws/apostasy? Where are the Muslims who take a stand against harsh interpretation of Shariah?7
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now)
Scientists, for their part, need to be far more engaged with current public debates. They “should not be afraid of making their voice heard when the debate wanders into their field of expertise, be it medicine or history. Silence isn’t neuatrality; it is supporting the status quo. Of course, it is extremely important to go on doing academic research and to publish the results in scientific journals that only a few experts read. But it is equally important to communicate the latest scientific theories to the general public through popular-science books, and even through the skilful use of art and fiction.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
The current technological and scientific revolution implies not that authentic individuals and authentic realities can be manipulated by algorithms and TV cameras, but rather that authenticity is a myth. People are afraid of being trapped inside a box, but they don’t realise that they are already trapped inside a box – their brain – which is locked within a bigger box – human society with its myriad fictions. When you escape the matrix the only thing you discover is a bigger matrix. When the peasants and workers revolted against the tsar in 1917, they ended up with Stalin; and when you begin to explore the manifold ways the world manipulates you, in the end you realise that your core identity is a complex illusion created by neural networks.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
I grew up in a beautiful era, now sadly in the past. In it there was great readiness for change, and a talent for creating revolutionary visions. Nowadays no one still has the courage to think up anything new. All they ever talk about, round the clock, is how things already are, they just keep rolling out the same old ideas. Reality has grown old and gone senile; after all, it is definitely subject to the same laws as every living organism — it ages. Just like the cells of the body, its tiniest components — the senses, succumb to apoptosis. Apoptosis is natural death, brought about by the tiredness and exhaustion of matter. In Greek this word means ‘the dropping of petals.’ The world has dropped its petals.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
In the nineteenth century the Industrial Revolution created new conditions and problems that none of the existing social, economic, and political models could cope with. Feudalism, monarchism, and traditional religions were not adapted to managing industrial metropolises, millions of uprooted workers, or the constantly changing nature of the modern economy. Consequently, humankind had to develop completely new models—liberal democracies, communist dictatorships, and fascist regimes—and it took more than a century of terrible wars and revolutions to experiment with these models, separate the wheat from the chaff, and implement the best solutions. Child labor in Dickensian coal mines, the First World War, and the Great Ukrainian Famine of 1932–33 constituted just a small part of the tuition fees humankind had to pay.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
Secularism should not be equated with Stalinist dogmatism or with the bitter fruits of Western imperialism and runaway industrialisation. Yet it cannot shirk all responsibility for them, either. Secular movements and scientific institutions have mesmerised billions with promises to perfect humanity and to utilise the bounty of planet Earth for the benefit of our species. Such promises resulted not just in overcoming plagues and famines, but also in gulags and melting ice caps. You might well argue that this is all the fault of people misunderstanding and distorting the core secular ideals and the true facts of science. And you are absolutely right. But that is a common problem for all influential movements. For example, Christianity has been responsible for great crimes such as the Inquisition, the Crusades, the oppression of native cultures across the world, and the disempowerment of women. A Christian might take offence at this and retort that all these crimes resulted from a complete misunderstanding of Christianity. Jesus preached only love, and the Inquisition was based on a horrific distortion of his teachings. We can sympathise with this claim, but it would be a mistake to let Christianity off the hook so easily. Christians appalled by the Inquisition and by the Crusades cannot just wash their hands of these atrocities – they should rather ask themselves some very tough questions. How exactly did their ‘religion of love’ allow itself to be distorted in such a way, and not once, but numerous times? Protestants who try to blame it all on Catholic fanaticism are advised to read a book about the behaviour of Protestant colonists in Ireland or in North America. Similarly, Marxists should ask themselves what it was about the teachings of Marx that paved the way to the Gulag, scientists should consider how the scientific project lent itself so easily to destabilising the global ecosystem, and geneticists in particular should take warning from the way the Nazis hijacked Darwinian theories.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
The guiding metaphor of classic style is seeing the world. The writer can see something that the reader has not yet noticed, and he orients the reader’s gaze so that she can see it for herself. The purpose of writing is presentation, and its motive is disinterested truth. It succeeds when it aligns language with the truth, the proof of success being clarity and simplicity. The truth can be known, and is not the same as the language that reveals it; prose is a window onto the world. The writer knows the truth before putting it into words; he is not using the occasion of writing to sort out what he thinks. Nor does the writer of classic prose have to argue for the truth; he just needs to present it. That is because the reader is competent and can recognize the truth when she sees it, as long as she is given an unobstructed view. The writer and the reader are equals, and the process of directing the reader’s gaze takes the form of a conversation.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Style still matters, for at least three reasons. First, it ensures that writers will get their message across, sparing readers from squandering their precious moments on earth deciphering opaque prose. When the effort fails, the result can be calamitous-as Strunk and White put it, "death on the highway caused by a badly worded road sign, heartbreak among lovers caused by a misplaced phrase in a well-intentioned letter, anguish of a traveler expecting to be met at a railroad station and not being met because of a slipshod telegram." Governments and corporations have found that small improvements in clarity can prevent vast amounts of error, frustration, and waste, and many countries have recently made clear language the law of the land. Second, style earns trust. If readers can see that a writer cares about consistency and accuracy in her prose, they will be reassured that the writer cares about those virtues in conduct they cannot see as easily. Here is how one technology executive explains why he rejects job applications filled with errors of grammar and punctuation: "If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use it's, then that's not a learning curve I'm comfortable with." And if that isn't enough to get you to brush up your prose, consider the discovery of the dating site OkCupid that sloppy grammar and spelling in a profile are "huge turn-offs." As one client said, "If you're trying to date a woman, I don't expect flowery Jane Austen prose. But aren't you trying to put your best foot forward?" Style, not least, adds beauty to the world. To a literate reader, a crisp sentence, an arresting metaphor, a witty aside, an elegant turn of phrase are among life's greatest pleasures. And as we shall see in the first chapter, this thoroughly impractical virtue of good writing is where the practical effort of mastering good writing must begin.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Fatally, the term 'barbarian' is the password that opens up the archives of the twentieth century. It refers to the despiser of achievement, the vandal, the status denier, the iconoclast, who refuses to acknowledge any ranking rules or hierarchy. Whoever wishes to understand the twentieth century must always keep the barbaric factor in view. Precisely in more recent modernity, it was and still is typical to allow an alliance between barbarism and success before a large audience, initially more in the form of insensitive imperialism, and today in the costumes of that invasive vulgarity which advances into virtually all areas through the vehicle of popular culture. That the barbaric position in twentieth-century Europe was even considered the way forward among the purveyors of high culture for a time, extending to a messianism of uneducatedness, indeed the utopia of a new beginning on the clean slate of ignorance, illustrates the extent of the civilizatory crisis this continent has gone through in the last century and a half - including the cultural revolution downwards, which runs through the twentieth century in our climes and casts its shadow ahead onto the twenty-first.
Peter Sloterdijk
Yet like many other human traits that made sense in past ages but cause trouble in the modern age, the knowledge illusion has its downside. The world is becoming ever more complex, and people fail to realise just how ignorant they are of what’s going on. Consequently some who know next to nothing about meteorology or biology nevertheless propose policies regarding climate change and genetically modified crops, while others hold extremely strong views about what should be done in Iraq or Ukraine without being able to locate these countries on a map. People rarely appreciate their ignorance, because they lock themselves inside an echo chamber of like-minded friends and self-confirming newsfeeds, where their beliefs are constantly reinforced and seldom challenged. Providing people with more and better information is unlikely to improve matters. Scientists hope to dispel wrong views by better science education, and pundits hope to sway public opinion on issues such as Obamacare or global warming by presenting the public with accurate facts and expert reports. Such hopes are grounded in a misunderstanding of how humans actually think. Most of our views are shaped by communal groupthink rather than individual rationality, and we hold on to these views out of group loyalty. Bombarding people with facts and exposing their individual ignorance is likely to backfire. Most people don’t like too many facts, and they certainly don’t like to feel stupid. Don’t be so sure that you can convince Tea Party supporters of the truth of global warming by presenting them with sheets of statistical data.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)