Less Than Zero Quotes

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But this road doesn't go anywhere,” I told him. “That doesn't matter.” “What does?” I asked, after a little while. “Just that we're on it, dude,” he said.
Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero)
Disappear Here. The syringe fills with blood. You're a beautiful boy and that's all that matters. Wonder if he's for sale. People are afraid to merge. To merge.
Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero)
Unfortunately, the real minimum wage is always zero, regardless of the laws, and that is the wage that many workers receive in the wake of the creation or escalation of a government-mandated minimum wage, because they lose their jobs or fail to find jobs when they enter the labor force. Making it illegal to pay less than a given amount does not make a worker’s productivity worth that amount—and, if it is not, that worker is unlikely to be employed.
Thomas Sowell (Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy)
Clay, did you ever love me?" I'm studying a billboard and say that I didn't hear what she said. "I asked if you ever loved me?" On the terrace the sun bursts into my eyes and for one blinding moment I see myself clearly. I remember the first time we made love, in the house in Palm Springs, her body tan and wet, lying against cool, white sheets. "Don't do this, Blair," I tell her. "Just tell me." I don't say anything. "Is it such a hard question to answer?" I look at her straight on. "Yes or no?" "Why?" "Damnit, Clay," she sighs. "Yeah, sure, I guess." "Don't lie to me." "What in the fuck do you want to hear?" "Just tell me," she says, her voice rising. "No," I almost shout. "I never did." I almost start to laugh. She draws in a breath and says, "Thank you. That's all I wanted to know." She sips her wine. "Did you ever love me?" I ask her back, though by now I can't even care. She pauses. "I thought about it and yeah, I did once. I mean I really did. Everything was all right for a while. You were kind." She looks down and then goes on. "But it was like you weren't there. Oh shit, this isn't going to make any sense." She stops. I look at her, waiting for her to go on, looking up at the billboard. Disappear Here. "I don't know if any other person I've been with has been really there, either ... but at least they tried." I finger the menu; put the cigarette out. "You never did. Other people made an effort and you just ... It was just beyond you." She takes another sip of her wine. "You were never there. I felt sorry for you for a little while, but then I found it hard to. You're a beautiful boy, Clay, but that's about it." I watch the cars pass by on Sunset. "It's hard to feel sorry for someone who doesn't care." "Yeah?" I ask. "What do you care about? What makes you happy?" "Nothing. Nothing makes me happy. I like nothing," I tell her. "Did you ever care about me, Clay?" I don't say anything, look back at the menu. "Did you ever care about me?" she asks again. "I don't want to care. If I care about things, it'll just be worse, it'll just be another thing to worry about. It's less painful if I don't care." "I cared about you for a little while." I don't say anything. She takes off her sunglasses and finally says, "I'll see you later, Clay." She gets up. "Where are you going?" I suddenly don't want to leave Blair here. I almost want to take her back with me. "Have to meet someone for lunch." "But what about us?" "What about us?" She stands there for a moment, waiting. I keep staring at the billboard until it begins to blur and when my vision becomes clearer I watch as Blair's car glides out of the parking lot and becomes lost in the haze of traffic on Sunset. The waiter comes over and asks, "Is everything okay, sir?" I look up and put my sunglasses on and try to smile. "Yeah.
Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero)
Yeah, we all have to leave,” he says. “You said that already.
Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero (Vintage Contemporaries))
Where are we going?" I asked "I don't know" he said. "Just driving." "But this road doesn't go anywhere," I told him "That doesn't matter.” "What does?" I asked, after a little while. "Just that we're on it, dude,' he said.
Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero)
There was a song I heard when I was in Los Angeles by a local group. The song was called ‘Los Angeles’ and the words and images were so harsh and bitter that the song would reverberate in my mind for days. The images, I later found out, were personal and no one I knew shared them. The images I had were of people being driven mad by living in the city. Images of parents who were so hungry and unfulfilled that they ate their own children. Images of people, teenagers my own age, looking up from the asphalt and being blinded by the sun. These images stayed with me even after I left the city. Images so violent and malicious that they seemed to be my only point of reference for a long time afterwards. After I left.
Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero)
The mistake the Bolsheviks made was not in aiming at the modernisation of Russia. That was entirely sensible. Nor was it a mistake to ascribe a major role in the economy to the state. This is quite normal in the modern world. Their mistake was to suppose that successful modernisation required the elimination of the market and of private enterprise. They did not realise the role that the market and private enterprise can play in generating and maintaining self-sustaining economic growth. Looking at all economic activity as if it were a zero-sum game was very one-sided. Furthermore, the Bolsheviks failed to realise that for the state to attempt to micromanage every farm, factory and office is a very inefficient form of management, that wastes information and potential local initiatives and entrepreneurship. Furthermore, coercion tends, in general, to be less effective than market incentives in raising labour productivity, and to be indifferent to human suffering and loss of life (see Chapters 6 and 7).
Michael Ellman (Socialist Planning)
...Tis the Reciprocal of 'as above, so below,'... being only at the finer Scales, that we may find the truth about the Greater Heavens,... the exact value of a Solar Parallax of less than ten seconds can give us the size of the Solar system. The Parallax of Sirius, perhaps less than two seconds, can give us the size of Creation. May we not, in the Domain of Zero to One Second of Arc, find ways to measure even That Which we cannot,— may not,— see?
Thomas Pynchon (Mason & Dixon)
The dream of Strong Artificial Intelligence—and more specifically the growing interest in the idea that a computer can become conscious and have first-person subjective experiences—has led to a cultural shift. Prophets like Kurzweil believe that we are much closer to cyberconsciousness and superintelligence than most observers acknowledge, while skeptics argue that current AI systems are still extremely primitive and that hopes of conscious machines are pipedreams. Who is right? This book does not attempt to address this question, but points out some philosophical problems and asks some philosophical questions about machine consciousness. One fundamental problem is that we do not understand human consciousness. Many in science and artificial intelligence assume that human consciousness is based on information or computations. Several writers have tried to tackle this assumption, most notably the British physicist Roger Penrose, whose controversial theory suggests that consciousness is based upon noncomputable quantum states in some of the tiniest structures in the brain, called microtubules. Other, perhaps less esoteric thinkers, like Duke’s Miguel Nicolelis and Harvard’s Leonid Perlovsky, are beginning to challenge the idea that the brain is computable. These scientists lead their fields in man-machine interfacing and computer science. The assumption of a computable brain allows artificial intelligence researchers to believe they will create artificial minds. However, despite assuming that the brain is a computational system—what philosopher Riccardo Manzotti calls “the computational stance”—neuroscience is still discovering that human consciousness is nothing like we think it is. For me this is where LSD enters the picture. It turns out that human consciousness is likely itself a form of hallucination. As I have said, it is a very useful hallucination, but a hallucination nonetheless. LSD and psychedelics may help reveal our normal everyday experience for the hallucination that it is. This insight has been argued about for centuries in philosophy in various forms. Immanuel Kant may have been first to articulate it in modern form when he called our perception of the world “synthetic.” The fundamental idea is that we do not have direct knowledge of the external world. This idea will be repeated often in this book, and you will have to get used to it. We only have knowledge of our brain’s creation of that world for us. In other words, what we see, hear, and subsequently think are like movies that our brain plays for us after the fact. These movies are based on perceptions that come into our senses from the external world, but they are still fictions of our brain’s creation. In fact, you might put the disclaimer “based on a true story” in front of each experience you have. I do not wish to imply that I believe in the homunculus argument—what philosopher Daniel Dennett describes as the “Cartesian Theater”—the hypothetical place in the mind where the self becomes aware of the world. I only wish to employ the metaphor to illustrate the idea that there is no direct relationship between the external world and your perception of it.
Andrew Smart (Beyond Zero and One: Machines, Psychedelics, and Consciousness)