There was a pretty young woman I used to see pegging out sheets and I worried that she would grow old there and that no one would know how beautiful she was. And maybe she would die without ever having really lived.
Heisenberg and Bohr and Einstein strike me as being like gifted retriever dogs. Off they go, not just for an afternoon, but for ten years; they come back exhausted and triumphant and drop at your feet... a vole. It's a remarkable thing in its way, a vole—intricate, beautiful really, marvellous. But does it... Does it help? Does it move the matter on?
When you ask a question that you'd actually like to know the answer to—what was there before the Big Bang, for instance, or what lies beyond the expanding universe, why does life have this inbuilt absurdity, this non sequitur of death—they say that your question can't be answered, because the terms in which you've put it are logically unsound. What you must do, you see, is ask vole questions. Vole is—as we have agreed—the answer; so it follows that your questions must therefore all be vole-related.
I suppose it was a dream that lasted really about fifty years. By the time universal education had begun to work properly, say 1925, and the time the first teachers started to hold back information, say 1975. So a fifty-year dream."
"I think what's happened is that because they themselves know less than their predecessors, innovators and leaders today have remade the world in their own image. Spellchecks. Search engines. They've remodeled the world so that ignorance is not really a disadvantage. And I should think that increasingly they'll carry on reshaping the world to accommodate a net loss of knowledge.
I looked at him on the bed. He coughed once and a trail of brownish dead blood came out of his mouth and ran down the side of his chin. Then he stopped breathing. And I thought, I'll make sure I never end up here, either.
I want to be careful not to throw all this away. This is happiness. I think this is what happiness is. I haven't got it yet, but I can sense it out there. I feel I'm close to it. Some days, I'm so close I can almost smell it.
I suppose I was lucky enough to be educated at a time when teachers still thought children could handle knowledge. They trusted us. Then there came a time when they decided that because not every kid in the class could understand or remember those things they wouldn't teach them anymore because it wasn't fair on the less good ones. So they withheld knowledge. Then I suppose the next lot of teachers didn't have the knowledge to withhold.
And sometimes in life, I imagine, good things do happen. Most of the time, it's the opposite, obviously. But I don't think you should rule out the possibility that just occasionally chance might deal you a good card.