Quote of the Day: 2001: A Space Odyssey

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“Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.

But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many–perhaps most–of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven–or hell.

How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars.

Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however are asking; ‘Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?’

Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question. But please remember: this is only a work of fiction.

The truth, as always, will be far stranger.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“It was the mark of a barbarian to destroy something one could not understand.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“The more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its contents seemed to be.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“Open the pod bay doors, Hal.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“But he knew well enough that any man in the right circumstances could be dehumanised by panic.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“The time was fast approaching when Earth, like all mothers, must say farewell to her children.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“Now times had changed, and the inherited wisdom of the past had become folly.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“Unlike the animals, who knew only the present, Man had acquired a past; and he was beginning to grope toward a future.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“He was only aware of the conflict that was slowly destroying his integrity—the conflict between truth, and concealment of truth.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“Now, before you make a movie, you have to have a script, and before you have a script, you have to have a story; though some avant-garde directors have tried to dispense with the latter item, you’ll find their work only at art theaters.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“I’m a scientific expert; that means I know nothing about absolutely everything.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


Yet there was no violation of the laws of mechanics; Nature always balances her books, and Jupiter had lost exactly as much momentum as Discovery had gained. The planet had been slowed down – but as its mass was a sextillion times greater than the ship’s, the change in its orbit was far too small to be detectable. The time had not yet come when Man could leave his mark upon the Solar System.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“Turing had pointed out that, if one could carry out a prolonged conversation with a machine—whether by typewriter or microphones was immaterial—without being able to distinguish between its replies and those that a man might give, then the machine was thinking, by any sensible definition of the word. Hal could pass the Turing test with ease. The”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


“Though the man-apes often fought and wrestled one another, their disputes very seldom resulted in serious injuries. Having no claws or fighting canine teeth, and being well protected by hair, they could not inflict much harm on one another. In any event, they had little surplus energy for such unproductive behavior; snarling and threatening was a much more efficient way of asserting their points of view.”
― Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey


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