Olaf Stapledon, fully William Olaf Stapledon

Olaf
Stapledon, fully William Olaf Stapledon
1886
1950

British Philosopher and Author of Philosophical and Science Fiction Books

Author Quotes

We are bound to hurt one another so much, again and again. we are so terribly different.''Yes,' he said, 'But the more different, the more lovely the loving.

We have no government and no laws, if by law is meant a stereotyped convention supported by force, and not to be altered without the aid of cumbersome machinery.

When a sudden rebellion broke out in the remote British Isles, and was supported by an attack by the Mountain Peoples against Russian forces in Iran, the Chinese government refrained from helping Russia by attacking Tibet from the east. This was a grave error, for Britain gained its independence, and Iran, Iraq, and Turkey joined the Federation. The economic resources of the Federation were still ridiculously small compared with those of the empires, whose sway covered all the rest of the earth save isolated Britain.

When at last the dull-witted armies of Russia and China with their irresistible war machines attempted to cross the belt, their personnel was mysteriously reduced to infantilism.

While numbers were declining, the average level of intelligence was declining also. The more intelligent were more reluctant than the dullards to burden themselves with children in a hostile world.

Why did you make only one of me? It's going to be lonely being me.

With characteristic lack of false modesty, John once said to me, My looks are a rough test of people. If they don't begin to see me beautiful when they have had a chance to learn, I know they're dead inside, and dangerous.

With the aid of communal meals, communal nurseries and labor-saving devices within the home the mothers were freed and yet the home was preserved as the fundamental unit of social life.

Within a few generations this policy of fostering intelligence and integrity began to have surprising results.

Without Satan, with God only, how poor a universe, how trite a music!

Without the constant influence of the superhuman beings who were my fellow spectators even this would have been utterly impossible. But now even their presence could not sufficiently aid me.

World-wide commissions for transport, health, postal services, the regulation of industrial disputes, and so on, were gradually forming into a vast network of cosmopolitan organization.

Yes, we had one and all left our native planets in order to discover whether, regarding the cosmos as a whole, the spirit which we all in our hearts obscurely knew and haltingly prized, the spirit which on Earth we sometimes call humane, was Lord of the Universe, or outlaw; almighty, or crucified... For we cannot know whether the highest place for love is on the throne or on the cross. We cannot know what spirit rules, for on the throne sits darkness... Love and all that is humane we cherish in our hearts. Yet also we salute the throne and the darkness upon the throne. Whether it be Love or not Love, our hearts praise it, out-soaring reason.

Yet though time is cyclic, it is not repetitive; there is no other time within which it can repeat itself.

No longer did the bulk of the population work for long hours and for insufficient pay, living more or less in squalor, and failing to secure that small amount of self- expression without which mental health is impossible.

So far as music ever had a "meaning" beyond the immediate and exquisite value of the sound-pattern itself, its "meaning" must be simply an emotional attitude. It could never speak directly about the objective world, or "the nature of existence"; but it might create a complex emotional attitude which might be appropriate to some feature of the objective world, or to the universe as a whole.

The forwards had discovered, they said, that the universe of familiar space and time, though no mere illusion or dream, was but the surface of a deeper reality. The familiar natural laws, both physical and psychological, were not fundamental laws at all, but superficial descriptions of the ?local? incidence of deeper and hitherto unguessed laws. ?The whole universe of stars, of galaxies, though fully actual and no mere figment of man?s mind, was but spindrift caught up by occult winds and driven along the surface of an occult ocean of existence.

The second was the widespread, heartfelt, and not merely verbal acceptance of the fundamental religious aim of social life, namely the development of man?s capacity for personality in service of the spirit.

They had seen that in spite of the precarious existence of the snowflake universes and of the conscious beings within them, these beings themselves, when they attained mature spiritual stature, acquired very formidable powers. The pioneering forwards claimed that, in terms of the inadequate image, they had sometimes seen a brief but dazzling effulgence blaze up within some snowflake, like the brilliance of a new star. So brilliant might this conflagration be that it illuminated the whole wide snowfield. When this happened, the ?titans?, seemingly terrified by the sudden light, fled in all directions, away from its source.

Very soon the heavens presented an extraordinary appearance, for all the stars directly behind me were now deep red, while those directly ahead were violet. Rubies lay behind me, amethysts ahead of me.

It is better to be destroyed than to triumph in slaying the spirit... We die praising the universe in which at least such an achievement as ours can be.

Not only as between individuals but also as between peoples specialization was carefully restricted. Inevitably at first some countries were predominantly industrial, others agricultural, but it was deliberately designed that this specialization should be based on an underlying self-sufficiency. ? The aim of the world government was the development of the world as a whole, not of any one people. Local cultural differences were therefore to be fostered, since it was realized that mental diversity was the breath of life.

So might we ourselves look down into some rock-pool where lowly creatures repeat with naive zest dramas learned by their ancestors ‘ons ago.

The future needed service, not pity, not piety; but in the past lay darkness, confusion, waste, and all the cramped primitive minds, bewildered, torturing one another in their stupidity, yet one and all in some unique manner, beautiful.

The sheer beauty of the planet surprised me. It was a huge pearl, set in spangled ebony. It was nacreous, it was an opal. No, it was far more lovely than any jewel. Its patterned coloring was more subtle, more ethereal. It displayed the delicacy and brilliance, the intricacy and harmony of a live thing. Strange that in my remoteness I seemed to feel, as never before, the vital presence of Earth as of a creature alive but tranced and obscurely yearning to wake.

Author Picture
First Name
Olaf
Last Name
Stapledon, fully William Olaf Stapledon
Birth Date
1886
Death Date
1950
Bio

British Philosopher and Author of Philosophical and Science Fiction Books