24 Random Quotes from the Library's collection

The whole is more than the sum of its parts, all right. The whole is exactly the parts and the way that they communicate with each other.
Marvin Minsky
When there is a crack in the Cosmic Egg, Buddha is about to be born.
Alan Watts
1972
The only thing that (at least to begin with) you can do is watch. Watch what’s going on. Watch not only what’s going on on the outside, but also what’s going on on the inside. Treat your own thoughts, your own reactions, your own emotions about what’s going on outside as if those inside reactions were also outside things.
Alan Watts
A glow ripples outward from the first spark of conscious reflection. The point of ignition grows larger. The fire spreads in ever widening circles till finally the whole planet is covered with incandescence. Only one interpretation, only one name can be found worthy of this grand phenomenon. Much more coherent and just as extensive as any preceding layer, it is really a new layer, the ‘thinking layer,’ which, since its germination at the end of the Tertiary period, has spread over and above the world of plants and animals. In other words, outside and above the biosphere there is the noösphere.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
1955
The art is not to get so carried away with change you lose the baby with the bath, and not to get so caught in inertia that you miss the opportunity for survival, basically, because you don’t adapt.
Ram Dass
1993
The reason that centralized planning seldom works is because the world is too complex to be understood by anyone.
Timid orthodoxy, its irrational repressions and its accumulation of dead centuries, dwarfs man through its idolatry of the past. Seated rigid in the centre of stagnation, it firmly ties the human spirit to the revolving wheels of habit till faintness overwhelms her.
Rabindranath Tagore
1922
Going back to this illustration of every living body as something like the flame of a candle: the energies of life—in the form of temperature, light, air, and food, and so on—are streaming through you all at this moment in the most magnificently harmonious way.
The concept of Metaman resonates with our natural awe of the universe and gives humans a place that neither diminishes us nor contradicts humanity’s understanding of the physical realm. In essence, Metaman restores us to a story of the universe that possesses the strength of the ancient myths—their ability to explain the workings of the world and our place in it. We now know the basic outlines of a history of life and the cosmos so rich that it can serve as a powerful modern mythos to orient our lives and our vision of the world.
Why is it that we think of ourselves as only this minute part of a totality far larger than we are?
Aldous Huxley
1955
We—as living organisms—are forms of the energy of the universe just as much as the stars and the galaxies, and through our sense organs this system of energy becomes aware of itself.
The common idea that what you lose in comfort by dropping out, you gain in freedom, is based on a misunderstanding of what “freedom” means. Without technology and social support systems, life is basically a struggle for survival, where most energy and time must be directed towards finding the necessary food and shelter. By removing these requirements, society has given us the real freedom of doing what we want, where we want it, and (most of the time) when we want it, without having to worry whether we will be able to survive. Especially technology, such as the transport and communication systems, has enormously expanded our freedom of movement and of communication. The more the superorganism increases its differentiation and integration, the more options we will have to choose our occupation, or go wherever we want whenever we want.
Language is old. Honeybees do it, dolphins do it. It’s even possible (when you think of chemical communication) that flowers and ants do it. Nature is knit together by communication—which has rules, has syntax, and so is language. If you’ve ever stood in a rainforest or any species-dense environment—it’s alive with signals, with sounds, with odors that are carrying messages. These things are not just produced for aesthetic effect, they have intended hearers and so forth and so on.
Terence McKenna
1994
With the capability of self-reflexion we have become the mind of a universe becoming increasingly aware of itself.
Here we find not the collapse of order, like the one-way dissipative crash of Humpty-Dumpty. Rather, things build up, from small to large, from pebbles to rocks layered with moss. This upward process sings to stratified stability. Step by step, the development of complexity from level to level is an arrow in possibility space.
It is not possible that this unity of knowledge, feeling and choice which you call your own should have sprung into being from nothingness at a given moment not so long ago; rather this knowledge, feeling and choice are essentially eternal and unchangeable and numerically one in all men, nay in all sensitive beings. But not in this sense—that you are a part, a piece, of an eternal, infinite being, an aspect or modification of it, as in Spinoza’s pantheism. For we should then have the same baffling question: which part, which aspect are you? What, objectively, differentiates it from the others? No, but, inconceivable as it seems to ordinary reason, you—and all other conscious beings as such—are all in all. Hence this life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but is in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance.
Erwin Schrödinger
1951
Buddha’s teaching speaks of Nirvana as the highest end. To understand its real character we have to know the path of its attainment, which is not merely through the negation of evil thoughts and deeds but through the elimination of all limits to love.
Rabindranath Tagore
1922
The perfectly, gloriously happy person wouldn’t remember anything, because every experience would be completely satisfactory. All memory is really a form of regurgitation of undigested experience.
Alan Watts
When the collective is taken to its upper limit, is it still ‘collective’ or does it issue in a super-person?
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
1941
What we have to do is dematerialize culture in every way possible. And that means pharmacologize culture, computerize culture, network culture, virtualize culture, and make of it, thereby, a tool for the production of our poetic flights; a technology for the putting in place of our dreams as exhibits that we can show each other. This is what it is. This is what technology can be in the service of boundary dissolution. In the service of boundary maintenance you get hydrogen bombs and sarin. In the service of boundary dissolution you get psychoactive substances, and the Internet, and sexual experimentalism, social justice, tolerance, and community.
Terence McKenna
1995
All falling apart. Everything is. That’s the great assistance to you. See, that fact—that everything is in decay—is your helper. That is allowing you that you don’t have to let go because there’s nothing to hold on to. It’s achieved for you, in other words, by the process of nature. So once you see that you just don’t have a prayer, and it’s all washed up, and that you will vanish and leave not a rack behind—and you really get with that—suddenly you find you have the power; this enormous access of energy. But it’s not power that came to you because you grabbed it. It came in entirely the opposite way. And power that comes to you in that opposite way is power with which you can be trusted.
Now, if you try to find it here, and say, “Now, golly! Let’s do this right now! I’ve really gotta pay attention to Now.” See? And you try to look at that, you see, and bring Now into focus and really look at it: you’re still pushing it away. It has to come to you by—you can’t seek Now, because the moment you seek it you’re not looking at the real Now, you’re looking at one just ahead. See? So in some, this necessity of relating to the material present is one of the cardinal components of a good ecological attitude. Because greed—which is, essentially, discontent with the present (admittedly, some people living on the edge of poverty have an inadequate material present from a physical point of view)—but it is the greed of the well taken care of that is so terrifying: people who have enough to eat, and wear, and’re clothed, and are still greedy, and therefore go out to exploit this Earth and drag every last ounce of wealth out of it—which is immediately turned into rubbish and poisoned gas—because they can’t be alive here at the moment.
How does the mind absorb suffering? It discovers that resistance and escape—the “I” process—is a false move. The pain is inescapable, and resistance as a defense only makes it worse; the whole system is jarred by the shock. Seeing the impossibility of this course, it must act according to its nature—remain stable and absorb.
Alan Watts
1951
Those things in life which are most pleasurable almost invariably happen unexpectedly. They are not contrived.
Alan Watts


5,440