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The single most important truth about mankind

June 4, 2008, Literature
Last edited on June 4, 2008

"I'm not sure that if I hadn't met people from Tarnover I would believe you. If I can judge by them, through . . ."

"Be assured they're typical. They've been systematically steered away from understanding of the single most important truth about mankind. It's as though you were to comb the continent for the kindest, most generous, most considerate individuals you could find, and then spend years persuading them that because such attitudes are rare, they must be abnormal and should be cured."

"What most important truth?"

"You tell me. You've known it all your life. You live by its compass."

"Anything to do with my reason for getting interested in you in the first place? I noticed how hard you were trying to conform to a stock pattern. It seemed like a dreadful waste."

"That's it. One charge I made against Freeman which I won't retract: I accused him of dealing not in human beings but in approximations to a preordained model of a human being. I really am glad he decided to give it up. Bad habit!"

"Then I know what you're talking about. It's the uncertainty principle."

"Of course. The opposite of evil. Everything implied by that shopworn term 'free will.' Ever run across the phrase 'the new conformity'?"

"Yes, and it's terrifying. In an age when we have more choice than ever before, more mobility, more information, more opportunity to fulfill ourselves, how is it that people can prefer to be identical? The plug-in life-style makes me puke."

"But the concept has been sold with such persistence, the majority of people feel afraid not to agree that it's the best way of keeping track in a chaotic world. As it were: 'Everybody else says it is—who am I to argue?'"

"I am I."

"Tat tvam asi."

John Brunner, The Shockwave Rider, 1975, pp. 233/234.

Tolles Buch. Am Anfang bin ich nicht gut reingekommen, aber nach vierzig, fünfzig Seiten hat sich das gegeben, und im Gegenteil hat das Buch angefangen, mir sehr zu gefallen.

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