mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
Well put, Ser Jaime )

Deep.
mahnmut: (Default)
"Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders."

Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
There were people who called themselves Satanists who made Crowley squirm. It wasn't just the things they did, it was the way they blamed it all on Hell. They'd come up with some stomach-churning idea that no demon could have thought of in a thousand years, some dark and mindless unpleasantness that only a fully-functioning human brain could conceive, then shout "The Devil Made Me Do It" and get the sympathy of the court when the whole point was that the Devil hardly ever made anyone do anything. He didn't have to. That was what some humans found hard to understand. Hell wasn't a major reservoir of evil, any more than Heaven, in Crowley's opinion, was a fountain of goodness; they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game. Where you found the real McCoy, the real grace and the real heart-stopping evil, was right inside the human mind.

(from Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (1990))
mahnmut: (ROFL MAO!)
A friend of mine, during dinner yesterday:

"Hm, that Sun Tze was such an idiot. He wrote three pages about how you could capture your enemy... And not a single line about what to do when you get caught!"

:-D
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
"It was true that I didn't have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?"
Factotum, 1975
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
Because it's Religion week on TP, let's see what Pratchett has to say on the matter.

Quite a lot of quotes )
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
The three witches, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, attended a special theatrical play at the king's palace. The king of Lancre had ordered the writing of this play as propaganda, intended to alter the public's impression about the way the much hated king sat on the throne (allegedly through murder), and to propagate distrust in the much revered witches who are his natural adversary.


Granny subsided into unaccustomed, troubled silence, and tried to listen to the prologue. The theatre worried her. It had a magic of its own, one that didn't belong to her, one that wasn't in her control. It changed the world, and said things were otherwise than they were. And it was worse than that. It was magic that didn't belong to magical people. It was commanded by ordinary people, who didn't know the rules. They altered the world because it sounded better.

Granny turned slowly in her seat to look at the audience. They were staring at the performance, their faces rapt. The words washed over them in the breathless air. This was real. This was more real even than reality. This was history. It might not be true, but that had nothing to do with it.

Granny had never had much time for words. They were so insubstantial. Now she wished that she had found the time. Words were indeed insubstantial. They were as soft as water, but they were also as powerful as water and now they were rushing over the audience, eroding the levees of veracity, and carrying away the
past.

That's us down there, she thought. Everyone knows who we really are, but the things down there are what they'll remember – three gibbering old baggages in pointy hats. All we've ever done, all we've ever been, won't exist any more.


(From Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett)
mahnmut: (I can haz U all...)
Pratchett explains the secret behind the tremendous success of the current ruler of the city of Ankh-Morpork, who managed to control organized crime:


Ankh-Morpork's enviable system of licensed criminals owes much to the current Patrician, Lord Vetinari. He reasoned that the only way to police a city of a million inhabitants was to recognise the various gangs and robber guilds, give them professional status, invite the leaders to large dinners, allow an acceptable level of street crime and then make the guild leaders responsible for enforcing it, on pain of being stripped of their new civic honours along with large areas of their skins. It worked. Criminals, it turned out, made a very good police force; unauthorised robbers soon found, for example, that instead of a night in the cells they could now expect an eternity at the bottom of the river.

...However, there was the problem of apportioning the crime statistics, and so there arose a complex system of annual budgeting, chits and allowances to see that a) the members could make a reasonable living and b) no citizen was robbed or assaulted more than an agreed number of times. Many foresighted citizens in fact arranged to get an acceptable minimum of theft, assault, etc, over at the beginning of the financial year, often in the privacy and comfort of their own homes, and thus be able to walk the streets quite safely for the rest of the year. It all ticked over extremely peacefully and efficiently, demonstrating once again that compared to the Patrician of Ankh, Machiavelli could not have run a whelk stall.


From Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
William de Worde, a professional scribe who in this novel becomes the editor of the Discworld's first newspaper, The Ankh-Morpork Times, contemplates about people's diverse attitudes to half-full, half-empty glasses; and something more...


There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty.

The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: 'What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!'

And at the other end of the bar the world is full of the other type of person, who has a broken glass, or a glass that has been carelessly knocked over (usually by one of the people calling for a larger glass), or who had no glass at all, because they were at the back of the crowd and had failed to catch the barman's eye.



(From The Truth by Terry Pratchett)

 
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
The three witches, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, are talking about the concept that states/kingdoms have their own, individual identity.


'Everywhere's been where it is ever since it was first put there. It's called geography.', Nanny said.

'That's just about land,' said Granny. 'It's not the same as a kingdom. A kingdom is made up of-all sorts of things. Ideas. Loyalties. Memories, It all sort of exists together. And then all these things create some kind of life. Not a body kind of life, more like a living idea. Made up of everything that's alive and what they're thinking. And what the people before them thought.'


(From Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett)

mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
From a recent conversation with my dad:

History shows that history is always looked upon as a story. Instead of a lesson. And that's the problem. Every time it repeats itself, and every time we act surprised and wonder why this is happening.

It's very obvious, and everyone keeps repeating what dad has told me, and yet we never learn the lesson.
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
Death explains to the bewildered wizards of Unseen University why someone is trying to destroy the Hogfather (aka Santa) by trying to deplete people's faith in him.

...
A GOD CANNOT BE KILLED. NEVER COMPLETELY KILLED. HE CAN BE, SHALL WE SAY, SEVERELY REDUCED.

EVERY LIVING THING HAS ENEMIES. THE HOGFATHER, TOO. YES. EVERYTHING. POWERFUL ENEMIES. ... THOSE WHO THINK THE UNIVERSE SHOULD BE A LOT OF ROCKS MOVING IN CURVES. ... THEY THINK OF LIFE AS A STAIN ON THE UNIVERSE. A PESTILENCE. MESSY. GETTING IN THE WAY. ... THEY WANT YOU TO BE... LESS... DAMN, I'VE FORGOTTEN THE WORD. UNTRUTHFUL? THE HOGFATHER IS A SYMBOL OF THIS... WISTFUL LYING. ... I MEAN HUMANITY IN GENERAL. ER... THE ACT OF TELLING THE UNIVERSE IT IS OTHER THAN IT IS.
...

From "Hogfather" by Terry Pratchett


And while we're at it, may I turn the attention to a discussion about the alleged War on Christmas, and the holidays in general.
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
Pratchett uses footnotes extensively. The trick is, his footnotes are actually telling what his otherwise weird-looking stories are trying to depict in what often is perceived as too many words and names, and fantasy characters. Whereas with other authors, footnotes are just a minor insignificant addition to the narrative, those in Pratchett's books should be looked at with some extra attention.

...
* There are those who believe knowledge is something that is acquired - a precious ore hacked, as it were, from the grey strata of ignorance. There are those who believe that knowledge can only be recalled, that there was some Golden Age in the distant past when everything was known and the stones fitted together so you could hardly put a knife between them, you know, and it's obvious they had flying machines, right, because of the way the earthworks can only be seen from above, yeah? And there's this museum I read about where they found a pocket calculator under the altar of this ancient temple, you know what I'm saying? But the government hushed it up...

It's amazing how good governments are, given their track record in almost every other field, at hushing up things like alien encounters. One reason may be that the aliens themselves are too embarrassed to talk about it. It's not known why most of the space-going races of the universe want to undertake rummaging in Earthling underwear as a prelude to formal contact. But representatives of several hundred races have taken to hanging out, unsuspected by one another, in rural corners of the planet and, as a result of this, keep on abducting other would-be abductees. Some have been in fad abducted while waiting to carry out an abduction on a couple of other aliens trying to abduct the aliens who were, as a result of misunderstood instructions, trying to form cattle into circles and mutilate crops. The planet Earth is now banned to all alien races until they can compare notes and find out how many, if any, real humans they have actually got. It is gloomily suspected that there is only one who is big, hairy and has very large feet. The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.
...

From "Hogfather" by Terry Pratchett
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
Terry Pratchett explains the socio-political structure of the city-state of Ankh-Morpork.

...
Technically, the city of Ankh-Morpork is a Tyranny, which is not always the same thing as a Monarchy, and in fact even the post of Tyrant has been somewhat redefined by the incumbent, Lord Vetinari, as the only form of democracy that works. Everyone is entitled to vote, unless disqualified by reason of age or not being Lord Vetinari.

And yet it does work. This has annoyed a number of people who feel, somehow, that it should not, and who want a monarch instead, thus replacing a man who has achieved his position by cunning, a deep understanding of the realities of the human psyche, breathtaking diplomacy, a certain prowess with the stiletto dagger, and, all agree, a mind like a finely balanced circular saw, with a man who has got there by... being born. *

However, the Crown has hung on anyway, as crowns do – on the Post Office and the Royal Bank and the Mint and, not least, in the sprawling, brawling, squalling consciousness of the city itself. Lots of things live in that darkness. There are all kinds of darkness, and all kinds of things can be found in them, imprisoned, banished, lost or hidden. Sometimes they escape. Sometimes they simply fall out. Sometimes they just can’t take it any more.

* A third proposition, that the City be governed by a choice of respectable members of the community who would promise not to give themselves airs or betray the public trust at every turn, was instantly the subject of music-hall jokes all over the city.
...

From the brand new book "Unseen Academicals" by Terry Pratchett
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
Terry Pratchett explains the concept of ignorance and credulity, as per the understanding of the highly educated wizards from the Unseen University of Ankh-Morpork.

...
* Ignorant: a state of not knowing what a pronoun is, or how to find the square root of 27.4, and merely knowing childish and useless things like which of the seventy almost identical-looking species of the purple sea snake are the deadly ones, how to treat the poisonous pith of the Sago-sago tree to make a nourishing gruel, how to foretell the weather by the movements of the tree-climbing Burglar Crab, how to navigate across a thousand miles of featureless ocean by means of a piece of string and a small clay model of your grandfather, how to get essential vitamins from the liver of the ferocious Ice Bear, and other such trivial matters. It's a strange thing that when everyone becomes educated, everyone knows about the pronoun but no one knows about the Sago-sago.

* Credulous: having views about the world, the Universe and humanity's place in it that are shared only by very unsophisticated people and the most intelligent and advanced mathematicians and physicists.

From "Hogfather" by Terry Pratchett
mahnmut: (Default)
Sergeant Fred Colon & Corporal Nobby Nobbs are sitting and contemplating on the recently deteriorating relations between their city of Ankh-Morpork (prototype: New York or London) and the oriental empire of Klatch (prototype: the Arab world). ("Sorry for my Klatchian!")



From "Jingo" by Terry Pratchett
mahnmut: (Quaero togam pacem.)
Talking to his assistant Albert, Death contemplates on the question whether people really do believe in the Hogather (Discworld's equivalent of Santa Claus), or they just pretend to believe. Eventually, he says:

'THEY DON'T REALLY BELIEVE. THEY PRETEND TO BELIEVE, JUST IN CASE'*

*This is very similar to the suggestion put forward by the Quirmian philosopher Ventre, who said, 'Possibly the gods exist, and possibly they do
not. So why not believe in them in any case? If it's all true you'll go to a lovely place when you die, and if it isn't then you've lost nothing, right?' When he died he woke up in a circle of gods holding nasty-looking sticks and one of them said, 'We're going to show you what we think of Mr Clever Dick in these parts . . .'


From "Hogfather" by Terry Pratchett

mahnmut: (Default)
Susan, Death's granddaughter, who works as a governess at an Ankh-Morpork home, puts the kids to bed with a story...


After tea she read them a story. They liked her stories. The one in the book was pretty awful, but the Susan version was well received. She translated as she read.

'... and then Jack chopped down the beanstalk, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and trespass charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks inconvenient questions. And now,' she closed the book with a snap, 'it's time for bed.'

The previous governess had taught them a prayer which included the hope that some god or other would take their soul if they died while they were asleep and, if Susan was any judge, had the underlying message that this would be a good thing.

One day, Susan averred, she'd hunt that woman down.


From "Hogfather" by Terry Pratchett

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