“It’s a wonderful thing to be clever, and you should never think otherwise, and you should never stop being that way. But what you learn, as you get older, is that there are a few billion other people in the world all trying to be clever at the same time, and whatever you do with your life will certainly be lost – swallowed up in the ocean – unless you are doing it along with like-minded people who will remember your contributions and carry them forward.” p. 290

“‘Which path do you intend to take, Nell?’ said the Constable, sounding very intereted. ‘Conformity or rebellion?’

‘Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded – they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.'” p. 323

“[What] does it mean when [a person] moves to another [group]? It means that they have outgrown youthful credulity and no longer wish to belong to a tribe simply because it is the path of least resistance – they have developed principles, they are concerned with their personal integrity. It means, in short, that they are ripe to become members in good standing…” p. 332

“Could it be that the Primer was just a conduit, a technological system that mediated between Nell and some human being who really loved her? In the end… this [is] how all ractives [work].” p. 366

The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson, 1995


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