the committee

“Often I’ve thought of myself as a state; a country or, at the very least, a city.

“It used to seem to me that the different ways I felt sometimes about ideas, courses of action and so on were like the differing political moods that countries go through.

“It has always seemed to me that people vote in a new government not because they actually agree with their politics but just because they want a change.

“Somehow they think things will be better under the new lot.

“Well, people are stupid, but it all seems to have more to do with mood, caprice and atmosphere than carefully thought-out arguments.

“I can feel the same sort of thing going on in my head.

“Sometimes the thoughts and feelings I had didn’t really agree with each other, so I decided I must be lots of different people inside my brain.”

p. 62

“All our lives are symbols.

“Everything we do is part of a pattern we have at least some say in.

“The strong make their own patterns and influence other people’s, the weak have their courses mapped out for them.

“The weak and the unlucky, and the stupid.

“The Wasp Factory is part of the pattern because it is part of life and – even more so – part of death.

“Like life it is complicated, so all the components are there.

“The reason it can answer questions is because every question is a start looking for an end, and the Factory is about the End – death, no less.

“Keep your entrails and sticks and dice and books and birds and voices and pendants and all the rest of that crap; I have the Factory, and it’s about now and the future; not the past.”

pp. 117-118

The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks, 1984

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