Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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David Mitchell

1969 CE –

Born in England and living for times in Sicily and Japan with his Japanese wife and children, Mitchell infuses his novels with metaphysical insights, deep philosophical speculations, and wisdom beyond words. Struggling against a stammering speech disorder and supporting an autistic son; he’s written eight novels, numerous short stories and articles, translations from Japanese into English, and two operas. He wrote his last novel for the Future Library project which collects a literary work each year not to be released until 2114.

Lineages

Eras

Sources

Bone Clocks

Cloud Atlas

Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Utopia Avenue

Unlisted Sources

Utopia Avenue

Quotes by David Mitchell (60 quotes)

“Power is crack cocaine for your ego and battery acid for your soul.”

Chapters: 9. Know When to Stop

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“Normal is whatever you have come to take for granted.”

Chapters: 38. Fruit Over Flowers

Themes: Ignorance

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“Love is fusion in the sun’s core. Love is blurring of pronouns. Love is subject and object. The difference between its presence and its absence is the difference between life and death.”

Chapters: 39. Oneness

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“The lie that happiness is about borrowing money you haven’t got to buy crap you don’t need”

from Bone Clocks

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

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“People are masks, with masks under those masks, and masks under those, and down you go.”

Chapters: 57. Wu Wei

Themes: Illusion

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“Naming, even in ridicule, gives what is named substance.”

from Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Chapters: 1. The Unnamed

Themes: Illusion Lies

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“The soul is a verb, not a noun.”

from Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Chapters: 13. Honor and Disgrace

Themes: Creativity

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“"If you could reason with religious people, there wouldn’t be any religious people."”

from Bone Clocks

Chapters: 56. One with the Dust

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“… from such an array of vultures, from feudal lords to slave traders to oligarchs to neocons to predators like you. All of you strangle your consciences, and ethically you strike yourselves dumb.”

from Bone Clocks

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

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“So winners are the real losers because they learn nothing?… If losers can exploit what their adversaries teach them, yes, losers can become winners in the long term.”

from Bone Clocks

Chapters: 2. The Wordless Teachings

Themes: Success

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“In an individual, selfishness uglifies the world; for the human species, selfishness is extinction.”

from Bone Clocks

Chapters: 68. Joining Heaven & Earth

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“Your life amounted to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean… yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops.”

from Bone Clocks

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“The difference between reading a love poem and being in love.”

from Bone Clocks

Chapters: 5. Christmas Trees

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“Men invented money. Women invented mutual aid.”

from Bone Clocks

Chapters: 44. Fame and Fortune

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“Belief grows ever ‘truer.’ The actual past is brittle, ever-dimming… The present presses the virtual past into its own service, to lend credence to its mythologies.”

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

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“A wealthy upbringing compounds stupidity while a hardscrabble childhood dilutes it.”

from Bone Clocks

Chapters: 46. Enough

Themes: Wealth

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“You’re squeezing a size -eighteen reality into a size-eleven supposition.”

from Cloud Atlas

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“He who would do battle with the many-headed hydra of human nature must pay a world of pain.”

from Cloud Atlas

Themes: Warriors

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“He who pays the historian calls the tune.”

from Bone Clocks

Themes: History

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“Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies… Who can say where the cloud’s blowed from or who the soul’ll be ‘morrow?… only the atlas o’ clouds.”

from Cloud Atlas

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“Where there’s bluster, there’s duplicity.”

from Cloud Atlas

Chapters: 63. Easy as Hard

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“a never-changing map of the ever-constant ineffable… an atlas of clouds.”

from Cloud Atlas

Themes: Magic

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“History is not, after all, what really happened (no one can know; it’s gone), but only what we believe happened.”

from Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Chapters: 65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

Themes: History

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“Science, like a general, is identifying its enemies: received wisdom and untested assumptions; superstition and quackery; the tyrants' fear of educated commoners; and , most pernicious of all, man's fondness for fooling himself.”

from Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

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“Science itself is in the early stages of becoming sentient... the days are coming when science shall transform what it is to be a human being.”

from Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Themes: Science

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“Fame molds itself onto you face. Then it molds your face. Fame brings you immunity from the usual rules. Problem is, if fame is a drug, its hard to kick... When I had fame, fame was killing me. Now it's gone, anonymity is killing me.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Anonymity Fame

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“Songs, like dandelion seeds, billowing across space and time. Who knows where they'll land? Or what they'll bring? Where will all these song seeds land... If a song plants an idea or a feeling in a mind, it has already changed the world.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Music

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“Every third or fourth generation is a generation of radicals, of revolutionaries. We, my friends, are the bottle-smashers. We release the genies... But the genies we set loose stay loose... Those whispers are the blueprints of the future.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Revolution

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“Problems tangle up like clothes in a tumble dryer.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Problems

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“when we look at a thing, we change what it is. Which is exactly why we never see things as they are, only as we are.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Confusion

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“Jesus's disciples were, essentially, hippies: long hair, gown, stoner expressions, irregular employment, spiritual convictions, dubious sleeping arrangements, and a guru.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Christianity

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“Disaster is the mother of opportunity.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Obstacles

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“I don't want him to lose his faith in psychiatry. The world has too many mystics and not enough scientists.”

from Utopia Avenue

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“Do you think reality is just a mirror for something else... what reflection ever guessed that it is a reflection?”

from Utopia Avenue

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“Separateness is an illusion, what we do to another, we do to ourselves.”

from Utopia Avenue

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“Men need to get laid. For women it's less of a 'must' and more of a 'might be nice' or a 'possibly.' We can't win. If we don't play the game, we're frigid or we can't get a man. If we play the game too much, we're a slut, the village bike, damaged goods... patriarchy is a stitch-up.”

from Utopia Avenue

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“Music frees the soul from the cage of the body. Music transforms the Many to a One.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Oneness Music

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“Reality erases itself as it re-records... Time is the Great Forgetter”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Forget

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“Your big mistake is to assume your brain generates a bubble of consciousness you call 'Me.'... The truth is that you're not your own private 'I.' You are to consciousness what the flame of a match is to the Milky Way.Your brain only taps into consciousness. You aren't a broadcaster. You're a transceiver.”

from Utopia Avenue

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“Coincidence! Coincidence. The last refuge of the bankrupt intellectual.”

from Utopia Avenue

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“The word 'faster' is becoming a synonym of 'better.' As if the goal of human evolution is to be a sentient bullet.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Less is More

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“A brain constructs a model of reality. If that model isn't too different from most people's model, you're labeled sane. If the model is different, you'r labels a genius, a misfit, a visionary, or a nutcase In extreme cases, you're labeled a schizophrenic and locked up.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Crazy Wisdom

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“We think we are a One, but you and I know an 'I' is a 'Many.' There's a Nice Guy Me. Psychopath Me... I is an Empire of 'I's.”

from Utopia Avenue

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“Dean wonders where his own anger and contempt have gone. Time's a fire extinguisher, he thinks.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Patience Anger

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“Labels... They save you the bother of thinking. They become a habit. You start thinking reality is the labels... The trouble is, reality's the opposite... the Queen of Freedoms is this: to be free of labels.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Freedom

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“* Marriage is an anchor, lads. Stops you drifting onto rocks, but stops you voyaging as well.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Marriage

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“Sex is the puppet-master.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Sex

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“* Art is memory made public... as long as the art endures, a song or a view or a thought or a feeling someone once taught worth keeping is saved and stays shareable, others can say, 'I feel that too.'”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Art

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“Time is what stops everything from happening at once.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Time

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“I used to think you became a star by having hits... No—you are a star first, therefore you have the hits.”

from Utopia Avenue

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“Why, he wondered, do Normals get so worked up about who's having sex with whom? Surely people who want to sleep with each other will do so, until one or both no longer want it. Then it ends. Like the end of the mating season in the animal kingdom. If everyone just accepted that, there would be no more heartache.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Sex

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“If the goods aren't for sale, don't put 'em in the window.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Prostitution

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“Paradise is the road to paradise.”

from Utopia Avenue

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“Suffering is the promise that life always keeps... Grief is the bill of love fallen due.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Suffering

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“loneliness is the default state of the world. Friends, family, love or a band are the rare anomalies... You're born alone, you die alone, and for most of what lies between, you are alone.”

from Utopia Avenue

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“For a brief spell, we share a stage. Others are coming to kick us off. But while you're here, write yourself a good part. Act it well.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: True Self

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“An ounce of perception, a pound of obscure.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Anonymity

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“If you don't write it down, it didn't happen... Writing is a forest of faint paths, of dead ends, hidden pits, unresolved chords, words that won't rhyme. You can be lost in there for hours, Days, even.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Books

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“The present is a curtain and most of us can't see behind it. Those who do see—via luck or prescience—change what is there by seeing. That's why it's unknowable.”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Here and Now

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“Is the past tense a trick of the mind? Is sanity a matrix of these tricks?”

from Utopia Avenue

Themes: Mind

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