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

Cloud Atlas

The Bone Clocks

Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Quotes by David Mitchell (25 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 The 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

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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: Lies Illusion

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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 The 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 The 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 The 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 The 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 The Bone Clocks

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

from The Bone Clocks

Chapters: 5. Christmas Trees

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“Men invented money. Women invented mutual aid.”

from The 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 The 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

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“He who pays the historian calls the tune.”

from The 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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