Olaf Stapledon citations

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Olaf Stapledon

Date de naissance: 10. mai 1886
Date de décès: 6. septembre 1950

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William Olaf Stapledon, né le 10 mai 1886 près de Liverpool et décédé le 6 septembre 1950 dans le Merseyside, est un philosophe anglais et un auteur de romans de science-fiction visionnaire ayant esquissé nombre des thèmes classiques explorés par la science-fiction du XXe siècle.

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Citations Olaf Stapledon

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„Since then two experiences have dominated me: philosophy, and the tragic disorder of our whole terrestrial hive.“

—  Olaf Stapledon
Context: My childhood, which lasted some twenty-five years, was moulded chiefly by the Suez Canal, Abbotsholme, and Balliol. Since those days I have attempted several careers, in each case escaping before the otherwise inevitable disaster. First, as a schoolmaster, I swotted up Bible stories on the eve of the scripture lesson. Then, in a Liverpool shipping office, I spoiled bills of lading, and in Port Said I innocently let skippers have more coal than they needed. Next I determined to create an Educated Democracy. Workington miners, Barrow riveters, Crewe railway-men, gave me a better education than I could give them. Since then two experiences have dominated me: philosophy, and the tragic disorder of our whole terrestrial hive. After a belated attack on academic philosophy, I wrote a couple of books on philosophical subjects and several works of fantastic fiction dealing with the career of mankind. One of them, Last and First Men, is in this series. Introduction

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„Throughout man's career intelligence and charity have been man's distinctive and most valuable assets.“

—  Olaf Stapledon
Context: Throughout man's career intelligence and charity have been man's distinctive and most valuable assets. One of our early pre-human ancestors is said to have been much like the Spectral Tarsier, a little mammal about the size of a mouse, with long wiry fingers and huge forward-looking eyes adapted for binocular vision. Not by weapons but by correlation of subtle eyes and subtle hands through subtle brain, this creature triumphed. And man himself conquered the world by the same means, by attention, by discrimination, by skilled manipulation, by versatility; in fact by intelligence and imagination in adapting himself to an ever-changing environment.

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„The ideologies of the super-tribes exercised absolute power over all individual minds under their sway.
In civilized regions the super-tribes and the overgrown natural tribes created an astounding mental tyranny. In relation to his natural tribe, at least if it was small and genuinely civilized, the individual might still behave with intelligence and imagination. Along with his actual tribal kinsmen he might support a degree of true community unknown on Earth. He might in fact be a critical, self-respecting and other-respecting person. But in all matters connected with the super-tribes, whether national or economic, he behaved in a very different manner. All ideas coming to him with the sanction of nation or class would be accepted uncritically and with fervor by himself and all his fellows. As soon as he encountered one of the symbols or slogans of his super-tribe he ceased to be a human personality and became a sort of de-cerebrate animal, capable only of stereotyped reactions. In extreme cases his mind was absolutely closed to influences opposed to the suggestion of the super-tribe. Criticism was either met with blind rage or actually not heard at all. Persons who in the intimate community of their small native tribe were capable of great mutual insight and sympathy might suddenly, in response to tribal symbols, be transformed into vessels of crazy intolerance and hate directed against national or class enemies. In this mood they would go to any extreme of self-sacrifice for the supposed glory of the super-tribe. Also they would show great ingenuity in contriving means to exercise their lustful vindictiveness upon enemies who in favorable circumstances could be quite as kindly and intelligent as themselves.“

—  Olaf Stapledon
Chapter V: Worlds Innumerable; 2. Strange Mankinds (p. 62)

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