Here's an interesting text by science-fiction author Philip K. Dick
that starts out examining key questions he's been asking himself for
all his career - "What is
reality?" and "What is the authentic human?" - and segues into rather
strange thoughts on theology and the (non-)existence of time. The
origin of the quote "Reality is that which, when you stop
believing in it, doesn't go away." is explained near the beginning.
I like to build universes which do fall apart.
I like to see them come unglued, and I like to see how the characters in the
novels cope with this problem. I have a secret love of chaos. There should be
more of it. Do not believe—and I am dead serious when I say this—do not
assume that order and stability are always good, in a society or in a
universe. The old, the ossified, must always give way to new life and the
birth of new things. Before the new things can be born the old must perish.
This is a dangerous realization, because it tells us that we must eventually
part with much of what is familiar to us. And that hurts. But that is part of
the script of life. Unless we can psychologically accommodate change, we
ourselves begin to die, inwardly. What I am saying is that objects, customs,
habits, and ways of life must perish so that the authentic human being can
live. And it is the authentic human being who matters most, the viable,
elastic organism which can bounce back, absorb, and deal with the new.
Dick offers a definition of an "authentic human being" towards the end:
The authentic human being is one of us who instinctively knows what he should
not do, and, in addition, he will balk at doing it. He will refuse to do it,
even if this brings down dread consequences to him and to those whom he loves.
This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say
to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance. Their
deeds may be small, and almost always unnoticed, unmarked by history. Their
names are not remembered, nor did these authentic humans expect their names to
be remembered. I see their authenticity in an odd way: not in their
willingness to perform great heroic deeds but in their quiet refusals. In
essence, they cannot be compelled to be what they are not.
Greg Costikyan: Talk Like a Gamer. The gamer subculture has been expanding the uses of language just as hackers did over the previous decades, spotting patterns and making up names to refer to them among themselves. Sample quote:
A mule is a secondary character used to provide more storage
space for the crap you want to hang on to; if your backpack is full,
just fire up the mule character and give him/her/it the stuff to carry.
A mule will water ski, meaning it will automatically follow the main character about, like a boat pulling a water skier.
As I wrote in an earlier post titled "Growing a Language", I believe
knowledge work is moving in that general direction, an increasing part
of it consisting in constructing, naming, and disseminating new