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Stanisław Lem (Writer)

If the methods you employ are good, then what’s the point of all this reasoning and argument? A few drops of credendium, a single squirt in the eyes, and I applaud your every word with enthusiasm, you have my full approval, my esteem. If those methods are good. Yet apparently you yourself are not convinced of their worth, preferring simple, old-fashioned hot air and rhetoric, wasting words on me instead of reaching for the atomizer! Apparently you’re well aware that the triumph of psychem is a sham, and that you will be standing on the field alone, a conqueror with a bad case of heartburn.
Stanisław Lem war
Come, let us hasten to a higher plane Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn, Their indices bedecked from one to n Commingled in an endless Markov chain! Ill grant thee random access to my heart, Thoult tell me all the constants of thy love; And so we two shall all loves lemmas prove, And in our bound partition never part. Cancel me not — for what then shall remain? Abscissas some mantissas, modules, modes, A root or two, a torus and a node: The inverse of my verse, a null domain.Love and Tensor Algebra, St. 1, 4, 6, in The First Sally A: or, Trurls Electronic Bard
Stanisław Lem love
Each civilization may choose one of two roads to travel, that is, either fret itself to death, or pet itself to death. And in the course of doing one or the other, it eats its way into the Universe, turning cinders and flinders of stars into toilet seats, pegs, gears, cigarette holders and pillowcases, and it does this because, unable to fathom the Universe, it seeks to change that Fathomlessness into Something Fathomable.In Tale of the Three Storytelling Machines of King Genius, §10
Stanisław Lem death
Mans quest for knowledge is an expanding series whose limit is infinity, but philosophy seeks to attain that limit at one blow, by a short circuit providing the certainty of complete and inalterable truth. Science meanwhile advances at its gradual pace, often slowing to a crawl, and for periods it even walks in place, but eventually it reaches the various ultimate trenches dug by philosophical thought, and, quite heedless of the fact that it is not supposed to be able to cross those final barriers to the intellect, goes right on.Ch. 2
Stanisław Lem truth
Man does not create gods, in spite of appearances. The times, the age, impose them on him. Man can serve his age or rebel against it, but the target of his cooperation or rebellion comes to him from outside.Ch. 14: The Old Mimoid, p. 198
Stanisław Lem god
Really, one of us ought to have the courage to call the experiment off and shoulder the responsibility for the decision, but the majority reckons that that kind of courage would be a sign of cowardice, and the first step in a retreat. They think it would mean an undignified surrender for mankind — as if there was any dignity in floundering and drowning in what we dont understand and never will.Ch. 11: The Thinkers, p. 158
Stanisław Lem war
We are only seeking Man. We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors. We dont know what to do with other worlds. A single world, our own, suffices us; but we cant accept it for what it is. We are seaching for an ideal image of our own world: we go in quest of a planet, of a civilisation superior to our own but developed on the basis of a prototype of our primeval past. At the same time, there is something inside us which we dont like to face up to, from which we try to protect ourselves, but which nevertheless remains, since we dont leave Earth in a state of primal innocence. We arrive here as we are in reality, and when the page is turned and that reality is revealed to us — that part of our reality which we would prefer to pass over in silence — then we dont like it any more.Ch. 6: The Little Apocrypha, p. 72
Stanisław Lem time
Faith as well as science endowed the visible world with properties that eliminated blind, incalculable chance as the author of all events. The war of good and evil present in all religions does not always end, in every faith, with the victory of good, but in every one it establishes a clear order of existence. The sacred as well as the profane rests on that universal order
Stanisław Lem faith
Fewer are the ways of helping people than of harming them; it is the nature of things, not a consequence of the statistical method. Our world does not stand halfway between heaven and hell; it seems much closer to hell.
Stanisław Lem nature
Tarkovsky reminds me of a sergeant from the time of Turgenev — he is very pleasant and extremely prepossessing and at the same time visionary and elusive. One cannot catch him anywhere because he is always at a slightly different place already. This is simply the type of person he is. When I understood that I stopped bothering. This director cannot be reshaped anymore, and first of all one cannot convince him of anything as he is going to recast everything in his own way no matter what.
Stanisław Lem time
Skepticism is like a microscope whose magnification is constantly increased: the sharp image that one begins with finally dissolves, because it is not possible to see ultimate things: their existence is only to be inferred.Ch. 17
Stanisław Lem existence
Futurologists have been multiplying like flies since the day Herman Kahn made Cassandras profession scientific, yet somehow not one of them has come out with the clear statement that we have wholly abandoned ourselves to the mercy of technological progress. The roles are now reversed: humanity becomes, for technology, a means, an instrument for achieving a goal unknown and unknowable.Ch. 11
Stanisław Lem humanity
Science is turning into a monastery for the Order of Capitulant Friars. Logical calculus is supposed to supersede man as moralist. We submit to the blackmail of the superior knowledge that has the temerity to assert that nuclear war can be, by derivation, a good thing, because this follows from simple arithmetic.Ch. 9
Stanisław Lem knowledge
Clarity of thought is a shining point in a vast expanse of unrelieved darkness. Genius is not so much a light as it is a constant awareness of the surrounding gloom, and its typical cowardice is to bathe in its own glow and avoid, as much as possible, looking out beyond its boundary. No matter how much genuine strength it may contain, there is also, inevitably, a considerable part that is only the pretense of that strength.Preface
Stanisław Lem war
Psychoanalysis provides truth in an infantile, that is, a schoolboy fashion: we learn from it, roughly and hurriedly, things that scandalize us and thereby command our attention. It sometimes happens, and such is the case here, that a simplification touching upon the truth, but cheaply, is of no more value than a lie. Once again we are shown the demon and the angel, the beast and the god locked in Manichean embrace, and once again man has been pronounced, by himself, not culpable.Preface
Stanisław Lem truth
Plentitude, when too plentitudinous, was worst than destitution, for—obviously—what could one do, if there was nothing one could not?In Tale of the Three Storytelling Machines of King Genius, §4
Stanisław Lem story
He who has had, has been, but he who hasnt been, has been had.In Tale of the Three Storytelling Machines of King Genius, §2
Stanisław Lem story
He who must be what he is, may curse his fate, but cannot change it; on the other hand, he who can transform himself has no one in the world but himself to blame for his failings, no one but himself to hold responsible for his dissatisfaction.In Tale of the Three Storytelling Machines of King Genius, §3
Stanisław Lem change
Take a good look at this world, how riddled it is with huge, gaping holes, how full of Nothingness, the Nothingness that fills the bottomless void between the stars, how everything about us has become lined with it, how it darkly lurks behind each shred of matter. This is your work, envious one! And I hardly think the future generations will bless you for itIn How The World Was Saved
Stanisław Lem work
One day Trurl the constructor put together a machine that could build anything beginning with the letter n.In How The World Was Saved
Stanisław Lem world
I hoped for nothing. And yet I lived in expectation. Since she had gone, that was all that remained. I did not know what achievements, what mockery, even what tortures still awaited me. I knew nothing, and I persisted in the faith that the time of cruel miracles was not past.Ch. 14: The Old Mimoid, p. 204 final lines
Stanisław Lem hope
Everything is explicable in the terms of the behavior of a small child.Ch. 14: The Old Mimoid, p. 199
Stanisław Lem child
The age-old faith of lovers and poets in the power of love, stronger than death, that Finis vitae sed non amoris, is a lie, useless and not even funny.Translation: Life ends but not love. Ch. 14: The Old Mimoid, p. 204
Stanisław Lem love
If man had more of a sense of humor, things might have turned out differently.Ch. 12: The Dreams, p. 184
Stanisław Lem humor
Any attempt to understand the motivation of these occurrences is blocked by our own anthropomorphism. Where there are no men, there cannot be motives accessible to men.Ch. 9: The Liquid Oxygen, p. 134
Stanisław Lem motivation
The fate of a single man can be rich with significance, that of a few hundred less so, but the history of thousands and millions of men does not mean anything at all, in any adequate sense of the word.Ch. 8 The Monsters, p. 120
Stanisław Lem history
We dont want to conquer the cosmos, we simply want to extend the boundaries of Earth to the frontiers of the cosmos.Ch. 6: The Little Apocrypha, p. 72
Stanisław Lem art
A man who for an entire week does nothing but hit himself over the head has little reason to be proud.Podroze miedzygwiezdne, trip 3
Stanisław Lem self

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