The Lost World Quotes

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The Lost World (Jurassic Park #2) The Lost World by Michael Crichton
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“What makes you think human beings are sentient and aware? There's no evidence for it. Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told-and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their 'beliefs.' The reason is that beliefs guide behavior which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion. Next question.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“All your life people will tell you things. And most of the time, probably ninety-five percent of the time, what they'll tell you will be wrong.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Human beings are so destructive. I sometimes think we're a kind of plague, that will scrub the earth clean. We destroy things so well that I sometimes think, maybe that's our function. Maybe every few eons, some animal comes along that kills off the rest of the world, clears the decks, and lets evolution proceed to its next phase.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Absence of proof is not proof of absence.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“All your life, other people will try to take your accomplishments away from you. Don't you take it away from yourself.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Life is wonderful. It's a gift to be alive, to see the sun and breathe the air. And there isn't really anything else.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“[..]Although personally, I think cyberspace means the end of our species."
Yes? Why is that?"
Because it means the end of innovation," Malcolm said. "This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they'll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behaviour. We innovate new behaviour to adapt. And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That's the effect of mass media - it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there's a McDonald's on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there's less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity - our most necessary resource? That's disappearing faster than trees. But we haven't figured that out, so now we're planning to put five billion people together in cyberspace. And it'll freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same thing at the same time. Global uniformity. [..]”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Nobody smart knows what they want to do until they get into their twenties or thirties.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“A hundred years from now, people will look back on us and laugh. They'll say, 'You know what people used to believe? They believed in photons and electrons. Can you imagine anything so silly?' They'll have a good laugh, because by then there will be newer better fantasies... And meanwhile, you feel the way the boat moves? That's the sea. That's real. You smell the salt in the air? You feel the sunlight on your skin? That's all real. Life is wonderful. It's a gift to be alive, to see the sun and breathe the air. And there isn't really anything else.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Geniuses never pay attention.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Raising children is, in a sense, the reason the society exists in the first place. It's the most important thing that happens, and it's the culmination of all the tools and language and social structure that has evolved.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“But complex animals had obtained their adaptive flexibility at some cost--they had traded one dependency for another. It was no longer necessary to change their bodies to adapt, because now their adaptation was behavior, socially determined. That behavior required learning. In a sense, among higher animals adaptive fitness was no longer transmitted to the next generation by DNA at all. It was now carried by teaching.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“The academic world was marching toward ever more specialized knowledge, expressed in ever more dense jargon.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“For our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behavior. We innovate new behavior to adapt.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Obsession is just a variety of addiction ~ Ian Malcolm”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“At the edge of chaos, unexpected outcomes occur. The risk to survival is severe.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Although personally, I think cyberspace means the end of our species.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“If you gamble long enough, you'll always lose -- the gambler is always ruined.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“All your life, other people will try to take your accomplishments away from you. Don’t you take it away from yourself.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Absence of proof is not proof of absence”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Too much change is as destructive as too little. Only at the edge of chaos can complex systems flourish.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“These kids were smart, they were enthusiastic, and they were young enough so that the schools hadn’t destroyed all their interest in learning. They could still actually use their brains, which in Thorne’s view was a sure sign they hadn’t yet completed a formal education.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their ‘beliefs.’ The reason is that beliefs guide behavior, which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“The late twentieth century has witnessed a remarkable growth in scientific interest in the subject of extinction. It is hardly a new subject—Baron Georges Cuvier had first demonstrated that species became extinct back in 1786, not long after the American Revolution. Thus the fact of extinction had been accepted by scientists for nearly three-quarters of a century before Darwin put forth his theory of evolution. And after Darwin, the many controversies that swirled around his theory did not often concern issues of extinction. On the contrary, extinction was generally considered as unremarkable as a car running out of gas. Extinction was simply proof of failure to adapt. How species adapted was intensely studied and fiercely debated. But the fact that some species failed was hardly given a second thought. What was there to say about it? However, beginning in the 1970s, two developments began to focus attention on extinction in a new way. The first was the recognition that human beings were now very numerous, and were altering the planet at a very rapid rate—eliminating traditional habitats, clearing the rain forest, polluting air and water, perhaps even changing global climate. In the process, many animal species were becoming extinct. Some scientists cried out in alarm; others were quietly uneasy. How fragile was the earth’s ecosystem? Was the human species engaged in behavior that would eventually lead to its own extinction?”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there’s a McDonald’s on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there’s less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“People aren't studying the natural world any more, they're mining it.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“What makes you think human beings are sentient and aware? There’s no evidence for it. Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told—and become upset if they are exposed to any different view.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Because complex animals can evolve their behavior rapidly. Changes can occur very quickly. Human beings are transforming the planet, and nobody knows whether it’s a dangerous development or not. So these behavioral processes can happen faster than we usually think evolution occurs. In ten thousand years human beings have gone from hunting to farming to cities to cyberspace. Behavior is screaming forward, and it might be nonadaptive. Nobody knows. Although personally, I think cyberspace means the end of our species.” “Yes? Why is that?” “Because it means the end of innovation,” Malcolm said. “This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they’ll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behavior. We innovate new behavior to adapt. And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That’s the effect of mass media—it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there’s a McDonald’s on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there’s less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity—our most necessary resource? That’s disappearing faster than trees. But we haven’t figured that out, so now we’re planning to put five billion people together in cyberspace. And it’ll freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same thing at the same time. Global uniformity. Oh, that hurts. Are you done?” “Almost,” Harding said. “Hang on.” “And believe me, it’ll be fast. If you map complex systems on a fitness landscape, you find the behavior can move so fast that fitness can drop precipitously. It doesn’t require asteroids or diseases or anything else. It’s just behavior that suddenly emerges, and turns out to be fatal to the creatures that do it. My idea was that dinosaurs—being complex creatures—might have undergone some of these behavioral changes. And that led to their extinction.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Changes can occur very quickly. Human beings are transforming the planet, and nobody knows whether it’s a dangerous development or not. So these behavioral processes can happen faster than we usually think evolution occurs. In ten thousand years human beings have gone from hunting to farming to cities to cyberspace. Behavior is screaming forward, and it might be nonadaptive. Nobody knows. Although personally, I think cyberspace means the end of our species.” “Yes? Why is that?” “Because it means the end of innovation,” Malcolm said. “This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they’ll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behavior. We innovate new behavior to adapt. And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World
“Plants evolve like every other form of life, and they’ve come up with their own forms of aggression, defense, and so on. In the nineteenth century, most theories concerned animals—nature red in tooth and claw, all that. But now scientists are thinking about nature green in root and stem. We realize that plants, in their ceaseless struggle to survive, have evolved everything from complex symbiosis with other animals, to signaling mechanisms to warn other plants, to outright chemical warfare.”
Michael Crichton, The Lost World

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