Nebador Archives presents an epic young-adult science fiction adventure - Quotes

J. Z. Colby's NEBADOR takes place in the wide universe around us ...
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Kibi and the Search for Happiness
Rini and the Old Slave
Buna's New World
First Taste of Freedom
Neti's Temptation
What're Friends For?
Sata's Strength
Boro and Sata
Buna's Search
The Magic Needle
Still Voices
Floating Away
The Lonely Space Dragon

NEBADOR on GoodReads


The Ghost Host

NOAA Space Weather Scales (PDF)

The Donkey Sanctuary, Ireland

MENSA International


As the home team, Nature Bats Last.

Outward Bound International

National Outdoor Leadership School

Post Carbon Institute's

Kurt Cobb's Resource Insights

Kids vs. Global Warming

Transition Network

National Youth Rights Association

Hesperian Health Guides presents Speaking Truth to Power

NEBADOR Showcase Quotes

Book One: The Test
Personal power is the ability to stand on your own two feet, with a smile on your face, in the middle of a universe that contains a million ways to crush you.
-- Nebador Transport Service saying (which first enters the story in Book Two)

Book Two: Journey
(no quote, just the map of the western half of the kingdom)

Book Three: Selection
I come from a place where everyone has great power, by your standards, and they steadfastly refuse to use it for self-aggrandizement ... anywhere ... ever.
-- Ilika, concerning Buna's plan at Cattle Town

Book Four: Flight Training
One thing I can guarantee, is that the world will never change itself because of our weaknesses. In fact, it has ways of actually becoming more dangerous when we approach it with a bad attitude.
-- Ilika, just after Miko's death (from Book Three)

Book Five: Back to the Stars
The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.
-- Albert Einstein

Book Six: Star Station
It is not the purpose of the universe to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible. That's a mortal preoccupation, especially strong in monkey mammals, but we all feel it to one degree or another ...
-- Silmula Sorafax, in charge of the Great Transformation

Book Seven: The Local Universe
I have decreed it, and I will bring it to pass. My word will not return to me empty.
-- Yahweh

Book Eight: Witness
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
-- Richard Bach

Book Nine: A Cry for Help
... the earth belongs to the living ... no man may, by natural right, oblige the land he owns or occupies to debts greater than those that may be paid during his own lifetime. If he could, then the world would belong to the dead, and not to the living ...
-- Thomas Jefferson, paraphrased

Book Ten: Stories from Sonmatia (Escape from Sonmatia Two)
No mortal government, anywhere in the local universe, has ever faithfully represented its people. If one ever did, everyone in Nebador would just faint with surprise ...
-- Feli-tala Rima

All the Good NEBADOR Quotes

Book One: The Test

    "If there were some adventurous young people who were so smart they wouldn't like the strict policies of the religious orders, couldn't stand the narrow structure of the guilds, refused to be hidden away in the back of a shop, and weren't rich enough to attend the college, where would they be found?"
    "... People like that would easily get into trouble, and quickly wind up as slaves."
-- Ilika and Tori the baker

I think I see your point. It wouldn't be fair for me to judge your answers without having had a life experience similar to yours. Do I understand you correctly?
-- Ilika, during the test

Book Two: Journey

I don't think Tera is capable of working with you by her own choice, no matter how much grass you pull for her, no matter how much you brush her. I think she's more like ... a three or four-year-old child, and you are her mother. Mothers must be firm with their children, sometimes make them do what needs to be done, sometimes even punish them.
-- Neti

On a ship, knowing when to be silent is just as important as knowing when to speak.
-- Ilika

There are a million things out there that can kill you, and about half of them are invisible. If you're going to stick your body parts into them just to see what will happen, even after I've warned you about them, then you won't live long, and you certainly can't work on my ship.
-- Ilika

The world has many places that can make us uncomfortable. Calling them evil, or any other bad name, doesn't make them go away.
-- Ilika

Personal power is the ability to stand on your own two feet, with a smile on your face, in the middle of a universe that contains a million ways to crush you.
-- Nebador Transport Service saying

The sea is very beautiful and gives us many things, but it must be understood and respected, or it will slap you ...
-- Ilika

Book Three: Selection

There are many levels to reality, and the physical and mental realms are very different, but we have to know about both of them. We live in a physical world, but we can only know and understand it through our minds. If we ignore either one, we can be easily fooled.
-- Ilika

One thing I can guarantee, is that the world will never change itself because of our weaknesses. In fact, it has ways of actually becoming more dangerous when we approach it with a bad attitude.
-- Ilika, just after Miko's death

I'm just a girl trying to learn where to put my feet ... and where not to.
-- Sata

There are many things, besides lack of knowledge, that keep people from living as well as they might. Traditions and customs run deep, and can be very hard to change.
-- Ilika

People only learn and grow when faced with challenges they must solve, or the natural consequences will threaten their lives. If people don't have those challenges, they get lazy.
-- Ilika

I come from a place where everyone has great power, by your standards, and they steadfastly refuse to use it for self-aggrandizement ... anywhere ... ever.
-- Ilika, concerning Buna's plan at Cattle Town

Hardship is a funny thing. You can't wish it on someone you care about. You can't plan it. But without it, people are weak.
-- Ilika

My parents could have let me play all day. But I remember my father telling me that if I didn't learn to work, I'd be nothing.
-- Sata

I learned that when you need people, you'd better be nice to them.
-- Misa

No, this isn't right. I don't think the people doing it know or care about right and wrong. This is all some kind of show, but I don't understand it either.
-- Rini

I think you will like your life in the Transport Service, but it'll be far from normal. Being a slave ... or a goatherd's wife ... is closer to normal. A deep-space response ship pilot is a very, very rare thing.
-- Ilika, talking to Mati

Book Four: Flight Training

... if anything ... or anyone ... is beneath your respect, then you are not ready to travel among the stars.
-- Ilika

If you can't see the feelings in a donkey, a ship, or a delicate tool, then it's just as easy to not see them in your brother or sister when you can profit by treating them badly.
-- Ilika

Book Five: Back to the Stars

I can't feel too sorry for them. Every gift has to run out someday. Anyone but a child knows that.
-- Boro

No, I will finish what I started, here, at Glimpa's Arch. The act belongs to me, the consequence, pleasing or not, belongs to the gods.
-- Nosta

Book Six: Star Station

We only refer to sapient creatures as civilized when their society is willingly self-correcting. That means that any problem or imbalance that arises is fixed, and I mean really fixed - not ignored, not hidden, and not passed off to a future generation.
-- Ilika

It is not the purpose of the universe to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible. That's a mortal preoccupation, especially strong in monkey mammals, but we all feel it to one degree or another ...
-- Silmula Sorafax, in charge of the Great Transformation

Book Seven: The Local Universe

The universe is so arranged that the power to destroy the climate or the ecosystem of your home planet only comes when you also have the wisdom to know that doing so is a fatal mistake. Therefore, any species that does that is suicidal, and will probably not qualify for any kind of help, from the powers of the universe, with fixing that error.
-- Arantiloria

The universe has no place for creatures who foul their nest and then set out on a journey they cannot survive.
-- Arantiloria

Book Eight: Witness

One of the greatest strengths you can have, especially at trying times, is calmness of spirit.
-- a Psychic Development teacher of Nebador

You have nothing to fear from me, little mommy. I'm from Nebador.
-- Sata, talking to a wild dog

Doing the dirty work, willingly and with joy, separates wise people from those who are merely intelligent, and it always will.
-- T'sss'lisss

It would not be possible for any mortal to do the jobs of planetary prince and princess without first living through a planetary-wide catastrophic event. Only after that could they possibly love their planet so much that they would gladly be responsible for it's welfare for the rest of time.
-- Kolarrr'ka

People only keep growing until about age twelve, unless they have real problems to solve and dangerous challenges to face. If the problems and challenges are made-up, the young people know, and it doesn't work. With only made-up challenges -- or none at all -- they turn into marshmallows -- soft, sweet, gooey things with no strength, no wisdom, and no personal power.
-- Ashley

Book Nine: A Cry for Help

I'll be blunt. God is trusting us to do a little bit of the work He usually has angels do. We can't hope to do that if our environment makes us feel like we're in prison.
-- Heather

The important thing, for this team to begin to learn, is how to step back and view events from a perspective not much different than God's. Only then will you be able to handle, without catastrophic results, knowledge of the future.
-- Heather

No one can see a process clearly from the inside -- in other words, while being involved with it.
-- Heather

I am not afraid to voice my opinion that anyone who truly loves war is insane. But that does not change the fact that if war happens, then something in human nature is making it happen. I am not here to change human nature, nor do I believe anyone would succeed in trying to do so.
-- Heather

What's not debatable is billions of people having a modern life-style. The carbon cycle of the planetary ecosystem can't handle it. Hard, cold reality. Death trap. End of story. I'm very, very sorry.
-- Heather

The other controlling group is the big money and power people. Their biggest concern is positioning themselves to profit, money or power-wise, from any event. Disasters are no exception, and the bigger the disaster, the bigger the opportunity for profit. It has not entered their darkest dreams that there could ever be an event so dangerous, that they should help solve it, instead.
-- Colonel John Bo-Torin

    My courage comes, I guess, from knowing what will happen if I don't do ... what I must do. Nothing else matters. I have a purpose, and when you have a purpose, you don't get a life. You don't get all the other things most people think they're entitled to -- school, career, marriage, family. If you're lucky, maybe you can grab a little bit along the way, like I do with Brian. But you're always on history's sacrificial altar, ready for the ceremonial knife to come down.
    But running away is for little people. God doesn't choose little people for purposes like this. Neither of you are little people either, or you wouldn't have put your reputations on the line for this team, and learned all the things I taught you, and the professors taught you, over the last seven years.
-- Heather, talking to generals Bo-seklin and Ko-fenral

At its foundation, civilization is a state of non-aggression between sapient peoples, and requires the ability to recognize sapience in self and others. I believe you might say, live and let live.
-- Memsala

No one can half-heartedly do anything that's important to the universe.
-- Toran Takil

The sea cannot be pantry and toilet for land creatures. They must get their food, and handle their wastes, on land, or the sea will die.
-- Trekila Spimalo, translating for a whale

Yes, my friend, there is ultimately justice in the universe, even though many innocent creatures must suffer along with those responsible.
-- Memsala

... slavery can follow you anywhere if you're not careful and make good choices.
-- Mati

If they don't feel the pain of having their technology fail, they will never be motivated to make their machines good enough to survive the harsh environments of inter-planetary space.
-- Trekila Spimalo

Many sapient races make the same mistake, using up the mineral wealth of their planet in one big burst of high, easy living that lasts only a century or two, then having little to work with in the long millennia that lie ahead ...
-- Toran Takil

Any time you find yourself working hard to brush aside an event as if it was merely a so-called accident, you can be sure you are missing something. There are no pure accidents. All levels of space, time, and eternity are inter-woven with the manifestations of physical, mental, and spiritual realities, even when the gods do not actively intervene in the affairs of mortals ...
-- Memsala

You have not learned to listen to your children. Only they know the way forward during times of great change. Only their minds are fresh and flexible enough to avoid the fears that keep you in your old ways.
A child's mind is open to new experiences and new information, exactly what you need right now. You will learn from them, or you will perish. Either way, with or without you, the universe will go on.
-- Ashley

It was not a gun that killed your great Teacher. It was fear, the same fear that is the root of hatred, which causes you to abuse each other and your planet.
-- Ashley

If you want to play with the powers of God, you must learn the wisdom of God, or you will destroy yourselves.
-- Ashley

Fear and hate always think they are in control, but never really are.
-- Shemultavia, head of the Education Service

A living world for your children, or a barren desert. Your choice. I'm just the president.
-- President Alexander Po-nortan

If I learned anything from Priscilla during all those years, it's that you do the job you've been handed, whether the end is sweet or bitter.
-- Colonel Lisa Ka-markla, retired

Book Ten: Stories from Sonmatia (Escape from Sonmatia Two)

I know of the many challenges and hardships you faced on your journey, challenges that would have crushed most people. You may, if you wish, come with us ... and join us in doing the work of the gods.
-- Feli-tala Rima

In the realm of the gods, angels' helpers who form strong bonds can work together for as long as they want. Having someone tell you what to do, and who you can be with, is something that only mortal leaders and governments do.
-- Feli-tala Rima

Other Good Quotes

If anyone spots an error in any of these quotes, or their attribution, or knows of the author of any quote that is not attributed, please contact us (and, of course, you'll receive a free NEBADOR book if you'd like). The most recently-added quote is at the top.

All truth passes through three stages: first, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; and third, it is accepted as self-evident.
-- Arthur Schopenhauer

When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.
-- Lin Yutang

The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.
-- African proverb

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.
-- Frank Herbert

A great deal of intelligence is invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.
-- Saul Bellow

It's a fool's life, a rogue's life, and a good life if you keep laughing all the way to the grave.
-- Edward Abbey

When humans go out of their way to ignore reality, they deserve whatever comes their way.
-- The Saker

By the time you first see you have a problem inside an exponential system, it's FAR too late to avoid the consequences.
-- Adam Taggart summarizing Dr. Albert Bartlett

Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.
-- Andy Grove

It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.
-- Carl Sagan

Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" Vanity asks the question, "Is it popular?" But, conscience asks the question, "It it right?"
-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Things that can't continue usually stop too late.
Each time history repeats itself, the price goes up.
While it digs its own grave, all the mind can do is entertain fantasies and create excuses.
Thermodynamics, expressed through genetics, creates beings incapable of not maximizing energy consumption.
All 8 billion of us owe our existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact it rains; 6 billion of us also owe our existence to nitrogen fertilizer created from natural gas by Haber-Bosch factories.
-- Dr. Nathan John Hagens

The surest sign that there is other intelligent life in the universe is that none of it has yet contacted us.
-- unknown

What is not intelligible to me is not necessarily unintelligent.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

And even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.
-- Aeschylus

They are as children, playing with their toys in a house on fire.
-- Gautama Buddha

If you look at any biological system, when it overpopulates it begins to poison its home.
-- Peter Ward

If we were coal miners, we would be up to our knees in dead canaries.
-- Michael Higgins

Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor.
-- Alexander the Great

Most evolving lineages, human or otherwise, when threatened with extinction, don't do anything special to avoid it.
-- George C. Williams

Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.
-- Walter Lippmann

The key is not to predict the future, but to prepare for it.
-- Pericles

It does not matter how frequently something succeeds if failure is too costly to bear.
-- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Evil appears as good in the minds of those whom the gods lead to destruction.
-- Sophocles (Antigone)

In order to succeed, you must first survive.
The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.
-- Warren Buffett

... all it takes is for my paranoia to be right once, and it would have saved my life.
-- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Ignorance is no impediment to arrogance.
-- unknown

Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.
-- Archibald Putt

Returning hate for hate only multiplies hate.
-- Martin Luther King

Humans almost invariably believe their own bullshit. And in rare cases where people are aware that they are bullshitting, as with some politicians for example, they will come to believe it in time.
-- Dave Cohen

If the progress we've made since the beginning of industrial civilization only leads to a complete reversal of all our supposed gains in the long run, can we really call what is happening progress?
-- Kurt Cobb (summarizing Tim Garrett)

Surely this isn't a surprise. Surely you didn't believe our species could foul its own nest for thousands of years without adverse consequences.
-- Dr. Guy McPherson

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
-- Carl Sagan

Only those without wisdom would characterize themselves as "exceptional" and "indispensable."
-- Natylie Baldwin

When the rivers and air are polluted, when families and nations are at war, when homeless wanderers fill the highways, these are the traditional signs of a dark age.
-- Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

All men having power ought to be distrusted.
-- James Madison

Nothing has happened yet, therefore nothing will happen.
-- folk saying

No matter how improbable it may seem, the tenth man has to start thinking with the assumption that the other nine are wrong.
-- World War Z

No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.
-- unknown

Truth in the hands of a fool is more dangerous than any sword.
-- Iba Quan

Coming to Earth is doing hard time.
-- a star kid, quoted by Dr. Richard Boylan

It would be some consolation for the feebleness of our selves and our works if all things should perish as slowly as they come into being; but as it is, increases are of sluggish growth, but the way to ruin is rapid.
-- Lucius Anneaus Seneca

Predictions are hard, especially about the future.
-- Yogi Berra

He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.
-- Albert Einstein

You are conscious of something when, and only when, it resists your will.
-- John Michael Greer quoting or paraphrasing Arthur Schopenhauer

Any good poet, in our age at least, must begin with the scientific view of the world; and any scientist worth listening to must be something of a poet, must possess the ability to communicate to the rest of us his sense of love and wonder at what his work discovers.
-- Cactus Ed

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
-- George Orwell

... social machines act as psychopath incubators. ... societies dominated by social machines selectively breed psychopaths. ... within social machines, pure psychopaths rise through the ranks and concentrate at the top. ... These leaders are the symptoms of the disease, and symptoms have never cured anyone of anything.
-- Dmitry Orlov

We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history’s actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.
-- Karl Rove

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.
-- Karl Marx

If your head is in the sand, then something else is sticking up in the air, clueless and unprotected.
-- unknown

We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.

... declarations of high confidence mainly tell you that an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind, not necessarily that the story is true.

A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.

We are prone to overestimate how much we understand about the world and to underestimate the role of chance in events.

The illusion that we understand the past fosters overconfidence in our ability to predict the future.
-- the 5 above: Daniel Kahneman

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.
-- Al Bartlett

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten.
-- unknown

In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.
-- Caroline Caldwell

Our 'rational', human, brain serves one function, and one only: to find 'rational' excuses for what our primitive brain has just made us do.
-- Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Dream as if you'll live forever; live as if you'll die today!
-- unknown

We cannot run away from the cradle, only outgrow it, or live and die in it.
-- unknown

Trust none of what you hear, some of what you read, half of what you see ...
-- an old trader adage

We do not see things as they are but as we are.
-- Anais Nin

Without fossil fuels, we as a species would not appear so clever.
-- Kurt Cobb

Judgment is the tragic expression of an unmet need.
-- Marshall Rosenberg

By refusing to recognize that the Earth is alive we implicitly endorse the worldview that enables our destruction of the planet.
-- Charles Eisenstein

Localisation stands, at best, at the limits of practical possibility. But it has the decisive argument in its favour that there is no alternative.
-- David Fleming

There is no single concept of nature; it embraces everything that is fluid, changing, and mysterious. Ultimately, however, to "know nature" on earth is to live within it and to revere it in every way.
-- Carolyn Merchant

In scientific enquiries, a crucial step is to ask the right question. Indeed each question contains presuppositions, largely implicit. If these presuppositions are wrong or confused, the question itself is wrong, in the sense that to try to answer it has no meaning. One has thus to enquire into the appropriateness of the question.
-- Physicist David Bohm

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
-- Albert Einstein

Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.
-- Carl Sagan

For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth -- to know the worst and to provide for it.
-- Patrick Henry

Every time we repeat the same mistake, the price goes up.
-- Paulo Coelho

The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. If we continue to develop our technology without wisdom or prudence, our servant may prove to be our executioner.
-- General Omar Bradley

... we are going to evolve through crisis, not through proactive change.
-- Dennis Meadows

We don't change course in order to prevent ourselves from hitting boundaries. We hit the wall face first, and only then do we pick up the pieces and take it from there.
-- Raúl Ilargi

The road to the future leads us smack into the wall. We simply ricochet off the alternatives that destiny offers: a demographic explosion that triggers social chaos and spreads death, nuclear delirium and the quasi-annihilation of the species ... Our survival is no more than a question of 25, 50 or perhaps 100 years.
-- Jacques Cousteau

... an organism cannot live in a medium of its own waste products.
-- Erwin Schrödinger

For the true warrior there is no warfare. When you are all-victorious, there is nothing to conquer, no fundamental problem or obstacle to overcome. This attitude is not based on suppressing or overlooking negativity, particularly. But if you look back and trace back through your life ... you won't find any fundamental problems.
-- Chögyam Trungpa

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It's seeing through the facade of pretense. It's the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.
-- Adyashanti

A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature.
-- David Hume

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
-- Margaret Mead

That one American farmer can now feed himself and fifty-six other people may be, within the narrow view of the specialist, a triumph of technology; by no stretch of reason can it be considered a triumph of agriculture or of culture. It has been made possible by the substitution of energy for knowledge, of methodology for care, of technology for morality.
-- Wendell Berry

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal.
-- Robert Heinlein

Man has gone out to explore other worlds and other civilizations without having explored his own labyrinth of dark passages and secret chambers, and without finding what lies behind doorways that he himself has sealed.
-- Stanislaw Lem

The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking.
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

People have only two modes of operation: complacency and panic.
-- James Schlesinger

Hell is empty ... all the devils are here.
-- William Shakespeare in The Tempest

To deal with the enormous environmental, social and economic problems we face, I'm inclined to suggest that we come back and live in the present. In the present we can appreciate our traditions without being slaves to them, and we can evaluate possible futures without deciding ahead of time to live in a mere enactment of a possible future that locks us into a predetermined destination -- one that may not turn out to be the destination we really want, nor one that will necessarily solve the problems we face.
-- Kurt Cobb

The inner seeded story of the individual soul is secretly tied to the great drama of our world.
-- Michael Meade

A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that's just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it's a joke.
-- Søren Kierkegaard

When economies spend cheap oil, GDP rises; when they switch to costly and unconventional stuff, growth comes to a screeching halt.
-- Andrew Nikiforuk

So now, that dynamic duo, Nature and Reality, the actual owners of the planet, have showed up to read the riot act to the renters throwing a wild party.
-- James Howard Kunstler

The very nature and functioning of complex modern human societies rely upon group-level schizophrenia.
-- Roger Boyd

As measured by the Ecological Footprint, humanity's resource usage reached the capacity of the Earth in the early 1970's and is now assessed to be have reached the level of 1.6 Earths, and will rise to two planets by 2030.
-- Roger Boyd

The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.
-- George Orwell

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.
-- Oscar Wilde

Feeling superior doesn't make one superior. Hubris does not humble others.
-- Dr. Guy McPherson

Let go or be dragged.
-- Zen expression

You don't actually know a time or a culture until you discover the thoughts that its people can't allow themselves to think.
-- John Michael Greer

... a kid who disappears into the woods in search of something to kill instead of doing his homework is currently considered a problem child, whereas he is actually a solution child ...
-- Demitri Orlov

... climate change and resource depletion will present themselves to us mainly in the terms set by human systems, and the shattered beliefs and expectations that they try to maintain ...
-- Erik Lindberg

People like change in general, but not in particular.
-- Bill Clinton (may be paraphrased)

No one in this world, so far as I know -- and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me -- has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has any one ever lost public office thereby. The mistake that is made always runs the other way. Because the plain people are able to speak and understand, and even, in many cases, to read and write, it is assumed that they have ideas in their heads, and an appetite for more. This assumption is folly. They dislike ideas, for ideas make them uncomfortable.
-- H.L. Mencken

Be joyful ... though you have considered all the facts.
-- Wendell Berry

Societies in decline have no use for visionaries.
-- Anaïs Nin

To use the word 'solution' is perhaps misleading, since it could be said to imply that circumstances exist which could allow us to continue business as usual, and this is not, in fact, the case.
-- Nicole Foss

But we need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us.
-- Naomi Klein

I've long suspected that one of the reasons why human beings haven't yet figured out how to carry on a conversation with bottlenosed porpoises, African gray parrots, et al. in their own language is quite simply that we're terrified of what they might say to us -- not least because it's entirely possible that they'd be right.
-- John Michael Greer

A good rule of thumb is as follows: If the numbers come from somebody wearing a tie (Wall Street economist or analyst, industry public relations department, captive think tank academic and so on), you ought to be very skeptical. By design messages from these people are intended to move markets, move merchandise and/or move public policy and are not a comment on the state of the physical universe.
-- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, probabaly paraphrased

Even a dead fish can swim downstream.
-- Jim Hightower

If we destroy creation, creation will destroy us.
-- Pope Francis

We would be better off thinking of nature as a tiger than as a docile and compliant automaton that can never threaten our survival.
-- Bruno Latour

The needs of the natural world outweigh the needs of the economic system.
-- Derrick Jensen

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
-- Jimi Hendrix

When you teach your students that it's "economically rational" to commit crimes where the fines for misconduct are lower than the expected return on the crime, you instill a professional ethic that has no room for morals.
-- Cory Doctorow

When death comes, may it find you fully alive.
-- African proverb

Propaganda Is the Art of Overwhelming Logic
-- Jon Rappoport (the title of an article)

Feeling superior doesn't make one superior. Hubris does not humble others.
-- Guy McPherson

It's not far-off in the future and it's not exotic creatures -- it's us and now.
-- Michael Mann

... we have passed the methane hydrate tipping point and are now accelerating into extinction as the methane hydrate 'Clathrate Gun' has begun firing volleys of methane into the Arctic atmosphere.
-- Malcolm Light

The path of increase is slow, but the road to ruin is rapid.
-- Seneca, Roman philosopher

On a geological time scale the human race has decimated planet earth in the blink of an eye.
-- Dane Wigington

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
-- Albert Einstein

All statements about truth are actually statements about probability, about what we deem to be correct beyond any reasonable doubt.
-- Geoffrey Chia & Rebecca Willis

... we humans are indeed deluded about our own capacities. And that is the reason why humans are not taking the steps required to avoid the catastrophic futures humans themselves have created. In fact, humans are continuing without pause to engage in the very same behaviors which got them into this sorry predicament to begin with.
-- David Cohen

The Limits [to Growth] argument had to be opposed because if it were true, then very many very important economists would have been very wrong about a very important issue for a very long time.
-- Herman Daly

[GDP or Gross Domestic Product] measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile.
-- Robert F. Kennedy

The favoured paradigm of the reptile brain is always one which promotes self aggrandisement while blaming others for all bad outcomes.
-- Rebecca Willis

Low energy future means ... embracing the idea that your kids won't go to college, but will instead grow turnips.
-- unknown

When we decline to talk about what is real simply because it's uncomfortable to do so, we seal our own fate.
-- Richard Heinberg

If you do not attain happiness, always remember that you are on the right road, and try not to leave it. Above all, avoid falsehood, every kind of falsehood, especially falseness to yourself. Watch over your own deceitfulness and look into it every hour, every minute. Avoid being scornful, both to others and to yourself. What seems to you bad within you will grow purer from the very fact of your observing it in yourself. Avoid fear, too, though fear is only the consequence of every sort of falsehood. Never be frightened at your own faintheartedness in attaining love. Don't be frightened overmuch even at your evil actions. ...
-- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, translation by Susan McReynolds Oddo

... when demand is being destroyed by expensive oil just as expensive oil is incentivising increased production -- it should come as no surprise that at some point the markets would react.
-- Samuel Alexander, analyzing the late-2014 drop in oil prices

... if you take the distance traveled by the average American auto[mobile] in a year, and divide that by the total amount of time spent earning the money to pay for the auto, fuel, maintenance, insurance, etc., plus all the other time eaten up by tending to the auto in various ways, the average American car goes about 3.5 miles an hour: about the same pace, that is, that an ordinary human being can walk.
-- from Energy and Equity by Ivan Illich, summarized by John Michael Greer

I swear, if we had infinite technological power, at our present emotional level, we would destroy all the clouds, replace them with holograms of clouds, and have fleets of airships drop water, instead of just letting it rain.
-- Ran Prieur

... they are now so far inside Plato's cave that even the shadows they see aren't real: they are computer simulations of shadows of other computer simulations.
-- Dmitry Orlov

There's another way to say that we refused to recognize the natural concept of reaching our peak: we never grew up.
-- Thomas Lewis

... the future is under no obligation to wait patiently while we get ready for it.
-- John Michael Greer

America's lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence. We need to reinvent our whole system of life.
-- Billionaire Jeff Greene

The science is in: either we go cold turkey on our coal, oil, and gas addictions, or we risk raising the planet's temperature to a level incompatible with the continued existence of civilization.
-- Richard Heinberg

If you were on the train to Auschwitz, you'd consider a trainwreck ... a Miracle.
-- Keith Merritt

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.
-- Mahatma Gandhi

The monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.
-- Pope Francis

Theories of how to manipulate society have brought us to the brink of disaster.
-- Martin Armstrong

There are none so Blind as those who will not See.
-- Little Donnie Dark, "Butterflies are Free"

If you can't explain something in one simple sentence, it's a bad idea.
-- unknown

You have to decide whether to look like an idiot before the crash or an idiot after it.
-- John Hussman

... when it changes it does so quickly, and the impossible becomes the inevitable without ever having been probable.
--- Bill Fleckenstein

Study what oil is doing to us ... Eventually, oil will bring us ruin. We are drowning in the devil's excrement.
-- Juan Pablo Perez Alfonso, founder of OPEC

Between the poor and any appreciation for modern science stands a wall made of failed schools, defunded libraries, denied opportunities, and the systematic use of science and technology to benefit other people at their [the poor's] expense.
-- John Michael Greer

So, congratulations humans, your global contribution is now on par with a gigantic meteor slamming into the Earth.
-- Chris Martenson (with punctuation and spelling slightly adjusted)

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.
-- Douglas Adams

In order to adequately address climate change, people in rich industrial nations will have to reduce current levels of consumption to levels few are prepared to consider. This truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
-- Erik Lindberg

We're under some gross misconception that we're a good species, going somewhere important, and that at the last minute we'll correct our errors and God will smile on us.
-- Farley Mowat

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
-- Krishnamurti

Our networked economy cannot shrink; it tends to break instead.
-- Gail Tverberg

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual being having a human experience.
-- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

You might think a species which creates so much of its own suffering would be eager to figure out why that is so, and try to fix that, but, tragically, such is not the case.
-- Dave Cohen

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

Reasoning becomes rationalizing in the face of existential threats.
-- Dave Cohen

But the macro-economy is not the Whole. It too is a Part, a part of the larger natural economy, the ecosphere, and its growth does inflict opportunity costs on the finite Whole that must be counted.
-- Herman Daly

The one reality science cannot reduce is the only reality we will ever know.
-- Jonah Lehrer

During the last two centuries we have known nothing but an exponential growth culture, a culture so dependent upon the continuance of exponential growth for its stability that is incapable of reckoning with problems of non-growth.
-- Marion King Hubbert

Everyone's got a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth.
-- Mike Tyson

Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do the maintenance.
-- Kurt Vonnegut

To understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of.
-- George Miller

When chaotic behavior begins to emerge in an oscillating system ... that's a sign that real trouble may be sitting on the doorstep.
-- John Michael Greer

... human cognitive facilities that would accurately perceive truth would be at a disadvantage against competing humans genetically selecting for evolutionarily useful illusions.
-- Albert Bates paraphrasing Arthur James, First Earl of Balfour

Hypocrisy is anything whatever [that] may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised.
-- Leo Tolstoi

If you want to corrupt a people, corrupt the language. ... Once it becomes impossible to say the truth with the language we have, it will ultimately be impossible for us to adapt and survive.
-- Kurt Cobb

The money to be made is clearly more important than the extinctions we cause, including our own.
-- Guy McPherson

A society hell-bent on GDP growth is like a junkie doing whatever nasty thing it takes for the next high, rather than doing the right thing for himself and his family.
-- Brian Czech

... No man can by natural right, oblige lands he occupied ... to the payment of debts contracted by him. For if he could, he might, during his own life, eat up the usufruct of the lands for several generations to come, and then the lands would belong to the dead rather than the living, which would be the reverse of our principal. What is true of every member of the society individually, is true of them all collectively, since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals.
-- Thomas Jefferson

There could be no such thing as landed property originally. Man did not make the earth, and, though he had a natural right to occupy it, he had no right to locate as his property in perpetuity any part of it: neither did the Creator of the earth open a land-office, from whence the first title-deeds should issue.
-- Thomas Paine

[Why are we here?]
We are here to help each other through this, whatever this is.
-- Mark Vonnegut

The future is already here, just not evenly distributed yet.
-- Bruce Sterling (might be paraphrased)

They call it 'the American dream' because a person has to be asleep to believe it!
-- George Carlin

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
-- Upton Sinclair

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
-- Carl Sagan

Pollard's Law of Complexity: Things are the way they are for a reason. If you want to change something, it helps to know that reason. If that reason is complex, success in changing it is unlikely, and adapting to it is probably a better strategy.
-- Dave Pollard

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
-- Albert Einstein

The story of global climate change has been the story of one decade's hysterical doomsaying becoming the next decade's unwarranted optimism.
-- Paul Briggs (in a work of fiction)

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
-- Bertrand Russell

There are no such things as limits to growth, because there are no limits to the human capacity for intelligence, imagination, and wonder.
-- Ronald Reagan

When people insist, as so many of them do, that of course we'll overcome the limits to growth and every other obstacle to our allegedly preordained destiny out there among the stars, all that means is that they have a single story wedged into their imagination so tightly that mere reality can't shake it loose.
-- John Michael Greer

In 1972 there were two possible options provided for going forward -- overshoot or sustainable development. Despite myriad conferences and commissions on sustainable development since then, the world opted for overshoot. The two-legged hairless apes did what they always have done. They dominated and subdued Earth. Faced with unequivocable evidence of an approaching existential threat, they equivocated and then attempted to muddle through.
-- Albert Bates

Humans are not doing anything "wrong." Humans are reacting to the same instinct that all species have, namely to make use of available energy to allow more of the species to live to maturity.
-- Gail Tverberg

As we send billions and billions of tons of heat-trapping gases, we get heat and we get fires and we get what we're seeing ... So, we've got to gear up. We're going to deal with nature as best we can, but humanity is on a collision course with nature and we're just going to have to adapt to it in the best way we can.
-- California Governor Jerry Brown

But what enables slavery and oppression? The ability to conceive of other living things as if they were essentially dead matter. And this is what all of us have learned to do. ... Ours is a civilisation that metaphorically and literally eats its own, even as we project the horror of cannibalism into all our mythology.
-- Christy Rodgers

For all intents and purposes, on human time scales, oil in our lives is indistinguishable from magic. ... Cheap energy, not technology, has been the main driver of wealth and productivity.
-- Nate Hagens

It is possible to point to hundreds, thousands, perhaps even millions of imaginative, courageous programs to reduce, recycle, and reuse -- yet the overall trajectory of industrial civilization remains relatively unchanged.
-- Richard Heinberg

... the old [climate] normal is broken ...
-- Gary Yohe, economist at Wesleyan University

It pays to remember that societies get what they deserve, not what they expect.
-- James Howard Kunstler

That human happiness might, in the first place, reside in comfort and the elimination of want, and, in the second place, that want can itself be eliminated, mark the existential downfall of the American way of life.
-- Erik Lindberg

There is a great difference between being still and doing nothing.
-- Chinese proverb

... we might pause to consider that life frequently presents us with existential dilemmas about which there is nothing we can "do" except open to what the dilemma might want us to learn, feel, and experience ...
-- Carolyn Baker

... cheap and abundant mineral resources that have created our industrial society are ... a gift that was made only once in human history and that will not be made again in the future.
-- Ugo Bardi

... that we won't run out of current sources [of energy], and that there are plenty of alternatives when we do run out, and, in the end, that we don't actually need all that energy to maintain our way of life, because ... our way of life is so ingenious as to find or create all the resources we need ...
-- Erik Lindberg (in parody)

The stories we tell about ourselves and our way of life -- the way we narrate our conscious experience and perception of things -- have no place in them for the most basic, and mainly uncontested, facts about energy and the environment.
-- Erik Lindberg

The polar bear is us.
-- Patricia Romero Lankao

Inevitably our opinions cover a bigger space, a longer reach of time, a greater number of things, than we can directly observe. They have, therefore, to be pieced together out of what others have reported and what we can imagine.
-- Walter Lippman

Any approach to dealing with the crisis of our age that doesn't start by using much less energy ... simply isn't serious.
-- John Michael Greer

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
-- Henry David Thoreau

Your cravings as a human animal do not become a prayer just because it is God whom you ask to attend to them.
-- Dag Hammarskjöld

... science is not there for you to cherry pick ... You can decide whether or not to believe in it but that doesn't change the reality of an emergent scientific truth.
-- Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Sometimes the right thing to do in ordinary times is exactly the wrong thing to do in extraordinary times ... what might be considered reckless in other circumstances is now prudent ... inaction and caution may seem so much more rational than action, unless you're in a burning building or on a sinking ship ...
-- Rebecca Solnit

Today, it is especially difficult for most people to understand our perilous global energy situation precisely because it has never been more important to do so.
-- Richard Heinberg

There is nothing more mysterious than destiny - of a person, of our species, of our planet, or of the universe itself.
-- Brian Swimme

[Time Shamans are those who] diagnose the unseen and unaddressed aspects of spiritual conditions of the present in order to find out what was needed to heal as individuals, as families, as entire villages ... to heal the tattered holes we left in the Holy Net of Time.
-- Martin Prechtel

Nature is not intentionally hiding anything, we just aren't paying attention.
-- Rachael Hedges

Priests attack knowledge because knowing threatens belief.
-- Rachael Hedges

New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings ...
-- Lao Tzu

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.
-- Kahlil Gibran

Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please.
-- Karl Marx

Relationships are set up to be imperfect. They are designed by the master creator of relationships to be flawed, to be forever inadequate, and to be a work of art.
-- Julieanne O'Connor

Only idiots, ignorami, and certain categories of the insane dismiss the abundant science pointing to climate change, its causes, and its ongoing and future effects.
Economic growth means a growing population and/or growing per capita consumption (aka "affluence"). It means growing GDP. It means environmental impact. It's the underlying, overarching, all-encompassing cause behind virtually every environmental problem you can think of, including climate change in a fossil-fueled economy. Meanwhile society falls asleep to the tune of "green-growth" lullabies. The notion of replacing those powerful hydrocarbons with "clean" fuels to support ever-growing GDP is a dream, alright. It's the kind of dream that turns into a nightmare as the realization hits that pulling out all the stops for economic growth is a handcart to hell.
-- Brian Czech

What the caterpilar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
-- Richard Bach

If you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease.
-- Zen master Sen-ts'an

EROEI [energy returned on energy invested, or net energy] is to a civilization what gross profit is to a business, the source of the surplus that supports the entire enterprise.
-- John Michael Greer

We are betting our entire national economic life on the hope -- indeed the expectation -- that the fracking boom will continue until well into the 2020s, and that, at a rate and cost we desire, significant amounts of 'yet to be discovered' oil will somehow be found to meet the demand. ... If any of that proves incorrect, we have no plan, no alternative, and have given no thought to how we would respond in such a case.
-- national-security expert Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis, December 2013

... the paints will be whispering to me in the night about how lonely they are, how great it would be to work together again, and how gaily the brushes would dance about on their linen dance floor, and off to work I will go.
-- Rachael Hedges

"It's impossible," said pride.
"It's risky," said experience.
"It's pointless," said reason.
"Give it a try," whispered the heart.
-- unknown

People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does.
-- Michel Foucault

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble (or kills you). It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
-- Mark Twain

History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
-- Mark Twain

One must have chaos within one to give birth to a dancing star.
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

... adapting rapidly and peacefully to oil scarcity in a manner that does not destroy the global environment provides humanity with a formidable challenge.
-- Richard G. Miller and Steven R. Sorrell in an article in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences

First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.
-- Nicholas Klein, 1914

Indoctrination is, of course, present in every society. The permanence of the values which insure social stability could hardly be maintained unless schools, religious institutions, military organizations, and scores of other associations -- both compulsory and voluntary -- worked to implant in the minds the ethical norms and behaviour patterns of a social and political culture. The rigidity of such norms may vary from place to place, and there may be more or less uniformity in the messages issuing from agencies and organizations. Still, in any society, the area of consensus fostered by popular indoctrination needs to be substantial -- particularly in times of internal and external crisis.
-- Houn, Franklin & Hou Fu-Wu (1961)

Hell hath no fury like a vested interest disguised as a moral principle.
-- unknown

... ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.
-- Charles Darwin

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Hauntings; and, pleasant dreams!
-- Peter James, co-author of Heaven Can You Hear Me?

There is a simple test by which you can tell a true teacher from a false one. It is this: If they point you to their own personality; if they make special claims for themselves; if they say that they have received any special privileges from God that are not equally accessible to the whole human race anywhere; if they attempt in their own name or in that of an organization to establish under any pretense a monopoly of the truth about God, then, however imposing their credentials, however pleasing their personality may be, they are a false teacher, and you had better have nothing to do with them. If, on the contrary, they tell you to look away from themselves, to seek the Presence of God in your own heart, and to use books, lectures, and churches only as a means to that one end, then, however humble their efforts may be, however lacking their own demonstration may seem, they are nevertheless a true teacher and are giving you the Bread of Life.
-- Emmet Fox, 1933

The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.
-- Winston Churchill, November 1936

Those who understand will be less apt both to blame the blameless for their misfortune and waste precious dwindling resources pursuing the hopeless in search of mirage solutions.
-- Dan Allen

I have only bought you a 40-year breathing space to stabilise your populations.
-- Norman Borlaug, accepting his Nobel peace prize in 1970 for his "green revolution"

People fear what they don't understand and hate what they can't conquer.
-- Andrew Smith

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
-- Mark Twain

Book by Book

the narrow streets of a medieval walled city
Book One:
The Test
Spring 2010




Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 1 (6MB)



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

a lonely beach along a wild seashore
Book Two:
Summer 2010


Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 13 (8MB)



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

the colorful aurora above majestic mountains
Book Three:
Fall 2010


Letter to Readers

Dramatic Audiobook

Audiobook Chapter 5 (13MB)



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

Screenplay 1

stranded on a frigid ice continent
Book Four:
Flight Training
Spring 2011


Letter to Readers



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

fascinating planets with strange life forms
Book Five:
Back to the Stars
Fall 2011


Letter to Readers



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

a shining jewel floating in the blackness of space
Book Six:
Star Station
Summer 2012


Letter to Readers



Deep Learning

Where to Get It

unseen guests at an event of universe importance
Book Seven:
The Local Universe
Summer 2013


Letter to Readers



Where to Get It

stillness and silence where movement and sound should be
Book Eight:
Summer 2014


Letter to Readers



Where to Get It

Heather's meeting circle at a top-secret military facility
Book Nine:
A Cry for Help
Summer 2015


Letter to Readers



Where to Get It

a strange eco-system deep underground
Book Ten:
Stories from Sonmatia
Summer 2016


Letter to Readers


Where to Get It

Nebador Archives

Copyright © 2009-2018
by J. Z. Colby
unless otherwise attributed