The Diamond Age: or Quotes.

1. "The difference between stupid and intelligent people – and this is true whether or not they are well-educated – is that intelligent people can handle subtlety."
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or

2. "Nell," the Constable continued, indicating through his tone of voice that the lesson was concluding, "the difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people—and this is true whether or not they are well-educated—is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations—in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward."
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or

3. "That we occasionally violate our own stated moral code does not imply that we are insincere in espousing that code."
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or

4. "Nell did not imagine that Constable Moore wanted to get into a detailed discussion of recent events, so she changed the subject. "I think I have finally worked out what you were trying to tell me, years ago, about being intelligent," she said. The Constable brightened all at once. "Pleased to hear it." The Vickys have an elaborate code of morals and conduct. It grew out of the moral squalor of an earlier generation, just as the original Victorians were preceded by the Georgians and the Regency. The old guard believe in that code because they came to it the hard way. They raise their children to believe in that code– but their children believe it for entirely different reasons." They believe it," the Constable said, "because they have been indoctrinated to believe it." Yes. Some of them never challenge it– they grow up to be smallminded people, who can tell you what they believe but not why they believe it. Others become disillusioned by the hypocrisy of the society and rebel– as did Elizabeth Finkle-McGraw." Which path do you intend to take, Nell?" said the Constable, sounding very interested. "Conformity or rebellion?" Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded– they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity."
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or

5. "The difference between stupid and intelligent people -- and this is true whether or not they are well-educated -- is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambigous or even contradictory situations -- in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward."
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or

6. "Which path do you intend to take, Nell?' said the Constable, sounding very interested. 'Conformity or rebellion?' Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded - they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity."
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or

7. "We ignore the blackness of outer space and pay attention to the stars, especially if they seem to order themselves into constellations. Common as the air meant something worthless, but Hackworth knew that every breath of air that Fiona drew, lying in her little bed at night, just a silver flow in the moonlight, was used by her body to make skin and hair and bones. The air became Fiona, and deserving—no, demanding—of love. Ordering matter was the sole endeavor of Life, whether it was a jumble of self-replicating molecules in the primordial ocean, or a steam-powered English mill turning weeds into clothing, or Fiona lying in her bed turning air into Fiona."
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or

8. "He had some measure of the infuriating trait that causes a young man to be a nonconformist for its own sake and found that the surest way to shock most people, in those days, was to believe that some kinds of behavior were bad and others good, and that it was reasonable to live one's life accordingly."
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or

9. "Sorry, she said, I got out as fast as I could, but I had to stay and socialize. Protocol, you know. Explain protocol, Nell said. This was how she always talked to the Primer. At the place we’re going, you need to watch your manners. Don’t say ‘explain this’ or ‘explain that.’ Would it impose on your time unduly to provide me with a concise explanation of the term protocol? Nell said. Again Rita made that nervous laugh and looked at Nell with an expression that looked like poorly concealed alarm."
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or

10. "They wanted to carry her, but she jumped to the stones of the plaza and strode away from the building, toward her ranks, which parted to make way for her. The streets of Pudong were filled with hungry and terrified refugees, and through them, in simple peasant clothes streaked with the blood of herself and of others, broken shackles dangling from her wrists, followed by her generals and ministers, walked the barbarian Princess with her book and her sword."
- Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age: or

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