Arthur C. Clarke quotes

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Arthur C. Clarke

Birthdate: 16. December 1917
Date of death: 19. March 2008
Other names: Arthur Charles Clarke

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host.

He is famous for being co-writer of the screenplay for the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, widely considered to be one of the most influential films of all time. Clarke was a science writer, who was both an avid populariser of space travel and a futurist of uncanny ability. On these subjects he wrote over a dozen books and many essays, which appeared in various popular magazines. In 1961 he was awarded the Kalinga Prize, an award which is given by UNESCO for popularizing science. These along with his science fiction writings eventually earned him the moniker "Prophet of the Space Age". His other science fiction writings earned him a number of Hugo and Nebula awards, which along with a large readership made him one of the towering figures of science fiction. For many years Clarke, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.

Clarke was a lifelong proponent of space travel. In 1934, while still a teenager, he joined the British Interplanetary Society. In 1945, he proposed a satellite communication system, an idea which won him the Franklin Institute's Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1963, and other honours. Later he was the chairman of the British Interplanetary Society from 1946–47 and again in 1951–53.

Clarke emigrated from England to Sri Lanka in 1956, largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving. That year he discovered the underwater ruins of the ancient Koneswaram temple in Trincomalee. Clarke augmented his fame later on in the 1980s, from being the host of several television shows such as Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World. He lived in Sri Lanka until his death. He was knighted in 1998 and was awarded Sri Lanka's highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya, in 2005.

Works

The City and the Stars
The City and the Stars
Arthur C. Clarke
2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey
Arthur C. Clarke
The Light of Other Days
The Light of Other Days
Arthur C. Clarke
The Road to the Sea
Arthur C. Clarke
2010: Odyssey Two
Arthur C. Clarke
Childhood's End
Childhood's End
Arthur C. Clarke
Breaking Strain
Arthur C. Clarke
3001: The Final Odyssey
Arthur C. Clarke
Rendezvous with Rama
Rendezvous with Rama
Arthur C. Clarke
The Wall of Darkness
Arthur C. Clarke
Patent Pending
Arthur C. Clarke
Rama Revealed
Rama Revealed
Arthur C. Clarke
Glide Path
Glide Path
Arthur C. Clarke
Silence Please
Arthur C. Clarke
Summertime on Icarus
Arthur C. Clarke
What Goes Up
Arthur C. Clarke
Death and the Senator
Death and the Senator
Arthur C. Clarke
Dog Star
Arthur C. Clarke
I Remember Babylon
Arthur C. Clarke
Crusade
Arthur C. Clarke

„I'm sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It's just been too intelligent to come here.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

IRC discussion at Scifi.com (1 November 1996) http://web.archive.org/web/20021201214228/http://www.scifi.com/transcripts/aclarke.txt with Clarke and Gentry Lee
1990s

„In my time I’ve been very fortunate to see many of my dreams come true!“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

90th Birthday Reflections (2007)
Context: In my time I’ve been very fortunate to see many of my dreams come true! Growing up in the 1920s and 1930s, I never expected to see so much happen in the span of a few decades. We "space cadets" of the British Interplanetary Society spent all our spare time discussing space travel — but we didn’t imagine that it lay in our own near future… I still can't quite believe that we've just marked the 50th anniversary of the Space Age! We’ve accomplished a great deal in that time, but the "Golden Age of Space" is only just beginning. Over the next 50 years, thousands of people will travel to Earth orbit — and then, to the Moon and beyond. Space travel — and space tourism — will one day become almost as commonplace as flying to exotic destinations on our own planet.

„Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

As quoted in Visions : How Science Will Revolutionize the Twenty-First Century (1999) by Michio Kaku, p. 295
2000s and attributed from posthumous publications

„Clarke's Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

Profiles of the Future (revised edition, 1973)
Source: Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry Into the Limits of the Possible

„Communication technologies are necessary, but not sufficient, for us humans to get along with each other.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

90th Birthday Reflections (2007)
Context: Communication technologies are necessary, but not sufficient, for us humans to get along with each other. This is why we still have many disputes and conflicts in the world. Technology tools help us to gather and disseminate information, but we also need qualities like tolerance and compassion to achieve greater understanding between peoples and nations.
I have great faith in optimism as a guiding principle, if only because it offers us the opportunity of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I hope we've learnt something from the most barbaric century in history — the 20th. I would like to see us overcome our tribal divisions and begin to think and act as if we were one family. That would be real globalisation…

„When final contact was made, they would try to secure samples by drilling or laser spectroscopy“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

2010: Odyssey Two (1982), Ch. 43: Thought Experiment
1980s
Context: Plans for the final assault on Big Brother had already been worked out and agreed upon with Mission Control. Leonov would move in slowly, probing at all frequencies, and with steadily increasing power — constantly reporting back to Earth at every moment. When final contact was made, they would try to secure samples by drilling or laser spectroscopy; no one really expected these endeavours to succeed, as even after a decade of study TMA-1 resisted all attempts to analyse its material. The best efforts of human scientists in this direction seemed comparable to those of Stone Age men trying to break through the armour of a bank vault with flint axes.

„Our age is in many ways unique, full of events and phenomena that never occurred before and can never happen again.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

We'll Never Conquer Space (1960)
Context: Our age is in many ways unique, full of events and phenomena that never occurred before and can never happen again. They distort our thinking, making us believe that what is true now will be true forever, though perhaps on a larger scale. Because we have annihilated distance on this planet, we imagine that we can do it once again. The facts are otherwise, and we see them more clearly if we forget the present and turn our minds towards the past.

„Perhaps it is better to be un-sane and happy, than sane and un-happy. But it is the best of all to be sane and happy. Whether our descendants can achieve that goal will be the greatest challenge of the future. Indeed, it may well decide whether we have any future.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

3001: The Final Odyssey (1997)
1990s
Context: Finally, I would like to assure my many Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim friends that I am sincerely happy that the religion which Chance has given you has contributed to your peace of mind (and often, as Western medical science now reluctantly admits, to your physical well-being). Perhaps it is better to be un-sane and happy, than sane and un-happy. But it is the best of all to be sane and happy. Whether our descendants can achieve that goal will be the greatest challenge of the future. Indeed, it may well decide whether we have any future.

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„We have abolished space here on the little Earth; we can never abolish the space that yawns between the stars.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

We'll Never Conquer Space (1960)
Context: We have abolished space here on the little Earth; we can never abolish the space that yawns between the stars. Once again, as in the days when Homer sang, we are face-to-face with immensity and must accept its grandeur and terror, its inspiring possibilities and its dreadful restraints.

„I want to see lasting and meaningful peace achieved in Sri Lanka as early as possible. But I am aware that peace cannot just be wished; it involves hard work, courage and persistence.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

As quoted in the [Sri Lanka] Sunday Times (31 December 2000)
2000s and attributed from posthumous publications
Context: We should be less concerned about adding years to life, and more about adding life to years. I have been very fortunate to have witnessed some of humanity's greatest achievements during the 20th century that is nearing its end. Yet we must admit that it has also been the most savage century in the history of our kind. If I can have one more wish, I want to see lasting and meaningful peace achieved in Sri Lanka as early as possible. But I am aware that peace cannot just be wished; it involves hard work, courage and persistence.
As we welcome 2001, let us harness our collective energies to create a culture of peace and a land of prosperity.

„We stand now at the turning point between two eras. Behind us is a past to which we can never return …“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

Exploration of Space (1952)
1950s
Context: We stand now at the turning point between two eras. Behind us is a past to which we can never return … The coming of the rocket brought to an end a million years of isolation … the childhood of our race was over and history as we know it began.

„There is the possibility that humankind can outgrow its infantile tendencies, as I suggested in Childhood's End. But it is amazing how childishly gullible humans are.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

"God, Science, and Delusion: A Chat With Arthur C. Clarke" Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 19, Number 2 (Spring 1999) http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=clarke_19_2
2000s and attributed from posthumous publications
Context: There is the possibility that humankind can outgrow its infantile tendencies, as I suggested in Childhood's End. But it is amazing how childishly gullible humans are. There are, for example, so many different religions — each of them claiming to have the truth, each saying that their truths are clearly superior to the truths of others — how can someone possibly take any of them seriously? I mean, that's insane.... Though I sometimes call myself a crypto-Buddhist, Buddhism is not a religion. Of those around at the moment, Islam is the only one that has any appeal to me. But, of course, Islam has been tainted by other influences. The Muslims are behaving like Christians, I'm afraid.

„I've been saying for a long time that I'm hoping to find intelligent life in Washington“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

2000s and attributed from posthumous publications
Context: I've been saying for a long time that I'm hoping to find intelligent life in Washington … I'm reasonably sure there must be life in this solar system, on Mars or on Europa, and other places. I think life is probably going to be ubiquitous, though we still don't have any proof of that yet — and still less, any proof of intelligent life anywhere. But I hope that will be coming in the next decade or so through radio astronomy or, perhaps, the discovery of objects in space which are obviously artificial. Astronomical engineering — that may be the other thing to look for.

"Meeting of the Minds : Buzz Aldrin Visits Arthur C. Clarke" by Andrew Chaikin (27 February 2001) http://web.archive.org/web/20010302082528/http://www.space.com/peopleinterviews/aldrin_clarke_010227.html

„I would like to see us overcome our tribal divisions and begin to think and act as if we were one family. That would be real globalisation…“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

90th Birthday Reflections (2007)
Context: Communication technologies are necessary, but not sufficient, for us humans to get along with each other. This is why we still have many disputes and conflicts in the world. Technology tools help us to gather and disseminate information, but we also need qualities like tolerance and compassion to achieve greater understanding between peoples and nations.
I have great faith in optimism as a guiding principle, if only because it offers us the opportunity of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I hope we've learnt something from the most barbaric century in history — the 20th. I would like to see us overcome our tribal divisions and begin to think and act as if we were one family. That would be real globalisation…

„Space can be mapped and crossed and occupied without definable limit; but it can never be conquered.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

We'll Never Conquer Space (1960)
Context: Space can be mapped and crossed and occupied without definable limit; but it can never be conquered. When our race has reached its ultimate achievements, and the stars themselves are scattered no more widely than the seed of Adam, even then we shall still be like ants crawling on the face of the Earth. The ants have covered the world, but have they conquered it — for what do their countless colonies know of it, or of each other?
So it will be with us as we spread out from Earth, loosening the bonds of kinship and understanding, hearing faint and belated rumors at second — or third — or thousandth hand of an ever dwindling fraction of the entire human race. Though the Earth will try to keep in touch with her children, in the end all the efforts of her archivists and historians will be defeated by time and distance, and the sheer bulk of material. For the numbers of distinct human societies or nations, when our race is twice its present age, may be far greater than the total number of all the men who have ever lived up to the present time.
We have left the realm of comprehension in our vain effort to grasp the scale of the universe; so it must ever be, sooner rather than later.

„I now spend a good part of my day dreaming of times past, present and future.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

90th Birthday Reflections (2007)
Context: I now spend a good part of my day dreaming of times past, present and future. As I try to survive on 15 hours sleep a day, I have plenty of time to enjoy vivid dreams. Being completely wheel-chaired doesn't stop my mind from roaming the universe — on the contrary!

„Only a lifetime ago, parents waved farewell to their emigrating children in the virtual certainty that they would never meet again.
And now, within one incredible generation, all this has changed.“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

We'll Never Conquer Space (1960)
Context: When the pioneers and adventurers of our past left their homes in search of new lands, they said good-bye forever to the place of their birth and the companions of their youth. Only a lifetime ago, parents waved farewell to their emigrating children in the virtual certainty that they would never meet again.
And now, within one incredible generation, all this has changed.

„Clarke's Law of Revolutionary Ideas“

—  Arthur C. Clarke

The Promise of Space http://books.google.com/books?id=FWwhAAAAMAAJ&dq=The+Promise+of+Space&ei=ab0yR__TKZzuoAL_mf3RDw&ie=ISO-8859-1&pgis=1 (1968); This and similar statements attributed to Mahatma Gandhi and J. B. S. Haldane may ultimately be derived from a statement attibuted to Arthur Schopenhauer:
Context: Clarke's Law of Revolutionary Ideas: Every revolutionary idea — in science, politics, art, or whatever — seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases:(1) "It's completely impossible — don't waste my time";
(2) "It's possible, but it's not worth doing";
(3) "I said it was a good idea all along."

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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