Words are the litmus paper of the minds. If you find yourself in the power of someone who will use the word “commence” in cold blood, go somewhere else very quickly. But if they say “Enter”, don’t stop to pack.
Men should die for lies. But the truth is too precious to die for.
Give anyone a lever long enough and they can change the world. It’s unreliable levers that are the problem.
Brutha tried to nod, and thought: I’m on everyone’s side. It’d be nice if, just for once, someone was on mine.
Bishops move diagonally. That’s why they often turn up where the kings don’t expect them to be.
“I like the idea of democracy. You have to have someone everyone distrusts,” said Brutha. “That way, everyone’s happy.”
Brother Preptil, the master of the music, had described Brutha’s voice as putting him in mind of a disappointed vulture arriving too late at the dead donkey.
“I used to think that I was stupid, and then I met philosophers.”
Most gods find it hard to walk and think at the same time.
“He says gods like to see an atheist around. Gives them something to aim at.”
History, contrary to popular theories, is kings and dates and battles.
The labyrinth of Ephebe is ancient and full of one hundred and one amazing things you can do with hidden springs, razor-sharp knives, and falling rocks.
Probably the last man who knew how it worked had been tortured to death years before. Or as soon as it was installed. Killing the creator was a traditional method of patent protection.
Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off.
“Slave is an Ephebian word. In Om we have no word for slave,” said Vorbis. “So I understand,” said the Tyrant. “I imagine that fish have no word for water.”
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools — the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans — and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, “You can’t trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there’s nothing you can do about it, so let’s have a drink.”
“What’s a philosopher?” said Brutha. “Someone who’s bright enough to find a job with no heavy lifting,” said a voice in his head.
The trouble with being a god is that you’ve got no one to pray to.
You can’t trample infidels when you’re a tortoise. I mean, all you could do is give them a meaningful look.
“That’s right,” he said. “We’re philosophers. We think, therefore we am.”
Dhblah sidled closer. This was not hard. Dhblah sidled everywhere. Crabs thought he walked sideways.
When the least they could do to you was everything, then the most they could do to you suddenly held no terror.
The trouble was that he was talking in philosophy, but they were listening in gibberish.
And it came to pass that in time the Great God Om spake unto Brutha, the Chosen One: “Psst!”
YOU HAVE PERHAPS HEARD THE PHRASE THAT HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE?
“Yes. Yes, of course.” Death nodded.
IN TIME, he said, YOU WILL LEARN THAT IT IS WRONG.