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Category: Alasdair Gray

They’re not better before it, either

“Must everything we do satisfy someone else before it’s worthwhile?  Is everything we do because we enjoy it selfish and useless?  Primary school, secondary school, university, they’ve got the first twenty-four years of our lives numbered off for us and to get into the year above we’ve got to pass an exam.  Everything is done to please the examiner, never for fun.  The one pleasure they allow is anticipation: ‘Things will be better after the exam.’  It’s a lie.  Things are never better after the exam.” – Alasdair Gray, Lanark (emphasis in original)

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You’ve got his number

“From an early age I only wanted to deal with what I was sure of, and like all thinkers I soon came to distrust what could only be seen and touched.  The majority believe that floors, ceilings, each other’s bodies, the sun, etc., are the surest things in the world, but soon after going to school I saw that everything was untrustworthy when compared with numbers.  Take the simplest kind of number, a telephone number, 339-6286 for example.  It exists outside us for we find it in a directory, but we can carry it in our heads precisely as it is, for the number and our idea of it are identical.  Compared with his phone number our closest friend is shifty and treacherous.” – Alasdair Gray, Lanark