You don’t want him to go planting any bombs or anything

“It is a dangerous thing to suddenly deprive a man of hope–he can turn violent.  It is important to kill hope slowly, so that the loser has time to adjust unconsciously to the loss.” – Alasdair Gray, Lanark (emphasis in original)

He died laughing

“A story can always end happily by stopping at a cheerful moment.  Of course in nature the only end is death, but death hardly ever happens when people are at their best.  That is why we like tragedies.  They show men ending energetically with their wits about them and deserving to do it.” – Alasdair Gray, Lanark

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)

Busy little bees we be

“When most people leave school they have to live by work which can’t be liked for its own sake and whose practical application is outside their grasp.  Unless they learn to work obediently because they’re told to, and for no other reason, they’ll be unfit for human society.” – Alasdair Gray, Lanark

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