• Freedom isn't an illusion; it's perfectly real in the context of sequential consciousness. Within the context of simultaneous consciousness, freedom is not meaningful, but neither is coercion; it's simply a different context, no more or less valid than the other. It's like that famous optical illusion, the drawing of either an elegant young woman, face turned away from the viewer, or a wart-nosed crone, chin tucked down on her chest. There's no “correct

    Ted Chiang
  • The physical universe was a language with a perfectly ambiguous grammar. Every physical event was an utterance that could be parsed in two entirely different ways, one casual and the other teleological, both valid, neither one disqualifiable no matter how much context was available

    Ted Chiang
  • Physics admits of a lovely unification, not just at the level of fundamental forces, but when considering its extent and implications. Classifications like "optics" or "thermodynamics" are just straitjackets, preventing physicists from seeing countless intersections

    Ted Chiang
  • Past and future are the same, and we cannot change either, only know them more fully. My journey to the past had changed nothing, but what I had learned had changed everything, and I understood that it could not have been otherwise. If our lives are tales that Allah tells, then we are the audience as well as the players, and it is by living these tales that we receive their lessons

    Ted Chiang
  • In the Principia Mathematica, Bertrand Russell and Alfred Whitehead attempted to give a rigorous foundation to mathematics using formal logic as their basis. They began with what they considered to be axioms, and used those to derive theorems of increasing complexity. By page 362, they had established enough to prove "1 + 1 = 2

    Ted Chiang
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