Brian Aldiss - Greybeard (1964)
17 Sourced Quotes
Perhaps the first fire, the first tool, the first wheel, the first carving in a limestone cave, had each possessed a symbolic rather than a practical value, had each been pressed to serve distortion rather than reality. It was a sort of madness that had driven man from his humble sites on the edges of the woods into towns and cities, into arts and wars, into religious crusades, into martyrdom and prostitution, into dyspepsia and fasting, into love and hatred, into this present cul-de-sac; it had all come about in pursuit of symbols. In the beginning was the symbol, and darkness was over the face of the Earth.
The hardship of it was a pleasure. Life was a pleasure; he looked back at its moments, many of them as shrouded in mist as the opposite bank of the Thames. Objectively, many of them held only misery, fear, confusion; but afterward, and even at the time, he had known an exhilaration stronger than the misery, fear, or confusion. A fragment of belief came to him from another epoch: Cogito ergo sum. For him that had not been true; his truth had been: Sentio ergo sum. I feel, so I exist. He enjoyed this fearful, miserable, confused life, and not only because it made more sense than nonlife. He could never explain that to anyone.