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The Dark Forest

"“First: Survival is the primary need of civilization. Second: Civilization continuously grows and expands, but the total matter in the universe remains constant.”"

"Ten thousand times the web could be destroyed, and ten thousand times the spider would rebuild it. There was neither annoyance nor despair, nor any delight, just as it had been for a billion years."

"The critical question is who gets to leave, and who has to stay. This isn’t ordinary inequality. It’s a question of survival, and no matter who gets to leave—elites, the rich, or ordinary people—so long as some people get left behind, it means the collapse of humanity’s fundamental value system and ethical bottom line. Human rights and equality have deep roots. Inequality of survival is the worst sort of inequality, and the people and countries left behind will never just sit and wait for death while others have a way out. There will be increasingly extreme confrontations between the two sides until there’s world chaos, and then no one goes!"

"This is the difference between an ordinary scribe and a literary writer. The highest level of literary creation is when the characters in a novel possess life in the mind of the writer. The writer is unable to control them, and might not even be able to predict the next action they will take. We can only follow them in wonder to observe and record the minute details of their lives like a voyeur. That’s how a classic is made.”"

"For the majority of people, what they love exists only in the imagination. The object of their love is not the man or woman of reality, but what he or she is like in their imagination. The person in reality is just a template used for the creation of this dream lover."

"“The Great Ravine lasted for about half a century, and in those fifty-odd years, the world population dropped from 8.3 billion to 3.5 billion. Think about what that means!”"

"“Emancipation of human nature inevitably brings with it scientific and technological progress.”"

"believed in what Goethe said: ‘If I love you, what business is it of yours?’”"

"“Then... what’s it here for?” the lieutenant colonel blurted out. “Who knows? Maybe it really is just a messenger. But it’s here to give humanity a different message,” Ding Yi said, turning his gaze away from the droplet. “What?” “If I destroy you, what business is it of yours?”"

"The universe had once been bright, too. For a short time after the big bang, all matter existed in the form of light, and only after the universe turned to burnt ash did heavier elements precipitate out of the darkness and form planets and life. Darkness was the mother of life and of civilization."

"They cut off all contact with the Solar System, for to those two worlds, the Earth was already dead."

"He noticed that the people they met on the streets fell into two types, much like the two people they had encountered in the elevator. One type was depressed, walking with dull eyes or simply sitting on the lawns enduring the torment of despair, a despair whose cause had now shifted from humanity’s defeat to the present difficult living conditions. The other type was in a state of crazed excitement and grew intoxicated from indulgence."

"First, survival is the primary need of civilization. Second, civilization continuously grows and expands, but the total matter in the universe remains constant.”"

"“The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost, gently pushing aside branches that block the path and trying to tread without sound. Even breathing is done with care. The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him. If he finds other life—another hunter, an angel or a demon, a delicate infant or a tottering old man, a fairy or a demigod—there’s only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them. In this forest, hell is other people. An eternal threat that any life that exposes its own existence will be swiftly wiped out. This is the picture of cosmic civilization. It’s the explanation for the Fermi Paradox.”"