What the Brain Does By Itself Is Infinitely More Fascinating and Complex Than Any Response It Can Make To Chemical Stimulation

Ursula K. Le Guin? Elaine Partnow? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: People have employed psychoactive substances for centuries to pursue alertness, pleasure, insights, thrills, and sundry goals. Yet, a famous speculative fiction author asserted that the brain by itself could achieve infinitely fascinating responses without chemical intervention. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: The prize-winning science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin serialized the innovative novel “The Lathe of Heaven” in “Amazing Science Fiction Stories” in 1971. 1 The main character George Orr was able to cause major alterations in reality while dreaming.

Orr participated in mandatory therapy sessions with a sleep researcher who wished to construct a utopian world using Orr’s remarkable powers. The researcher was pleased to discover that Orr was responsive without the use of drugs. The sleep sessions employed a biofeedback-like device called an Augmentor. The researcher spoke the quotation. Boldface added t excerpts by QI: 2

“I’d rather work without drugs. What the brain does by itself is infinitely more fascinating and complex than any response it can make to chemical stimulation; that’s why I developed the Augmentor, to provide the brain a means of self-stimulation. The creative and therapeutic resources of the brain — whether waking or sleeping or dreaming — are practically infinite. If we can just find the keys to all the locks. The power of dreaming alone is quite undreamt of!”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading What the Brain Does By Itself Is Infinitely More Fascinating and Complex Than Any Response It Can Make To Chemical Stimulation

Notes:

  1. 1971 March, Amazing Science Fiction Stories, Volume 44, Number 6, The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin, (Part 1 of 2), Start Page 6, Quote Page 25, Column 1, Ultimate Publishing Company, Flushing, New York. (Verified with scans)
  2. 1973 (1971 Copyright), The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin, Chapter 3, Quote Page 34, Avon Books: A Division of The Hearst Corporation, New York. (Verified with scans)

While We Read a Novel, We Are Insane—Bonkers

Ursula K. Le Guin? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Apparently the acclaimed science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin stated that the people who read her books were insane or bonkers. This is an odd thing to say. Did Le Guin really say this?

Quote Investigator: In 1969 Ursula K. Le Guin published the popular prize-winning novel “The Left Hand of Darkness”. In 1976 she penned a new introduction to the oft reprinted book which discussed the remarkable mental state required of fiction readers. Boldface added excerpts by QI: 1

In fact, while we read a novel, we are insane—bonkers. We believe in the existence of people who aren’t there, we hear their voices, we watch the battle of Borodino with them, we may even become Napoleon. Sanity returns (in most cases) when the book is closed.

Is it any wonder that no truly respectable society has ever trusted its artists?

Le Guin was making an observation about the temporary frame of mind of fiction readers. She was not commenting specifically about her readers. To immerse oneself in an artificially constructed universe the suspension of disbelief is necessary.

Le Guin did not consider herself a seer or forecaster. She continued the excerpt above with the following statement:

But our society, being troubled and bewildered, seeking guidance, sometimes puts an entirely mistaken trust in its artists, using them as prophets and futurologists.

In conclusion, Ursula K. Le Guin deserves credit for the words she wrote in her 1976 introduction to “The Left Hand of Darkness”.

Notes:

  1. 1977 (1969 Copyright), The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, Introduction (1976 Copyright), Unnumbered Page; (Third Page of Introduction), Ace Books: Grosset & Dunlap Company, New York. (Verified with scans)

It Is Good To Have an End To Journey Towards; But It Is the Journey That Matters, in the End

Ernest Hemingway? Ursula K. Le Guin? Lynn H. Hough?

Dear Quote Investigator: It is natural to assign meaning or purpose to the terminus of a long journey, but the value truly lies within the journey itself. This notion has been expressed as follows:

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

The famous author Ernest Hemingway and the award-winning speculative fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin have both received credit for this statement. Would you please determine the correct authorship?

Quote Investigator: There is no substantive evidence that Ernest Hemingway said or wrote this. He died in 1961, and was given credit by 2010, a very late date.

In 1969 Ursula K. Le Guin published “The Left Hand of Darkness” which explored gender roles and relationships on an alien planet. The popular work won the Hugo and Nebula awards. During a long trek in a frigid region two characters encountered a remarkable scene of pinnacles, cliffs, smoke, fire, and rubble near a massive glacier: 1

Across those valleys a great wall stood, a wall of ice, and raising our eyes up and still up to the rim of the wall we saw the Ice itself, the Gobrin Glacier, blinding and horizonless to the utmost north, a white, a white the eyes could not look on.

The travelers placed a high value on their experiences during the journey. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 2

Estraven stood there in harness beside me looking at that magnificent and unspeakable desolation. “I’m glad I have lived to see this,” he said.

I felt as he did. It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading It Is Good To Have an End To Journey Towards; But It Is the Journey That Matters, in the End

Notes:

  1. 1977 (1969 Copyright), The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, Chapter 15, Quote Page 219, Ace Books: Grosset & Dunlap Company, New York. (Verified with scans)
  2. 1977 (1969 Copyright), The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, Chapter 15, Quote Page 220, Ace Books: Grosset & Dunlap Company, New York. (Verified with scans)