No utopia can ever give satisfaction to everyone, all the time. As their material conditions improve, men raise their sights and become discontented with power and possessions that once would have seemed beyond their wildest dreams. And even when the external world has granted all it can, there still remain the searchings of the mind and the longings of the heart.
In this single galaxy of ours there are eighty-seven thousand million suns. [...] In challenging it, you would be like ants attempting to label and classify all the grains of sand in all the deserts of the world. [...] It is a bitter thought, but you must face it. The planets you may one day possess. But the stars are not for man.
Everybody on this island has one ambition, which may be summed up very simply. It is to do something, however small it may be, better than anyone else. Of course, it’s an ideal we don’t all achieve. But in this modern world the great thing is to have an ideal. Achieving it is considerably less important.
You will find men like him in all the world’s religions. They know that we represent reason and science, and, however confident they may be in their beliefs, they fear that we will overthrow their gods. Not necessarily through any deliberate act, but in a subtler fashion. Science can destroy religion by ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenets.
You know why Wainwright and his kind fear me, don't you?.. They fear that we know the truth about the origins of their faiths. How long, they wonder, have we been observing humanity? Have we watched Mohammad begin the hegira, or Moses giving the Jews their law? Do we know all the false in their stories they believe?
He might himself be putting on a superb act, following the performance by logic alone and with his own strange emotions completely untouched, as an anthropologist might take part in some primitive rite. The fact that he uttered the appropriate sounds, and made the expected responses, really proved nothing at all.
We have had our failures. Yes, Karellen, that was true: and were you the one who failed, before the dawn of human history? It must have been a failure indeed, thought Stormgren, for its echoes to roll down all the ages, to haunt the childhood of every race of man. Even in fifty years, could you overcome the power of all the myths and legends of the world?