05 January 2020
Supernova Era
Cixin Liu


Your students may not agree with you. You only know them in ordinary times, but not in extreme situations. In times of crisis, people, children included, can become superhuman.
. . .
On the brink of a strange new world, people reacted in two opposite ways: they grew younger or got older, and she fortunately fell into the former camp.
. . .

Xiaomen said, "That's what adults are like. They can control their emotions. You can't, Huahua."

"So what? Is there something wrong with letting others see me for who I really am?"

"Self-control doesn't mean being fake. Your emotions affect those around you, you know. Especially kids — they're easily influenced. So you should find some self-control."

. . .
Children, when you were very small, adults taught you that so long as there's a will there's a way. Now, I'm here to tell you, that's completely wrong. The way is only open for those things in line with the laws of science and of social development. The vast majority of what people want to accomplish is impossible, no matter how hard they try. As leaders of this country, your historic mission is to consider a hundred options, eliminate the ninety-nine that are impossible, and find the one that can be accomplished. This will be difficult, but you must do it!
. . .
Human group effects are powerful, as can be seen from a crowd of soccer spectators numbering in the tens of thousands; when two hundred million people (and children at that) were all in one place, the effect was more powerful than sociologists and psychologists of the past could have imagined. Individual minds ceased to exist, subsumed into the flood of the group. Years later, many of the participants at that New World Assembly recalled how they abandoned all control of themselves; logic and reason lost all meaning for millions of young children. Now they didn't want to listen, they didn't want to act, they just wanted, and wanted, and wanted, wanted that dreamworld, that country of fun.
. . .

"Mr. President, I wonder whether or not you understand how the adults made America great."

"They build a fleet of aircraft carriers!"


"They sent a rocket to the moon!"


"They built American science, technology, industry, finance..."

"Those are important, but they're not it either."

"Then what is it? What makes America great?"

"Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck."

Davey thought in silence.

Vaughn went on, "In self-righteous Europe, in insular Asia, in impoverished Africa, in every corner of the world, in places unreachable by aircraft carriers, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck can be found."

"You mean American culture permeates the globe?"

Vaughn nodded. "The world of play is dawning. Children of other countries and nationalities will play in different ways. Mr. President, what you need to do is to make the children of the world play according to America's rules!"

. . .
It takes a lengthy process of life experience to truly appreciate the value of life. In the mind of a child, life doesn't occupy the same place as in an adult's. What's strange is that adults always associate children with kindness, peace, and wonderful things.
. . .
Golding was one of the few adults who really got children. It's a shame that the others mostly judged the hearts of children using the measure of great men, rather than recognizing our basic nature.
. . .
Never be too optimistic about your own judgment, particularly when it comes to the course of history.
. . .
Hiding behind what you imagine to be intuition is actually a complicated set of calculations and deductions. So complicated as to be imperceptible. We need only two things right now: calm, and more calm.