§ Quotes from the culture

“Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot,”
'Absolutely not. Common misconception that; that fun is relaxing. If it is, you're not doing it right. That's what the Hole's for; fun. Fun and games. Cools down a bit during the day, but it can get pretty wild, too. The drink festivals are usually the worst. Shouldn't be any trouble tonight though. Fairly quiet.'
Excuse me, rector,' Gurgeh said, rising. The old apex's gaze followed him. 'Duty calls.' 'Obey,' Hamin said.
The drums are made from human skin; you can see why each set is called a family.
'Absolutely not. Common misconception that; that fun is relaxing.
As the adage said; falling never killed anybody; it was when you stopped…
This is not a heroic age,' he told the drone, staring at the fire. 'The individual is obsolete. That's why life is so comfortable for us. We don't matter, so we're safe
Genetechnologically, it's been within their grasp for hundreds of years, but it's forbidden. Illegal, if you remember what that means.' Gurgeh nodded
As with all sentient Culture constructs, its precise character had not been fully mapped out before its construction, but allowed to develop as the drone's mind was put together. The Culture regarded this unpredictable factor in its production of conscious machines as the price to be paid for individuality, but the result was that not every drone so brought into being was entirely suitable for the tasks it had initially been designed for.
So it's false.' 'What isn't?' 'Intellectual achievement. The exercise of skill. Human feeling.'
Just another belch in the darkness. Sound but not a word, noise without meaning.
There seemed little point in telling the creature when; the Dra’Azon called every time “now” even though their language used tenses.
We are water falling, itinerant and vague, ever seeking the lowest level, trying to collect and connect. We are vapor, raised against our own devices, made nebulous, blown on whatever wind arises. To start again, glacial or not.
the urge not to feel useless. The Culture’s sole justification for the relatively unworried, hedonistic life its population enjoyed was its good works; the secular evangelism of the Contact Section, not simply finding, cataloguing, investigating and analyzing other, less advanced civilizations but—where the circumstances appeared to Contact to justify so doing—actually interfering (overtly or covertly) in the historical processes of those other cultures.
And if we tamper with our inheritance, so what? What is more ours to tamper with?
It was a young, unstable sort of bitterness, a kind of fake, something she assumed for a while, like a child trying on adult clothes. She luxuriated in the feeling of being old and disillusioned for a moment, then let it drop.
Idir was never attacked, and technically never surrendered. Its computer network was taken over by effector weapons, and—freed of designed-in limitations—upgraded itself to sentience, to become a Culture Mind in all but name.
The voice sounded like congealing fat being poured into a jug;
It would have helped if the Culture had used some sort of emblem or logo; but, pointlessly unhelpful and unrealistic to the last, the Culture refused to place its trust in symbols. It maintained that it was what it was and had no need for such outward representation.
Just as it could not imprison itself with laws, impoverish itself with money or misguide itself with leaders, so it would not misrepresent itself with signs.
There was something too about the inexactitude of it all that the Mind found almost frightening. It could look at some carefully machined piece of metal or some delicately molded bit of plastic, and know that to the people who had built the Command System—to their eyes—these things were exact and precise, constructed to fine tolerances with dead straight lines, perfect edges, smooth surfaces, immaculate right angles… and so on. But the Mind, even with its damaged sensors, could see the rough edges, the crudity of the parts and the components involved. They had been good enough for the people at the time, and no doubt they had fulfilled the most important criterion of all; they worked
So it had effectively frozen its primary memory and cognitive functions, wrapping them in fields which prevented both decay and use. It was working instead on back-up picocircuitry, in real space, and using real-space light to think with (how humiliating).
the most select group of rich psychotics in the human galaxy, here to play the game that is to real life what soap opera is to high tragedy.
Originally Damage was played on such occasions because only during the breakdown of law and morality, and the confusion and chaos normally surrounding Final Events, could the game be carried out in anything remotely resembling part of the civilized galaxy; which, believe it or not, the Players like to think they’re part of.