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The relation of the soul to the Oversoul is that of the part towards the Whole, and it is this relation and its consequent recognitions, which develop into that sense of oneness with all beings and with the supreme Reality to which the mystics have always testified. ~ Alice Bailey
We live in a nightmare of falsehoods, and there are few who are sufficiently awake and aware to see things as they are. Our first duty is to clear away illusions and recover a sense of reality. ~ Nikolai Berdyaev
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. ~ Philip K. Dick

Reality in everyday usage means "the state of things as they actually exist." The term Reality, in a wider sense indicates the whole of which everything is a part, including everything that exists, has existed, or can exist, whether it is observable, comprehensible, or contradictory in regard to various sciences, philosophies, or any system of perception or analysis.

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Reality leaves a lot to the imagination. ~ John Lennon
  • Any author who uses mathematics should always express in ordinary language the meaning of the assumptions he admits, as well as the significance of the results obtained. The more abstract his theory, the more imperative this obligation. In fact, mathematics are and can only be a tool to explore reality. In this exploration, mathematics do not constitute an end in itself, they are and can only be a means.
  • She sowed in my mind the idea that reality is not only what we see on the surface; it has a magical dimension as well and, if we so desire, it is legitimate to enhance it and color it to make our journey through life less trying.
  • ... nowhere else in the world did reality have as much effective power as in the camp, nowhere else was reality so real. In no other place did the attempt to transcend it prove so hopeless and so shoddy.
    • Jean Améry, At the Mind’s Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and Its Realities (1966)
  • Shinji: I don't understand. I don't understand what reality is.
Rei: You can't bridge the gap between your own truth and the reality of others.
Shinji: I don't know where to find happiness.
Rei: So you only find happiness in your dreams.


  • The relation of the soul to the Oversoul is that of the part towards the Whole, and it is this relation and its consequent recognitions, which develop into that sense of oneness with all beings and with the supreme Reality to which the mystics have always testified.
  • I would like to remind you that the fact that you see the world picture as one of outstanding chaos, of striving ideologies and warring forces, of the persecution of minorities, of hatreds which are working out into a furious preparation for war, and of world anxiety and terror does not really mean that you are seeing the picture as it is in reality. You are seeing what is superficial, temporal, ephemeral and entirely concerned with the form aspect.
  • Suddenly the real was no longer merely a stepping stone to the possible.
    The real was all there was.
  • The Real – with its vast volumes of nothing between the planets, stars, systems and galaxies – was basically mostly vacuum; an averaged near-nothing incapable of true complexity due to its inescapable impoverishment of structure and the sheer overwhelming majority of nothingness over substance.
  • Nothing is wholly obvious without becoming enigmatic. Reality itself is too obvious to be true.
    • Jean Baudrillard, in The Perfect Crime (1993), as translated by Ian Michel and William Sarah (1995)
  • My God, how can you stand such things, children? They say, "Mom, don't you know it is only television, it is not real."
    • Dr. Lauretta Bender [1] Testimony of Dr. Lauretta Bender Testimony of Dr. Lauretta Bender, senior psychiatrist, Belleveu hospital Newyork N.Y.
  • He who has the bigger stick has the better chance of imposing his definitions of reality.
    • Peter Berger, "The Social Construction of Reality", p. 109, 1966
  • REALITY, n. The dream of a mad philosopher. That which would remain in the cupel if one should assay a phantom. The nucleus of a vacuum.
  • I myself find the division of the world into an objective and a subjective side much too arbitrary. The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality. And splitting this reality into an objective and a subjective side won't get us very far.
  • Whoever believes that the only important reality is the realm of ideas, of the spirit, should not occupy himself with science. The scientist must be a realist, he must accept his sense impressions as more than hallucinations, as messages of a real outer world. In disentangling these messages he uses ideas of a very abstract kind, group theory in spaces of many or even infinitely many dimensions and things like that, but finally he has his observational invariants representing real things with which he learns to operate like any craftsman with his wood or metal.
  • I have changed my definition of tragedy. I now think tragedy is not foul deeds done to a person... but rather that tragedy is irresolvable conflict. Both sides/ideas are right. Plot involves fragmentary reality, and it might involve composite reality. Fragmentary reality is the view of the individual. Composite reality is the community or state view. Fragmentary reality is always set against composite reality. Virginia Woolf did this by creating fragmentary monologues and for a while this was all the rage in literature. She was a genius. In the hands of the merely talented it came off like gibberish.
  • Men seek for vocabularies that are reflections of reality. To this end, they must develop vocabularies that are selections of reality. And any selection of reality must, in certain circumstances, function as a deflection of reality.
  • Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will be what they will be: why, then, should we desire to be deceived?


  • There's times to be real, and there's times to be phony. That's right, I said it, phony! You think I'm this nice in real life?
  • If... the powerful are able to fix the premises of discourse, to decide what the general populace is allowed to see, hear, and think about, and to “manage” public opinion by regular propaganda campaigns, the standard view of how the system works is at serious odds with reality.
    • Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, 1992
  • Sectors of the doctrinal system serve to divert the unwashed masses and reinforce the basic social values: passivity, submissiveness to authority, the overriding virtue of greed and personal gain, lack of concern for others, fear of real or imagined enemies, etc. The goal is to keep the bewildered herd bewildered. It's unnecessary for them to trouble themselves with what's happening in the world. In fact, it's undesirable -- if they see too much of reality they may set themselves to change it. p. 69
  • Normally, we take our reference frame for granted; we mistake it for “reality.”
    • K. C. Cole, The Universe and the Teacup (1998), p. 193
  • ... Is this world real? This is a venerable philosophical issue and I do not wish to be embroiled in the finely honed squabbles to which it has led. I merely state my own working hypothesis: that there is indeed an outside world, and that it is largely independent of our observing it. We can never fully know this outside world, but we can obtain approximate information about some aspects of its properties by using our senses and the operations of our brains. Nor, as we shall see, are we aware of everything that goes on in our brains, but only of some aspects of that activity. Moreover, both these processes—our interpretations of the nature of the outside world and of our own introspections—are open to error. We may think we know our motives for a particular action, but it is easy to show that, in some cases at least, we are in fact deceiving ourselves.


  • Already in 1948, observations... agreed with quantum mechanics, not with local realism.
  • Il n'est rien de réel que la rêve et l'amour.
    • Translation: Nothing is real but dreams and love.
    • Anna de Noailles, Le Cœur innombrable (1901), IV, "Chanson du temps opportun"
  • Materialistically bound, traditional science assumes that anything that cannot be measured, tested in a laboratory, or probed by the five senses or their technological extensions simply doesn't exist. It's "not real." The consequence: all of reality has been collapsed into physical reality. Spiritual, or what I would call nonphysical, dimensions of reality have been run out of town.
  • Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
    • Philip K. Dick, in "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later" (1978)


  • One reason why mathematics enjoys special esteem, above all other sciences, is that its laws are absolutely certain and indisputable, while those of other sciences are to some extent debatable and in constant danger of being overthrown by newly discovered facts.
  • As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
  • All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it. Propositions arrived at by purely logical means are completely empty as regards reality. Because Galileo saw this, and particularly because he drummed it into the scientific world, he is the father of modern physics – indeed, of modern science altogether.
  • One may say "the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility."
  • Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. In our endeavor to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears its ticking, but he has no way of opening the case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but he may never be quite sure his picture is the only one which could explain his observations. He will never be able to compare his picture with the real mechanism and he cannot even imagine the possibility or the meaning of such a comparison. But he certainly believes that, as his knowledge increases, his picture of reality will become simpler and simpler and will explain a wider and wider range of his sensuous impressions. He may also believe in the existence of the ideal limit of knowledge and that it is approached by the human mind. He may call this ideal limit the objective truth.
    • Albert Einstein, in The Evolution of Physics (1938) (co-written with Leopold Infeld)
  • One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike—and yet it is the most precious thing we have.
    • Albert Einstein, Letter to Hans Muehsam (9 July 1951), Einstein Archives 38-408, quoted in The Ultimate Quotable Einstein (2010) by Alice Calaprice, p. 404
  • People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
    • Albert Einstein, Letter to Besso's family (March 1955) following the death of Michele Besso, as quoted in Disturbing the Universe (1979) by Freeman Dyson Ch. 17 "A Distant Mirror", p. 193
  • One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity. ... Don't stop to marvel.
    • Albert Einstein, Death of a Genius," LIFE magazine (2 May 1955) statement to William Miller, p. 64.
  • My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance


  • We have always had a great deal of difficulty understanding the world view that quantum mechanics represents. At least I do, because I'm an old enough man that I haven't got to the point that this stuff is obvious to me. Okay, I still get nervous with it.... You know how it always is, every new idea, it takes a generation or two until it becomes obvious that there's no real problem. I cannot define the real problem, therefore I suspect there's no real problem, but I'm not sure there's no real problem.
    • Richard Feynman, in Simulating Physics with Computers appearing in International Journal of Theoretical Physics (1982) p. 471.
  • You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
    • Buckminster Fuller, as quoted in Beyond Civilization : Humanity's Next Great Adventure (1999), by Daniel Quinn, p. 137.
  • Up to the Twentieth Century, reality was everything humans could touch, smell, see, and hear. Since the initial publication of the chart of the electromagnetic spectrum, humans have learned that what they can touch, smell, see, and hear is less than one-millionth of reality. Ninety-nine percent of all that is going to affect our tomorrows is being developed by humans using instruments and working in ranges of reality that are nonhumanly sensible.
The architects of imperialism, the masters of war, the corporate-controlled legislative, judicial and executive branches of government and their obsequious courtiers in the media, are illegitimate. Say this simple truth and you are banished, as many of us have been, to the margins of the media landscape. Prove this truth, as Julian, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond and Edward Snowden have by allowing us to peer into the inner workings of power, and you are hunted down and persecuted.~ Chris Hedges


  • In reality there are as many religions as there are individuals.... Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads, so long as we reach the same goal. Wherein is the cause for quarrelling?


  • Everything in this world is "PHURO" - transient. It has no reality. True reality is to proceed on the path of truth, to keep the company of saintly people, and to render service to men.
  • The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
    • J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Papers (1927), p. 286
    • Often paraphrased: The world is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.
  • We think that we have been alive since a certain point in time and that prior to that moment, our life did not exist. This distinction between life and non-life is not correct. Life is made of death, and death is made of life. We have to accept death; it makes life possible. The cells in our body are dying every day, but we never think to organize funerals for them. The death of one cell allows for the birth of another. Life and death are two aspects of the same reality. We must learn to die peacefully so that others may live.
  • Reality is reality. It transcends every concept. There is no concept which can adequately describe it, not even the concept of interdependence.
  • The foolish read to escape reality; the wise surrender to it.
    • Tom Heehler, Well-Spoken Thesaurus: The Most Powerful Ways to Say Everyday Words and Phrases, p. 176
  • I deny this reality. The reality is a computation matrix.
  • “You ask if anyone has ‘tested the concept.’ But why would anyone test reality? Reality is not for testing, but for living with.”






  • And he knew by what Plato called Divine madness, or a direct contact with nonphysical reality; myths were one result of this last kind of knowing.
    • Morton Kelsey, Myth, History & Faith: The Mysteries of Christian Myth & Imagination (1974)
  • Reality can take a flying f. at a rolling doughnut.
    • Stephen King, in the introduction to Nightmares and Dreamscapes
  • She’d once told Devon, “I'm more interested in things that are real.”
    He’d been playing the game. Monitor-glow made his head a silhouette. He said, “What’s real is just an accident. No one designed reality to be compelling.” He gestured to the screen. “But a fantasy world is so designed. It takes the most interesting things that ever existed—like knights in armor and pirates on the high seas—and combines them with the most interesting things that anyone ever dreamed up—fire-breathing dragons and blood-drinking vampires. It’s the world as it should be, full of wonder and adventure. To privilege reality simply because it is reality just represents a kind of mental parochialism.”
    • David Barr Kirtley, Save Me Plz (2007) in Rich Horton (ed.), Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2008, pp. 311-312
  • You cannot search for reality, or for what you will, in isolation. It comes into being only in relationship, only when there is right relationship between man and man. So the love of man is the search for reality.


  • It doesn’t have to be New York; it could have been Kokomo. I think the point is that having a fictional character come from a real place makes the character seem more real. When I was young, I loved to read Sherlock Holmes. And the fact that he lived on Baker Street in London, a real place, made me enjoy the stories more, with a greater feeling of authenticity.


  • [R]ealism. You know, in a way, the realists are right, they are always right. Even when they are morally wrong.
    • Kanan Makiya, as quoted in "Regrets Only?" (7 October 2007), by Dexter Filkins, The New York Times Magazine, New York: The New York Times Company
  • Your goals, minus your doubts, equal your reality.
  • It is not the form of things that must be attended to but their spirit. The real is what matters, not the apparent. In politics, reality is that which is unseen.
    • José Martí, in The Monetary Conference of the American Republics (1891)
  • In the real world, people die. And no self promoting asshole in a fucking leotard can stop it.
    • James Mangold, Logan (2017)
  • The scientific method — apart from a narrowly agnostic and pragmatist point of view — is therefore by itself incomplete and insufficient: it demands in order to make contact with reality the complement of some metaphysic or other.
It is not the form of things that must be attended to but their spirit. The real is what matters, not the apparent. In politics, reality is that which is unseen. ~ José Martí
Psychologically speaking, this present moment is all we have. ~ Rollo May
  • The first thing necessary for a constructive dealing with time is to learn to live in the reality of the present moment. For psychologically speaking, this present moment is all we have.
    • Rollo May, in Man’s Search for Himself (1953)
  • Consciousness is unquantifiable, a ghost in the machine, barely considered real at all, though in a sense this flickering mosaic of awareness is the only true reality that we can ever know.
  • You will ask why I speak against magic when I myself discuss the cementing of space, the significance of the circle’s influence, and other conditions reminiscent of magic. The difference is that magic offers a substitute for life, while We teach people to make reality better by taking advantage of the possibilities that life itself provides. 195.
    • Morya, Leaves of Morya’s Garden II, (1925)
  • Ideas, unlike solid structures, do not perish. They remain immortal, immaterial and everywhere, like all Divine things. Ideas are a golden, savage landscape that we wander unaware, without a map. Be careful: in the last analysis, reality may be exactly what we think it is.
They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they... were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. ~ George Orwell in 1984


  • Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.
  • The past is a curious thing. It's with you all the time. I suppose an hour never passes without your thinking of things that happened ten or twenty years ago, and yet most of the time it's got no reality, it's just a set of facts that you've learned, like a lot of stuff in a history book. Then some chance sight or sound or smell, especially smell, sets you going, and the past doesn't merely come back to you, you're actually in the past.
  • Every citizen... could be kept for twenty-four hours a day under the eyes of the police... The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion on all subjects, now existed for the first time... They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they... were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening.


  • Neither my deeds have any contents,
    nor, my gestures have sense of zeal,
    my days are walking forth in worthlessness.
    with this body deficient of heart and soul
    how can I come close to you
    O' Glorious! O' Lord Almighty!


The jnani, following the path of knowledge, always reason about the Reality saying, "not this, not this." ~ Ramakrishna
  • The jnani, following the path of knowledge, always reason about the Reality saying, "not this, not this." Brahman is neither "this" nor "that"; It is neither the universe nor its living beings. Reasoning in this way, the mind becomes steady.
    • Ramakrishna, in The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (1942), p. 132
  • A fundamental value in the scientific outlook is concern with the best available map of reality. The scientist will always seek a description of events which enables him to predict most by assuming least. He thus already prefers a particular form of behavior. If moralities are systems of preferences, here is at least one point at which science cannot be said to be completely without preferences. Science prefers good maps.
    • Anatol Rapoport Science and the goals of man: a study in semantic orientation. Greenwood Press, 1950/1971. p. 224; Partly cited in: Book review by Harold G. Wren, in Louisiana Law Review, Vol 13, nr 4, May 1953
  • Some people think that we are stuck in physical reality like flies in flypaper or victims in quicksand, so that each motion we make only worsens our predicament and hastens our extinction. Others see the universe as a sort of theater into which we are thrust at birth and from which we depart forever at death. In the backs of their minds people with either attitude will see a built-in threat in each new day; even joy will be suspect because it, too, must end in the body's eventual death. I used to feel this way. When I fell in love with Rob, my joy served to double the underlying sense of tragedy I felt, as if death mocked me all the more by making life twice as precious. I saw each day bringing me closer to a total extinction that I could hardly imagine, but which I resented with growing vehemence.
  • It is important to show the reality of the Teaching, to prove to what an extent it can alter the character and life of a person. Long ago it was said, "Faith without deeds is dead." Thus, the Teaching without application to life will bring no benefit.
  • There is no reality but God,
    says the completely surrendered sheik, who is an ocean for all beings.
    • Jelaluddin Rumi, in The Essential Rumi (1995) translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A. J. Arberry and Reynold Nicholson; "The Grasses" in Ch. 4 Spring Giddiness, p. 44
  • You knock at the door of Reality. You shake your thought wings, loosen your shoulders, and open.
    • Jelaluddin Rumi, in The Essential Rumi (1995) translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne, A. J. Arberry and Reynold Nicholson; "The Gift of Water" Ch. 18 The Three Fish, p. 200


  • Witnessing such a sorry state of affairs is by no means a monotonous, monochromatic activity... There is something profoundly unsettling about an intellectual such as Chomsky who has neither an office to protect nor territory to consolidate and guard. There is no dodging the inescapable reality that such representations by intellectuals will neither make them friends in high places nor win them official honors. It is a lonely condition, yes, but it is always a better one than a gregarious tolerance for the way things are.
    • Edward Said, Foreword to Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians, Updated Edition (1999)
  • If you ever become fatigued from chasing your dreams, you are always welcome in my world of reality.
    • When there is the moon, the night automatically becomes beautiful; there might be no need for extra light. Light must be saved for those moments when the night is dark, and the moon doesn't appear in the sky.
    • Sanu Sharma, Pharak
  • Illusions will not last. Their death is sure, and this alone is certain in their world. It is the ego’s world because of this. What is the ego? But a dream of what you really are. A thought you are apart from your Creator and a wish to be what He created not. It is a thing of madness, not reality at all. A name for namelessness is all it is. A symbol of impossibility; a choice for options that do not exist.
  • Thoughts can represent lower-order or higher-order reality. This is the basic distinction between intellectualizing and thinking. One makes the physical and the other creates the spiritual, and we believe in what we make or create. p. 2
  • Fantasy is a distorted form of vision. Fantasies of any kind are distortions, because they always involve twisting perception into unreality. Actions that stem from distortions are literally the reactions of those who know not what they do. Fantasy is an attempt to control reality according to false needs.
No-one turns to fantasy unless he despairs of finding satisfaction in reality. Yet it is certain that he will never find satisfaction in fantasy, so that his only hope is to change his mind about reality. ~ Helen Schucman
  • The true measurement of a person's worth isn't what they say they believe in, but what they do in defense of those beliefs. If you're not acting on your beliefs, then they probably aren't real.


Past and future obviously have no reality of their own. Just as the moon has no light of its own, but can only reflect the light of the sun, so are past and future only pale reflections of the light, power, and reality of the eternal present. Their reality is "borrowed" from the Now. ~ Eckhart Tolle
If you can recognize illusion as illusion, it dissolves. The recognition of illusion is also its ending. Its survival depends on your mistaking it for reality. ~ Eckhart Tolle
  • Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.
    • Nikola Tesla "Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World" in Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)
  • Finding Your Invisible And Indestructible Reality. our physical form is part of the illusion, so how can the body, the physical form, bring you to a realization of Being? The body that you can see and touch cannot take you into Being. But that visible and tangible body is only an outer shell, or rather a limited and distorted perception of a deeper reality. In your natural state of connectedness with Being, this deeper reality can be felt every moment as the invisible inner body, the animating presence within you. So to "inhabit the body' is to feel the body from within, to feel the life inside the body and thereby come to know that you are beyond the outer form. p. 72
  • All we can perceive, experience, think about, is the surface layer of reality, less than the tip of an iceberg. Underneath the surface appearance, everything is not only connected with everything else, but also with the Source of all life out of which it came.
    • Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, (2005)
  • Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly.


  • Each of us lives,dependent and bound by our individual knowledge and our awareness. All that is what we call reality, however, both knowledge and awareness are equivocal. One's reality might be another's illusion. We all live inside our own fantasies.


  • Cypher: You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain...that it is juicy...and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.
  • The combination of these two facts — the longing in the depth of the heart for absolute good, and the power, though only latent, of directing attention and love to a reality beyond the world and of receiving good from it — constitutes a link which attaches every man without exception to that other reality.
    Whoever recognizes that reality recognizes also that link. Because of it, he holds every human being without any exception as something sacred to which he is bound to show respect.
    This is the only possible motive for universal respect towards all human beings. Whatever formulation of belief or disbelief a man may choose to make, if his heart inclines him to feel this respect, then he in fact also recognizes a reality other than this world's reality. Whoever in fact does not feel this respect is alien to that other reality also.
    • Simone Weil, Draft for a Statement of Human Obligation (1943)
  • It from bit.
    • John Wheeler, as quoted in Black Hole Computers by Lloyd Seth and Y. Jack Ng, in Scientific American (November 2004), p. 53
  • Reality... What A Concept!
  • Recognizing that “reality” is not inevitable makes it more painful; subversive thoughts provoke the urge to subversive action. But such action has consequences-rebels risk losing their jobs, failing in school, incurring the wrath of parents and spouses, suffering social ostracism.
    • Ellen Willis "The Majoritarian Fallacy" in Don't Think, Smile!: Notes on a Decade of Denial (1999)


  • Once Zhuang Zhou dreamed he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn’t know he was Zhuang Zhou. Suddenly he woke up, and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuang Zhou. But he didn’t know if he were Zhuang Zhou who had dreamed he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuang Zhou. Between Zhuang Zhou and a butterfly, there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.
  • It from qubit.
    • Paola Zizzi, quoted in Black Hole Computers by Lloyd Seth and Y. Jack Ng, in Scientific American (November 2004), p. 54

See also


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