“Work dominates life in Eden-Olympia, and drives out everything else. The dream of a leisure society
was the great twentieth-century delusion. Work is the new leisure. Talented and ambitious people
work harder than they have ever done, and for longer hours. They find their only fulfillment
through work. The men and women running successful companies need to focus their energies
on the task in front of them, and for every minute of the day. The last thing they want is
"Intimacy and neighbourliness were not features of everyday life at Eden-Olympia. An invisible
infrastructure took the place of traditional civic virtues...The top drawer professionals no longer
needed to devote a moment's thought to each other, and had dispensed with the checks and
balances of community life. There were no town councils or magistrates' courts, no citizens'
advice bureaus. Civility and polity were designed into Eden-Olympia."
People find all the togetherness they need in the airport boarding lounge and
the department-store lift. They pay lip service to community values but prefer
to be alone.
"The ocean-liner windows and porthole skylights seemed to open onto the 1930's, a vanished
world of Cole Porter and beach pyjamas, morphine lesbians and the swagger portraits
of Tamara de Lempecka."
“If their work is satisfying people don't need leisure in the old-fashioned sense. No one ever
asks what Newton or Darwin did to relax, or how Bach spent his weekends. At Eden-Olympia
work is the ultimate play, and play the ultimate work.”
“Representative democracy had been replaced by the
surveillance camera and the private police force.”
"Eden-Olympia's great defect is that there's no need for personal morality. Thousands of people
live and work here without making a single decision about right and wrong. The moral order is
engineered into their lives along with the speed limits and the security systems...But part of the
mind atrophies. A moral calculus that took thousands of years to develop starts to wither from
neglect. Once you dispense with morality the important decisions become a matter of aesthetics.
You've entered an adolescent world where you define yourself by the kind of trainers you wear."
"The Adolf Hitlers and Pol Pots of the future won't walk out of the desert.
They'll emerge from shopping malls and corporate business parks."
“The film festival measured a mile in length, from the Martinez to the Vieux Port, where sales
executives tucked into their platters of fruits de mer, but was only fifty yards deep. For a fortnight
the Croisette and its grand hotels willingly became a facade, the largest stage set in the world.
Without realizing it, the crowds under the palm trees were extras recruited to play their
traditional roles. As they cheered and hooted, they were far more confident than the film
actors on display, who seemed ill at ease when they stepped from their limos, like celebrity
criminals ferried to a mass trial by jury at the Palais, a full-scale cultural Nuremberg
furnished with film clips of the atrocities they had helped to commit.”
“Nothing about sex ever shocks women. At least, men’s kind of sex.”
“Madness--that's all they have, after working sixteen hours a day, seven days a week.
Going mad is their only way of staying sane.”
"I realise now that a kind of waiting madness, like a state of undeclared war, haunted
the office buildings of the business park. For most of us, Dr Wilder Penrose was our
amiable Prospero, the psychopomp who steered our darkest dreams towards the
daylight...Only when I learned to admire this flawed and dangerous man was
I able to think of killing him."
“In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom. Our latent psychopathy is the last
nature reserve, a place of refuge for the endangered mind. ...microdoses of madness, like
the minute traces of strychnine in a nerve tonic..a voluntary and elective psychopathy...
the drill sergeant's boot and punishment run give back to young men a taste for pain
that generations of socialized behavior have bred out of them.”
"The rich know how to cope with the psychopathic. The squirearchy have always enjoyed
freedoms denied to the tenant farmers and peasantry. De Sade’s behaviour was typical of
his class. Aristocracies keep alive those endangered pleasures that repel the bourgeoisie.
They may seem perverse, but they add to the possibilities of life."
"Perverse behaviours were once potentially dangerous.
Societies weren't strong enough to allow them to flourish."
“The consumer society hungers for the deviant and unexpected. What else can drive the bizarre
shifts in the entertainment landscape that will keep us "buying"? Psychopathy is the only
engine powerful enough to light our imaginations, to drive the arts, sciences and
industries of the world.”
“Idealists can be quite a problem when they get disgusted with themselves.”
“The twentieth century ended with its dreams in ruins. The notion of the community
as a voluntary association of enlightened citizens has died forever. We realize how
suffocatingly humane we've become, dedicated to moderation and the middle way.
The suburbanization of the soul has overrun our planet like the plague.”
“Sooner or later, all games become serious.”
"Meaningless violence may be the true poetry of the new millennium.
Perhaps only gratuitous madness can define who we are...These criminal
activities have helped them to rediscover themselves."
“People no longer need enemies--in this millennium their great dream is to become victims.
Only their psychopathies can set them free...”
J.G. Ballard, Super-Cannes, 2000