I think the only reason I don't subscribe to this belief unconditionally is for the implications it might have concerning the people around whom I have constructed such illusions.
"In 1989, Don Eigler, a researcher at IBM famously nudged 35 xenon atoms around under a microscope to spell out the letters of the company. Less well publicised was that the task took 22 hours to complete and was carried out at nearly -270 degrees. At room temperature, the stunt would have been impossible. The atoms would have jiggled around and wandered off in the heat." Upon reading just the first sentence, one's imagination runs wild with thoughts of us shoving around atoms like schoolyard bullies, stacking them like firewood and playing with the very building blocks of creation. After reading the next sentence, though, one’s imagination is shot in the leg by the cold sniper of reality.
--From one of my lab reports
Emperor Dargath beckoned to his general, who dutifully stood at attention before him. With a benevolent smile, Dargath pulled out a gun and shot the man in the skull.
"S... sire, permission to speak freely?" A nod prompted the chamberlain to ask what was on the minds of everyone gathered: "W-Why did you kill him? He was easily the most accomplished, loyal, and capable of all your subjects."
Putting away his weapon, the emperor turned and smiled to his advisor. "To make it clear that none of you are so important that you cannot be replaced."
--I haven't actually used this one yet
"The House of the Venerable and Inscrutable Colonel was what they called it when they were speaking Chinese. Venerable because of his goatee, white as the dogwood blossom, a badge of unimpeachable credibility in Confucian eyes. Inscrutable because he had gone to his grave without divulging the Secret of the Eleven Herbs and Spices."
--Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age
There is one exhibit in the museum which makes Knyazkin be especially proud of. This is the 30-centimeter preserved penis of Grigory Rasputin. “Having this exhibit, we can stop envying America, where Napoleon Bonaparte’s penis is now kept. … Napoleon’s penis is but a small ”pod“ it cannot stand comparison to our organ of 30 centimeters…” the head of the museum said.