“Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.”
“In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.
And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.
"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.
"Certainly," said man.
"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.
And He went away.”
“Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.”
“Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”
“I'm not a drug salesman. I'm a writer."
"What makes you think a writer isn't a drug salesman?”
“There is love enough in this world for everybody, if people will just look.”
“People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say.”
“Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns.”
“The Fourteenth Book is entitled, "What can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?"
It doesn't take long to read The Fourteenth Book. It consists of one word and a period.
This is it: "Nothing.”
“No wonder kids grow up crazy. A cat's cradle is nothing but a bunch of X's between somebody's hands, and little kids look and look and look at all those X's . . ."
"No damn cat, and no damn cradle.”
“Americans... are forever searching for love in forms it never takes, in places it can never be. It must have something to do with the vanished frontier.”
“She hated people who thought too much. At that moment, she struck me as an appropriate representative for almost all mankind.”
“Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.”
“Maturity...is knowing what your limitations are...Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.”
“Round and round we spin, with feet of lead and wings of tin.”
“God made mud.
God got lonesome.
So God said to some of the mud, "Sit up!"
"See all I've made," said God, "the hills, the sea, the
sky, the stars."
And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look
Lucky me, lucky mud.
I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done.
Nice going, God.
Nobody but you could have done it, God! I certainly
I feel very unimportant compared to You.
The only way I can feel the least bit important is to
think of all the mud that didn't even get to sit up and
I got so much, and most mud got so little.
Thank you for the honor!
Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep.
What memories for mud to have!
What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met!
I loved everything I saw!
I will go to heaven now.
I can hardly wait...
To find out for certain what my wampeter was...
And who was in my karass...
And all the good things our karass did for you.
“Self-taught, are you?" Julian Castle asked Newt.
"Isn't everybody?" Newt inquired.
"Very good answer.”
“As Bokonon says: 'peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from god.”
“How complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.”
“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”
“I said I wasn't interested, and she was bright enough to say that she wasn't really interested either. As things turned out, we both overestimated our apathies, but not that much.”
“As stupid and vicious as men are, this is a lovely day.”
“Busy, busy, busy, is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.”
“Anyone unable to understand how useful religion can be founded on lies will not understand this book either.”
“If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who.”
“Sometimes I wonder if he wasn't born dead. I never met a man who was less interested in the living. Sometimes I think that's the trouble with the world: too many people in high places who are stone-cold dead.”
“The heartbreaking necessity of lying about reality and the heartbreaking impossibilty of lying about it”
“Gone for a while
Hoping, always, to return
If you will let me”
“Don't let me do this!
As always, his plea received no answer.
Half an hour later he entered”
“Even as I wrote my note to Fern, for instance, expressing sentiments and regrets that were real, a part of me was noticing what a fine and sincere note it was, and anticipating the effect on Fern of this or that heartfelt phrase, while yet another part was observing the whole scene of a man in a dress shirt and no tie sitting at his breakfast nook writing a heartfelt note on his last afternoon alive, the blondwood table's surface trembling with sunlight and the man's hand steady and face both haunted by regret and ennobled by resolve, this part of me sort of hovering above and just to the left of myself, evaluating the scene, and thinking what a fine and genuine-seeming performance in a drama it would make if only we all had not already been subject to countless scenes just like it in dramas ever since we first saw a movie or read a book, which somehow entailed that real scenes like the one of my suicide note were now compelling and genuine only to their participants, and to anyone else would come off as banal and even somewhat cheesy or maudlin, which is somewhat paradoxical when you consider – as I did, setting there at the breakfast nook – that the reason scenes like this will seem stale or manipulative to an audience is that we’ve already seen so many of them in dramas, and yet the reason we’ve seen so many of them in dramas is that the scenes really are dramatic and compelling and let people communicate very deep, complicated emotional realities that are almost impossible to articulate in any other way, and at the same time still another facet or part of me realizing that from this perspective my own basic problem was that at an early age I’d somehow chosen to cast my lot with my life’s drama’s supposed audience instead of with the drama itself, and that I even now was watching and gauging my supposed performance’s quality and probable effects, and thus was in the final analysis the very same manipulative fraud writing the note to Fern that I had been throughout the life that had brought me to this climactic scene of writing and signing it and addressing the envelope and affixing postage and putting the envelope in my shirt pocket (totally conscious of the resonance of its resting there, next to my heart, in the scene), planning to drop it in a mailbox on the way out to Lily Cache Rd. and the bridge abutment into which I planned to drive my car at speeds sufficient to displace the whole front end and impale me on the steering wheel and instantly kill me. Self-loathing is not the same thing as being into pain or a lingering death, if I was going to do it I wanted it instant’ (175-176)”
“What is fear after all? It is indecision. You seek some way to resist, escape. There is none.”
“Do you remember, Meir, that epigram quoted in the name of Rabbi Johanan ben Zaccai: 'There is no truth unless there be a faith on which it may rest'? Ironically enough the only sure principle I have achieved is this which I have known almost all my life. And it is so. For all truths rest ultimately on some act of faith, geometry on axioms, the sciences on the assumptions of the objective existence and orderliness of the world of nature. In every realm one must lay down postulates or he shall have nothing at all. So with morality and religion. Faith and reason are not antagonists. On the contrary, salvation is through the commingling of the two, the former to establish first premises, the latter to purify them of confusion and to draw the fullness of their implications. It is not certainty which one acquires so, only plausibility, but that is the best we can hope for.”
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