And Lot's wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes.
- Why me? - That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber? - Yes. - Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.
There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.
The nicest veterans...the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who'd really fought.
That's one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times and concentrate on the good ones.
Trout, incidentally, had written a book about a money tree. It had twenty-dollar bills for leaves. Its flowers were government bonds. Its fruit was diamonds. It attracted human beings who killed each other around the roots and made very good fertilizer.
I think you guys are going to have to come up with a lot of wonderful new lies, or people just aren't going to want to go on living.
There is one other book, that can teach you everything you need to know about life... it's The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, but that's not enough anymore.
If I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I'm grateful that so many of those moments are nice.
All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I've said before, bugs in amber.
There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters.
But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned to a pillar of salt. So it goes. People aren't supposed to look back. I'm certainly not going to do it anymore.
It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like "Poo-tee-weet?.
I have told my sons that they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres, and that the news of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with satisfaction or glee. I have also told them not to work for companies which make massacre machinery, and to express contempt for people who think we need machinery like that.
America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves.... It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters.
I am a Tralfamadorian, seeing all time as you might see a stretch of the Rocky Mountains. All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is.
He is in a constant state of stage fright, he says, because he never knows what part of his life he is going to have to act in next.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.
The Population Reference Bureau predicts that the world's total population will double to 7,000,000,000 before the year 2000. I suppose they will all want dignity, I said.
...when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist.
She was a dull person, but a sensational invitation to make babies. Men looked at her and wanted to fill her up with babies right away.
You know — we've had to imagine the war here, and we have imagined that it was being fought by aging men like ourselves. We had forgotten that wars were fought by babies. When I saw those freshly shaved faces, it was a shock. "'My God, my God — ' I said to myself, 'It's the Children's Crusade.
I think about my education sometimes. I went to the University of Chicago for awhile after the Second World War. I was a student in the Department of Anthropology. At that time they were teaching that there was absolutely no difference between anybody. They may be teaching that still. Another thing they taught was that no one was ridiculous or bad or disgusting. Shortly before my father died, he said to me, ‘You know – you never wrote a story with a villain in it.’ I told him that was one of the things I learned in college after the war.
If what Billy Pilgrim learned from the Tralfamadorians is true, that we will all live forever, no matter how dead we may sometimes seem to be, I am not overjoyed. Still--if I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I'm grateful that so many of those moments are nice.
And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep." "All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I've said before, bugs in amber.
One might be led to suspect that there were all sorts of things going on in the Universe which he or she did not thoroughly understand.
He did not think of himself as a writer for the simple reason that the world had never allowed him to think of himself in this way.
He ate a pear. It was a hard one. It fought back against his grinding teeth. It snapped in juicy protest.
Billy covered his head with his blanket. He always covered his head when his mother came to see him in the mental ward - always got much sicker until she went away. It wasn’t that she was ugly, or had bad breath or a bad personality. She was a perfectly nice, standard-issue, brown-haired, white woman with a high school education. She upset Billy simply by being his mother. She made him feel embarrassed and ungrateful and weak because she had gone through so much trouble to give him life, and to keep that life going, and Billy didn’t really like life at all.
There isn’t any particular relationship between the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.
The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again. There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said -and calendars.
The book was Maniacs in the Fourth Dimension, by Kilgore Trout. It was about people whose mental diseases couldn't be treated because the causes of the diseases were all in the fourth dimension, and three-dimensional Earthling doctors couldn't see those causes at all, or even imagine them.
What he meant, of course, was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers. I believe that, too. And even if wars didn't keep coming like glaciers, there would still be plain old death.
He had supposed for years that he had no secrets from himself. Here was proof that he had a great big secret somewhere inside, and he could not imagine what it was.
If I hadn’t spent so much time studying Earthlings," said the Tralfamadorian, "I wouldn’t have any idea what was meant by 'free will.' I've visited thirty-one inhabited planets in the universe, and I have studied reports on one hundred more. Only on Earth is there any talk of free will.
All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist…It’s just an illusion here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once that moment is gone it is gone forever.
Why don’t you write an anti-glacier book instead?’ What he meant, of course, was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers. I believe that too.
Billy coughed when the door was opened, and when he coughed he shit thin gruel. This was in accordance with the Third Law of Motion according to Sir Isaac Newton. This law tells us that for every action there is a reaction and opposite in direction. This can be useful in rocketry.
She upset Billy simply by being his mother. She made him feel embarrased and ungrateful and weak because she had gone to so much trouble to give him life, and to keep that life going, and Billy didn't really like life at all.
It is so short and jumbled and jangled because there is nothing intelligent to say after a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead...everything is supposed to be very quiet...and it always is, except for the birds.
I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone. I get drunk, and I drive my wife away with a breath like mustard gas and roses. And then, speaking gravely and elegantly into the telephone, I ask the telephone operators to connect me with this friend or that one, from whom I have not heard in years.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.' Among the things Billy Pilgrim could not change were the past, the present, and the future.
God grant me the serentiy to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.
Billy heard Rosewater say to a psychiatrist, "I think you guys are going to have to come up with a lot of wonderful new lies, or people just aren't going to want to go on living.
People aren't supposed to look back. I'm certainly not going to do it anymore. I've finished my war book now. The next one I write is going to be fun. This one is a failure, and had to be, since it was written by a pillar of salt. It begins like this: 'Listen: Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.' It ends like this: 'Poo-tee-weet?.
Another Kilgore Trout book there in the window was about a man who built a time machine so he could go back and see Jesus. It worked, and he saw Jesus when Jesus was only twelve years old. Jesus was learning the carpentry trade from his father. Two Roman soldiers came into the shop with a mechanical drawing on papyrus of a device they wanted built by sunrise the next morning. It was a cross to be used in the execution of a rabble-rouser. Jesus and his father built it. They were glad to have the work. And the rabble-rouser was executed on it. So it goes.