Saturday, April 17, 2021 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Joseph Heller (1923 – 1999)


American novelist and playwright.
Joseph Heller
"They might have occurred if either General Dreedle or General Peckem had once evinced an interest in taking part in orgies with him, but neither ever did, and the colonel was certainly not going to waste his time and energy making love to beautiful women unless there was something in it for him."
Heller quotes
"The truth is whatever people will believe is the truth. Don't you know history?"
Heller
No one who ever wants praise will be satisfied with praise, the person who wants love cannot be satisfied with love. No want is ever fulfilled. And therefore I still don't know whether it is better to fear God and keep His commandments or to curse God and die.




Heller Joseph quotes
It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.
Heller Joseph
In my middle years, I have exchanged the position of the fetus for the position of a corpse.
Joseph Heller quotes
"Yossarian was cold, too, and shivering uncontrollably.... It was easy to read the message in his entrails. Man was matter, that was Snowden's secret. Drop him out a window and he'll fall. Set fire to him and he'll burn. Bury him and he'll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden's secret. Ripeness was all."
Joseph Heller
He [God] owes me an apology too- at the very least. I'm not saying I shouldn't have been punished for those sins I committed. I'm saying that the punishments he chose were inhuman. I wonder what favor I'd want. I think I may be afraid to ask for it. I'm afraid He won't grant it. I'm more afraid that He will. Wouldn't it be tragic to find out that He really has been here all this time?
Heller Joseph quotes
"Do you know how long a year takes when it's going away?" Dunbar repeated to Clevinger. "This long." He snapped his fingers. "A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you're an old man."
"Old?" asked Clevinger with surprise. "What are you talking about?"
"Old."
"I'm not old."
"You're inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow down?" Dunbar was almost angry when he finished.
"Well, maybe it is true," Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. "Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it's to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?"
"I do," Dunbar told him.
"Why?" Clevinger asked.
"What else is there?"
Heller
When one is infatuated, faults are endearing that in others would be heinous.
Heller Joseph
"Is he in heaven? Is he in hell?"
"There is no heaven. There is no hell."
"There is no heaven? There is no hell?"
"That's all in your mind."
Joseph Heller
When I read something saying I've not done anything as good as Catch-22 I'm tempted to reply, "Who has?"




Joseph Heller quotes
I hate God and I hate life. And the closer I come to death, the more I hate life.
Joseph Heller
The only wisdom I think I've attained is the wisdom to be skeptical of other people's ideology and other people's arguments. I tend to be a skeptic, I don't like dogmatic approaches by anybody. I don't like intolerance and a dogmatic person is intolerant of other people. It's one of the reasons I keep a distance from all religious beliefs. I think in this country and in Australia too there's a late intolerance in most religions, an intolerance, a part that could easily become persecutions.
We have some ultra-orthodox Jewish sects here in New York and I fear them as much as I would fear a Nazi organisation.
Heller quotes
Whether God is dead or not hardly matters, for we would use him no differently anyway.
Heller Joseph
God is a murderer, imagine that. I told you I had the best story in the Bible, didn't I? I have always known that He was. Sooner or later He murders us all, doesn't He, and we go back to the dust from which we came. So I'm no longer scared to defy him. All He can do is kill me.
Heller Joseph quotes
The end result of experiencing terror and injury is not an increase in compassion, but a tendency toward callousness.
Joseph Heller
Yossarian the very sight of the name made him shudder. There were so many esses in it. It just had to be subversive. It was like the word subversive itself. It was like seditious and insidious too, and like socialist, suspicious, fascist and Communist.
Joseph Heller quotes
How dispiriting I find it, even after all my personal triumphs, that we must grow up and grow sad, that we must age, weaken, and in time go home to our long home in the ground, and that even golden lads and girls all must, as chimney sweepers, come to dust.
Joseph Heller
The God I don't believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God. He's not the mean and stupid God you make him out to be.
Heller Joseph
God does have this self-serving habit of putting all blame for His own mistakes on other people, doesn't He? He picks someone arbitrarily, unbidden, right out of the blue so to speak, and levies upon them tasks of monumental difficulty for which we don't always measure up in every particular, then charges US for HIS error in selecting imperfectly. He tends to forget that we are no more infallible than He is.


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