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Quotes of the day: Joseph Heller

Published Thursday, April 30, 2015 @ 11:24 AM EDT
Apr 30 2015

Joseph Heller (May 1, 1923 – December 12, 1999) was an American satirical novelist, short story writer, and playwright. The title of one of his works, Catch-22, entered the English lexicon to refer to a vicious circle wherein an absurd, no-win choice, particularly in situations in which the desired outcome of the choice is an impossibility, and regardless of choice, a same negative outcome is a certainty. Although he is remembered primarily for Catch-22, his other works center on the lives of various members of the middle class and remain examples of modern satire. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man's head is his castle.

But that was war. Just about all he could find in its favor was that it paid well and liberated children from the pernicious influence of their parents.

Destiny is a good thing to accept when it's going your way. When it isn't, don't call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery or simple bad luck.

Everybody is as unstable as water.

For war there is always enough. It's peace that's expensive.

Forever goes quick.

Frankly, I'd like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private industry.

He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt.

He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.

How much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation?

I wouldn't want to live without strong misgivings.

If the chance ever comes to you to fall in love, grab it, every time. You might always live to regret it, but you won't find anything to beat it, and you won't know if it will come to you once more.

Insanity is contagious.

It doesn't make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.

Mankind is resilient: the atrocities that horrified us a week ago become acceptable tomorrow.

Peace on earth would mean the end of civilization as we know it.

Rise above principlel and do what's right.

Success and failure are both difficult to endure. Along with success come drugs, divorce, fornication, bullying, travel, meditation, medication, depression, neurosis and suicide. With failure comes failure.

The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.

The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on.

The last thing any sensible human being should want is immortality. As it is, life lasts too long for most of us.

The promises of maniacs, like those of women, are not safely relied upon.

The truth is whatever people will believe is the truth. Don't you know history?

There is wisdom in madness and strong probability of truth in all accusations, for people are complete and everybody is capable of everything.

Well, he died. You don't get any older than that.

When I look up, I see people cashing in. I don't see heaven or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent impulse and every human tragedy.

Whether God is dead or not hardly matters, for we would use him no differently anyway.

You know, that might be the answer- to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of. That's a trick that never seems to fail.


(May 1 is also the birthday of Mary Harris "Mother" Jones and Pixie, the small, insane dog-like creature who now complicates our existence.)

Categories: Joseph Heller, Quotes of the day


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