October 2007

I just finished Cat’s Cradle (again, I hadn’t read it since I was a kid). It’s hard to get over just how clever a writer Kurt Vonnegut is. I happened to pick up the soft cover version last week because it was on the banned books list at the library. I suppose the Bokonon religion stuff may offend some who dislike alternative religious views.

I’m not good at literary criticism, but I think it is safe to say that the book deals with the limitations of pursuing scientific thought and scientific questions for their own sake, and that real wisdom is more likely to come from a more humanitarian view of the world. Basically, the book wonders what the point of scientific truth is, if it doesn’t really improve the human condition. A damn good question.
It also has a few witty things to say about human nature. Here’s a few more snippets that caught my fancy this time:

I’ve ignored this blog too long.   I’m reading Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle.”   So far a couple of quotes have struck me as worth remembering:

“All of the true things that I’m about to tell you are shameless lies.”


“‘Dr. Breed keeps telling me the main thing with Dr. Hoenikker was truth.’

‘You don’t seem to agree.’

‘I don’t know whether I agree or not.   I just have trouble understanding how truth, all by itself, could be enough for a person.’”


“Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.”


“There was a sign hung around my dead cat’s neck.   It said, ‘meow.’ …. Somebody or something did not wish me to be a nihilist.   It was Krebb’s mission, whether he knew it or not, to disenchant me with that philosophy.   Well, done, Mr. Krebbs, welll done.”

Good stuff, even if it is a bunch of shameless lies.