A Canticle for Leibowitz
Walter M. Miller Jr.
Top 10 Best Quotes
“You don’t have a soul, Doctor. You are a soul. You have a body, temporarily.”
“The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they became with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew in richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier to see something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle's eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn.”
“Ignorance is king. Many would not profit by his abdication. Many enrich themselves by means of his dark monarchy. They are his Court, and in his name they defraud and govern, enrich themselves and perpetuate their power. Even literacy they fear, for the written word is another channel of communication that might cause their enemies to become united. Their weapons are keen-honed, and they use them with skill. They will press the battle upon the world when their interests are threatened, and the violence which follows will last until the structure of society as it now exists is leveled to rubble, and a new society emerges. I am sorry. But that is how I see it.”
“To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law—a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.”
“We are the centuries... We have your eoliths and your mesoliths and your neoliths. We have your Babylons and your Pompeiis, your Caesars and your chromium-plated (vital-ingredient impregnated) artifacts. We have your bloody hatchets and your Hiroshimas. We march in spite of Hell, we do – Atrophy, Entropy, and Proteus vulgaris, telling bawdy jokes about a farm girl name of Eve and a traveling salesman called Lucifer. We bury your dead and their reputations. We bury you. We are the centuries. Be born then, gasp wind, screech at the surgeon’s slap, seek manhood, taste a little godhood, feel pain, give birth, struggle a little while, succumb: (Dying, leave quietly by the rear exit, please.) Generation, regeneration, again, again, as in a ritual, with blood-stained vestments and nail-torn hands, children of Merlin, chasing a gleam. Children, too, of Eve, forever building Edens – and kicking them apart in berserk fury because somehow it isn’t the same. (AGH! AGH! AGH! – an idiot screams his mindless anguish amid the rubble. But quickly! let it be inundated by the choir, chanting Alleluias at ninety decibels.)”
“When you tire of living, change itself seems evil, does it not? for then any change at all disturbs the deathlike peace of the life-weary.”
“But neither infinite power nor infinite wisdom could bestow godhood upon men. For that there would have to be infinite love as well.”
“Because a doubt is not a denial. Doubt is a powerful tool, and it should be applied to history.”
“I'm not so sure he's mad, Father. Just a little devious in his sanity.”
“Listen, my dear Cors, why don't you forgive God for allowing pain? If He didn't allow it, human courage, bravery, nobility, and self-sacrifice would all be meaningless things.”
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