Life is an end in itself, and the only question as to whether it is worth living is whether you have had enough of it.Oliver Wendel Holmes Jr.
- "The sound shivers through the walls, through the table, through the window frame, and into my finger. These distraction-oholics. These focus-ophobics. Old George Orwell got it backward. Big Brother isn't watching. He's singing and dancing. He's pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you're awake. He's making sure you're always distracted. He's making sure you're fully absorbed. He's making sure your imagination withers. Until it's as useful as your appendix. He's making sure your attention is always filled. And this being fed, it's worse than being watched. With the world always filling you, no one has to worry about what's in your mind. With everyone's imagination atrophied, no one will ever be a threat to the world."
- "Several years ago, sailors on long voyages used to leave a pair of pigs on every deserted island. Or they'd leave a pair of goats. Either way, on any future visit, the island would be a source of meat. These islands, they were pristine. These were home to breeds of birds with no natural predators. Breeds of birds that lived nowhere else on earth. The plants there, without enemies they evolved without thorns or poisons. Without predators and enemies, these islands, they were paradise. The sailors, the next time they visited these islands, the only things still there would be herds of goats or pigs. .... Does this remind you of anything? Maybe the ol' Adam and Eve story? .... You ever wonder when God's coming back with a lot of barbecue sauce?"
- "Imagine the books burning. And tapes and films and files, radios and televisions, will all go into that same bonfire. All those libraries and bookstores blazing away in the night. People will attack microwave relay stations. People with axes will chop every fiber-optic cable."
- "The muffled thunder of dialogue comes through the walls, then a chorus of laughter. Then more thunder. Most of the laugh tracks on television were recorded in the early 1950s. These days, most of the people you hear laughing are dead."
- "Power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely.
So just relax, Helen Boyle told me, and just enjoy the ride.
She said, "Even absolute corruption has its perks."
- "The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up."
- "There are worse things you can do to the people you love than kill them."
- "Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can hurt like hell."
- "Until you deal with your real personal issues, you'll never be able to control yourself."
- "I need to rebel against myself. It's the opposite of following your bliss. I need to do what I most fear."
- "Still, he deserved to die. He called me an asshole."
- "The more people die, the more things stay the same."
- "Maybe this is why so many serial killers work in pairs. It's nice not to feel alone in a world full of victims or enemies."
- "Her suit is light blue, but it's not a regular robin's-egg blue. It's the blue of a robin's-egg you might find and then worry that it won't hatch because it's dead inside. And then it does hatch, and you worry about what to do next."
- "You turn up your music to hide the noise. Other people turn up their music to hide yours. You turn up yours again. Everyone buys a bigger stereo system. This is the arms race of sound You don't win with a lot of treble. This isn't about quality. It's about volume. This isn't about music. This is about winning."
- "You stomp the competition with the bass line. You rattle windows. You drop the melody line, and shout the lyrics. You put in foul language and come down hard on each cussword. You dominate. This is really about power."
- "No one wants to admit we're addicted to music. That's just not possible. No one's addicted to music and television and radio. We just need more of it, more channels, a larger screen, more volume. We can't bear to be without it, but no, nobody's addicted. We could turn it off anytime we wanted."
- "You can watch your kids discover everything in the world you've tried to save them from. Drugs, divorce, conformity, disease. All the nice clean books, music, television. Distraction."
- "The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up. The shortcut to closing a door is to bury yourself in the details."
- "This culling poem is a blessing. Why do you think it was created in the first place? It will save millions of people from the slow terrible death we're headed for from disease, from famine, drought, from solar radiation, from war, from all the places we're headed."
- "Gemstones are the hardest things on earth, but they still break. They can take constant stress and pressure, but a sudden, sharp impact can shatter them into dust."