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Thomas Pynchon quotes (showing 31-60 of 443)

“The rest of us, not chosen for enlightenment, left on the outside of Earth, at the mercy of a Gravity we have only begun to learn how to detect and measure, must go on blundering inside our front-brain faith in Kute Korrespondences, hoping that for each psi-synthetic taken from Earth's soul there is a molecule, secular, more or less ordinary and named, over here - kicking endlessly among the plastic trivia, finding in each Deeper Significance and trying to string them all together like terms of a power series hoping to zero in on the tremendous and secret Function whose name, like the permuted names of God, cannot be spoken... plastic saxophone reed sounds of unnatural timbre, shampoo bottle ego-image, Cracker Jack prize one-shot amusement, home appliance casing fairing for winds of cognition, baby bottles tranquilization, meat packages disguise of slaughter, dry-cleaning bags infant strangulation, garden hoses feeding endlessly the desert... but to bring them together, in their slick persistence and our preterition... to make sense out of, to find the meanest sharp sliver of truth in so much replication, so much waste... [Gravity's Rainbow, p. 590]”
Thomas Pynchon
“For a moment she'd wondered if the seal around her sockets were tight enough to allow the tears simply to go on and fill up the entire lens space and never dry. She could carry the sadness of the moment with her that way forever, see the world refracted through those tears, those specific tears, as if indices as yet unfound varied in important ways from cry to cry.”
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
“So generation after generation of men in love with pain and passivity serve out their time in the Zone, silent, redolent of faded sperm, terrified of dying, desperately addicted to the comforts others sell them, however useless, ugly or shallow, willing to have life defined for them by men whose only talent is for death.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“What are the stars but points in the body of God where we insert the healing needles of our terror and longing?
--Gravity's Rainbow, V699”
Thomas Pynchon
“There is a theory going around that the U.S.A. was and still is a gigantic Masonic plot under the ultimate control of the group known as the Illuminati. It is difficult to look for long at the strange single eye crowning the pyramid which is found on every dollar bill and not begin to believe the story, a little. Too many anarchists in 19th-century Europe—Bakunin, Proudhon, Salverio Friscia—were Masons for it to be pure chance. Lovers of global conspiracy, not all of them Catholic, can count on the Masons for a few good shivers and voids when all else fails.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“To have humanism we must first be convinced of our humanity. As we move further into decadence this becomes more difficult.”
Thomas Pynchon, V.
“Some typewriters in Whitehall, in the Pentagon, killed more civilians than our little A4 could have ever hoped to.”
Thomas Pynchon
“It is simply wrong to begin with a theme, symbol or other abstract unifying agent, and then try to force characters and events to conform to it.”
Thomas Pynchon, Slow Learner: Early Stories
“Perhaps history this century, thought Eigenvalue, is rippled with gathers in its fabric such that if we are situated, as Stencil seemed to be, at the bottom of a fold, it's impossible to determine warp, woof, or pattern anywhere else. By virtue, however, of existing in one gather it is assumed there are others, compartmented off into sinuous cycles each of which had come to assume greater importance than the weave itself and destroy any continuity. Thus it is that we are charmed by the funny-looking automobiles of the '30's, the curious fashions of the '20's, the particular moral habits of our grandparents. We produce and attend musical comedies about them and are conned into a false memory, a phony nostalgia about what they were. We are accordingly lost to any sense of continuous tradition. Perhaps if we lived on a crest, things would be different. We could at least see.”
Thomas Pynchon, V.
“Kekulé dreams the Great Serpent holding its own tail in its mouth, the dreaming Serpent which surrounds the World. But the meanness, the cynicism with which this dream is to be used. The Serpent that announces, "The World is a closed thing, cyclical, resonant, eternally-returning," is to be delivered into a system whose only aim is to violate the Cycle. Taking and not giving back, demanding that "productivity" and "earnings" keep on increasing with time, the System removing from the rest of the World these vast quantities of energy to keep its own tiny desperate fraction showing a profit: and not only most of humanity—most of the World, animal, vegetable, and mineral, is laid waste in the process. The System may or may not understand that it's only buying time. And that time is an artificial resource to begin with, of no value to anyone or anything but the System, which must sooner or later crash to its death, when its addiction to energy has become more than the rest of the World can supply, dragging with it innocent souls all along the chain of life. Living inside the System is like riding across the country in a bus driven by a maniac bent on suicide . . . though he's amiable enough, keeps cracking jokes back through the loudspeaker . . .”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“Despair came over her, as it will when nobody around has any sexual relevance to you.”
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
“He decided that we suffer from great temporal homesickness for the decade we were born in.”
Thomas Pynchon, V.
“Love with your mouth shut, help without breaking your ass or publicizing it: keep cool, but care.”
Thomas Pynchon, V.
“Laboring through a world every day more stultified, which expected salvation in codes and governments, ever more willing to settle for suburban narratives and diminished payoffs--what were the chances of finding anyone else seeking to transcend that, and not even particularly aware of it?”
Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day
“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola. They must have guessed, once or twice -- guessed and refused to believe -- that everything, always, collectively, had been moving toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no surprise, no second chance, no return. Yet they do move forever under it, reserved for its own black-and-white bad news certainly as if it were the rainbow, and they its children. . . .”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“She may know a little, may think of herself, face and body, as ‘pretty’…but he could never tell her all the rest, how many other living things, birds, nights smelling of grass and rain, sunlit moments of simple peace, also gather in what she is to him.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“Damned Beaver/Jeremy is the War, he is every assertion the fucking War has ever made--that we are meant for work and government, for austerity: and these shall take priority over love, dreams, the spirit, the senses and the other second-class trivia that are found among the idle and mindless hours of the day....Damn them, they are wrong. They are insane.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“What more do they want? She asks this seriously, as if there's a real conversion factor between information and lives. Well, strange to say, there is. Written down in the Manual, on file at the War Department. Don't forget the real business of the War is buying and selling. The murdering and violence are self-policing, and can be entrusted to non-professionals. The mass nature of wartime death is useful in many ways. It serves as a spectacle, as a diversion from the real movements of the War. It provides raw material to be recorded into History, so that children may be taught History as sequences of violence, battle after battle, and be more prepared for the adult world. Best of all, mass death's a stimulus to just ordinary folks, little fellows, to try 'n' grab a piece of that Pie while they're still here to gobble it up. The true war is a celebration of markets. Organic markets, carefully styled "black" by the professionals, spring up everywhere. Scrip, Sterling, Reichsmarks, continue to move, severe as classical ballet, inside their antiseptic marble chambers. But out here, down here among the people, the truer currencies come into being. So, Jews are negotiable. Every bit as negotiable as cigarettes, cunt, or Hersey bars.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“Let the peace of this day be here tomorrow when I wake up.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
tags: peace
“The Saint whose water can light lamps, the clairvoyant whose lapse in recall is the breath of God, the true paranoid for whom all is organized in spheres joyful or threatening about the central pulse of himself, the dreamer whose puns probe ancient fetid shafts and tunnels of truth all act in the same special relevance to the word, or whatever it is the word is there, buffering, to protect us from. The act of metaphor than was a thrust at truth and a lie, depending where you were: inside, safe or outside, lost.”
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
“She could, at this stage of things, recognize signals like that, as the epileptic is said to—an odor, color, pure piercing grace note announcing his seizure. Afterward it is only this signal, really dross, this secular announcement, and never what is revealed during the attack, that he remembers. Oedipa wondered whether, at the end of this (if it were supposed to end), she too might not be left with only compiled memories of clues, announcements, intimations, but never the central truth itself, which must somehow each time be too bright for her memory to hold; which must always blaze out, destroying its own message irreversibly, leaving an overexposed blank when the ordinary world came back.”
Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
“I mean what they and their hired psychiatrists call delusional systems. Needless to say, ‘delusions’ are always officially defined. We do not have to worry about questions of real or unreal. They only talk out of expediency. It’s the system that matters. How the data arrange themselves inside it. Some are consistent, others fall apart. ”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“Darkness invades the dreams of the glassblower. Of all the unpleasantries his dreams grab in out of the night air, an extinguished light is the worst. Light in his dreams, was always hope: the basic moral hope. As the contacts break helically away, hope turns to darkness, and the glassblower wakes sharply tonight crying, Who? Who?”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“You remember those twin statues of the Buddha that I told you about? Carved out of a mountain in Afghanistan, that got dynamited by the Taliban back in the spring? Notice anything familiar?"

"Twin Buddhas, twin towers, interesting coincidence, so what."

"The Trade Center towers were religious too. They stood for what this country worships above everything else, the market, always the holy fucking market."

"A religious beef, you're saying?"

"It's not a religion? These are people who believe the Invisible Hand of the Market runs everything. They fight holy wars against competing religions like Marxism. Against all evidence that the world is finite, this blind faith that resources will never run out, profits will go on increasing forever, just like the world's populations--more cheap labor, more addicted consumers.”
Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge
“Next worst thing to unrequited Love, isn't it? Insufficient hate.”
Thomas Pynchon, Mason and Dixon
“It would all be done with keys on alphanumeric keyboards that stood for weightless, invisible chains of electronic presence or absence. If patterns of ones and zeroes were "like" patterns of human lives and deaths, if everything about an individual could be represented in a computer record by a long strings of ones and zeroes, then what kind of creature could be represented by a long string of lives and deaths? It would have to be up one level, at least -- an angel, a minor god, something in a UFO. It would take eight human lives and deaths just to form one character in this being's name -- its complete dossier might take up a considerable piece of history of the world. We are digits in God's computer, she not so much thought as hummed to herself to sort of a standard gospel tune, And the only thing we're good for, to be dead or to be living, is the only thing He sees. What we cry, what we contend for, in our world of toil and blood, it all lies beneath the notice of the hacker we call God.”
Thomas Pynchon, Vineland
“Once they have you asking the wrong questions. They don't have to worry about the answers.”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
“Not me, paranoia's the garlic in life's kitchen, right, you can never have too much.”
Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge
“Explosion without an objective', declared Miles Blundell, 'is politics in its purest form'.”
Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day
“Jeremy will take her like the Angel itself, in his joyless weasel-worded come-along, and Roger will be forgotten, an amusing maniac, but with no place in the rationalized power-ritual that will be the coming peace. She will take her husband's orders, she will become a domestic bureaucrat, a junior partner, and remember Roger, if at all, as a mistake thank God she didn't make…. Oh, he feels a raving fit coming on—how the bloody hell can he survive without her? She is the British warm that protects his stooping shoulders, and the wintering sparrow he holds inside his hands. She is his deepest innocence in spaces of bough and hay before wishes were given a separate name to warn that they might not come true, and his lithe Parisian daughter of joy, beneath the eternal mirror, forswearing perfumes, capeskin to the armpits, all that is too easy, for his impoverishment and more worthy love.
You go from dream to dream inside me. You have passage to my last shabby corner, and there, among the debris, you've found life. I'm no longer sure which of all the words, images, dreams or ghosts are 'yours' and which are 'mine.' It's past sorting out. We're both being someone new now, someone incredible….”
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow
tags: love


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