A Canticle for Leibowitz Quotes

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A Canticle for Leibowitz A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
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A Canticle for Leibowitz Quotes (showing 1-30 of 69)
“You don’t have a soul, Doctor. You are a soul. You have a body, temporarily.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“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.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“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.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“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.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“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.)”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“I'm not so sure he's mad, Father. Just a little devious in his sanity.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“Because a doubt is not a denial. Doubt is a powerful tool, and it should be applied to history.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“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.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“But neither infinite power nor infinite wisdom could bestow godhood upon men. For that there would have to be infinite love as well.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“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.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“....Nature imposes nothing on you that Nature doesn't prepare you to bear.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“You heard him say it? 'Pain's the only evil I know about.' You heard that?"
The monk nodded solemnly.
"And that society is the only thing that determines whether an act is wrong or not? That too?"
"Yes."
"Dearest God, how did those two heresies get back into the world after all this time? Hell has limited imaginations down there. 'The serpent deceived me, and I did eat.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“Bless me Father, I ate a lizard.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“Ask for an omen, then stone it when it comes -- de essentia hominum.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“What's to be believed? Or does it matter at all? When mass murder's been answered with mass murder, rape with rape, hate with hate, there's no longer much meaning in asking whose ax is bloodier. Evil, on evil, piled on evil. Was there any justification for what they did—or was there? We only know what that thing says, and that thing is a captive. The Asian radio has to say what will least displease it's government; ours has to say what will least displease our fine patriotic opinionated rabble, which is what, coincidentally, the government wants it to say anyhow, so where's the difference?”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“Men must fumble awhile with error to separate it from truth, I think- as long as they don't seize the error hungrily because it has a pleasanter taste.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“Soon the sun will set'- is that prophecy? No, it's merely an assertion of faith in the consistency of events.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“Listen, are we helpless? Are we doomed to do it again and again and again? Have we no choice but to play the Phoenix in an unending sequence of rise and fall? Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Carthage, Rome, the Empires of Charlemagne and the Turk: Ground to dust and plowed with salt. Spain, France, Britain, America—burned into the oblivion of the centuries. And again and again and again. Are we doomed to it, Lord, chained to the pendulum of our own mad clockwork, helpless to halt its swing? This time, it will swing us clean to oblivion.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“It is said that water is for cattle and farmers, that milk is for children and blood for men.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“Speak up, destiny, speak up! Destiny always seems decades away, but suddenly it's not decades away; it's right now. But maybe destiny is always right now, right here, right this very instant, maybe.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“If you try to save wisdom until the world is wise, Father, the world will never have it.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“Now a Dark Age seemed to be passing. For twelve centuries, a small flame of knowledge had been kept smoldering in the monasteries; only now were there minds ready to be kindled. Long ago, during the last age of reason, certain proud thinkers had claimed that valid knowledge was indestructible—that ideas were deathless and truth immortal. But that was true only in the subtlest sense, the abbot thought, and not superficially true at all. There was objective meaning in the world, to be sure: the nonmoral logos or design of the Creator; but such meanings were God's and not Man's, until they found an imperfect incarnation, a dark reflection, within the mind and speech and culture of a given human society, which might ascribe values to the meanings so that they became valid in a human sense within the culture. For Man was a culture-bearer as well as a soul-bearer, but his cultures were not immortal and they could die with a race or an age, and then human reflections of meaning and human portrayals of truth receded, and truth and meaning resided, unseen, only in the objective logos of Nature and the ineffable Logos of God. Truth could be crucified; but soon, perhaps, a resurrection.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“It is not the pain that is pleasing to God, child. It is the soul's endurance in faith and hope and love in spite of bodily afflictions that pleases Heaven.”
Walter Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz
“The trouble with being a priest was that you eventually had to take the advice you gave to others.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“Fire, loveliest of the four elements of the world, and yet an element too in Hell. While it burned adoringly in the core of the Temple, it had also scorched the life from a city, this night, and spewed its venom over the land. How strange of God to speak from a burning bush, and of Man to make a symbol of Heaven into a symbol of Hell.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“... for no change comes calmly over the world...”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“I mean Jesus never asked a man to do a damn thing that Jesus didn’t do.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“It never was any better, it never will be any better. It will only be richer or poorer, sadder but not wiser, until the very last day.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“....to abuse the intellect for reasons of pride, vanity, or escape from responsibility, is the fruit of that same tree.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
“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, and the rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz

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