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Joseph Heller Quotes

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“It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.”

“[They] agreed that it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.”

“Destiny is a good thing to accept when it’s going your way. When it isn’t, don’t call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery, or simple bad luck.”

“You know, that might be the answer – to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of. That’s a trick that never seems to fail.”

“Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them. With Major Major it had been all three. Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was.”

“mankind is resilient: the atrocities that horrified us a week ago become acceptable tomorrow.”

“Insanity is contagious.”
Joseph Heller

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