Frases de Kurt Vonnegut

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Kurt Vonnegut

Data de nascimento: 11. Novembro 1922
Data de falecimento: 11. Abril 2007
Outros nomes: Vonegut, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. foi um escritor estadunidense de ascendência germânica.

Concluída a formação em Química, alistou-se no exército e combateu na Segunda Guerra Mundial. Feito prisioneiro, presenciou o bombardeamento de Dresden. Após a Guerra, formou-se em Antropologia.

É autor de vários romances, ensaios e peças de teatro, entre os quais se destacam Player Piano de 1952, Cat’s Cradle de 1963, Slaughterhouse-Five de 1969, Breakfast of Champions de 1973 e Galápagos de 1985. Sua última obra foi Look at the Birdie de 2009, livro póstumo com uma coleção de contos e ensaios.

Vonnegut morreu em 11 de abril de 2007, semanas após uma queda em sua casa em Manhattan que resultou em graves complicações cerebrais.

Photo: WNET-TV/ PBS, eBay front back / Public domain

Obras

Citações Kurt Vonnegut

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„Humanista é uma pessoa com grande interesse pelos seres humanos. Meu cachorro é humanista.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut

I have found that a humanist is a person who is tremendously interested in human beings. My dog is a humanist.
citado em "The Vonnegut encyclopedia: an authorized compendium"‎ - Página 311, de Marc Leeds - Greenwood Press, 1995, ISBN 0313292302, 9780313292309 - 693 páginas

„Lá no bar, espiando através dos meus escapes para um mundo que eu mesmo havia inventado, falei baixinho a seguinte palavra: esquizofrenia. O som e a aparência dessa palavra me fascinavam havia muitos anos. A mim soava e parecia como um ser humano espirrando numa nevasca de flocos de sabão.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, livro Breakfast of Champions

There in the cocktail lounge, peering out through my leaks at a world of my own invention, I mouthed this word: schizophrenia. The sound and appearance of the word had fascinated me for many years. It sounded and looked to me like a human being sneezing in a blizzard of soapflakes.
Breakfast of champions: or, Goodbye blue Monday! - Página 198, Kurt Vonnegut - Delacorte Press, 1973 - 295 páginas

„Esta provavelmente é a história da minha vida: falta de determinação suficiente.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, livro Breakfast of Champions

that's probably the story of my life: not enough determination.
Breakfast of champions: or, Goodbye blue Monday! - Página 110, Kurt Vonnegut - Delacorte Press, 1973 - 295 páginas

„Hello, I am Wanda June. Today was going to be my birthday, but I was hit by an ice-cream truck before I could have my party.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, Happy Birthday, Wanda June

"Wanda June"
Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1970)
Contexto: Hello, I am Wanda June. Today was going to be my birthday, but I was hit by an ice-cream truck before I could have my party. I am dead now. I am in Heaven. That is why my parents did not pick up my cake at the bakery. I am not mad at the ice-cream truck driver, even though he was drunk when he hit me. It didn't hurt much. It wasn't even as bad as the sting of a bumblebee. I am really happy here! It's so much fun. I'm glad the driver was drunk. If he hadn't been, I might not have gone to Heaven for years and years and years. I would have had to go to high school first, and then beauty college. I would have had to get married and have babies and everything. Now I can just play and play and play. Any time I want any pink cotton candy I can have some. Everybody up here is happy — the animals and the dead soldiers and people who went to the electric chair and everything. They're all glad for whatever sent them here. Nobody is mad. We're all too busy playing shuffleboard. So if you think of killing somebody, don't worry about it. Just go ahead and do it. Whoever you do it to should kiss you for doing it. The soldiers up here just love the shrapnel and the tanks and the bayonets and the dum dums that let them play shuffleboard all the time — and drink beer.

„Human beings will be happier — not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie — but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That’s my utopia.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut

Playboy interview (1973)
Contexto: I couldn't survive my own pessimism if I didn't have some kind of sunny little dream. … Human beings will be happier — not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie — but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That’s my utopia. That's what I want for me.

„I thought scientists were going to find out exactly how everything worked, and then make it work better.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut

Bennington College address (1970)
Contexto: I thought scientists were going to find out exactly how everything worked, and then make it work better. I fully expected that by the time I was twenty-one, some scientist, maybe my brother, would have taken a color photograph of God Almighty — and sold it to Popular Mechanics magazine.
Scientific truth was going to make us so happy and comfortable. What actually happened when I was twenty-one was that we dropped scientific truth on Hiroshima.

„Scientific truth was going to make us so happy and comfortable. What actually happened when I was twenty-one was that we dropped scientific truth on Hiroshima.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut

Bennington College address (1970)
Contexto: I thought scientists were going to find out exactly how everything worked, and then make it work better. I fully expected that by the time I was twenty-one, some scientist, maybe my brother, would have taken a color photograph of God Almighty — and sold it to Popular Mechanics magazine.
Scientific truth was going to make us so happy and comfortable. What actually happened when I was twenty-one was that we dropped scientific truth on Hiroshima.

„Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tissues? Because that was the way authors customarily treated bit-part players in their madeup tales.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, livro Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions (1973)
Contexto: I thought Beatrice Keedsler had joined hands with other old-fashioned storytellers to make people believe that life had leading characters, minor characters, significant details, insignificant details, that it had lessons to be learned, tests to be passed, and a beginning, a middle, and an end.
As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I had become more and more enraged and mystified by the idiot decisions made by my countrymen. And then I had come suddenly to pity them, for I understood how innocent and natural it was for them to behave so abominably, and with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented in story books. This was the reason Americans shot each other so often: It was a convenient literary device for ending short stories and books.
Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tissues? Because that was the way authors customarily treated bit-part players in their madeup tales.
And so on.
Once I understood what was making America such a dangerous, unhappy nation of people who had nothing to do with real life, I resolved to shun storytelling. I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order, instead, which I think I have done.
If all writers would do that, then perhaps citizens not in the literary trades will understand that there is no order in the world around us, that we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead.
It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done.

„I used to think that science would save us, and science certainly tried. But we can't stand any more tremendous explosions, either for or against democracy.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut

Bennington College address (1970)
Contexto: We would be a lot safer if the Government would take its money out of science and put it into astrology and the reading of palms. I used to think that science would save us, and science certainly tried. But we can't stand any more tremendous explosions, either for or against democracy.

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„I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break!“

—  Kurt Vonnegut

Cold Turkey (2004)
Contexto: For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
"Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

„It can make quite a difference not just to you but to humanity: the sort of boss you choose, whose dreams you help come true.
Hitler dreamed of killing Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, Communists, Jehovah's Witnesses, mental defectives, believers in democracy, and so on, in industrial quantities.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut

Speech at MIT (1985), referring to his brother Bernard Vonnegut, and the choices available to scientists and the intelligent, to serve humanity, or to betray it, as published in Fates Worse Than Death (1991), Ch. 12
Various interviews
Contexto: My brother got his doctorate in 1938, I think. If he had gone to work in Germany after that, he would have been helping to make Hitler's dreams come true. If he had gone to work in Italy, he would have been helping to make Mussolini's dreams come true. If he had gone to work in Japan, he would have been helping to make Tojo's dreams come true. If he had gone to work in the Soviet Union, he would have been helping to make Stalin's dreams come true. He went to work for a bottle manufacturer in Butler, Pennsylvania, instead. It can make quite a difference not just to you but to humanity: the sort of boss you choose, whose dreams you help come true.
Hitler dreamed of killing Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, Communists, Jehovah's Witnesses, mental defectives, believers in democracy, and so on, in industrial quantities. It would have remained only a dream if it hadn't been for chemists as well educated as my brother, who supplied Hitler's executioners with the cyanide gas known as Zyklon B. It would have remained only a dream if architects and engineers as capable as my father and grandfather hadn't designed extermination camps — the fences, the towers, the barracks, the railroad sidings, and the gas chambers and crematoria — for maximum ease of operation and efficiency.

„I've often thought there ought to be a manual to hand to little kids, telling them what kind of planet they're on, why they don't fall off it, how much time they've probably got here, how to avoid poison ivy, and so on.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut

Playboy interview (1973)
Contexto: I've often thought there ought to be a manual to hand to little kids, telling them what kind of planet they're on, why they don't fall off it, how much time they've probably got here, how to avoid poison ivy, and so on. I tried to write one once. It was called Welcome to Earth. But I got stuck on explaining why we don't fall off the planet. Gravity is just a word. It doesn't explain anything. If I could get past gravity, I'd tell them how we reproduce, how long we've been here, apparently, and a little bit about evolution. I didn't learn until I was in college about all the other cultures, and I should have learned that in the first grade. A first grader should understand that his or her culture isn't a rational invention; that there are thousands of other cultures and they all work pretty well; that all cultures function on faith rather than truth; that there are lots of alternatives to our own society. Cultural relativity is defensible and attractive. It's also a source of hope. It means we don't have to continue this way if we don't like it.

„What is time? It is a serpent which eats its tail“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, livro Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions (1973)
Contexto: I was on par with the Creator of the Universe there in the dark in the cocktail lounge. I shrunk the Universe to a ball exactly one light-year in diameter. I had it explode. I had it disperse itself again.
Ask me a question, any question. How old is the Universe? It is one half-second old, but the half-second has lasted one quintillion years so far. Who created it? Nobody created it. It has always been here.
What is time? It is a serpent which eats its tail, like this:
This is the snake which uncoiled itself long enough to offer Eve the apple, which looked like this:
What was the apple which Eve and Adam ate? It was the Creator of the Universe.
And so on.
Symbols can be so beautiful, sometimes.

„I'm going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut

Interview by David Brancaccio, NOW (PBS) (7 October 2005) http://www.pbs.org/now/arts/vonnegut.html
Various interviews
Contexto: [When Vonnegut tells his wife he's going out to buy an envelope] Oh, she says, well, you're not a poor man. You know, why don't you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I'm going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don't know. The moral of the story is, is we're here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And, what the computer people don't realize, or they don't care, is we're dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, we're not supposed to dance at all anymore.

„So when my own time comes to join the choir invisible or whatever, God forbid, I hope someone will say, "He's up in Heaven now." Who really knows? I could have dreamed all this.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, livro God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian (1999)
Contexto: I am honorary president of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great, spectacularly prolific writer and scientist, Dr. Isaac Asimov in that essentially functionless capacity. At an A. H. A. memorial service for my predecessor I said, "Isaac is up in Heaven now." That was the funniest thing I could have said to an audience of humanists. It rolled them in the aisles. Mirth! Several minutes had to pass before something resembling solemnity could be restored.
I made that joke, of course, before my first near-death experience — the accidental one.
So when my own time comes to join the choir invisible or whatever, God forbid, I hope someone will say, "He's up in Heaven now." Who really knows? I could have dreamed all this.
My epitaph in any case? "Everything was beautiful. Nothing hurt." I will have gotten off so light, whatever the heck it is that was going on.

„I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, livro Player Piano

Fonte: Player Piano (1952), Chapter 9 (p. 86)
Contexto: "You think I'm insane?" said Finnerty. Apparently he wanted more of a reaction than Paul had given him.
"You're still in touch. I guess that's the test."
"Barely — barely."
"A psychiatrist could help. There's a good man in Albany."
Finnerty shook his head. "He'd pull me back into the center, and I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center." He nodded, "Big, undreamed-of things — the people on the edge see them first."

„You're the only ones zany enough to agonize over time and distance without limit, over mysteries that will never die, over the fact that we are right now determining whether the space voyage for the next billion years or so is going to be Heaven or Hell.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, livro God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

"Eliot Rosewater" to a group of science fiction writers
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965)
Contexto: I love you sons of bitches. You’re all I read any more. You're the only ones who’ll talk all about the really terrific changes going on, the only ones crazy enough to know that life is a space voyage, and not a short one, either, but one that’ll last for billions of years. You’re the only ones with guts enough to really care about the future, who really notice what machines do to us, what wars do to us, what cities do to us, what big, simple ideas do to us, what tremendous misunderstanding, mistakes, accidents, catastrophes do to us. You're the only ones zany enough to agonize over time and distance without limit, over mysteries that will never die, over the fact that we are right now determining whether the space voyage for the next billion years or so is going to be Heaven or Hell.

„About belief or lack of belief in an afterlife: Some of you may know that I am neither Christian nor Jewish nor Buddhist, nor a conventionally religious person of any sort.
I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of rewards or punishments after I'm dead.“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, livro God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

In A Man Without a Country (2005) p. 80–81 Vonnegut makes a very similar statement:
God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian (1999)
Contexto: About belief or lack of belief in an afterlife: Some of you may know that I am neither Christian nor Jewish nor Buddhist, nor a conventionally religious person of any sort.
I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of rewards or punishments after I'm dead. My German-American ancestors, the earliest of whom settled in our Middle West about the time of our Civil War, called themselves "Freethinkers," which is the same sort of thing. My great grandfather Clemens Vonnegut wrote, for example, "If what Jesus said was good, what can it matter whether he was God or not?"
I myself have written, "If it weren't for the message of mercy and pity in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, I wouldn't want to be a human being. I would just as soon be a rattlesnake."

„There's only one rule that I know of, babies — "God damn it, you've got to be kind."“

—  Kurt Vonnegut, livro God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965)
Contexto: Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies — "God damn it, you've got to be kind."

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