I want to keep my dreams, even bad ones, because without them, I might have nothing all night long.— Joseph Heller
The most authentic Joseph Heller quotes to get the best of your day
When I grow up I want to be a little boy.
Every writer I know has trouble writing.
The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.
History was a trash bag of random coincidences torn open in a wind.
Surely, Watt with his steam engine, Faraday with his electric motor, and Edison with his incandescent light bulb did not have it as their goal to contribute to a fuel shortage some day that would place their countries at the mercy of Arab oil.
He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.
Peace on earth would mean the end of civilization as we know it.
But how can one be warm alone?
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.
The Texan turned out to be good-natured, generous and likable. In three days no one could stand him.
The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on.
...[A]nything worth dying for ... is certainly worth living for.
He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt.
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.
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22.
Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.
It is the anonymous "they," the enigmatic "they" who are in charge.
Who is "they"? I don't know. Nobody knows. Not even "they" themselves.
Everyone in my book accuses everyone else of being crazy.
Frankly, I think the whole society is nuts - and the question is: What does a sane man do in an insane society?
Success and failure are both difficult to endure.
Along with success come drugs, divorce, fornication, bullying, travel, meditation, medication, depression, neurosis and suicide. With failure comes failure.
Insanity is contagious.
I'd like to see the government get out of war altogether and leave the whole field to private individuals.
I think that maybe in every company today there is always at least one person who is going crazy slowly.
There is no disappointment so numbing...as someone no better than you achieving more.
You have no respect for excessive authority or obsolete traditions.
You're dangerous and depraved, and you ought to be taken outside and shot!
The question is: what is a sane man to do in an insane society?
Man was matter, that was Snowden's secret.
Drop him out a window, and he'll fall. Set fire to him and he'll burn. Bury him and he'll rot, like other kinds of garbage. The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden's secret. Ripeness was all.
From men motivated by moral certitude, history teaches, no lasting good ever comes.
Hungry Joe collected lists of fatal diseases and arranged them in alphabetical order so that he could put his finger without delay on any one he wanted to worry about.
The body stores the trauma of our lives in muscular rigidity, thereby keeping us stuck in the past. When we release the tension in the body and align ourselves with gravity, we take a new stand in life. This allows us to be at ease with ourselves and in harmony in our relationship to others and to our planet.
He knew everything about literature except how to enjoy it.
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.
All through the night, men looked at the sky and were saddened by the stars.
You have deep-seated survival anxieties.
And you don't like bigots, bullies, snobs or hypocrites. Subconsciously there are many people you hate." "Consciously, sir, consciously," Yossarian corrected in an effort to help. "I hate them consciously.
I think in every country that there is at least one executive who is scared of going crazy.
But that was war. Just about all he could find in its favor was that it paid well and liberated children from the pernicious influence of their parents.
Major Major never sees anyone in his office while he's in his office.
I can't start writing until I have a closing line.
... there is wisdom in madness and strong probability of truth in all accusations, for people are complete, and everyone is capable of everything.
Let's take a drive into the middle of nowhere with a packet of Marlboro lights and talk about our lives.
Like Olympic medals and tennis trophies, all they signified was that the owner had done something of no benefit to anyone more capably than everyone else.
Major Major had lied, and it was good.
He was not really surprised that it was good, for he had observed that people who did lie were, on the whole, more resourceful and ambitious and successful than people who did not lie.
I'll tell you what justice is. Justice is a knee in the gut from the floor on the chin at night sneaky with a knife brought up down on the magazine of a battleship sandbagged underhanded in the dark without a word of warning
There was only one catch and that was catch 22
We do have a zeal for laughter in most situations, give or take a dentist.
The Lord gave us farmers two strong hands so we could grab as much as we could with both of them.
Be glad you're even alive.' Be furious you're going to die.
They're trying to kill me," Yossarian told him calmly.
No one's trying to kill you," Clevinger cried. Then why are they shooting at me?" Yossarian asked. They're shooting at everyone," Clevinger answered. "They're trying to kill everyone." And what difference does that make?
Sure, that's what I mean,' Doc Daneeka said.
'A little grease is what makes this world go round. One hand washes the other. Know what I mean? You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.' Yossarian knew what he meant. That's not what I meant,' Doc Daneeka said, as Yossarian began scratching his back.
It doesn't make a damned bit of difference who wins the war to someone who's dead.
Fortunately, just when things were blackest, the war broke out.
But the God I don't believe in is a good God, a just God, a merciful God.
He's not the mean and stupid God you make him out to be.