One didn’t understand, until one had seen a great many bodies, the unconscious effort that one must be making every minute simply to keep one’s hands and face and clothes clean. The world’s surfaces were so filthy that the living touched them only with the tips of their fingers and the soles of their shoes. How grubby it was to die, to give up making that effort.

They say this war is a cloud over the land! But they make the weather and then they stand in the rain and say, ‘Shit, it’s raining!

We are all ghosts,” Morris Klapper said at last. “We are conceived in a moment of death and born out of ghost wombs, and we play in the streets with other little ghosts, chanting ghost-rhymes and scratching to become real. We are told that life is full of goals and that, although it is sadly necessary to fight, you can at least choose your war. But we learn that for ghosts there can only be one battle: to become real. A few of us make it, thus encouraging other ghosts to believe it can be done.

If we try to see something positive in everything we do, life won’t necessarily become easier but it becomes more valuable.

If you were born in a country or at a time not only when nobody comes to kill your wife and your children, but also nobody comes to ask you to kill the wives and children of others, then render thanks to God and go in peace. But always keep this thought in mind: you might be luckier than I, but you’re not a better person.

Since opposed principles, or ideologies, are irreconcilable, wars fought over principle will be wars of mutual annihilation. But wars fought for simple greed will be far less destructive, because the aggressor will be careful not to destroy what he is fighting to capture. Reasonable – that is, human – men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life.

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