But where does by far the bulk, the whole ambulance load, of pain really come from? Where must it come from? Isn't the true poet or painter a seer? Isn't he, actually, the only seer we have on earth? Most apparently not the scientist, most emphatically not the psychiatrist.
It's full of phonies, and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddam Cadillac some day, and you have to keep making believe you give a damn if the football team loses, and all you do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day, and everybody sticks together in these dirty little goddam cliques.
What I really felt like, though, was committing suicide. I felt like jumping out the window. I probably would've done it, too, if I'd been sure somebody'd cover me up as soon as I landed. I didn't want a bunch of stupid rubbernecks looking at me when I was all gory.
There isn't anyone anywhere who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. Don't you know that? Don't you know that goddam secret yet? And don't you know — listen to me, now — don't you know who that Fat Lady really is? . . . Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy.
I don’t think it would have all got me quite so down if just once in a while—just once in a while—there was at least some polite little perfunctory implication that knowledge should lead to wisdom, and that if it doesn't, it's just a disgusting waste of time! But there never is! You never even hear any hints dropped on a campus that wisdom is supposed to be the goal of knowledge. You hardly ever even hear the word 'wisdom' mentioned!
However contradictory the coroner's report — whether he pronounces Consumption or Loneliness or Suicide to be the cause of death — isn't it plain how the true artist-seer actually dies? I say that the true artist-seer, the heavenly fool who can and does produce beauty, is mainly dazzled to death by his own scruples, the blinding shapes and colors of his own sacred human conscience.
I'm beginning to feel that no author has the right to tear his characters apart if he doesn't know how, or feel that he knows how (poor sucker) to put them together again. I'm tired—my God, so tired—of leaving them all broken on the page with just 'The End' written underneath.
But doctors talk about cells as if they had such unlimited importance all by themselves. As if they didn't really belong to the person that has them." Teddy brushed back his hair from his forehead with one hand. "I grew my own body," he said. "Nobody else did it for me. So if I grew it, I must have known how to grow it. Unconsciously, at least. I may have lost the conscious knowledge of how to grow it sometime in the last few hundred thousand years, but the knowledge is still there, because—obviously—I've used it.
But if we come back, if German men come back, if British men come back, and Japs, and French, and all the other men, all of us talking, writing, painting, making movies of heroes, and cockroaches and foxholes and blood, then future generations will always be doomed to future Hitlers. It's never occurred to boys to have contempt for wars, to point to soldiers' pictures in history books, laughing at them. If German boys had learned to be contemptuous of violence, Hitler would have had to take up knitting to keep his ego warm.