Thanks to A. for sharing the book Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut, first published in the U.S. by Delacorte Press, 1973. Following is an excerpt from the novel.
A lot of the nonsense was the innocent result of playfulness on the part of the founding fathers of the nation of Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout. The founders were aristocrats, and they wished to show off their useless education, which consisted of the study of hocus-pocus from ancient times. They were bum poets as well.
But some of the nonsense was evil, since it concealed great crimes. For example, teachers of children in the United States of America wrote this date on blackboards again and again, and asked the children to memorize it with pride and joy:
The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them.
Here was another piece of evil nonsense which children were taught: that the sea pirates eventually created a government which became a beacon of freedom to human beings everywhere else. There were pictures and statues of this supposed imaginary beacon for children to see. It was sort of an ice-cream cone on fire. ...
... Actually, the sea pirates who had the most to do with the creation of the new government owned human slaves. They used human beings for machinery, and, even after slavery was eliminated, because it was so embarrassing, they and their descendants continued to think of ordinary human beings as machines.
The sea pirates were white. The people who were already on the continent when the pirates arrived were copper-colored. When slavery was introduced onto the continent, the slaves were black.
Color was everything.
Here is how the pirates were able to take whatever they wanted from anybody else: they had the best boats in the world and they were meaner than anybody else, and they had gunpowder, which was a mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and sulphur. They touched this seemingly listless powder with fire, and it turned violently into gas. This gas blew projectiles out of metal tubes at terrific velocities. The projectiles cut through meat and bone very easily; so the pirates could wreck the wiring or the bellows or the plumbing of a stubborn human being, even when he was far, far away.
The chief weapon of the sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was too late, how heartless and greedy they were.
Pak So is an artist, writer, and the Director of Operations at the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York City.
Anna Tan is an award winning Design Director who has successfully completed creative projects for major companies and clients in the travel, arts, entertainment, retail and publishing industries.
Pak and Anna are currently producing an upcoming title for Trips of Wonder on the business capital of Tokyo, Japan.
TRIPS OF WONDER
PAK SO STUDIO
ANNA TAN GRAPHIC DESIGN
Most of us want to reach an end, we want to be able to say "I have arrived at self-knowledge and I am happy"; but it is not like that at all. If you can look at yourself without condemning what you see, without comparing yourself with somebody else, without wishing to be more beautiful or more virtuous; if you can just observe what you are and move with it, then you will find that it is possible to go infinitely far. Then there is no end to the journey, and that is the mystery, the beauty of it.