"I thought about the slow process of becoming bone and then fossil and then coal that will, in millions of years, be mined by humans of the future, and how they would heat their homes with her, and then she would be smoke billowing out of a smokestack, coating the atmosphere. I still think that, sometimes, think that maybe 'the afterlife' is just something we made up to ease the pain of loss, to make our time in the labyrinth bearable. Maybe she was just matter, and matter gets recycled."
"On average, an earthquake of magnitude 6 or greater happens somewhere in the world every three days. Mostly, they happen underwater, and we hardly take notice. It is only when the earthquake comes to us, upending the streets and houses and trees we think of as ours, that they command our attention. But the earth...is always busy."
"It was my misfortune - or salvation - to be at all times perfectly conscious of my misperceptions of reality... This clarity made me able to behave normally, which posed some interesting questions. Was everybody seeing this stuff and acting as though they weren't? Was insanity just a matter of dropping the act? If some people didn't see these things, what was the matter with them? Were they blind or something? These questions had me unsettled."
"I've heard that theory of the Therapeutic Community enough times to repeat it forwards and backwards - how a guy has to learn to get along in a group before he'll be able to function in a normal society; how the group can help the guy by showing him where he's out of place; how society is what decides who's sane and who isn't, so you got to measure up. All that stuff."
"When Salinger lived in Connecticut, unabashed Americanism and materialism were unquestioned values. His neighbors pursued those values religiously and weighed one another against a standard of conformity that often suffocated individuality. Salinger found such material irresistible. Having long exposed the phoniness of society, he now found himself living in a culture that not only esteemed this quality he so despised but also sought to infect all of its members with it."