Through the little green eyes of Billy Pilgrim’s Tralfamadorian captors, we see ourselves as mere human beings, mortal animals utterly stripped of our pretensions. Our crimes become both monumental and quotidian. Our grief and our destiny both inevitable. This may sound cynical or nihilistic, but I would argue that this book is among the most humane works of art ever created. It is concerned with and dedicated to the alleviation and prevention of human suffering in the face of its inevitability, and I can think of no braver moral position to take than that one. I’ve relied on it as a touchstone in my life. You can have Job. I’ll throw in my lot with Billy Pilgrim.
I have told my sons that they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres, and that the news of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with satisfaction or glee. I have also told them not to work for companies which make massacre machinery, and to express contempt for people who think we need machinery like that.