How we cite our quotes:
"Nothing generous about it. New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become."
Had I been a Bokononist then, that statement would have made me howl. (18.22-23)
Knowledge is important. No doubt about it. But the notion that knowledge, all knowledge, makes us richer doesn't sit too well with Cat's Cradle. Knowledge seems to take away as much as it gives here. Still, that's better odds than any casino game ever.
"Dr. Breed keeps telling me the main thing with Dr. Hoenikker was truth."
"You don't seem to agree."
"I don't know whether I agree or not. I just have trouble understanding how truth, all by itself, could be enough for a person." (25.6-8)
Truth in Cat's Cradle always seems to lead to death—cold, hard, unforgiving death. (Of course, so does everything, eventually.) The novel seems to be suggesting that the occasional lie might just enliven the whole "we're all going to die" thing. Just a bit.
I looked up Fata Morgana at this point in my reading; learned that it was, in fact, a mirage named after Morgan le Fay, a fairy who lived at the bottom of the lake. It was famous for appearing in the Strait of Messina, between Calabria and Sicily. Fata Morgana was poetic crap, in short. (39.5)
The imaginary island Fata Morgana is compared to San Lorenzo when Frank first arrives there. In a way, the book says its conception of San Lorenzo is "poetic crap." Or, in politer terms, just another lie meant to teach and entertain.