Study Guide

Cat's Cradle Chapter 18

By Kurt Vonnegut

Chapter 18

The Most Valuable Commodity on Earth

  • Into Dr. Breed's office so the interview can begin. Unfortunately, the "public-relations centers of [John's] brain" aren't functioning.
  • Dr. Breed gets the distinct vibe that John is trying to get him to admit scientists are heartless monsters.
  • Nuh-uh, says John. He's merely basing the questions on his source's story about Dr. Hoenikker.
  • (The source? That would be Newt.)
  • He manages to calm down Dr. Breed by saying he'll balance Hoenikker's story with whatever he's told here.
  • Dr. Breed laments that Americans don't understand science. And by science, he means pure research.
  • He tells John that pure research is all they do at this laboratory, not hack research meant to improve windshields.
  • What does pure research amount to? New knowledge, and in Breed's view, truth is the most valuable commodity on earth.
  • John notes that if he'd been a Bokononist then he'd have howled with laughter.

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