Tedious and brief.
It’s later than you think.
Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.
If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.
Orthodoxy means not thinking – not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.
Provided that it is not accompanied by humiliation, discomfort can be endured for long periods without complaint. For proof of this, we have only to look to the example of the many soldiers and explorers who have, over the centuries, willingly tolerated privations far exceeding those suffered by the poorest members of their societies, so long as they were sustained throughout their hardships by an awareness of the esteem in which they were held by others.
History is philosophy teaching by example.
Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.
The fear of becoming old is born of the recognition that one is not living now the life that one wishes.
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man’s.
Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.
For 50 million years our biggest problems were too few calories, too little information. For about 50 years our biggest problems have been too many calories, too much information.
That which we do not bring to consciousness appears in our lives as fate.
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.
The best thing is to do the right thing; the next best is to do the wrong thing; the worst thing of all things is to stand perfectly still.
The “I” and “mine” are extra. We are adding them to the experience.
An unproblematic state is a state without creative thought. It’s other name is death.
The opposite of spiritual is not material but egotistical.
So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for every thing one has a mind to do.
The world is full of fools; and he who would not wish to see one must not only shut himself up alone, but must also break his looking-glass.
The lives of the psyche and of the world are not separate; the inner and the outer realities are like a pair of funfair mirrors set against one another, and life is the flow of images reflected in them.
I know that there are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that.
On what principle is it that with nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?
There’s a concept of being entertained by other people, or by things, or by TV programmes, or whatever, that is a mistake. We may interpret what is happening as the other thing entertaining us but really the only thing that entertains us is our own creative engagement with it.
What they call you is one thing. What you answer to is something else.
If you don’t understand how someone could possibly believe something as stupid as they do, this is more likely a failure of understanding on your part than a failure of reason on theirs.
Politics in a democracy is based on getting people to agree with you, not making them afraid to disagree.
Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
The real problem of humanity is the following: we have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. And it is terrifically dangerous.
Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.
Confidence is not about believing you’ll win. It’s about being comfortable with the fact that you might lose.
The Stone Age came to an end not because we had a lack of stones, and the oil age will come to an end not because we have a lack of oil.
When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learnt in seven years.
Wealth consists not in having many possessions, but in having few wants.
We are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it.
The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.
Character is destiny.
Design is a solution to a problem. Art is a question to a problem.
In the joy of the actors lies the sense of any action.
What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts.
If you don’t know what you want to do it’s harder to do it.
True success is figuring out your life and career so you never have to be around jerks.
Life is a long failure of understanding. A long mistaken shutting of the heart.
A culture is the residue of all the things that people have thought worthwhile to preserve.
Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.
It’s a small world, but not if you have to clean it.
The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions.
Life is full of misery, pain and tremendous suffering, and it’s all over much too quickly.
You see one object which makes you think of another. The two together is an idea.
If the universe is meaningless, so is the statement that it is so. The meaning and purpose of dancing is the dance.
This is absurd.
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what is going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.
At any given moment you’re failing to see the way things actually are. The manifestation is that you’re failing to be kind.
Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them.
Seek freedom and become captive of your desires, seek discipline and find your liberty.
Every society honours its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.
People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.
Know what’s weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything’s different.
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.
Be as you wish to seem.
Between the idea and the act a whole kingdom lies.
A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.
Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.
A movie is good or bad not because of what it is about, but because of how it is about it.
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.
What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
I, on the other hand, am a fully-rounded human being, with a degree from the University of Life, a diploma from the School of Hard Knocks, and three gold stars from the Kindergarten of Getting the Shit Kicked Out of Me.
When the boy asked him if this knowledge were a special knowledge only to the blind the blind man said that it was not. He said that most men were in their lives like the carpenter whose work went so slowly for the dullness of his tools that he had not time to sharpen them.
The way you do anything is the way you do everything.
Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.
Your problem is that you think you have time.
Write drunk, edit sober.
Could be worse… could be raining.
Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.
Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation.
The past does not repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.
People who claim they don’t let little things bother them have never slept in a room with a single mosquito.
Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.
Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.
If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist it’s another nonconformist who doesn’t conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas.
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Throughout the whole of life one must continue to learn to live. And what will amaze you even more, throughout life one must learn to die.
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.
Imagine a room, awash in gasoline. And there are two implacable enemies in that room. One of them has 9000 matches. The other has 7000 matches. Each of them is concerned about who’s ahead, who’s stronger.
Which will you have: wise madness or foolish sanity?
When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution isn’t beautiful, I know it is wrong.
A bore is someone who persists in holding his own views after we have enlightened him with ours.
I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.
The world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.
Life is like a blank piece of paper. But just remember, you’re writing with a sharpie.
All sanity depends on this: that it should be a delight to feel heat strike the skin, a delight to stand upright, knowing the bones are moving easily under the flesh.
This is the main question, with what activity one’s leisure is filled.
Think with the whole body.
No worthy problem is ever solved within the plane of its original conception.
People felt that enlightenment was going entirely with the flow, but that’s like being the ball in a football game. I’d rather be the quarterback.
The big problem is that people don’t believe a revolution is possible, and it is not possible precisely because they do not believe it is possible.
The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
You’re born naked. The rest is drag.
Tiger got to hunt,Bird got to fly;Man got to sit and wonder, “Why, why, why?”Tiger got to sleep,Bird got to land;Man got to tell himself he understand.
Why be unhappy about something if it can be remedied? And what is the use of being unhappy if it cannot be remedied?
It would be better if there were nothing. Since there is more pain than pleasure on earth, every satisfaction is only transitory, creating new desires and new distresses, and the agony of the devoured animal is always far greater than the pleasure of the devourer.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
Humour is what happens when we’re told the truth quicker and more directly than we’re used to.
Before you take mushrooms or LSD, people will say, “It’s going to allow you to have thoughts you’ve never had before.” When you hear that it makes no sense because you think, “I can think whatever I want now.” And then you take hallucinogens and you realise there are thoughts your mind stops you from having. I’m very interested in living a life where I’m always in that realm, where I’m having thoughts that my unconscious is trying to prevent.
I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don’t even invite me.
Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.
To be stupid and selfish and to have good health are the three requirements for happiness; though if stupidity is lacking, the others are useless.
Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come.
Just wait until now becomes then. You’ll see how happy we were.
If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.
Before you act, listen.
Before you react, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Pessimism and optimism emerge as being a dispute about how far one is prepared to look, about focal distances.
The purpose of art is not to solve problems but to formulate them correctly.
A gentleman is a man who can play the accordion but doesn’t.
When inspiration arrives I want it to find me working.
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.
Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.
Common sense is what tells you that the world is flat.
Talent hits a target no one else can hit, while genius hits a target that no one else can see.
Everything has been said. But nobody listens. Therefore it has to be said all over again only better. In order to say it better, we have to know how it was said before.
If you don’t have a plan, you become part of somebody else’s plan.
Paradox is a pointer telling you to look beyond it.
Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.
I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don’t need.
There are two types of people: those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. People who walk the walk sometimes talk the talk but most times they don’t talk at all, ’cause they walkin’.
Why should any phenomenon be assumed impossible? The universe begins to look more and more like a great thought, than a great machine.
Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.
The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.
Vincent Van Gogh. Everyone said to him, “You can’t be a great painter, you only have one ear.” And you know what he said? “I can’t hear you.”
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
To want to meet an author because you like his books is as ridiculous as wanting to meet the goose because you like pâté.
It is the function of the artist to evoke the experience of surprised recognition: to show the viewer what he knows but does not know that he knows.
What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.
It is the hallmark of any deep truth that its negation is also a deep truth.
According to the second law of thermodynamics, things fall apart. Structures disintegrate. Buckminster Fuller hinted at a reason we are here: by creating things, by thinking up new combinations, we counteract this flow of entropy. We make new structures, new wholeness, so the universe comes out even. A shepherd on a hilltop who looks at a mess of stars and thinks, “There’s a hunter, a plow, a fish,” is making mental connections that have as much real force in the universe as the very fires in those stars themselves.
Believe those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it.
I would think how words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly doing goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other; and that sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.
What’s another word for Thesaurus?
A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.
America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.
Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.
You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.
How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.
Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance.
You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?
When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail.
Don’t be yourself. Be someone a little nicer.
For there is always a sanctuary more, a door that can never be forced, whatever the force, a last inviolable stronghold that can never be taken, whatever the attack; your vote can be taken, your name, your innards, even your life, but that last stronghold can only be surrendered.
Life doesn’t imitate art, it imitates bad television.
Happiness is related to the level of expectation. To be the mayor of Wellington, or the second richest farmer in Southland, is a gnawing futility if you can only be satisfied by being Prime Minister.
Taste repeated becomes style.
Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian.
Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realise that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
I Started Out With Nothing and I Still Have Most of It Left
I want to be at least as alive as the vulgar.
Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you may be fierce and original in your work.
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best.
I think that having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.
Pleasure is found first in anticipation, later in memory.
Any technology invented before you were 20 is just standard, anything invented while you were between 20 and 30 is new and exciting, while any technology invented after you were 30 is dangerous, unnatural and likely to upset the social order.
I wanted to be alone in quite an unusual, new way. The very opposite of what you are thinking: namely, without myself.
See everything; overlook a great deal; correct a little.
The first rule of tinkering is to save all the parts.
The television screen has become the retina of the mind’s eye.
Sorrow is nothing but worn out joy.
When my brothers try to draw a circle to exclude me, I shall draw a larger circle to include them. Where they speak out for the privileges of a puny group, I shall shout for the rights of all mankind.
Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.