Kurt Vonnegut Quotes
Words of wisdom

If I could have a glass of whiskey with 3 people, dead or alive, they would be Marcus Aurelius, Jon Stewart, and Kurt Vonnegut.  Without knowing it, each of these men has affected my life and helped make me the person I am today. Kurt Vonnegut quotes have played a large

Who was Kurt Vonnegut? A brief background…


Kurt Vonnegut was an American writer. In a career spanning over 50 years, Vonnegut published fourteen novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five works of nonfiction, with further collections being published after his death. He is most famous for his darkly satirical, bestselling novel Slaughterhouse-Five .

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Vonnegut attended Cornell University but dropped out in January 1943 to enlist in the United States Army. He was deployed to Europe to fight in World War II and was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge.

He was interned in Dresden and survived the Allied bombing of the city by taking refuge in a meat locker of the slaughterhouse where he was imprisoned (where he drew inspiration for the book he would later write).

Vonnegut published his first novel, Player Piano, in 1952. The novel was reviewed positively but was not super successful at the time. In the nearly 20 years that followed, Vonnegut published several novels that were well regarded, two of which (The Sirens of Titan  and Cat’s Cradle  were nominated for the Hugo Award for best novel.

He published a short story collection titled Welcome to the Monkey House in 1968. Vonnegut’s breakthrough was his commercially and critically successful sixth novel, Slaughterhouse-Five. The book’s anti-war sentiment resonated with its readers amidst the ongoing Vietnam War and its reviews were generally positive.

After its release, Slaughterhouse-Five went to the top of The New York Times Best Seller list, thrusting Vonnegut into fame. He was invited to give speeches, lectures and commencement addresses around the country and received many awards and honors.

To be honest, I’m not sure when I fell in love with Kurt Vonnegut and his writing.  I remember reading Slaughterhouse Five and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t blown away.  As I got more into literature and writing I kept coming across more and more of his work and views.

I read more about his views on life, religion, America, the world as a whole, and how to become a better writer.

As today would have been Kurt Vonnegut’s 95th birthday I wanted to pay my respects by sharing some of my favorite words of his.

 

 

He was openly critical of a lot of ideas and was never afraid to go against the popular opinion if he didn’t agree with it.  He was a man who had seen war and knew how terrible it was.  He had seen what fear and blind loyalty could do to people and the world as a whole.  He witnessed the destruction of Dresden first hand and never wanted to see anything like it repeated.  He taught me what humanism was and that being a good person is an achievable goal even if you aren’t religious.

For years he has inspired me and his words have given direction when my path seemed unclear. Though I wouldn’t consider him my favorite author he is one of the people I would have loved to meet.

Happy 95th birthday to one of the wisest men who ever lived.

And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

44 Kurt Vonnegut Quotes to inspire you
to be a better human

1. “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

2. “Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

3. “Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.”

4. “Many people need desperately to receive this message: ‘I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.”

5. “The practice of art isn’t to make a living. It’s to make your soul grow.”

6. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

7. “If you would be unloved and forgotten, be reasonable.”

8. “The insane, on occasion, are not without their charms.”

9. “In nonsense is strength”

10. “Self-taught, are you?” Julian Castle asked Newt.
“Isn’t everybody?” Newt inquired.
“Very good answer.”

Self-taught, are you?” Julian Castle asked Newt.
“Isn’t everybody?” Newt inquired.
“Very good answer.”

11. “So it goes”’

12. “It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done

13. “It took us that long to realize that a purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.

14. “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.”

15. “I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.”

16.  “A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”

17. “A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.”

18. “And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.”

19. “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

20. “You hate America, don’t you?
That would be as silly as loving it,’ I said. ‘It’s impossible for me to get emotional about it, because real estate doesn’t interest me. It’s no doubt a great flaw in my personality, but I can’t think in terms of boundaries. Those imaginary lines are as unreal to me as elves and pixies. I can’t believe that they mark the end or the beginning of anything of real concern to a human soul. Virtues and vices, pleasures and pains cross boundaries at will.”

I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.

21. ” . . . but the Universe is an awfully big place. There is room enough for an awful lot of people to be right about things and still not agree.”

22. “The function of the artist is to make people like life better than they have before.”

23. “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”

24. “Never trust a survivor until you know how they survived.”

25. “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

26. “And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”

27. “If you can do no good, at least do no harm.”

28. “Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward.”

29. “Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.”

30. “If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:
THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC”

And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.

31. “Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

32. “And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.””

33. “So, in the interests of survival, they trained themselves to be agreeing machines instead of thinking machines. All their minds had to do was to discover what other people were thinking, and then they thought that, too.”

34. “If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you’re a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.”

35. “That’s one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times and concentrate on the good ones.”

36. “The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.”

37. “We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane”

38. “I am eternally grateful for my knack of finding in great books, some of them very funny books, reason enough to feel honored to be alive, no matter what else might be going on.”

39. “Of course it is exhausting, having to reason all the time in a universe which wasn’t meant to be reasonable.”

40. “Karl Marx got a bum rap. All he was trying to do was figure out how to take care of a whole lot of people. Of course, socialism is just “evil” now. It’s completely discredited, supposedly, by the collapse of the Soviet Union. I can’t help noticing that my grandchildren are heavily in hock to communist China now, which is evidently a whole lot better at business than we are. You talk about the collapse of communism or the Soviet Union. My goodness, this country collapsed in 1929. I mean it crashed, big time, and capitalism looked like a very poor idea.”

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

41. – Why me?
– That is a very Earthling question to ask, Mr. Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen bugs trapped in amber?
– Yes.
– Well, here we are, Mr. Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.”

42. “Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.”

43.  “As Bokonon says: ‘peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from god.”

44. “There are plenty of good reasons for fighting…but no good reason to ever hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty hates with you, too. Where’s evil? It’s that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side. It’s that part of every man that finds all kinds of ugliness so attractive….it’s that part of an imbecile that punishes and vilifies and makes war gladly.”


Those are my 44 favorite Kurt Vonnegut quotes.

Each one inspires me to think more and try to be a better person while appreciating what is going on around me. Kurt Vonnegut both lived and wrote in a way that I find inspiring.

Which one those Kurt Vonnegut quotes is your favorite?

Do you have any favorite Vonnegut quotes I missed?

Stay Gold.

Todd

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