Tom Robbins Quotes

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Love easily confuses us because it is always in flux between illusion and substance, between memory and wish, between contentment and need.

"Growing up is a trap," snapped Dr. Robbins. "When they tell you to shut up, they mean stop talking. When they tell you to grow up, they mean stop growing. Reach a nice level plateau and settle there, predictable and unchanging, no longer a threat."

When life demands more of people than they demand of life--as is ordinarily the case--what results is a resentment of life that is almost as deep-seated as the fear of death. Indeed, the resentment of life and the fear of death are virtually synonymous. Does it follow, then, that the more people ask of living, the less their fear of dying?

Sometimes those things that attract the most attention to us are the things that afford us the greatest privacy.

The Clock People regard civilization as an insanely complex set of symbols that obscures natural processes and encumbers free movement. The Earth is alive. She burns inside with the heat of cosmic longing. She longs to be with her husband again. She moans. She turns softly in her sleep.

I've lived most of my entire adult life outside the law, and never have I compromised with authority. But neither have I gone out and picked fights with authority. That's stupid. They're waiting for that; they invite it; it helps keep them powerful. Authority is to be ridiculed, outwitted and avoided. And it's fairly easy to do all three.

Fire is the reuniting of matter with oxygen. If one bears that in mind, every blaze may be seen as a reunion, an occasion of chemical joy.

Nature is not infallible. Nature makes mistakes. That's what evolution is all about: growth by trial and error. Nature can be stupid and cruel. Oh, my, how cruel! That's okay. There's nothing wrong with Nature being dumb and ugly because it is simultaneously--paradoxically--brilliant and superb.

All a person can do in this life is gather about him his integrity, his imagination, and his individuality--and with these ever with him, out front and in sharp focus, leap into the dance of experience.

Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.

Perhaps a person gains by accumulating obstacles. The more obstacles set up to prevent happiness from appearing, the greater the shock when it does appear, just as the rebound of a spring will be all the more powerful the greater the pressure that has been exerted to compress it. Care must be taken, however, to select large obstacles, for only those of sufficient scope and scale have the capacity to lift us out of context and force life to appear in an entirely new and unexpected light.

There are many things worth living for, there are a few things worth dying for, but there is nothing worth killing for.

If we're ever going to get the world back on a natural footing, back in tune with natural rhythms, if we're going to nurture the Earth and protect it and have fun with it and learn from it--which is what mothers do with their children--then we've got to put technology (an aggressive masculine system) in its proper place, which is that of a tool to be used sparingly, joyfully, gently and only in the fullest cooperation with nature. Nature must govern technology, not the other way around.

Love is dope, not chicken soup.

A lot of life boils down to the question of whether a person is going to be able to realize his fantasies, or else end up surviving only through compromises he can't face up to. The way I figure it, Heaven and Hell are right here on earth. Heaven is living in your hopes and Hell is living in your fears. It's up to each individual which one he chooses.

I believe in political solutions to political problems. But man's primary problems aren't political; they're philosophical. Until humans can solve their philosophical problems, they're condemned to solve their political problems over and over and over again. It's a cruel, repetitious bore.

If kissing is man's greatest invention, then fermentation and patriarchy compete with the domestication of animals for the distinction of being man's worst folly, and no doubt the three combined long ago, the one growing out of the others, to foster civilization and lead Western humanity to its present state of decline.

I believe in nothing, everything is sacred. I believe in everything, nothing is sacred.

One has not only an ability to perceive the world, but an ability to alter one's perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which one looks at them.

"I wasn't really shot with a silver bullet," she confessed to no one in particular.

"Or was I?"

She smiled the deliciously secretive smile of one who instinctively recognizes the reality of myth.

If civilization is ever going to be anything but a grandiose pratfall, anything more than a can of deodorizer in the shithouse of existence, the people are going to have to concern themselves with magic and poetry.

Of course I'm inconsistent! Only logicians and cretins are consistent!

Purpose! Purposes are for animals with a hell of a lot more dignity than the human race! Just hop on that strange torpedo and ride it to wherever it's going.

Difficulties illuminate existence, but they must be fresh and of high quality.

The author isn't altogether certain that there is any such thing as exaggeration. Our brains permit us to use such a wee fraction of their resources that, in a sense, everything we experience is a reduction. We employ drugs, yoga techniques and poetics--and a thousand more clumsy methods--in an effort just to bring things back up to normal.

So you think that you're a failure, do you? Well, you probably are. What's wrong with that? In the first place, if you've any sense at all you must have learned by now that we pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style. A mediocre failure is as insufferable as a mediocre success. Embrace failure! Seek it out. Learn to love it. That may be the only way any of us will ever be free.

Kissing is the supreme achievement of the Western world.

If you take any activity, any art, any discipline, any skill, take it and push it as far as it will go, push it beyond where it has ever been before, push it to the wildest edge of edges, then you force it into the realm of magic.

Poetry is nothing more than an intensification or illumination of common objects and every day events until they shine with their singular nature, until we can experience their power, until we can follow their steps in the dance, until we can discern what part they play in the Great Order of Love. How is this done? By fucking around with syntax.

As a child, I was an imaginary playmate.

Actually, there are countless ways to live upon this tremorous sphere in mirth and good health, and probably only one way--the industrial, urbanized, herding way--to live here stupidly, and man has hit upon that one way.

True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.

News: Tom's latest book "Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life" (a memoir of sorts) was released in May 2014.

What follows is an excerpt from the blurb from amazon.com.

Internationally bestselling novelist and American icon Tom Robbins delivers the long awaited tale of his wild life and times, both at home and around the globe.

Tom Robbins’ warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels — including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates — provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to natural born hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads.

In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward,... Read more...

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