Tom Robbins Quotes

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It doesn't matter how sensitive you are or how damn smart and educated you are, if you're not both at the same time, if your heart and your brain aren't connected, aren't working together harmoniously, well, you're just hopping through life on one leg. You may think you're walking, you may think you're running a damn marathon, but you're only on a hop trip. The connections gotta be maintained.

Just because you're naked
Doesn't mean you're sexy,
Just because you're cynical
Doesn't mean you're cool.
You may tell the greatest lies
And wear a brilliant disguise
But you can't escape the eyes
of the one who sees right through you.
In the end what will prevail
Is your passion not your tale.
For love is the Holy Grail,
Even in Cognito.
So better listen to me, sister,
and pay close attention, mister:
It's very good to play the game,
Amuse the gods, avoid the pain,
But don't trust fortune, don't trust fame,
Your real self doesn't know your name
And in that we're all the same:
We're all incognito.

Hard times and funky living can season the soul, true enough, but joy is the yeast that makes it rise.

... curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness, is what separates the truly alive from those who are merely going through the motions.

After the monkeys came down from the trees and learned to hurl sharp objects, they had had to move into caves for protection--not only from the big predatory cats but, as they began to lose their monkey fur, from the elements. Eventually, they started transposing their hunting fantasies onto cave walls in the form of pictures, first as an attempt at practical magic and later for the strange, unexpected pleasure they discovered in artistic creation.

Time passed. Art came off the walls and turned into ritual. Ritual became religion. Religion spawned science. Science led to big business. And big business, if it continues on its present mindless, voracious trajectory, could land those of us lucky enough to survive its ultimate legacy back into caves again.

Perhaps we draw up transneurological info-bits from the underworld to form dreams the way that exposed metal draws down oxygen to form rust. Dreams, then, may be a form of psychic oxidation.

The door to novelty is always slightly ajar: many pass it by with barely a glance, some peek inside but choose not to enter, others dash in and dash out again; while a few, drawn by curiosity, boredom, rebellion, or circumstance, venture in so deep or wander around in there so long that they can never find their way back out.

A real villain is always preferable to a fake hero.

Soul is not even that Crackerjack prize that God and Satan scuffle over after the worms have all licked our bones. That's why, when we ponder--as sooner or later each of us must - exactly what we ought to be doing about our soul, religion is the wrong, if conventional, place to turn. Religion is little more than a transaction in which troubled people trade their souls for temporary and wholly illusionary psychological comfort--the old give-it-up-in-order-to-save-it routine. Religions lead us to believe that the soul is the ultimate family jewel and that in return for our mindless obedience, they can secure it for us in their vaults, or at least insure it against fire theft. They are mistaken.

April. Spring was on the land like an itch. The whole countryside seemed to be scratching itself awake--lazily, luxuriously, though occasionally scratching so hard its nails hit bone, that old cold calcium that lies beneath our tingles.

Anything can be misused. Furthermore, every individual has to assume responsibility for his or her own actions, even the poor and the young. A social system that decrees otherwise is inviting intellectual atrophy and spiritual stagnation.

It's a bit of a cliche to say it, but when you think of soul, you should think of things that are authentic and things that are deep. Anything superficial is not soulful. Anything artificial, imitative, or overly refined is not soulful. Wood has a stronger connection to soul than does plastic, although, paradoxically, thanks to human interface, a funky wooden table or chair can sometimes exceed in soulfulness the soul that may be invoked by a living tree.

...this so-called animism that not so much the Fan Nannies but everybody else around here subscribes to. Can we really just write it off as primitive superstition run amok? Do only human beings have souls, or is that a narcissistic, chauvinistic piece of self-flattery? I mean, can't we look at that great old teak tree over there or at this gulch, and see as much of the divine in them as in some ol' anthropomorphic Sunday school Boom Daddy with imaginary long gray whiskers and a platinum bathrobe? Are we capable of entertaining the possibility that there may have been a holy entity in the cross as well as on it?

The great value of a high-wire act is that it has no practical value. The fact that so much skill and effort and courage can be directed into something so ostensibly useless is what makes it useful. That's what affords it the power to lift us out of context and carry us-- elsewhere.

In this world that God (or Mother Nature) created, it is always hazard and novelty--hazard and novelty--which assert themselves, thereby rendering notions of fixity absurd. Incongruously enough, however, when we allow ourselves to fully accept uncertainty, to embrace and cultivate it even, then we actually can begin to feel within ourselves the presence of an Absolute. The person who cannot welcome ambiguity cannot welcome God.

When socialism is pushed beyond a certain point, it becomes totalitarianism. Capitalism, on the other hand, if carried to its extreme, becomes anarchy.

How could you be so naive as to tell a human being the truth? Men live by embedding themselves in ongoing systems of illusion. Religion. Patriotism. Economics. Fashion. That sort of thing. If you wish to gain the favor of the two-legged ilk, you must learn to fabricate as wholeheartedly as they do.

There is no such thing as a weird human being. It's just that some people require more understanding than others.

Generally, if spirit is the fresh air vent and ambient lighting in the house of consciousness, if the spirit is the electrical system that illuminates that house, then soul is the smoky fireplace, the fragrant oven, the dusty wine cellar, the strange creeks we hear in the floorboards late at night.

All depression has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously.

Just as the overturned bucket that was once brimming seems so much emptier than the bucket that never held milk in the first place. Thanks for filling my little pail.

We only rise above mediocrity when there's something at stake, and I mean something more consequential than money or reputation.

In the life of an individual, an aesthetic sensibility is both more authentic and more commendable than a political or religious one.

In the end, we should simply imagine a joke; a long joke that's being continually retold in an accent too thick and too strange to ever be completely understood. Life is that joke. The soul is its punch line.

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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