Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the 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.
A society is only as healthy as its ideas are humane.
Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.
True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
You meet saints everywhere. They can be anywhere. They are people behaving decently in an indecent society.
If you can’t write clearly, you probably don’t think nearly as well as you think you do.
It’s a terrible waste to be happy and not notice it.
For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. “Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!
I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.
Words may deeply wound us, but we must run that risk to be free.
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.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.
And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.
There is no good reason good can’t triumph over evil, if only angels will get organized along the lines of the mafia.
We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.
I don’t know about you, but I practice a disorganized religion. I belong to an unholy disorder. We call ourselves “Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment.”
I don’t know what’s going on, and I’m probably not smart enough to understand if somebody was to explain it to me. All I know is we’re being tested somehow, by somebody or some thing a whole lot smarter than us, and all I can do is be friendly and keep calm and try and have a nice time till it’s over.
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.
If your brains were dynamite there wouldn’t be enough to blow your hat off.
There is a tragic flaw in our precious constitution, and I don’t know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president.
We’re terrible animals. I think that the Earth’s immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should.
About belief or lack of belief in an afterlife: Some of you may know that I am neither Christian nor Jewish nor Buddist, nor a conventionally religious person of any sort. I am a humanist, which mean, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of rewards or punishments after I’m dead.
I’m eighty-three and I’ve been smoking since I was eleven. I’m suing the cigarette company because it promised to kill me and it hasn’t.
Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
…this is a hard world to be ludicrous in, with so many human beings so reluctant to laugh, so incapable of thought, so eager to believe and snarl and hate.