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Kurt Vonnegut Quotes from His Work and Life

He had a lot of strong opinions based on life experiences as you’ll see in these Kurt Vonnegut quotes. 

Kurt Vonnegut was an American writer. He was known for writing both short stories and novels. However, he was also known for his beliefs about the way society worked in America. He believed that the drive for greed and growth would eventually ruin all things.

He was also known for being a pessimistic person which was likely due to the negative experiences he faced in life. His family lost wealth during the depression, his mother committed suicide, he was a POW during WWII and eventually ended up divorced. 

However, while he sounds like a negative person, he also has life lessons and some wisdom that he shares in his quotes. 

Don’t forget to also check out these life-changing Joe Dispenza quotes that show how powerful your brain is.

Wise Kurt Vonnegut quotes

1. “This is Sunday, and the question arises, what’ll I start tomorrow?” – Kurt Vonnegut

2. “I really wonder what gives us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours.” – Kurt Vonnegut

3. “There is love enough in this world for everybody, if people will just look.” – Kurt Vonnegut

4. “People aren’t supposed to look back. I’m certainly not going to do it anymore.” – Kurt Vonnegut

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

6. “People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they’ll have good voice boxes in case there’s ever anything really meaningful to say.” – Kurt Vonnegut

7. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” – Kurt Vonnegut

8. “What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” – Kurt Vonnegut

9. “Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists unless laughter could be said to remedy anything.” – Kurt Vonnegut

10. “Anything can make me stop and look and wonder, and sometimes learn.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut quotes from Slaughterhouse-Five

11. “And so it goes…” – Kurt Vonnegut

12. “How nice — to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.” – Kurt Vonnegut

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13. “I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone.” – Kurt Vonnegut

14. “All this happened, more or less.” – Kurt Vonnegut

15. “There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.” – Kurt Vonnegut

16. “If I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I’m grateful that so many of those moments are nice.” – Kurt Vonnegut

17. “I have told my sons that they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres and that the news of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with satisfaction or glee. I have also told them not to work for companies which make massacre machinery, and to express contempt for people who think we need machinery like that.” – Kurt Vonnegut

18. “Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is.” – Kurt Vonnegut

19. “He ate a pear. It was a hard one. It fought back against his grinding teeth. It snapped in juicy protest.” – Kurt Vonnegut

20. “Billy covered his head with his blanket. He always covered his head when his mother came to see him in the mental ward – always got much sicker until she went away.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut quotes from Breakfast Of Champions

21. “Much of the conversation in the country consisted of lines from television shows, both past and present.” – Kurt Vonnegut

22. “The planet was being destroyed by manufacturing processes, and what was being manufactured was lousy, by and large.” – Kurt Vonnegut

23. “He was a graduate of West Point, which is military academy that turns young men into homicidal maniacs for use in war.” – Kurt Vonnegut

24. “Thank God for novelists. Thank God there are people willing to write everything down. Otherwise, so much would be forgotten.” – Kurt Vonnegut

25. “Bad chemicals and bad ideas were the Yin and Yang of madness.” – Kurt Vonnegut

26. “It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done” – Kurt Vonnegut

27. “There was no immunity to cuckoo ideas on Earth.” – Kurt Vonnegut

28. “Maybe they invited me because they know I have a tuxedo.” – Kurt Vonnegut

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29. “I pity you. You’ve crawled up your own asshole and died.” – Kurt Vonnegut

30. “The whole city was dangerous—because of chemicals and the uneven distribution of wealth and so on.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut quotes from Mother Night

31. “There is nothing left of him but curiosity and a pair of eyes.” – Kurt Vonnegut

32. “I love you, because the love you gave me was the only love I’ve ever had, the only love I ever will have.” – Kurt Vonnegut

33. “People should be changed by world wars,” I said, “else what are world wars for?” – Kurt Vonnegut

34. “No young person on earth is so excellent in all respects as to need no uncritical love.” – Kurt Vonnegut

35. “Let there be nothing harmonious about our children’s playthings, lest they grow up expecting peace and order, and be eaten alive.” – Kurt Vonnegut

36. “His mother understood my illness immediately, that it was my world rather than myself that was diseased.” – Kurt Vonnegut

37. “My life is nothing but room for you…It could never be filled by anyone but you.” – Kurt Vonnegut

38. “You say very funny things. I am sorry I can’t say funny things back. This is not a funny time for me.” – Kurt Vonnegut

39. “I didn’t really steal it. I just borrowed it for all eternity.” – Kurt Vonnegut

40. “That I was, in fact, a citizen of nowhere.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut quotes from Player Piano

41. “And the lawyers! Of course, I say it’s a pretty good thing what happened to them, because it was a bad thing for them, which couldn’t help to be a good thing for everybody else.” – Kurt Vonnegut

42. “And another nice thing about war—not that anything about war is nice, I guess—is that while it’s going on and you’re in it, you never worry about doing the right thing. See?” – Kurt Vonnegut

43. “It’s just a hell of a time to be alive.” – Kurt Vonnegut

44. “They had been the rioters, the smashers of machines.” – Kurt Vonnegut

45. “At this point in history, 1952 A.D., our lives and freedom depend largely upon the skill and imagination and courage of our managers and engineers, and I hope that God will help them to help us all stay alive and free.” – Kurt Vonnegut

46. “But you find out quick enough that old friends are old friends, and nothing more—no wiser, no more help than anyone else.” – Kurt Vonnegut

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47. “It was an appalling thought, to be so well-integrated into the machinery of society and history as to be able to move in only one plane, and along one line.” – Kurt Vonnegut

48. “Anybody that competes with slaves becomes a slave,” said Harrison thickly, and he left.” – Kurt Vonnegut

49. “No trouble. There really isn’t a heck of a lot to the job.” – Kurt Vonnegut

50. “There’s something about war that brings out greatness.” – Kurt Vonnegut

More Kurt Vonnegut quotes and sayings

51. “It’s a terrible waste to be happy and not notice it.” – Kurt Vonnegut

52. “Time is liquid. One moment is no more important than any other and all moments quickly run away.” – Kurt Vonnegut

53. “Unannounced changes in life’s itinerary are like dancing lessons from God.” – Kurt Vonnegut

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

55. “Humor is a way of holding off how awful life can be, to protect yourself.” – Kurt Vonnegut

56. “That is my principal objection to life, I think: It’s too easy, when alive, to make perfectly horrible mistakes.” – Kurt Vonnegut

57. “In an unmoored life like mine, sleep and hunger and work arrange themselves to suit themselves, without consulting me.” – Kurt Vonnegut

58. “The practice of art isn’t to make a living. It’s to make your soul grow.” – Kurt Vonnegut

59. “Music makes practically everybody fonder of life than he or she would be without it.” – Kurt Vonnegut

What did you learn from these Kurt Vonnegut quotes?

If you haven’t read any of Kurt Vonnegut’s work other than what is quoted above, you may want to give some of it a try. He wrote and had published three collections of short stories, five nonfiction books, and fourteen novels while he was alive. More of his work was published after he passed away. 

Kurt Vonnegut is a great example of what hard work and perseverance can accomplish. There is a long list of difficult situations that he experienced in life but he continued to overcome them and keep moving forward with his writing and his work as an activist.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Kurt Vonnegut quotes and sayings? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

Stephanie Kirby
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