122+ Best Kurt Vonnegut Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was an American writer known for his satirical literary style, as well as the science-fiction elements in much of his work. Profoundly inspirational Kurt Vonnegut quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for quotes from great authors that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of profound Leo Tolstoy quotes, amazing Lewis Carroll quotes and top Neil Gaiman quotes.

Famous Kurt Vonnegut Quotes

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! – Kurt Vonnegut

We’re terrible animals. I think that the Earth’s immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should. – Kurt Vonnegut

Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them in order that the reader may see what they are made of. – Kurt Vonnegut

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country. – Kurt Vonnegut

Nobody will stop you from creating. Do it tonight. Do it tomorrow. That is the way to make your soul grow. – Kurt Vonnegut

Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. – Kurt Vonnegut

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

Trout, incidentally, had written a book about a money tree. It had twenty-dollar bills for leaves. Its flowers were government bonds. Its fruit was diamonds. It attracted human beings who killed each other around the roots and made very good fertilizer. – Kurt Vonnegut

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

The system promotes to the top those who don’t care about the planet. – Kurt Vonnegut

You want to know something? We are still in the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages–they haven’t ended yet. – Kurt Vonnegut

The sermon was based on what he claimed was a well-known fact, that there were no Atheists in foxholes. I asked Jack what he thought of the sermon afterwards, and he said, there’s a Chaplain who never visited the front. – Kurt Vonnegut

Being an American means never having to say you’re sorry. – Kurt Vonnegut

It is a very mixed blessing to be brought back from the dead. – Kurt Vonnegut

All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let’s get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States – and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death! – Kurt Vonnegut

Hate, in the long run, is about as nourishing as cyanide. – Kurt Vonnegut

People don’t come to church for preachments, of course, but to daydream about God. – Kurt Vonnegut

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. – Kurt Vonnegut

Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time. – Kurt Vonnegut

The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest. – Kurt Vonnegut

I was taught in the sixth grade that we had a standing army of just over a hundred thousand men and that the generals had nothing to say about what was done in Washington. I was taught to be proud of that and to pity Europe for having more than a million men under arms and spending all their money on airplanes and tanks. I simply never unlearned junior civics. I still believe in it. I got a very good grade. – Kurt Vonnegut

If people think nature is their friend, then they sure don’t need an enemy. – Kurt Vonnegut

One thing I found out was that we need extended families. We need gangs. And, of course, if they’re tribes and clans and so forth have been dispersed by the industrial revolution by people looking for work wherever they can find it. And a nuclear family, a man, a woman and kids and a dog and cat is no survival scheme at all. Horribly vulnerable. – Kurt Vonnegut

Praise or damn as you please, but do so rather flatly, pragmatically, with cunning attention to annoying or gratifying details. Be yourself. Be unique. Be a good editor. The Universe needs more good editors, God knows. – Kurt Vonnegut

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

Kilgore Trout once wrote a short story which was a dialogue between two pieces of yeast. They were discussing the possible purposes of life as they ate sugar and suffocated in their own excrement. Because of their limited intelligence, they never came close to guessing that they were making champagne. – Kurt Vonnegut

There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters. – Kurt Vonnegut

My country is in ruins. So, I’m a fish in a poisoned fishbowl. I’m mostly just heartsick about this. There should have been hope. This should have been a great country. But we are despised all over the world now. I was hoping to build a country and add to its literature. That’s why I served in World War II, and that’s why I wrote books. – Kurt Vonnegut

No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious & charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful. – Kurt Vonnegut

I say the same thing about the death of James Wait. Oh, well — he wasn’t going to write the Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony anyway. – Kurt Vonnegut

Just in the nick of time they realized that it was their own habitat they were wrecking — that they weren’t merely visitors. – Kurt Vonnegut

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

The only difference between Hitler and Bush is that Hitler was elected. – Kurt Vonnegut

Every passing hour brings the Solar System forty-three thousand miles closer to Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules — and still there are some misfits who insist that there is no such thing as progress. – Kurt Vonnegut

Because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think our lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs. So, people pretend there is drama where there is none. – Kurt Vonnegut

Anybody with any sense knows the whole solar system will go up like a celluloid collar by-and-by. – Kurt Vonnegut

How on earth can religious people believe in so much arbitrary, clearly invented balderdash?….The acceptance of a creed, any creed, entitles the acceptor to membership in the sort of artificial extended family we call a congregation. It is a way to fight loneliness. Any time I see a person fleeing from reason and into religion, I think to myself, there goes a person who simply cannot stand being so goddamned lonely anymore. – Kurt Vonnegut

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. – Kurt Vonnegut

Plato, by the way, wanted to banish all poets from his proposed Utopia because they were liars. The truth was that Plato knew philosophers couldn’t compete successfully with poets. – Kurt Vonnegut

Since Alice had never received any religious instruction, and since she had led a blameless life, she never thought of her awful luck as being anything but accidents in a very busy place. Good for her. – Kurt Vonnegut

Be patient, Ophelia. Love, Hamlet – Kurt Vonnegut

Socialism is no more an evil word than Christianity. Socialism no more prescribed Joseph Stalin and his secret police and shuttered churches than Christianity prescribed the Spanish Inquisition. Christianity and socialism alike, in fact, prescribe a society dedicated to the proposition that all men, women, and children are created equal and shall not starve. – Kurt Vonnegut

Our governments got a war on drugs. That’s certainly better than no drugs at all. – Kurt Vonnegut

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. – Kurt Vonnegut

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. – Kurt Vonnegut

If what Jesus said was good, what can it matter whether he was God or not? – Kurt Vonnegut

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. – Kurt Vonnegut

Your eloquence should be the servant of the ideas in your head. Your rule might be this: If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out. – Kurt Vonnegut

I asked this heroic pet lover how it felt to have died for a schnauzer named Teddy. Salvador Biagiani was philosophical. He said it sure beat dying for absolutely nothing in the Viet Nam War. – Kurt Vonnegut

It used to be said of a man who had suffered a catastrophic setback in his line of work that he had been handed his head on a platter. We are being handed our heads with tweezers now. – Kurt Vonnegut

One of the few good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us. – Kurt Vonnegut

Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for. – Kurt Vonnegut

Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum. – Kurt Vonnegut

You meet saints everywhere. They can be anywhere. They are people behaving decently in an indecent society. – Kurt Vonnegut

You are pooped and demoralized, read Dwayne. Why wouldn’t you be? Of course, it is exhausting, having to reason all the time in a universe which wasn’t meant to be reasonable. – Kurt Vonnegut

Any man who would change the World in a significant way must have showmanship, a genial willingness to shed other people’s blood, and a plausible new religion to introduce during the brief period of repentance and horror that usually follows bloodshed. – Kurt Vonnegut

I’m eighty-three and homeless. It was the same when World War II ended. The Army kept me on because I could type, so I was typing other people’s discharges and stuff. And my feeling was Please, I’ve done everything I was supposed to do. Can I go home now? That what I feel right now. I’ve written books. Lots of them. Please, I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do. Can I go home now? I’ve wondered where home is. It’s when I was in Indianapolis when I was nine years old. Had a dog, a cat, a brother, a sister. – Kurt Vonnegut

No art is possible without a dance with death. – Kurt Vonnegut

I still catch myself feeling sad about things that don’t matter anymore. – Kurt Vonnegut

About belief or lack of belief in an afterlife: Some of you may know that I am neither Christian nor Jewish nor Buddhist, 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. – Kurt Vonnegut

But some of the nonsense was evil, since it concealed great crimes. For example, teachers of children in the United States of America wrote this date on blackboards again and again and asked the children to memorize it with pride and joy: 1492. The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them. – Kurt Vonnegut

The prostitutes worked for a pimp now. He was splendid and cruel. He was a god to them. He took their free will away from them, which was perfectly all right. They didn’t want it anyway. It was as though they had surrendered themselves to Jesus, for instance, so they could live unselfishly and trustingly-except that they had surrendered to a pimp instead. – Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut speaking to John Irving while Irving was administering the Heimlich maneuver in response to Vonnegut’s uncontrollable coughing…John, stop- I am not choking. I have emphysema. – Kurt Vonnegut

World War II made war reputable because it was a just war. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. You know how many other just wars there have been? Not many. And the guys I served with became my brothers. If it weren’t for World War II, I’d now be the garden editor of The Indianapolis Star. I wouldn’t have moved away. – Kurt Vonnegut

America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves… It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. – Kurt Vonnegut

Comedians and jazz musicians have been more comforting and enlightening to me than preachers or politicians or philosophers or poets or painters or novelists of my time. Historians in the future, in my opinion, will congratulate us on very little other than our clowning and our jazz. – Kurt Vonnegut

Everything is nothing, with a twist. – Kurt Vonnegut

Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style. – Kurt Vonnegut

You’ll forget it when you’re dead, and so will I. When I’m dead, I’m going to forget everything–and I advise you to do the same. – Kurt Vonnegut

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. – Kurt Vonnegut

Question: What is the white stuff in bird poop? Answer: That is bird poop, too. – Kurt Vonnegut

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. – Kurt Vonnegut

The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not. – Kurt Vonnegut

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. – Kurt Vonnegut

To the as-yet-unborn, to all innocent wisps of undifferentiated nothingness: Watch out for life. – Kurt Vonnegut

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile. – Kurt Vonnegut

We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different. – Kurt Vonnegut

The darkest secret of this country, I am afraid, is that too many of its citizens imagine that they belong to a much higher civilization somewhere else. That higher civilization doesn’t have to be another country. It can be the past instead—the United States as it was before it was spoiled by immigrants and the enfranchisement of the blacks. This state of mind allows too many of us to lie and cheat and steal from the rest of us, to sell us junk and addictive poisons and corrupting entertainments. What are the rest of us, after all, but sub-human aborigines? – Kurt Vonnegut

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. – Kurt Vonnegut

Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak. – Kurt Vonnegut

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

Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic, and in tough times of my life I can listen to music and it makes such a difference. – Kurt Vonnegut

Any form of government, not just Capitalism, is whatever people who have all our money, drunk or sober, sane or insane, decide to do today. – Kurt Vonnegut

Smoking is the only honorable form of suicide. – Kurt Vonnegut

War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun. – Kurt Vonnegut

Where is home? I’ve wondered where home is, and I realized, it’s not Mars or someplace like that, it’s Indianapolis when I was nine years old. I had a brother and a sister, a cat and a dog, and a mother and a father and uncles and aunts. And there’s no way I can get there again. – Kurt Vonnegut

I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, ‘The Beatles did. – Kurt Vonnegut

Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die. – Kurt Vonnegut

Swoopers write a story quickly, higgledy-piggledy, crinkum-crankum, any which way. Then they go over it again painstakingly, fixing everything that is just plain awful or doesn’t work. Bashers go one sentence at a time, getting it exactly right before they go on to the next one. When they’re done, they’re done. – Kurt Vonnegut

Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey. – Kurt Vonnegut

Someday, someday, this crazy world will have to end, and our God will take things back that He to us did lend. And if, on that sad day, you want to scold our God, why just go ahead and scold Him. He’ll just smile and nod. – Kurt Vonnegut

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. – Kurt Vonnegut

Do you think Arabs are dumb? They gave us our numbers. Try doing long division with Roman numerals. – Kurt Vonnegut

There are too many of us and we are all too far apart. – Kurt Vonnegut

Maturity, the way I understand it, is knowing what your limitations are. – Kurt Vonnegut

Human beings are about 1,000 times dumber and meaner than they think they are. – Kurt Vonnegut

Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns. – Kurt Vonnegut

Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia. – Kurt Vonnegut

I can think of no more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire engine. – Kurt Vonnegut

Historians in the future, in my opinion, will congratulate us on very little other than our clowning and our jazz. – Kurt Vonnegut

And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction. – Kurt Vonnegut

You don’t do art for any other reason than to help your soul grow. – Kurt Vonnegut

If you want to really hurt you parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. 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 possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something. – Kurt Vonnegut

If you can’t write clearly, you probably don’t think nearly as well as you think you do. – Kurt Vonnegut

Make war not on terrorism but on ignorance, on sickness and on environmental degradation. – Kurt Vonnegut

I think, therefore I am, therefore I am photographable. – Kurt Vonnegut

All the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So, we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind. – Kurt Vonnegut

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. – Kurt Vonnegut

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

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

Luck is not the hand of God…. Luck is the way the wind swirls and the dust settles eons after God has passed by. – Kurt Vonnegut

You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. – Kurt Vonnegut

To whom it may concern: It is springtime. It is late afternoon. – Kurt Vonnegut

It’s perfectly ordinary to be a socialist. It’s perfectly normal to be in favor of fire departments. – Kurt Vonnegut

The two real political parties in America are the Winners and the Losers. The people don’t acknowledge this. They claim membership in two imaginary parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, instead. – Kurt Vonnegut

It is time for me to be dead for a little while – and then live again. – Kurt Vonnegut

The Population Reference Bureau predicts that the world’s total population will double to 7,000,000,000 before the year 2000. I suppose they will all want dignity, I said. – Kurt Vonnegut

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. – Kurt Vonnegut

Well here you are, there it is, this is what it’s all about. – Kurt Vonnegut

When the last living thing Has died on account of us, how poetical it would be If Earth could say, In a voice floating up Perhaps From the floor Of the Grand Canyon, It is done. People did not like it here. – Kurt Vonnegut

Every sentence must do one of two things-reveal character or advance the action. – Kurt Vonnegut

There’s only one me, and I’m stuck with him. – Kurt Vonnegut

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