How can anybody learn anything from an artwork when the piece of art only reflects the vanity of the artist and not reality?

I always believed that I have something important to say and I said it.

I always thought martial arts was the most modern choreography we could have right now, and I always wanted to put it to music.

I can concentrate on my art.

I can’t do anything I want to. I mean, I can’t have my own TV show. I can’t have my own movie. But within my little world, nobody tells me what to put on the albums.

I cleaned up my act because otherwise I would have kicked the bucket.

I don’t believe in dressing up reality. I don’t believe in using makeup to make things look smoother.

I don’t know anyone actually who does care what a critic says.

I don’t know what goes on in the crowd. I’ve had them show up and throw beer cans at me. I caused riots in most of the major cities.

I don’t like nostalgia unless it’s mine.

I don’t like overdubs, never liked them.

I don’t like the word rock opera, but I’m trying to write on that level that’s reserved for plays still, or novels.

I don’t mind a repetitive chorus; I mind repetitive verse. I mean, it’s the same amount of space. Why would you have only three diamonds if you can have six?

I don’t really think about what the subject of my next album will be. I just know that I’m going to make another album.

I don’t think anybody is anybody else’s moral compass. Maybe listening to my music is not the best idea if you live a very constricted life. Or maybe it is.

I don’t think I’m in any position to call myself a martial artist. I’m a student of the martial arts.

I love Ornette Coleman. I love Don Cherry. I love the way those guys play.

I think it’s pretentious to create art just for the sake of stroking the artists ego.

I think life is far too short to concentrate on your past. I rather look into the future.

I think that everything happens for a reason, everything happens when it’s going to happen.

In the late 70‘s I started to search for the perfect sound – whatever that might be, before that I was mainly interested in drugs, insanity and the rock’n’roll lifestyle.

Life is like Sanskrit read to a pony.

Perfect Night is minimalistic and that’s what makes it so forceful.

The most important part of my religion is to play guitar.

I think that everything happens for a reason, everything happens when it’s going to happen.

There’s only X amount of time. You can do whatever you want with that time. It’s your time.

There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.

The music is all. People should die for it. People are dying for everything else, so why not the music?

The most important part of my religion is to play guitar.

Me, I’ve concentrated on music pretty much to the exclusion of other things.”

Some even claim that I’m a terror, a dictator and they’re right.

I tried to give up drugs by drinking.

These are really terribly rough times, and we really should try to be as nice to each other as possible.

It’s depressing when you’re still around and your albums are out of print.

I don’t know anyone actually who does care what a critic says.

I don’t know what goes on in the crowd. I’ve had them show up and throw beer cans at me. I caused riots in most of the major cities.

I’m in this business for too long to be half-hearted about anything.

Me, I’ve concentrated on music pretty much to the exclusion of other things.

One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.



On the Beatles:

“We’re not Beatles to each other, you know. It’s a joke to us. If we’re going out the door of the hotel, we say, ‘Right! Beatle John! Beatle George now! Come on, let’s go!’ We don’t put on a false front or anything.” — Look, 1966

“Paul (McCartney) and I made a deal when we were 15. There was never a legal deal between us, just a deal we made when we decided to write together that we put both our names on it, no matter what.” — Playboy, published in 1981

“I said we were more popular than Jesus, which is a fact.” — Look, 1966

“We were really professional by the time we got to the States; we had learned the whole game. When we arrived here we knew how to handle the press; the British press were the toughest in the world and we could handle anything. We were all right.” — Rolling Stone, 1971

“You see, we’re influenced by whatever’s going. Even if we’re not influenced, we’re all going that way at a certain time. If we played a Stones record now —and a Beatles record — and we’ve been way apart, you’d find a lot of similarities. We’re all heavy. Just heavy.” — Rolling Stone, 1968

“Carrying The Beatles’ or the Sixties’ dream around all your life is like carrying the Second World War and Glenn Miller around. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy Glenn Miller or The Beatles, but to live in that dream is the twilight zone. It’s not living now. It’s an illusion.” — Playboy, 1981

“They’ve been trying to knock us down since we began, especially the British press, always saying, ‘What are you going to do when the bubble bursts?’ That was the in-crowd joke with us. We’d go when we decided, not when some fickle public decided, because we were not a manufactured group. We knew what we were doing. — Rolling Stone, 1971, on The Beatles

“There is not one thing that’s Beatle music. How can they talk about it like that? What is Beatle music? Walrus or Penny Lane? Which? It’s too diverse: I Want to Hold Your Hand or Revolution Number Nine?Rolling Stone, 1971

“Why should The Beatles give more? Didn’t they give everything on God’s earth for ten years? Didn’t they give themselves?” — Playboy, 1981

“I’ve got used to the fact — just about — that whatever I do is going to be compared to the other Beatles. If I took up ballet dancing, my ballet dancing would be compared with Paul (McCartney)’s bowling.” — Rolling Stone, 1975

“I said to Paul ‘I’m leaving.’ ” — Rolling Stone, 1971, on quitting The Beatles

“It’s like saying, you know, ‘Did you remember falling in love?’ Not quite. It just sort of happens” — The Dick Cavett Show, 1971, on his memories of breaking up with the Beatles

On songwriting:

“All we are saying is, ‘This is what is happening to us.’ We are sending postcards. I don’t let it become ‘I am the awakened; you are sheep that will be shown the way.’ That is the danger of saying anything, you know.” — Playboy, 1981

“I was trying to write about an affair without letting me wife know I was writing about an affair, so it was very gobbledegook. I was sort of writing from my experiences, girls’ flats, things like that.” — Rolling Stone, 1971, on writing Norwegian Wood years before

“The first line (of I Am The Walrus) was written on one acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko.” — Playboy, 1981

“They can take anything apart. I mean, I hit it on all levels, you know. We write lyrics, and I write lyrics that you don’t realize what they mean till after.” — Rolling Stone,1968, when asked about “philosophical analyses” of Strawberry Fields

“In Baby You’re A Rich Man the point was, stop moaning, you’re a rich man and we’re all rich, heh heh, baby!” — Rolling Stone, 1968

“I’m always proud and pleased when people do my songs. It gives me pleasure that they even attempt them, because a lot of my songs aren’t that doable.” — Playboy, 1981

“The images (in Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds) were from Alice in Wonderland. It was Alice in the boat. She is buying an egg and it turns into Humpty Dumpty. The woman serving in the shop turns into a sheep and the next minute they are rowing in a rowing boat somewhere and I was visualizing that. There was also the image of the female who would someday come save me … a ‘girl with kaleidoscope eyes’ who would come out of the sky. It turned out to be Yoko (Ono), though I hadn’t met Yoko yet. So maybe it should be Yoko in the Sky With Diamonds.” — Playboy, 1981

On himself:

“I’m cynical about society, politics, newspapers, government. But I’m not cynical about life, love, goodness, death. That’s why I really don’t want to be labeled a cynic.” — Look, 1966

“I’m a freakin’ artist, man, not a (expletive) race horse.” — Rolling Stone, 1975

“Yes, if there is such a thing, I am one.” — Rolling Stone, 1971, when asked if he thought he was a genius

“One of my big things is that I wish to be a fisherman. I know it sounds silly — and I’d sooner be rich than poor, and all the rest of that … but I wish the pain was ignorance or bliss or something.” — Rolling Stone, 1971

“I never went to high school reunions. My thing is, out of sight, out of mind. That’s my attitude toward life. So I don’t have any romanticism about any part of my past.” — Playboy, 1981

“I’m not telling. Lots more than I ever had before.” — Rolling Stone, 1971, asked how much money he had

“Nobody controls me. I’m uncontrollable. The only one who controls me is me, and that’s just barely possible.” – Playboy, 1981

On marriage to Yoko Ono:

“It was very romantic. It’s all in the song, The Ballad of John and Yoko. If you want to know how it happened, it’s in there. Gibraltar was like a little sunny dream. I couldn’t find a white suit — I had sort of off-white corduroy trousers and a white jacket. Yoko had all white on.” — Rolling Stone, 1971

“When we got married, we knew our honeymoon was going to be public, anyway, so we decided to use it to make a statement. We sat in bed and talked to reporters for seven days. It was hilarious. In effect, we were doing a commercial for peace on the front page of the papers instead of a commercial for war.” — Playboy, 1981, on his and Ono’s 1969 “Bed-In”

“I was a working-class macho guy who was used to being served and Yoko didn’t buy that. From the day I met her, she demanded equal time, equal space, equal rights.” — Newsweek, 1980

“She inspired all this creation in me. It wasn’t that she inspired the songs; she inspired me.” — Playboy, 1981

“It is a teacher-pupil relationship. That’s what people don’t understand. She’s the teacher and I’m the pupil. I’m the famous one, the one who’s supposed to know everything, but she’s my teacher.” — Playboy, 1981

On fatherhood:

“If you know your history, it took (Ono and me) a long time to have a live baby. And I wanted to give five solid years to Sean. I hadn’t seen Julian, my first son (by ex-wife Cynthia), grow up at all. And now there’s a 17-year-old man on the phone talking about motorbikes.” — Newsweek, 1980

“Yoko became the breadwinner, taking care of the bankers and deals. And I became the housewife. It was like one of those reversal comedies! I’d say (mincingly), ‘Well, how was it at the office today, dear? Do you want a cocktail? I didn’t get your slippers and your shirts aren’t back from the laundry.’ To all housewives, I say I now understand what you’re screaming about.” — Newsweek, 1980

On faith:

“I believe Jesus was right, Buddha was right, and all of those people like that are right. They’re all saying the same thing — and I believe it. I believe what Jesus actually said — the basic things he laid down about love and goodness — and not what people say he said.” — Look, 1966

“I don’t believe in magic … I don’t believe in Jesus … I don’t believe in Buddha … I don’t believe in Elvis … I don’t believe in Beatles.” — God, 1970

“Imagine there’s no heaven/ It’s easy if you try/ No hell below us/ Above us only sky/ Imagine all the people/ Living for today.” — Imagine, 1971

On listening to music:

“There is nothing conceptually better than rock ‘n’ roll. No group, be it Beatles, Dylan or Stones, have ever improved on Whole Lot of Shaking for my money. Or maybe I’m like our parents: that’s my period and I dig it and I’ll never leave it.” — Rolling Stone, 1971

“All music is rehash. There are only a few notes. Just variations on a theme. Try to tell the kids in the Seventies who were screaming to the Bee Gees that their music was just The Beatles redone. There is nothing wrong with the Bee Gees.” — Playboy, 1980

“I’m still a record man. There’s nobody — including meself —on earth that I can sit down and listen to a whole album.” — Rolling Stone, 1975

“I don’t purchase records. I do enjoy listening to things like Japanese folk music or Indian music.” — Playboy, 1981

On other rock stars:

“It depends who they are. If it’s Mick (Jagger) or the Old Guard as I call them, yeah, they’re the Old Guard. Elton (John), David (Bowie) are the newies. I don’t feel like an old uncle, dear, ’cause I’m not that much older than half of ’em, hehe.” —Rolling Stone, 1975

“I didn’t come after Elvis and Dylan, I’ve been around always. But if I see or meet a great artist, I love ’em.” — Rolling Stone, 1971

“I stopped listening to Dylan with both ears after Highway 64 (sic) and Blonde on Blonde, and even then it was because George (Harrison) would sit me down and make me listen.” — Playboy, 1981

“Wouldn’t it be interesting to take Elvis back to his Sun Records period? I don’t know. But I’m content to listen to his Sun Records. I don’t want to dig him up out of the grave.” — Playboy, 1981

On health and mortality:

“I don’t want to grow up but I’m sick of not growing up — that way. I’ll find a different way of not growing up. There’s a better way of doing it than torturing your body.” — Rolling Stone, 1975

“We’re mostly macrobiotic, but sometimes I take the family out for a pizza.” — Playboy, 1981

“I could still be forgotten when I’m dead. I don’t really care what happens when I’m dead.” — The Dick Cavett Show, 1971

“Cat has nine lives/ Nine lives to itself/ But you only got one/ And a dog’s life ain’t fun.” — Crippled Inside, 1971

“Two branches of one tree/ Face the setting sun/ When the day is done.” — Grow Old With Me, released in 1984

On drugs:

“It was only another mirror. It wasn’t a miracle. It was more of a visual thing and a therapy, looking at yourself a bit.” — Rolling Stone, 1971, on how LSD affected his music after he began experimenting in 1964

“We were smoking marijuana for breakfast. We were well into marijuana and nobody could communicate with us, because we were just all glazed eyes, giggling all the time. In our own world.” — on The Beatles during their Help! period

“(Happiness Is A Warm Gun) is not about heroin. A gun magazine was sitting there with a smoking gun on the cover and an article that I never read inside called ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun.’ I took it right from there. I took it as the terrible idea of just having shot some animal.” — Playboy, 1981

“If somebody gives me a joint, I might smoke it, but I don’t go after it.” — Playboy, 1981

On fame:

“I don’t mind looking to the camera — it’s people that throw me.” — Look, 1966

“You don’t have to be a star to get a cheese sandwich. You just have to be first.” — Look, 1966

“I’ve withdrawn many times. Part of me is a monk, and part a performing flea! The fear in the music business is that you don’t exist if you’re not at Xenon with Andy Warhol.” — Newsweek, 1980

“Half the time you don’t know what you’re talking about when you’re talking to reporters.” — The Dick Cavett Show, 1971

“No longer riding on the merry-go-round/ I just had to let it go.” —Watching the Wheels, 1980

On the human condition:

“You’re born in pain. Pain is what we are in most of the time, and I think that the bigger the pain, the more God you look for.” — Rolling Stone, 1971

“The unknown is what it is. And to be frightened of it is what sends everybody scurrying around chasing dreams, illusions, wars, peace, love, hate, all that … it’s all illusion.” — Playboy, 1981

“Remember though love is strange/ Now and forever love will remain.” — Bless You, 1974

“Better recognize your brothers/ Everyone you meet.” — Instant Karma!, 1970

“Every day in every way/ It’s getting better and better.” — Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy), 1980

“After all is said and done/ You can’t go pleasing everyone.” — I’m Stepping Out, released 1984

On politics and revolution:

“I don’t want to die, and I don’t want to be hurt physically, but if they blow the world up … we’re all out of our pain then, forget it, no more problems!” — Rolling Stone, 1971

“That radicalism (of the ’70s) was phony, really, because it was out of guilt. I’d always felt guilty that I made money, so I had to give it away or lose it. I don’t mean I was a hypocrite. When I believe, I believe right down to the roots.” — Newsweek, 1980

“In England, there are only two things to be, basically: You are either for the labour movement or for the capitalist movement. Either you become a right-wing Archie Bunker if you are in the class I am in, or you become an instinctive socialist, which I was.” — Playboy, 1981

“There is no denying that we are still living in the capitalist world. I think that in order to survive and to change the world, you have to take care of yourself first. You have to survive yourself.” —Playboy, 1981

“It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don’t expect Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself.” — Playboy, 1981

On the future:

“The sun will never disappear/ But the world may not have many years.” — Isolation, 1970

“I couldn’t think of the next few years; it’s abysmal thinking of how many years there are to go, millions of them. I just play it by the week.” — Rolling Stone, 1971

“I hope we’re a nice old couple living off the coast of Ireland or something like that — looking at our scrapbook of madness.” — Rolling Stone, 1971, imagining himself at 64 with Ono

‘It looks like I’m going to be 40 and life begins at 40 — so they promise. And I believe it, too.” —Playboy, 1981

“I hope some day you will join us/ And the world will live as one.” — Imagine, 1971



And it was a very, very fruitful and great relationship between the Stones and The Beatles. It was very, very friendly.

Another thing to do with the blues is how they were recorded. They were done on the quick, and some of that stuff was made on wire, not even tape, let alone digital.

Everybody’s got a different way of telling a story – and has different stories to tell.

Everyone talks about rock these days; the problem is they forget about the roll.

Good music comes out of people playing together, knowing what they want to do and going for it. You have to sweat over it and bug it to death. You can’t do it by pushing buttons and watching a TV screen.

Hey, we just enjoy it. I think we think we’re getting the hang of this thing, you know?

I achieved everything I wanted to achieve by being in the Rolling Stones and making records.

I don’t trust doctors. It’s not to say there ain’t some good ones, but on a general level, no, I wouldn’t trust ’em at all.

I have no idea what the audience makes of me.

I look for ambiguity when I’m writing because life is ambiguous.

I mean some doctor told me I had six months to live and I went to their funeral.

I mean, give me a guitar, give me a piano, give me a broom and string, I wouldn’t get bored anywhere.

I never thought I was wasted, but I probably was.

I only get ill when I give up drugs.

I’ve always been suspicious of TV, I’ve always found music and video to be an unhappy marriage.

I’ve never had a problem with drugs. I’ve had problems with the police.

I’ve never had my hair cut by anybody, I do it all myself.

If you don’t know the blues… there’s no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock and roll or any other form of popular music.

If you say I’m great, thank you very much. But I know what I am. I could be better, man, you know?

If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use both feet.

It’s an addiction… and addiction is something I should know something about.

It’s good to be anywhere.

It’s great to be here. It’s great to be anywhere.

Let me be clear about this. I don’t have a drug problem. I have a police problem.

Rock and Roll: Music for the neck downwards.

Songwriting’s a weird game.

The Beatles were basically a vocal band.

The only things Mick and I disagree about is the band, the music and what we do.

The Stones in a club is still the ultimate rush.

There’s no substitute for live work to keep a band together.

This is the rock ‘n’ roll life, and you had to invent it as you went along. There was no textbook to say how you operate this machinery.

To make a rock’n’roll record, technology is the least important thing.

To me, as long as we’ve known each other, I’ve always thought Mick’s most brilliant thing was that he could work in an area two foot square and give a very exciting performance.

To me, my biggest fear is getting a big head, and that is when I get the hammer. Because it’s very easy in this game to believe you’re something special.

When I listen to what I did under the influence – 10 years of work – I don’t think it either enhanced or impaired me. It didn’t have that much to do with it.

When you’re supported by millions all over the world, you can either go nuts, or try to feed off the goodwill.

Yes, I’ve been trepanned. That’s quite an interesting experience, especially for my brain surgeon, who saw my thoughts flying around in my brain.

You didn’t know whether Chuck Berry was black or white – it was not a concern.

You don’t start to play your guitar thinking you’re going to be running an organization that will maybe generate millions.

You get onstage and make other people feel happy. Make them feel good.

You have the sun, you have the moon, you have the air that you breathe – and you have the Rolling Stones!

You know, the BBC had not been particularly generous in its deliverance of blues and esoteric kinds of music.

You’ve got the sun, you’ve got the moon, and you’ve got the Rolling Stones.


Art is the elimination of the unnecessary. ”

I paint objects as I think them not as I see them.”

It takes a long time to become young.”

“Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one’s bath like a lump of sugar.”

Now there is fame! Of all — hunger, misery, the incomprehension by the public — fame is by far the worst. It is the castigation of God by the artist. It is sad. It is true.”

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

“Good artists copy, great artists steal”

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”

What one does is what counts and not what one had the intention of doing.”

Everything you can imagine is real.”

What might be taken for a precocious genius is the genius of childhood. When the child grows up, it disappears without a trace. It may happen that this boy will become a real painter some day, or even a great painter. But then he will have to begin everything again, from zero.”

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”

“Every child is an artist. The problem is to remain an artist once they grow up.”

Unless your work gives you trouble, it is no good.”

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.”

Sculpture is the best comment that a painter can make on painting.”

I am always doing things I can’t do, that’s how I get to do them.”

Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time.”

He can who thinks he can, and he can’t who thinks he can’t. This is an inexorable, indisputable law.”

It is personality with a penny’s worth of talent. Error which chances to rise above the commonplace.”

Disciples be damned. It’s not interesting. It’s only the masters that matter. Those who create.”

Museums are just a lot of lies, and the people who make art their business are mostly imposters. We have infected the pictures in museums with all our stupidities, all our mistakes, all our poverty of spirit. We have turned them into petty and ridiculous things.”

To copy others is necessary, but to copy oneself is pathetic.”

Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.”

It is your work in life that is your ultimate seduction.”

Drawing is a kind of hypnotism: one looks in such a way at the model, that he comes and takes a seat on the paper.”

The chief enemy of creativity is good taste.”

I who have been involved with all styles of painting can assure you that the only things that fluctuate are the waves of fashion which carry the snobs and speculators; the number of true connoisseurs remains more or less the same.”

The more technique you have, the less you have to worry about it. The more technique there is, the less there is.”

Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.”

Drink to me.”

Accidents, try to change them — it’s impossible. The accidental reveals man.”

We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.”

Through art we express our conception of what nature is not.”

Sculpture is the art of the intelligence.”

If everybody is looking for it, then nobody is finding it. If we were cultured, we would not be conscious of lacking culture. We would regard it as something natural and would not make so much fuss about it. And if we knew the real value of this word we would be cultured enough not to give it so much importance.”

Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.”

Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? no. Just as one can never learn how to paint.”

Is there anything more dangerous than sympathetic understanding?”

An idea is a point of departure and no more. As soon as you elaborate it, it becomes transformed by thought.”

My mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier you’ll be a general; if you become a monk you’ll end up as the Pope.’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”

When you start with a portrait and search for a pure form, a clear volume, through successive eliminations, you arrive inevitably at the egg. Likewise, starting with the egg and following the same process in reverse, one finishes with the portrait.”

One does a whole painting for one peach and people think just the opposite — that particular peach is but a detail.”

Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness.”

I have a horror of people who speak about the beautiful. What is the beautiful? One must speak of problems in painting!”

The people who make art their business are mostly impostors.”

The genius of Einstein leads to Hiroshima.”

If I spit, they will take my spit and frame it as great art.”

Matisse makes a drawing, then he makes a copy of it. He recopies it five times, ten times, always clarifying the line. He’s convinced that the last, the most stripped down, is the best, the purest, the definitive one; and in fact, most of the time, it was the first. In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt.”

Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.”

I don’t believe in accidents. There are only encounters in history. There are no accidents. ”

Work is necessary for man. Man invented the alarm clock.”

Often while reading a book one feels that the author would have preferred to paint rather than write; one can sense the pleasure he derives from describing a landscape or a person, as if he were painting what he is saying, because deep in his heart he would have preferred to use brushes and colors.”

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

To finish a work? To finish a picture? What nonsense! To finish it means to be through with it, to kill it, to rid it of its soul, to give it its final blow the coup de grace for the painter as well as for the picture.”

If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.”

Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs.”

Youth has no age.”

God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things.”

You mustn’t always believe what I say. Questions tempt you to tell lies, particularly when there is no answer.”

One must act in painting as in life, directly.”

We must not discriminate between things. Where things are concerned there are no class distinctions. We must pick out what is good for us where we can find it.”

It means nothing to me. I have no opinion about it, and I don’t care.”

What is a face, really? Its own photo? Its make-up? Or is it a face as painted by such or such painter? That which is in front? Inside? Behind? And the rest? Doesn’t everyone look at himself in his own particular way? Deformations simply do not exist.”

This idea of art for art’s sake is a hoax.”

People want Art. And they are given it. But the less Art there is in painting the more painting there is.”

By amusing myself with all these games, all this nonsense, all these picture puzzles, I became famous… I am only a public entertainer who has understood his time.”

Enough of Art. It’s Art that kills us. People no longer want to do painting: they make art.”

A picture lives by its legend – not by anything else.”

There are artists who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.”

For my part, I can’t do anything else but what I am doing.”

Academic training in beauty is a sham. We have been so deceived, but so well deceived that we can scarcely get back even a shadow of the truth.”

People who try to explain pictures are usually barking up the wrong tree.”

Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others. It leads to sterility.”

I do not seek, I find.”


“All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds.”

“I didn’t know the full dimensions of forever, but I knew it was longer than waiting for Christmas to come.”

“I don’t want my daughter to be educated. I think women should just be decorative.”

“I’ll think about things for thirty or forty years before I’ll write it.”

“I’m in a constant process of thinking about things.”

“It’s strange how the simple things in life go on while we become more difficult.”

“Probably the closest things to perfection are the huge absolutely empty holes that astronomers have recently discovered in space. If there’s nothing there, how can anything go wrong?”

“The sun was like a huge 50-cent piece that someone had poured kerosene on and then had lit with a match, and said, “Here, hold this while I go get a newspaper,” and put the coin in my hand, but never came back.”

If you get hung up on everybody else’s hang-ups, then the whole world’s going to be nothing more than one huge gallows.”

I like to think (it has to be!) of a cybernetic ecology where we are free of our labors and joined back to nature, returned to our mammal brothers and sisters, and all watched over by machines of loving grace.”
Everybody wants to go to bed with everybody else, they’re lined up for blocks, so I’ll go to bed with you. They won’t miss us.”

Thinking hard about you I got on the bus and paid 30 cents car fare and asked the driver for two transfers before discovering that I was alone.”
If a girl likes me a lot and starts getting real nervous and suddenly begins asking me funny questions and looks sad if I give the wrong answers and she says things like, “Do you think it’s going to rain?” and I say, “It beats me,” and she says, “Oh,” and looks a little sad at the clear blue California sky, I think: Thank God, it’s you, baby, this time. Instead of me.”

Everything smelled of sheep. The dandelions were suddenly more sheep than flower, each petal reflecting wool and the sound of a bell ringing off the yellow. But the thing that smelled the most like sheep, was the sun itself. When the sun went behind a cloud, the smell of sheep decreased, like standing on some old guy’s hearing aid, and when the sun came back again, the smell of the sheep was loud, like a clap of thunder inside a cup of coffee.”


The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts. They shoot for the baroque. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

You know the truth, the brick-hard, irregular, slithery surface of truth PHILIP K. DICK, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

If i had known it was harmless i would have killed it myself. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

Matter is plastic in the face of Mind. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

Life … is only heavy and none else; there is only the one trip, all heavy. Heavy that leads to the grave. For everyone and everything. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

It is amazing that when someone else spouts the nonsense you yourself believe you can readily perceive it as nonsense. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

Sometimes what looks out at you from a person’s eyes maybe died back in childhood. What’s dead in there still looks out. It’s not just the body looking at you with nothing in it; there’s still something in there but it died and just keeps on looking and looking; it can’t stop looking. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox; whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

No man is infinitely strong; for every creature that runs, flies, hops or crawls there is a terminal nemesis which he will not circumvent, which will finally do him in. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

The only real failure is to fail others. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

In the center of an irrational universe governed by an irrational Mind stands rational man. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

In wretched little lives like that, someone must intervene. Or at least mark their sad comings and goings. Mark and if possible permanently record, so they’ll be remembered. For a better day, later on, when people will understand. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

Reality is that which when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

The drive of unliving things is stronger than the drive of living things. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

The most dangerous kind of person … is one who is afraid of his own shadow. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

God is either powerless, stupid or he doesn’t give a shit. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity. PHILIP K. DICK, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Death hides within every religion. And at any time it can flash forth–not with healing in its wings but with poison, with that which wounds. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

Life in Anaheim, California, was a commercial for itself, endlessly replayed. Nothing changed; it just spread out farther and farther in the form of neon ooze. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

For each person there is a sentence–a series of words–which has the power to destroy him … another sentence exists, another series of words, which will heal the person. If you’re lucky you will get the second; but you can be certain of getting the first: that is the way it works. On their own, without training, individuals know how to deal out the lethal sentence, but training is required to deal out the second. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

Let it be said that one of the first symptoms of psychosis is that the person feels perhaps he is becoming psychotic. It is another Chinese fingertrap. You cannot think about it without becoming part of it. By thinking about madness, [one] … slipped by degrees into madness. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

God’s M.O. … is to transmute evil into good. If He is active here, He is doing that now, although our eyes can’t perceive it; the process lies hidden beneath the surface of reality, and emerges only later. To, perhaps, our waiting heirs. Paltry people who will not know the dreadful war we’ve gone through, and the losses we took, unless in some footnote in a minor history book they catch a notion. Some brief mention. With no list of the fallen. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

God can be good and terrible–not in succession–but at the same time. This is why we seek a mediator between us and him; we approach him through the mediating priest and attenuate and enclose him through the sacraments. It is for our own safety: to trap him within confines which render him safe. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

The distinction between sanity and insanity is narrower than the razor’s edge, sharper than a hound’s tooth, more agile than a mule deer. It is more elusive than the merest phantom. Perhaps it does not even exist; perhaps it is a phantom. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis

Any given man sees only a tiny portion of the total truth, and very often, in fact almost … perpetually, he deliberately deceives himself about that little precious fragment as well. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

Activity does not necessarily mean life. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

The problem with introspection is that it has no end. PHILIP K. DICK, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

It’s easy to win. Anybody can win. PHILIP K. DICK, A Scanner Darkly

If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others. PHILIP K. DICK, attributed, Small Molecule Therapeutics for Schizophrenia

Joy is the essential and final ingredient of science fiction, the joy of discovery of newness. PHILIP K. DICK, Paycheck and Other Classic Stories

Our flight must be not only to the stars but into the nature of our own beings. Because it is not merely where we go, to Alpha Centauri or Betelgeuse, but what we are as we make our pilgrimage there. Our natures will be going there, too. PHILIP K. DICK, “The Android and the Human”

Perhaps this is the bottom line to mental illness: incomprehensible events occur; your life becomes a bin for hoax-like fluctuations of what used to be reality. And not only that–as if that weren’t enough–but you … ponder forever over these fluctuations in an effort to order them into a coherancy, when in fact the only sense they make is the sense you impose on them, out of necessity to restore everything into shapes and processes you can recognize. The first thing to depart in mental illness is the familiar. And what takes its place is bad news because not only can you not understand it, you also cannot communicate it to other people. The madman experiences something, but what it is or where it comes from he does not know. PHILIP K. DICK, Valis


When the love of your life dies, the problem is not that some part of you dies too, which it does, but that some part of you is still alive.”

Loss isn’t an absence after all. It is a presence. A strong presence right next to me. I look at it. It doesn’t look like anything, that’s what is so strange. It just fits in.”

My father had a lifelong terror, phobia whatever, about hospitals. Makes a lot of sense in hindsight. He was so scared of doctors, he passed that on to me. That’s what parents exist for: to pass their phobias on generation to generation.”

It’s as if my footprints were already on the road before I even got there.I walk into them, my waiting footprints.”

She walked on and on as though if she walked far enough she might walk this thing out of her. As if by walking long enough, hard enough, she might forget.”

I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. Nor did I feel ambitious any more. It all seemed stupid wanting to be better than the others in the same ring, shallow, pointless.”

When it rains like that, dark in the afternoon, you feel like you’ve been taken into the past.”

How bizarre, i think to myself, to be on a train and to actually not want to arrive anywhere? What kind of madness is that?”

They never tell you about that either. How the hardest thing a mother has to do is give her child up, let them go, watch them run.”
“The beautiful have so much easier a time of it than the ugly, don’t you think? They get smiled at the whole time. Strangers offer them things. People notice the beautiful; the beautiful are constantly acknowledged.”

You noticed things. You’re not sure when you start. It’s only when you’ve noticed – noticed that you know you’ve noticed. Maybe between the first time when you’re staring to think, Is this what I think it is? and the second time when you think, Yes, between those two times, there’s a silence. A pause.”

The sound of his sleep, the snores and sighs and small noices, is company.”

During this period I feel as if some part of myself has been banished to another part of the world.I feel as if I cannot live my life to the full and feel everything I’m capable of feeling unless I have this love. The pleasure goes from me; the delight goes. Nothing means anything.”

You cannot penalize a man for one slip. Then she lay wondering about the word slip. When you slip, you fall, but maybe it is not such a sore fall because you have slipped.”

Make sure that the very different colors go next to each other so it looks deliberate. You don’t want to look as if you’ve just run out of colour and gone for the next nearest thing.”

Life is too short to argue about time.”

I’ve never seen grief like it. Grief like that, it’s like an animal. She’s not eating. She’s not sleeping. She’s whimpering. She’s sluggish. She’s not herself”

Do things in your own time. Everybody should like how they choose. We never know what goes behind the blinds.”

In my head maybe it was a test of love, because there are things about illness which I find revolting.”

I’ve started to feel very odd within my own life. It’s most peculiar to feel lonely inside your own life.”

We’re not alive to be alone on the planet. We’re alive to share, to eat together and love together and laugh together and cry together. If you can never love because you will always lose, what reason is there to live?”

What a thing it is to have music that plays your terrible thoughts. I imagined that one piece could drive more delicate women than myself to insanity.”


“If you are under the impression you have already perfected yourself, you will never rise to the heights you are no doubt capable of.”
“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.”
“As a writer, I’m more interested in what people tell themselves happened rather than what actually happened.”
“You need to remember that. If you’re to have decent lives, you have to know who you are and what lies ahead of you, every one of you.”
“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.”
“You have to accept that sometimes that’s how things happen in this world. People’s opinions, their feelings, they go one way, then the other. It just so happens you grew up at a certain point in this process.”
“The evening’s the best part of the day. You’ve done your day’s work. Now you can put your feet up and enjoy it.”
“One is not struck by the truth until prompted quite accidentally by some external event.”
“When you are young, there are many things which appear dull and lifeless. But as you get older, you will find these are the very things that are most important to you.”
“We took away your art because we thought it would reveal your souls. Or to put it more finely, we did it to prove you had souls at all.”
“Sometimes I get so immersed in my own company, if I unexpectedly run into someone I know, it’s a bit of a shock and takes me a while to adjust.”
“What I’m not sure about, is if our lives have been so different from the lives of the people we save. We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we’ve lived through, or feel we’ve had enough time.”
“It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you’ve made, and there’s this panic because you don’t know yet the scale of disaster you’ve left yourself open to.”
“She might be a great person, but life’s so much bigger than just loving someone.”
“Your life must now run the course that’s been set for it.”
“I can’t even say I made my own mistakes. Really – one has to ask oneself – what dignity is there in that?”
“An artist’s concern is to capture beauty wherever he finds it.”
“It had never occurred to me that our lives, which had been so closely interwoven, could unravel with such speed.”
“We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we’ve lived through, or feel we’ve had enough time.”
“The problem, as I see it, is that you’ve been told and not told. You’ve been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way.”
“Memory is quite central for me. Part of it is that I like the actual texture of writing through memory.”
“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.”


Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”
“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”
“Human cruelty can be infinite. Human generosity can be boundless.”
“A half-read book is a half-finished love affair.”
“I believe there is another world waiting for us. A better world. And I’ll be waiting for you there.”
“Power, time, gravity, love. The forces that really kick ass are all invisible.”
“People are icebergs, with just a bit you can see and loads you can’t.”
“Books don’t offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw.”
“We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love.”
“We looked at each other for the last time; nothing is as eloquent as nothing.”
“By each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
“Truth is singular. Its ‘versions’ are mistrusts.”
“The weak are meat the strong do eat.”
“A book you finish reading is not the same book it was before you read it.”
“We are only what we know, and I wished to be so much more than I was, sorely.”
“Anticipating the end of the world is humanity’s oldest passtime.”
“You say you’re ‘depressed’ – all i see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.”
“History admits no rules; only outcomes.”
“Time is what stops history happening at once; time is the speed at which the past disappears.”
“In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction.”
“The healthy can’t understand the emptied, the broken.”
“Unlimited power in the hands of limited people always leads to cruelty.”
“Memories are their own descendants masquerading as the ancestors of the present.”
“Trees are always a relief, after people.”
“Belief, like fear or love, is a force to be understood as we understand the theory of relativity and principals of uncertainty. Phenomena that determine the course of our lives. Yesterday, my life was headed in one direction.”
“Faith, the least exclusive club on Earth, has the craftiest doorman. Every time I’ve stepped through its wide-open doorway, I find myself stepping out on the street again.”
“The truth of a myth…is not in its words but its patterns.”
“She was widely read enough to appreciate my literary wit but not so widely read that she knew my sources. I like that in a woman.”
“One fine day a predatory world shall consume itself.”
“Lying’s wrong, but when the world spins backwards, a small wrong may be a big right.”
“The better organized the state, the duller its humanity.”
“Whoever opined “Money can’t buy you happiness” obviously had far too much of the stuff.”
“We live on, as long as there are people to live on in.”
“Dreams are shores where the ocean of spirit meets the land of matter. Dreams are beaches where the yet-to-be, the once-were, the will-never-be may walk awhile with the still are.”