„There are many things worth living for, a few things worth dying for, and nothing worth killing for.“

—  Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Origine: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

„We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.“

—  Tom Robbins, libro Still Life with Woodpecker

Origine: Still Life with Woodpecker

„A sense of humor, properly developed, is superior to any religion so far devised.“

—  Tom Robbins, libro Jitterbug Perfume

Origine: Jitterbug Perfume (1984)

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

—  Tom Robbins, libro Another Roadside Attraction

Another Roadside Attraction (1971)

„The truth, from my perspective, is that the world, indeed, is ending – and is also being reborn. It's been doing that all day, every day, forever. Each time we exhale, the world ends; when we inhale, there can be, if we allow it, rebirth and spiritual renewal. It all transpires inside of us. In our consciousness, in our hearts. All the time.“

—  Tom Robbins

The Syntax of Sorcery (2012)
Contesto: Christians, and some Jews, claim we're in the "end times," but they've been saying this off and on for more than two thousand years. According to Hindu cosmology, we're in the Kali Yuga, a dark period when the cow of history is balanced precariously on one leg, soon to topple. Then there are our new-age friends who believe that this December we're in for a global cage-rattling which, once the dust has settled, will usher in a great spiritual awakening.
Most of this apocalyptic noise appears to be just wishful thinking on the part of people who find life too messy and uncertain for comfort, let alone for serenity and mirth. The truth, from my perspective, is that the world, indeed, is ending – and is also being reborn. It's been doing that all day, every day, forever. Each time we exhale, the world ends; when we inhale, there can be, if we allow it, rebirth and spiritual renewal. It all transpires inside of us. In our consciousness, in our hearts. All the time.
Otherwise, ours is an old, old story with an interesting new wrinkle. Throughout most of our history, nothing – not flood, famine, plague, or new weapons – has endangered humanity one-tenth as much as the narcissistic ego, with its self-aggrandizing presumptions and its hell-hound spawn of fear and greed. The new wrinkle is that escalating advances in technology are nourishing the narcissistic ego the way chicken manure nourishes a rose bush, while exploding worldwide population is allowing its effects to multiply geometrically. Here's an idea: let's get over ourselves, buy a cherry pie, and go fall in love with life.

„Nobody can say the word “naked” as nakedly as Cohen.“

—  Tom Robbins, libro Wild Ducks Flying Backward

Origine: Wild Ducks Flying Backward (2005), Liner notes for the Leonard Cohen tribute album Tower of Song (1995).
Contesto: Nobody can say the word “naked” as nakedly as Cohen. He makes us see the markings where the pantyhose have been.

„Certain individual words do possess more pitch, more radiance, more shazam! than others, but it's the way words are juxtaposed with other words in a phrase or sentence that can create magic.“

—  Tom Robbins

The Syntax of Sorcery (2012)
Contesto: Certain individual words do possess more pitch, more radiance, more shazam! than others, but it's the way words are juxtaposed with other words in a phrase or sentence that can create magic. Perhaps literally. The word "grammar," like its sister word "glamour," is actually derived from an old Scottish word that meant "sorcery." When we were made to diagram sentences in high school, we were unwittingly being instructed in syntax sorcery, in wizardry. We were all enrolled at Hogwarts. Who knew?
When a culture is being dumbed down as effectively as ours is, its narrative arts (literature, film, theatre) seem to vacillate between the brutal and the bland, sometimes in the same work. The pervasive brutality in current fiction – the death, disease, dysfunction, depression, dismemberment, drug addiction, dementia, and dreary little dramas of domestic discord – is an obvious example of how language in exploitative, cynical or simply neurotic hands can add to the weariness, the darkness in the world. Less apparent is that bland writing — timid, antiseptic, vanilla writing – is nearly as unhealthy as the brutal and dark. Instead of sipping, say, elixir, nectar, tequila, or champagne, the reader is invited to slurp lumpy milk or choke on the author's dust bunnies.

„Authority is to be ridiculed, outwitted and avoided. And it's fairly easy to do all three. If you believe in peace, act peacefully; if you believe in love, acting lovingly; if you believe every which way, then act every which way, that's perfectly valid — but don't go out trying to sell your beliefs to the system. You end up contradicting what you profess to believe in, and you set a bum example. If you want to change the world, change yourself.“

—  Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976)
Contesto: I set an example. That's all anyone can do. I'm sorry the cowgirls didn't pay better attention, but I couldn't force them to notice me. I've lived most of my entire adult life outside the law, and never have I compromised with authority. But neither have I gone out and picked fights with authority. That's stupid. They're waiting for that; they invite it; it helps keep them powerful. Authority is to be ridiculed, outwitted and avoided. And it's fairly easy to do all three. If you believe in peace, act peacefully; if you believe in love, acting lovingly; if you believe every which way, then act every which way, that's perfectly valid — but don't go out trying to sell your beliefs to the system. You end up contradicting what you profess to believe in, and you set a bum example. If you want to change the world, change yourself.

„Less apparent is that bland writing — timid, antiseptic, vanilla writing – is nearly as unhealthy as the brutal and dark.“

—  Tom Robbins

The Syntax of Sorcery (2012)
Contesto: Certain individual words do possess more pitch, more radiance, more shazam! than others, but it's the way words are juxtaposed with other words in a phrase or sentence that can create magic. Perhaps literally. The word "grammar," like its sister word "glamour," is actually derived from an old Scottish word that meant "sorcery." When we were made to diagram sentences in high school, we were unwittingly being instructed in syntax sorcery, in wizardry. We were all enrolled at Hogwarts. Who knew?
When a culture is being dumbed down as effectively as ours is, its narrative arts (literature, film, theatre) seem to vacillate between the brutal and the bland, sometimes in the same work. The pervasive brutality in current fiction – the death, disease, dysfunction, depression, dismemberment, drug addiction, dementia, and dreary little dramas of domestic discord – is an obvious example of how language in exploitative, cynical or simply neurotic hands can add to the weariness, the darkness in the world. Less apparent is that bland writing — timid, antiseptic, vanilla writing – is nearly as unhealthy as the brutal and dark. Instead of sipping, say, elixir, nectar, tequila, or champagne, the reader is invited to slurp lumpy milk or choke on the author's dust bunnies.

„There is evidence that the honoree might be privy to the secret of the universe, which, in case you’re wondering, is simply this: everything is connected. Everything.“

—  Tom Robbins, libro Wild Ducks Flying Backward

Origine: Wild Ducks Flying Backward (2005), Liner notes for the Leonard Cohen tribute album Tower of Song (1995).
Contesto: It is their desire to honor L. Cohen, songwriter, that has prompted a delegation of our brightest artists to climb, one by one, joss sticks smoldering, the steep and salty staircase in the Tower of Song.
There is evidence that the honoree might be privy to the secret of the universe, which, in case you’re wondering, is simply this: everything is connected. Everything. Many, if not most, of the links are difficult to determine. The instrument, the apparatus, the focused ray that can uncover and illuminate those connections is language. And just as a sudden infatuation often will light up a person’s biochemical sky more pyrotechnically than any deep, abiding attachment, so an unlikely, unexpected burst of linguistic imagination will usually reveal greater truths than the most exacting scholarship. In fact, the poetic image may be the only device remotely capable of dissecting romantic desire, let alone disclosing the hidden mystical essence of the material world.
Cohen is a master of the quasi-surrealistic phrase, of the “illogical” line that speaks so directly to the unconscious that surface ambiguity is transformed into ultimate, if fleeting, comprehension: comprehension of the bewitching nuances of sex and the bewildering assaults of culture.

„Cultural institutions by and large share one primary objective: herd control. Even when ostensibly benign, their propensity for manipulation, compartmentalization, standardization and suppression of potentially disruptive behavior or ideas, has served to freeze the evolution of consciousness practically in its tracks.“

—  Tom Robbins

The Syntax of Sorcery (2012)
Contesto: I'll say this much: virtually every advancement made by our species since civilization first peeked out of its nest of stone has been initiated by lone individuals, mavericks who more often than not were ignored, mocked, or viciously persecuted by society and its institutions. Society in general maintains such a vested interest in its cozy habits and solidified belief systems that it had rather die – or kill – than entertain change. Consider how threatened religious fundamentalists of all faiths remain to this day by science in general and Darwin in particular.
Cultural institutions by and large share one primary objective: herd control. Even when ostensibly benign, their propensity for manipulation, compartmentalization, standardization and suppression of potentially disruptive behavior or ideas, has served to freeze the evolution of consciousness practically in its tracks. In technological development, in production of material goods and creature comforts, we've challenged the very gods, but psychologically, emotionally, we're scarcely more than chimpanzees with bulldozers, baboons with big bombs.

„Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice.“

—  Tom Robbins, libro Still Life with Woodpecker

Bernard to Leigh-Cheri, in Phase III, Ch. 46
Still Life with Woodpecker (1980)
Contesto: Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.

„Cohen is a master of the quasi-surrealistic phrase, of the “illogical” line that speaks so directly to the unconscious that surface ambiguity is transformed into ultimate, if fleeting, comprehension: comprehension of the bewitching nuances of sex and the bewildering assaults of culture.“

—  Tom Robbins, libro Wild Ducks Flying Backward

Origine: Wild Ducks Flying Backward (2005), Liner notes for the Leonard Cohen tribute album Tower of Song (1995).
Contesto: It is their desire to honor L. Cohen, songwriter, that has prompted a delegation of our brightest artists to climb, one by one, joss sticks smoldering, the steep and salty staircase in the Tower of Song.
There is evidence that the honoree might be privy to the secret of the universe, which, in case you’re wondering, is simply this: everything is connected. Everything. Many, if not most, of the links are difficult to determine. The instrument, the apparatus, the focused ray that can uncover and illuminate those connections is language. And just as a sudden infatuation often will light up a person’s biochemical sky more pyrotechnically than any deep, abiding attachment, so an unlikely, unexpected burst of linguistic imagination will usually reveal greater truths than the most exacting scholarship. In fact, the poetic image may be the only device remotely capable of dissecting romantic desire, let alone disclosing the hidden mystical essence of the material world.
Cohen is a master of the quasi-surrealistic phrase, of the “illogical” line that speaks so directly to the unconscious that surface ambiguity is transformed into ultimate, if fleeting, comprehension: comprehension of the bewitching nuances of sex and the bewildering assaults of culture.

„Individualism is bad for business – though absolutely necessary for freedom, progressive knowledge, and any possible interface with the transcendent. And yes, it's entirely possible to function as a free-thinking individual without succumbing to narcissism.“

—  Tom Robbins

The Syntax of Sorcery (2012)
Contesto: We humans have always defined ourselves by narration. What's happening today is that we're allowing multi-national corporations to tell our stories for us. The theme of corporate stories (and millions drink them in every day) seldom varies: to be happy you must consume, to be special you must conform. Absurd, obviously, yet our identities have become so fragile, so elusive, that we seem content to let advertisers provide us with their version of who we are, to let them recreate us in their image: a cookie-cutter image based on market research, shallow sociology, and insidious lies. Individualism is bad for business – though absolutely necessary for freedom, progressive knowledge, and any possible interface with the transcendent. And yes, it's entirely possible to function as a free-thinking individual without succumbing to narcissism..

„Nature must govern technology, not the other way around.“

—  Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976)
Contesto: If we're ever going to get the world back on a natural footing, back in tune with natural rhythyms, if we're going to nurture the Earth and protect it and have fun with it and learn from it — which is what mothers do with their children — then we've got to put technology (an aggressive masculine system) in its proper place, which is that of a tool to be used sparingly, joyfully, gently and only in the fullest cooperation with nature. Nature must govern technology, not the other way around.

„Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style.“

—  Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976)
Contesto: So you think that you're a failure, do you? Well, you probably are. What's wrong with that? In the first place, if you've any sense at all you must have learned by now that we pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style. A mediocre failure is as insufferable as a mediocre success.

„Humor can be a doorway into the deepest reality, and wit and playfulness are a desperately serious transcendence of evil.“

—  Tom Robbins

High Times interview (2002)
Contesto: Usually, my witticisms are composed on the spot. They're simply intrinsic; an inseparable, integral, organic part of my writing process — doubtlessly because humor is an inseparable, integral part of my philosophical worldview. The comic sensibility is vastly, almost tragically, underrated by Western intellectuals. Humor can be a doorway into the deepest reality, and wit and playfulness are a desperately serious transcendence of evil. My comic sense, although deliberately Americanized, is, in its intent, much closer related to the crazy wisdom of Zen monks and the goofy genius of Taoist masters than it is to, say, the satirical gibes on Saturday Night Live. It has both a literary and a metaphysical function.

„When a culture is being dumbed down as effectively as ours is, its narrative arts (literature, film, theatre) seem to vacillate between the brutal and the bland, sometimes in the same work.“

—  Tom Robbins

The Syntax of Sorcery (2012)
Contesto: Certain individual words do possess more pitch, more radiance, more shazam! than others, but it's the way words are juxtaposed with other words in a phrase or sentence that can create magic. Perhaps literally. The word "grammar," like its sister word "glamour," is actually derived from an old Scottish word that meant "sorcery." When we were made to diagram sentences in high school, we were unwittingly being instructed in syntax sorcery, in wizardry. We were all enrolled at Hogwarts. Who knew?
When a culture is being dumbed down as effectively as ours is, its narrative arts (literature, film, theatre) seem to vacillate between the brutal and the bland, sometimes in the same work. The pervasive brutality in current fiction – the death, disease, dysfunction, depression, dismemberment, drug addiction, dementia, and dreary little dramas of domestic discord – is an obvious example of how language in exploitative, cynical or simply neurotic hands can add to the weariness, the darkness in the world. Less apparent is that bland writing — timid, antiseptic, vanilla writing – is nearly as unhealthy as the brutal and dark. Instead of sipping, say, elixir, nectar, tequila, or champagne, the reader is invited to slurp lumpy milk or choke on the author's dust bunnies.

„I've lived most of my entire adult life outside the law, and never have I compromised with authority. But neither have I gone out and picked fights with authority. That's stupid.“

—  Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976)
Contesto: I set an example. That's all anyone can do. I'm sorry the cowgirls didn't pay better attention, but I couldn't force them to notice me. I've lived most of my entire adult life outside the law, and never have I compromised with authority. But neither have I gone out and picked fights with authority. That's stupid. They're waiting for that; they invite it; it helps keep them powerful. Authority is to be ridiculed, outwitted and avoided. And it's fairly easy to do all three. If you believe in peace, act peacefully; if you believe in love, acting lovingly; if you believe every which way, then act every which way, that's perfectly valid — but don't go out trying to sell your beliefs to the system. You end up contradicting what you profess to believe in, and you set a bum example. If you want to change the world, change yourself.

„When we're incomplete, we're always searching for somebody to complete us.“

—  Tom Robbins, libro Still Life with Woodpecker

Still Life with Woodpecker (1980)
Contesto: When we're incomplete, we're always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we're still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on — series polygamy — until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimension to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.

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