- Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand
- New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.
- 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.
- Artists use frauds to make human beings seem more wonderful than they really are. Dancers show us human beings who move much more gracefully than human beings really move. Films and books and plays show us people talking much more entertainingly than people.
- There's only one me, and I'm stuck with him.
- We are all what we pretend to be, but, we had better be very careful what we pretend.
- We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
- What war has always been is a puberty ceremony. It's a very rough one, but you went away a boy and came back a man, maybe with an eye missing or whatever but godammit you were a man and people had to call you a man thereafter.
- If somebody says, I love you, to me, I feel as though I had a pistol pointed at my head. What can anybody reply under such conditions but that which the pistol-holder requires? I love you, too.
- It was a thunderingly beautiful experience -- voluptuous, sexual, dangerous, and expensive as hell.
- We are what we imagine ourselves to be.
- We would be a lot safer if the Government would take its money out of science and put it into astrology and the reading of palms. Only in superstition is there hope. If you want to become a friend of civilization, then become an enemy of the truth and a fanatic for harmless balderdash.
- Thinking doesn't seem to help very much. The human brain is too high-powered to have many practical uses in this particular universe.
- About astrology and palmistry: they are good because they make people vivid and full of possibilities. They are communism at its best. Everybody has a birthday and almost everybody has a palm.
- Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before, Bokonon tells us. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.
- I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled Science Fiction and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.
- Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.
- I was taught that the human brain was the crowning glory of evolution so far, but I think it's a very poor scheme for survival.
- 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.
- The feeling about a soldier is, when all is said and done, he wasn't really going to do very much with his life anyway. The example usually is: he wasn't going to compose Beethoven's Fifth.
- Being American is to eat a lot of beef steak, and boy, we've got a lot more beef steak than any other country, and that's why you ought to be glad you're an American. And people have started looking at these big hunks of bloody meat on their plates, you know, and wondering what on earth they think they're doing.
- We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was an American writer. His works such as Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Breakfast of Champions blend satire, gallows humor, and science fiction. As a citizen he was a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union and a critical pacifist intellectual. He was known for his humanist beliefs and was honorary president of the American Humanist Association.
The New York Times headline at the time of Vonnegut's passing called Vonnegut "the counterculture's novelist."