Boredom is therefore a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.

— Bertrand Russell


Why is it that when one man builds a wall, the next man immediately needs to know what’s on the other side?

— George R. R. Martin


It’s not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing.

— Terry Pratchett


Observe the same rule about martinis that you would in judging breasts: one is far too few and three is one too many.

— Christopher Hitchens


Show me a man or a woman alone and I’ll show you a saint. Give me two and they’ll fall in love. Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call ‘society’. Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid. Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast. Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.

— Stephen King, The Stand


No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.

— Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House


It’s weird to feel like you miss someone you’re not even sure you know.

— David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest


Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.

— William S. Burroughs


We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and— in spite of True Romance magazines— we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely— at least, not all the time— but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.

— Hunter S. Thompson


‘Aren’t you afraid of dying?’
‘Not really. I’ve watched lots of good-for-nothing, worthless people die, and if people like that can do it, then I should be able to handle it.’

— Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage


One day I will forgive you; until then there are scabs everywhere that you have touched me.

— Salvador Plascencia, The People of Paper


The idea that the future is unpredictable is undermined every day by the ease with which the past is explained.

— Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast And Slow


If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery—isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.

— Charles Bukowski, Factotum


You may be poor, but the one thing nobody can take away from you is the freedom to fuck up your life whatever way you want to.

— Jonathan Franzen, Freedom