"If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs. And maybe 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 in 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..."
"You know that dumb song 'More money, more problems'? Yeah, because you're goin down to the fuckin titty bar with money hangin out of your pocket, dumpin Cristal all over a rug in front of people who work in cubicles. More titty bars, more problems... is really what it is."
"We are connected with some people and never meet others, but it could easily have happened otherwise. Looking back over a lifetime, we describe what happened as if it had a plan. To fully understand how accidental and random life is - how vast the odds are against any single event taking place - would be humbling."
"To know me is to love me. This cliche is popular for a reason, because most of us, I imagine, believe deep in our hearts that if anyone truly got to know us, they'd truly get to love us - or at least know why we're the way we are. The problem in life, maybe the central problem, is that so few people ever seem to have sufficient curiosity to do the job on us that we know we deserve."
"Death is a fact. And we don’t know what happens after death. And I’m not pretending to know that you get a dial tone after death. I don’t know what happens after the physical brain dies. I don’t know what the relationship between consciousness and the physical world is. I don’t think anyone does know. Now I think there are many reasons to be doubtful of naive conceptions about the soul, and about this idea that you could just migrate to a better place after death. But I simply don’t know what I believe about death. And I don’t think it’s necessary to know in order to live as sanely and ethically and happily as possible. You don’t get anything worth getting by pretending to know things you don’t know."
"It is possible to be well educated, so well educated that you can be a neurosurgeon, and still believe that you can get seventy two virgins in paradise. And this is made possible by the fact that we have allowed a certain mode of thought, religion, to thrive in a cocoon, this sphere of protection from criticism. It is just taboo to criticize people's religious beliefs."
"This whole idea of certain people in the American system not paying federal income tax becomes a problem. People who hate to hear that will say, 'Dan, they pay FICA and they have all this stuff taken out of their paycheck...' That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about when the government decides to do something that relies on federal income taxes, there's a lot of people that don't pay that. I understand why. They're poor. I don't want to impress them financially, but it's important they have a stake in the system. Otherwise anything the government proposes is basically free to them. It's important to have the same restraint any of us would have if this was your home budget. Cost-to-benefit, right? Do I need this new heating system enough to justify the cost? If you're not paying into the federal government, if it's not affecting you financially, and if it might not raise the amount you have to send to Washington, then there is no downside. That's not good for the system."