Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of Ken Kesey quotes about love, life, failure, success, humor, truth, and much more

100 Great Ken Kesey Quotes That Help You Develop A Different Perspective

Quick Facts

Born On: September 17, 1935

Died On: November 10, 2001

Born In: La Junta

Died At Age: 66

Novelist Kenneth Elton Kesey, fondly remembered as 'Ken' was an important link between 1950's Beat Generation and 1960's Hippie Culture. The world remembers him as a counter-cultural icon, novelist and essayist that ushered the American society into an era of psychedelic drugs. He compiled his personal experiences in his first novel 'One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest'. It was followed by more incredible works like 'Genesis West', 'Sometimes a Great Nation' and 'Demon Box' that captured his beautiful transformation from a revolutionary novelist to the founder of hippie generation. His book 'Cuckoo' was an account of abuses inflicted by the system on individuals. It was later enacted as a movie directed by Milos Forman. Though Kesey was not pleased with the idea, apparently the audience liked it. The movie became a hit in America, subsequently winning five Academy Awards. Kesey bonded with like-minded individuals to form "Merry Prankster", a group that helped promote liberal ideas. The group set out on a wild adventure, conducting Acid tests and treating unsuspecting viewers with The Warlock band's performances. He was put in jail for illegal possession of drugs. Following this, he spent a quite family life as an author and teacher until his death. We have collected his most famous quotes and thoughts from his most famous 'One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest' and other writings. Presenting a collection of some great Ken Kesey quotes about love, life, failure, success, humor, truth, and much more.

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Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.

Ken Kesey

All I know is this: nobody's very big in the first place, and it looks to me like everybody spends their whole life tearing everybody else down.

Ken Kesey

But it's the truth even if it didn't happen.

Ken Kesey

You can't really be strong until you can see a funny side to things.

Ken Kesey

He knows that you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.

Ken Kesey

If you don't watch it people will force you one way or the other, into doing what they think you should do, or into just being mule-stubborn and doing the opposite out of spite.

Ken Kesey

To hell with facts! We need stories!

Ken Kesey

That ain't me, that ain't my face. It wasn't even me when I was trying to be that face. I wasn't even really me them; I was just being the way I looked, the way people wanted.

Ken Kesey

What do you think you are, for Chrissake, crazy or somethin'? Well you're not! You're not! You're no crazier than the average asshole out walkin' around on the streets and that's it.

Ken Kesey

The stars up close to the moon were pale; they got brighter and braver the farther they got out of the circle of light ruled by the giant moon

Ken Kesey

They can't tell so much about you if you got your eyes closed.

Ken Kesey

Plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom.

Ken Kesey

Rules? PISS ON YOUR FUCKING RULES!

Ken Kesey

He Who Marches Out Of Step Hears Another Drum

Ken Kesey

No, my friend. We are lunatics from the hospital up the highway, psycho-ceramics, the cracked pots of mankind. Would you like me to decipher a Rorschach for you?

Ken Kesey

Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.

Ken Kesey

What makes people so impatient is what I can't figure; all the guy had to do was wait.

Ken Kesey

People think love is an emotion. Love is good sense.

Ken Kesey

You had a choice: you could either strain and look at things that appeared in front of you in the fog, painful as it might be, or you could relax and lose yourself

Ken Kesey

But he won’t let the pain blot out the humor no more’n he’ll let the humor blot out the pain.

Ken Kesey

I don't think you fully understand the public, my friend; in this country, when something is out of order, then the quickest way to get it fixed is the best way.

Ken Kesey

I listened to them fade away till all I could hear was my memory of the sound.

Ken Kesey

He's the sort of guy that gets a laugh out of people.

Ken Kesey

He who walks out of step hears another drum.

Ken Kesey

He knows that there's no better way in the world to aggravate somebody who's trying to make it hard for you than by acting like you're not bothered.

Ken Kesey

To Vik Lovell who told me dragons did not exist, then led me to their lairs ...

Ken Kesey

We can count how many seeds are in the apple, but not how many apples are in the seed.

Ken Kesey

He knew you can't really be strong until you can see a funny side of things.

Ken Kesey

The secret of being a top-notch con man is being able to know what the mark wants, and how to make him think he's getting it.

Ken Kesey

People don't want other people to get high, because if you get high, you might see the falsity of the fabric of the society we live in.

Ken Kesey

Of offering more than what I can deliver, I have a bad habit, it is true. But I have to offer more than I can deliver, To be able to deliver what I do.

Ken Kesey

I had to keep on acting deaf if i wanted to hear at all.

Ken Kesey

You've got to get out and pray to the sky to appreciate the sunshine; otherwise you're just a lizard standing there with the sun shining on you.

Ken Kesey

Like a cartoon world, where the figures are flat and outlined in black, jerking through some kind of goofy story that might be real funny if it weren't for the cartoon figures being real guys...

Ken Kesey

More was revealed in a human face than a human being can bear face to face.

Ken Kesey

But I tried though," he says. "Goddammit, I sure as hell did that much, now, didn't I?

Ken Kesey

The world news might not be therapeutic.

Ken Kesey

I'd take a look at my own self in the mirror and wonder how it was possible that anybody could manage such an enormous thing as being what he was.

Ken Kesey

Sometimes I looked at them and sometimes they looked at me, but rarely did we look at one another.

Ken Kesey

The fundamentalists have taken the fun out of the mental.

Ken Kesey

This world… belongs to the strong, my friend! The ritual of our existence is based on the strong getting stronger by devouring the weak.

Ken Kesey

But at least I tried

Ken Kesey

Memory whispers someplace in that jumbled machinery.

Ken Kesey

They wouldn't be so cocky if they knew what me and the moon have going.

Ken Kesey

The man who seeks revenge digs two graves.

Ken Kesey

To hell with that. A man goin' fishing with two whores from Portland don't have to take that crap.

Ken Kesey

Because he knows you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.

Ken Kesey

Take what you can use and let the rest go by.

Ken Kesey

Ocean, Ocean I'll beat you in the end.

Ken Kesey

Then the trembling starts to get worse. This must be how they begin, he thinks. Freak-outs. Breakdowns. Crack-ups. Eventually shut-ins and finally cross-offs. But first the cover-up . . .

Ken Kesey

It's the truth, even if it didn't happen... ...if they don't exist, how can a man see them?

Ken Kesey

I been away a long time.

Ken Kesey

You're making sense, old man, a sense of your own. You're not crazy the way they think. Yes...I see...

Ken Kesey

There’s no doubt in my mind that McMurphy’s won, but I’m not sure what.

Ken Kesey

You're either on the bus or off the bus.

Ken Kesey

I'd think, maybe he truly is something extraordinary. He's what he is, that's it. Maybe that makes him strong enough, being what he is.

Ken Kesey

What a Life: Give some of us pills to stop a fit, give the rest shock to start one.

Ken Kesey

You get your visions through whatever gate you're granted.

Ken Kesey

You seem to forget, Miss Flinn, that this is an institution for the insane.

Ken Kesey

...you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy

Ken Kesey

It's fogging a little, but I won't slip off and hide in it. No...never again...

Ken Kesey

Billy here has been talkin' about slicin' his wrists again, so is there seven of you guys who'd like to join him and make it therapeutic?

Ken Kesey

He hadn't let what he looked like run his life one way or the other, any more than he'd let the Combine mill him into fitting where they wanted him to fit.

Ken Kesey

Because sometimes the only way to keep from losing everything is to give everything up. Because sometimes strength must for the sake of winning give in to--

Ken Kesey

Man is certain of nothing but his ability to fail. It is the deepest faith we have, and the unbeliever- the blasphemer, the dissenter- will stimulate in us the most righteous of furies.

Ken Kesey

It's the truth, even if it didn't happen.

Ken Kesey

He couldn't seem to get his teeth into anything. Except books. The things in books was darn near more real to him than the things breathing and eating.

Ken Kesey

The best of all possible cages.' Ben stepped back to regard the job with a sad smile. 'What more can one ask?

Ken Kesey

I don't seem able to get it straight in my mind....

Ken Kesey

They're out there...One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Ken Kesey

In any given situation there will always be more dumb people than smart people. We ain't many!

Ken Kesey

When I die pin me up against the sky.

Ken Kesey

Always stay in your own movie.

Ken Kesey

One flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo's nest.

Ken Kesey

Society is what decides who's sane and who isn't, so you got to measure up.

Ken Kesey

Does the Spearmint lose its flavor on the bedpost over night?

Ken Kesey

They are in contact on a high-voltage wavelength of hate...

Ken Kesey

The trouble with superheroes is what to do between phone booths.

Ken Kesey

The game goes round and round, to the rattle of dice and the shuffle of play money.

Ken Kesey

I was actually going out of the hospital with two whores on a fishing boat; I had to keep saying it over and over to myself to believe it.

Ken Kesey

But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.

Ken Kesey

. . .sometimes reading the same page over and over, until one sleepy afternoon something clicked, like a lock unlocking, and she saw those printed doors swing open on a vast house of words.

Ken Kesey

But I remember one thing: it wasn't me that started acting deaf, it was people that first started acting like I was too dumb to hear or see or say anything at all.

Ken Kesey

They're out there. First line of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Ken Kesey

He’s got hands so long and white and dainty I think they carved each other out of soap.

Ken Kesey

I want to touch him because I'm one of these queers!

Ken Kesey

...you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep in balance." [Chief Bromden]

Ken Kesey

Good writing ain't necessarily good reading.

Ken Kesey

You can make a mark across the night with the tip of an embered stick, and you can actually see it fixed in its finity. You can be absolutely sure of its treacherous impermanence. And that is all.

Ken Kesey

He's what he is, that's it. Maybe that makes him strong enough, being what he is.

Ken Kesey

We are the culture. All those people that are doing those dumb TV things and promoting hate…that’s the ‘counter’culture.

Ken Kesey

Man is certain of nothing but his ability to fail

Ken Kesey

McMurphy tied a chunk of meat to each end of a four-foot string, tossed it into the air, and sent two squawking birds wheeling off, "Till death do them part.

Ken Kesey

What a cheery atmosphere, don't you agree?

Ken Kesey

I'd give something to see that. Mostly, I'd just to look over the country around the gorge again, just to bring some of it clear in my mind again. I been away a long time.

Ken Kesey

I will be a sonofabitch if he ain't in here at eleven-thirty at night, fartin' around in the dark with a pair of scissors and a paper sack.

Ken Kesey

Ah, ah, ahhh ... first one gets mad, then one goes mad

Ken Kesey

I forget sometimes what laughter can do.

Ken Kesey

He's safe as long as he can laugh, he thinks, and it works pretty fair.

Ken Kesey

They’re out there. Black boys in white suits up before me to commit sex acts in the hall and get it mopped up before I can catch them.

Ken Kesey