Tom Robbins is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century and a gift to our collective consciousness. His “romantic Zen hedonist” persona is the perfect paradox from which his thoughts unwind into wondrous tales that challenge our commitment to the drab reality of our workaday lives. He gives us a peek into the realm of imagination, a realm that could easily be our reality if we could just lighten up.

Rather than continue to wax poetic about how amazing Tom Robbins is, I have decided to compile a list of his best quotes.

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

  2. “Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.”

  3. “There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better.”

  4. “If you’re honest, you sooner or later have to confront your values. Then you’re forced to separate what is right from what is merely legal. This puts you metaphysically on the run. America is full of metaphysical outlaws.”

  5. “We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”

  6. “In the end, perhaps we should simply imagine a joke; a long joke that’s continually retold in an accent too thick and strange to ever be completely understood. Life is that joke, my friends. The soul is the punch line.”

  7. “Does koala bear poop smell like cough drops?”

  8. “All a person can do in this life is gather about him his integrity, his imagination, and his individuality – and with these ever with him, out front and in sharp focus, leap into the dance of experience.”

  9. “There’s a tendency today to absolve individuals of moral responsibility and treat them as victims of social circumstance. You buy that, you pay with your soul. It’s not men who limit women, it’s not straights who limit gays, it’s not whites who limit blacks. What limits people is lack of character. What limits people is that they don’t have the fucking nerve or imagination to star in their own movie, let alone direct it.”

  10. “Society had a crime problem. It hired cops to attack crime. Now society has a cop problem.”

  11. “Our purpose is to consciously, deliberately evolve toward a wiser, more liberated and luminous state of being; to return to Eden, make friends with the snake, and set up our computers among the wild apple trees. Deep down, all of us are probably aware that some kind of mystical evolution – a melding into the godhead, into love – is our true task. Yet we suppress the notion with considerable force because to admit it is to acknowledge that most of our political gyrations, religious dogmas, social ambitions and financial ploys are not merely counterproductive but trivial. Our mission is to jettison those pointless preoccupations and take on once again the primordial cargo of inexhaustible ecstasy. Or, barring that, to turn out a good thin-crust pizza and a strong glass of beer. ”

  12. “Those people who recognize that imagination is reality’s master, we call sages, and those who act upon it, we call artists.”

  13. “The difference between a criminal and an outlaw is that while criminals frequently are victims, outlaws never are. Indeed, the first step toward becoming a true outlaw is the refusal to be victimized. All people who live subject to other people’s laws are victims. People who break laws out of greed, frustration, or vengeance are victims. People who overturn laws in order to replace them with their own laws are victims. ( I am speaking here of revolutionaries.) We outlaws, however, live beyond the law. We don’t merely live beyond the letter of the law- many businessmen, most politicians, and all cops do that -we live beyond the spirit of the law. In a sense, then, we live beyond society. Have we a common goal, that goal is to turn the tables on the ‘nature’ of society. When we succeed, we raise the exhilaration content of the universe. We even raise it a little bit when we fail.

  14. “When they tell you to grow up, they mean stop growing.”

  15. “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”