Never before did I realize that mental illness could have the aspect of power, power. Think of it: perhaps the more insane a man is, the more powerful he could become. Hitler an example. Fair makes the old brain reel, doesn't it?
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.
This world… belongs to the strong, my friend! The ritual of our existence is based on the strong getting stronger by devouring the weak.
I lay in bed the night before the fishing trip and thought it over, about my being deaf, about the years of not letting on I heard what was said, and I wonder if I can ever act any other way again. But I remembered 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.
No one's ever dared come out and say it before, but there's not a man among us that doesn't think it, that doesn't feel just as you do about her and the whole business - feel it somewhere down deep in his scared little soul.
All that five thousand kids lived in those five thousand houses, owned by guys that got off the train. The houses looked so much alike that, time and time again, the kids went home by mistake to different houses and different families. Nobody ever noticed.
We'd just shared the last beer and slung the empty can out the window at a stop sign and were just waiting back to get the feel of the day, swimming in that kind of tasty drowsiness that comes over you after a day of going hard at something you enjoy doing -- half sunburned and half drunk and keeping awake only because you wanted to savor the taste as long as you could.
I listened to them fade away till all I could hear was my memory of the sound.
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?
But it's the truth even if it didn't happen.
What makes people so impatient is what I can't figure; all the guy had to do was wait.
I want to touch him because I'm one of these queers!
But the new guy is different, and the Acutes can see it, different from anybody been coming on this ward for the past ten years, different from anybody they ever met outside. He's just as vulnerable, maybe, but the Combine didn't get him.
What the Chronics are - or most of us - are machines with flaws inside that can't be repaired, flaws born in, or flaws beat in over so many years of the guy running head-on into solid things that by the time the hospital found him he was bleeding rust in some vacant lot.
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.
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.
But the rest are even scared to open up and laugh. You know, that's the first thing that got me about this place, that there wasn't anybody laughing. I haven't heard a real laugh since I came through that door, do you know that? Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.
You can't really be strong until you can see a funny side things.
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.
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
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.
You get your visions through whatever gate you're granted.
I'm accustomed to being top man. I been a bull goose catskinner for every gyppo logging operation in the Northwest and bull goose gambler all the way from Korea, was even bull goose pea weeder on that pea farm at Pendleton -- so I figure if I'm bound to be a loony, then I'm bound to be a stompdown dadgum good one.
The world news might not be therapeutic.
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.
You're making sense, old man, a sense of your own. You're not crazy the way they think. Yes...I see...
It's the truth, even if it didn't happen.
Then-as he was talking-a set of tail-lights going past lit up McMurphy's face, and the windshield reflected an expression that was allowed only because he figured it'd be too dark for anybody in the car to see, dreadfully tired and strained and frantic, like there wasn't enough time left for something he had to do...
He was in his chair in the corner, resting a second before he came out for the next round -- in a long line of next rounds. The thing he was fighting, you couldn't whip it for good. All you could do was keep on whipping it, till you couldn't come out anymore and somebody else had to take your place.
More Ken Kesey Quotations (Based on Topics)
Place - People - Man - Sense & Perception - Truth - World - Love - Faces - Friendship - Death & Dying - Memory - Literature - Mind - Christianity - Writing - Time - Past - Energy - Laughter - View All Ken Kesey Quotations
More Ken Kesey Quotations (By Book Titles)
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- Sometimes a Great Notion
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