Ken Kesey Quotes TOP 25 QUOTES BY KEN KESEY (of 165)


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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

Listed In
Writers

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.

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Life , Like , Me

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Yourself

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Think

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Me , Trying

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Think

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

Ken Kesey

Rules? PISS ON YOUR FUCKING RULES!

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

He Who Marches Out Of Step Hears Another Drum

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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?

Like , Me

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

Good writin’ ain’t necessarily good readin’.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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

Yourself

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

Think

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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Think

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Like , Trying

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

Me

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Think

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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…

Like

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

Me

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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

But at least I tried

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

Memory whispers someplace in that jumbled machinery.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

Me

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Yourself

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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 . . .

Demon Box, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

I been away a long time.

Time

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

Think

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Think

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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?

Like

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Life , Like

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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–

Sometimes a Great Notion, 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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey

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

Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

They’re out there…One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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!

Kesey, Ken Kesey

When I die pin me up against the sky.

Me

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

Always stay in your own movie.

Ken Kesey

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

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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Like

Sometimes a Great Notion, 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.

Like , Me

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Think

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

Culture

Vintage Tomorrows: A Historian and a Futurist Journey Through Steampunk Into the Future of Technology, Ken Kesey

Man is certain of nothing but his ability to fail

Sometimes a Great Notion, 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.

Time

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

Ken Kesey

I forget sometimes what laughter can do.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 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.

Me

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

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Ken Kesey Quotes


33 Ken Kesey quotes:

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“”I’m so insane, I voted for Eisenhower.” ”Oh yeah, well I’m so insane, I voted for Eisenhower TWICE!””
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
Voting Quotes

“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.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“When you’re around the whole Dead scene, they’re there as a tribal thing; they’re there as part of a rendezvous and a pow-wow.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“When we first broke into that forbidden box in the other dimension, we knew we had discovered something as surprising and powerful as the New World when Columbus came stumbling onto it.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“When Shakespeare was writing, he wasn’t writing for stuff to lie on the page; it was supposed to get up and move around.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“We thought that by this time that there would be LSD given in classes in college and you would study it and prepare for it.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“Tricker the Squirrel is the best piece I ever wrote. It’s intricate.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“There’s something about taking a plow and breaking new ground. It gives you energy.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“There’s a lot of people who don’t understand the circle crops in England. Pure enigma.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“The truth doesn’t have to do with cruelty, the truth has to do with mercy.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“The Haight is just a place; the ’60s was a spirit.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“The fundamentalists have taken the fun out of the mental.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“The frontiers we broke into in the ’60s are still largely unexplored.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“The ’60s aren’t over; they won’t be over until the Fat Lady gets high.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“Take what you can use and let the rest go by.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“Ritual is necessary for us to know anything.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“People think love is an emotion. Love is good sense.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“Nowhere else in history has there ever been a flag that stands for the right to burn itself. This is the fractal of our flag. It stands for the right to destroy itself.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“Me and Norman Mailer have talked about how hard it is in America to get better. Especially at writing.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

“Listen, wait, and be patient. Every shaman knows you have to deal with the fire that’s in your audience’s eye.”
Author: Kesey Quotes
Category:
American Author Quotes

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