The (disturbing) instinct of Charles Bukowski

8.5

As cited in Wikiquotes, Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) was a Los Angeles, California poet and novelist sometimes mistakenly associated with Beat Generation writers because of alleged similarities of style and attitude. Bukowski’s writing was heavily influenced by the geography and atmosphere of his home city of Los Angeles. He wrote more than fifty books and countless smaller pieces.

For many artists today there is a real fascination with Charles Bukowski. He is one of America’s most honest writers, revealing raw, edgy insights that capture the naked truths of existence in our modern world. The scribes at By George have cherry picked 15 of these truths…

  • An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.
  • Find what you love and let it kill you.
  • We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
  • People with no morals often considered themselves more free, but mostly they lacked the ability to feel hate or love.
  • I never met another man I’d rather be. And even if that’s a delusion, it’s a lucky one.
  • I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here.
  • What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don’t live up until their death.
  • We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.
  • The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubt, while the stupid people are full of confidence.
  • Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.
  • Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.
  • The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind. You give your life away to a function that doesn’t interest you. This situation so repelled me that I was driven to drink, starvation, and mad females, simply as an alternative.
  • Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you’re allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It’s like killing yourself, and then you’re reborn. I guess I’ve lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now. (and to add: “I wasn’t lonely. I experienced no self-pity. I was just caught up in a life in which I could find no meaning.”)
  • You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.
  • The human race exaggerates everything: its heroes, its enemies, its importance.

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