Literary Quotations
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RICHARD BACH QUOTES


Illusions (1977)

People couldn't fly for a long time, I don't think, because they didn't think it was possible, so of course they didn't learn the first little principle of aerodynamics. I want to believe that there's another principle somewhere: we don't need airplanes to fly, or move through walls, or get to planets. We can learn how to do that without machines anywhere. If we want to.

--Chapter 2

There is no problem so big that it cannot be run away from.

--Chapter 3

Laughing on the way to your execution is not generally understood by less-advanced life-forms, and they'll call you crazy.

--Chapter 4

Learning is finding out what you already know.

--Chapter 4

You teach best what you most need to learn.

--Chapter 4

You're always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.

--Chapter 4

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.

--Chapter 6

Learn what the magician knows and it's not magic anymore.

--Chapter 6

We are game-playing, fun-having creatures, we are the otters of the universe.

--Chapter 8

If perfection is stagnation, then heaven is a swamp.

--Chapter 8

You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.

--Chapter 11

The world is your exercise-book, the pages on which you do your sums. It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages.

--Chapter 11

The original sin is to limit the Is. Don't.

--Chapter 12

When you say no to something I know is yes, that means you don't like the way I said the question.

--Chapter 12

I guess I can't find lasting friends when I'm an unlasting one myself.

--Chapter 14

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.

--Chapter 15

Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970)

For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly.

--Part One

But the speed was power, and the speed was joy, and the speed was pure beauty.

--Part One

As he sank low in the water, a strange hollow voice sounded within him. There’s no way around it. I am a seagull. I am limited by nature. If I were meant to learn so much about flying, I’d have charts for brains. If I were meant to fly at speed I’d have falcon’s short wings, and live on mice instead of fish. My father was right. I must forget this foolishness. I must fly home to the Flock and be content as I am, as a poor limited seagull.

--Part One

How much more there is now to living! Instead of our drab slogging forth and back to the fishing boats, there’s reason to life! We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!

--Part One

What he had once hoped for the Flock, he now gained for himself alone; he learned to fly, and was not sorry for the price that he had paid. Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull's life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.

--Part One

The most important thing in living was to reach out and touch perfection in that which they most loved to do, and that was to fly.

--Part Two

To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is ... you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived.

--Part Two

The gull sees farthest who flies highest.

--Part Two

If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once or twice?

--Part Two

The gulls who scorn perfection for the sake of travel go nowhere, slowly. Those who put aside travel for the sake of perfection go anywhere, instantly.

--Part Two

You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn't flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn't have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.

--Part Two

We choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing , and the next is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.

--Part Two

You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.

--Part Three

The price of being misunderstood ... They call you devil or they call you god.

--Part Three

Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding.

--Part Three

The only true law is that which leads to freedom.... There is no other.

--Part Three

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