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65 Hunter S. Thompson Quotes: The World According to the Doctor of Gonzo

Dayna Remus
Aug 13, 2022
04:00 P.M.
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Hunter S. Thompson, the pioneer of Gonzo journalism, took his own life on February 20, 2005. Before he passed away, the journalist led a widely interesting life with many wise words we can learn from.

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Hunter S. Thompson brought the idea of Gonzo journalism to the wider public. This is a form of journalism where rather than witnessing other individuals going through experiences, the journalist themselves take the part of the central character, reporting their story in first-person.

Thompson is most well-known for his novel "Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas" which was adapted into a film in 1998 starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro. His other works include "Screw-Jack," "Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs," and many more, proving that he has a beautiful way with words.

Here are 65 insightful quotes from this pioneer of Gonzo journalism.

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Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Buy the ticket, take the ride.” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Buy the ticket, take the ride.” | Image: AmoDays

HUNTER S. THOMPSON QUOTES ON LIFE AND EXISTENCE

“Morality is temporary; wisdom is permanent.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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“Freedom is something that dies unless it's used.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights, I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards... to music and warm bodies and contraceptives… and to the 'good life' whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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“Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex.”

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught.” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught.” | Image: AmoDays

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” — Hunter S. Thompson

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“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“Too weird to live, too rare to die.” — Hunter S. Thompson

"You better take care of me, Lord; if you don't, you're gonna have me on your hands." — Hunter S. Thompson

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“I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” — Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Freedom is something that dies unless it's used.” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Freedom is something that dies unless it's used.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“I was not proud of what I had learned, but I never doubted that it was worth knowing.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “...sounds of life and movement, people getting ready and people giving up, the sound of hope and the sound of hanging on, and behind them all, the quiet, deadly ticking of a thousand hungry clocks...” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “...sounds of life and movement, people getting ready and people giving up, the sound of hope and the sound of hanging on, and behind them all, the quiet, deadly ticking of a thousand hungry clocks...” | Image: AmoDays

“Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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“Yes, sir, I am a tortured man for all seasons, as they say, and I have powerful friends in high places. Birds sing where I walk, and children smile when they see me coming.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky, and I learned, early on, that Habitual Domination was a natural way of life.” — Hunter S. Thompson

"It is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it." — Hunter S. Thompson

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards.” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards.” | Image: AmoDays

“There is always room for losers in the football business. They are the mother's milk of gambling, and why not? Somebody has to do it, or there won't be any winners.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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“You'd be surprised at the things people will do in order to get their names or pictures in the paper.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“It was like falling down an elevator shaft and landing in a pool full of mermaids.” — Hunter S. Thompson

"It never got weird enough for me." — Hunter S. Thompson

“All my life, my heart has sought a thing I cannot name. Remembered line from a long-forgotten poem.” — Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Morality is temporary; wisdom is permanent.” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Morality is temporary; wisdom is permanent.” | Image: AmoDays

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“If you can't make yourself understood by your friends, you'll be in trouble when your enemies come for you.” — Hunter S. Thompson

"You can't hoard fun. It has no shelf life.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“I'm a relatively respectable citizen. Multiple felons perhaps, but certainly not dangerous.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“Don't judge your taco by its price.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“Human beings are the only creatures on earth that claim a God and the only thing that behaves like it hasn't got one.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “We are living in dangerously weird times now. Smart people just shrug and admit they're dazed and confused. The only ones left with any confidence at all are the New Dumb.” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “We are living in dangerously weird times now. Smart people just shrug and admit they're dazed and confused. The only ones left with any confidence at all are the New Dumb.” | Image: AmoDays

“We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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“Beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life.” — Hunter S. Thompson

"I feel the same way about disco as I do about herpes.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“Those who fail to learn from the brutal stompings visited on them in the past are doomed to be brutally stomped in the future.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“Hope rises, and dreams flicker and die. Love plans for tomorrow and loneliness thinks of yesterday. Life is beautiful, and living is pain.” — Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Human beings are the only creatures on earth that claim a God and the only thing that behaves like it hasn't got one.” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Human beings are the only creatures on earth that claim a God and the only thing that behaves like it hasn't got one.” | Image: AmoDays

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“We are living in dangerously weird times now. Smart people just shrug and admit they're dazed and confused. The only ones left with any confidence at all are the New Dumb. It is the beginning of the end of our world as we knew it. Doom is the operative ethic.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“Weird behavior is natural in smart children like curiosity is to a kitten.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“'Happy,' I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it is one of those words, like Love, that I have never quite understood. Most people who deal in words don't have much faith in them, and I am no exception, especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far too relative when you compare them to sharp, mean little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony. I feel at home with these because they are scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough, and it takes either a priest or a fool to use them with any confidence.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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“...sounds of life and movement, people getting ready and people giving up, the sound of hope and the sound of hanging on, and behind them all, the quiet, deadly ticking of a thousand hungry clocks...” — Hunter S. Thompson

“THE EDGE, there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” — Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “You'd be surprised at the things people will do in order to get their names or pictures in the paper.” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “You'd be surprised at the things people will do in order to get their names or pictures in the paper.” | Image: AmoDays

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“Buy the ticket, take the ride.” — Hunter S. Thompson

"Luck is a very thin wire between survival and disaster, and not many people can keep their balance on it." — Hunter S. Thompson

“On my tombstone, they will carve, 'IT NEVER GOT FAST ENOUGH FOR ME.'" — Hunter S. Thompson

“Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“On some nights, I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “I learned a long time ago that reality was much weirder than anyone's imagination.” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “I learned a long time ago that reality was much weirder than anyone's imagination.” | Image: AmoDays

HUNTER S. THOMPSON QUOTES ON MADNESS AND IMAGINATION

“Yesterday's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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“If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it, or else you’re going to be locked up.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“The greatest mania of all is passion: and I am a natural slave to passion: the balance between my brain and my soul and my body is as wild and delicate as the skin of a Ming vase.” — Hunter S. Thompson

"'Crazy' is a term of art; 'Insane' is a term of law. Remember that, and you will save yourself a lot of trouble." — Hunter S. Thompson

“I learned a long time ago that reality was much weirder than anyone's imagination.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it, or else you’re going to be locked up.”  | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it, or else you’re going to be locked up.” | Image: AmoDays

“No matter how much I wanted all those things that I needed money to buy, there was some devilish current pushing me off in another direction -- toward anarchy and poverty and craziness. That maddening delusion that a man can lead a decent life without hiring himself out as a Judas Goat.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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HUNTER S. THOMPSON QUOTES ON WRITING AND JOURNALISM

"I'm not a regular sports writer. You gonna let me in your pool?" — Hunter S. Thompson

"I don't think that my kind of journalism has ever been universally popular. It's lonely out here." — Hunter S. Thompson

“I have no taste for either poverty or honest labor, so writing is the only recourse left for me.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “One of the advantages of being dead, I guess, is that somebody else can edit all this.”  | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “One of the advantages of being dead, I guess, is that somebody else can edit all this.” | Image: AmoDays

“I find that by putting things in writing, I can understand them and see them a little more objectively...For words are merely tools, and if you use the right ones, you can actually put even your life in order; if you don't lie to yourself and use the wrong words.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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“If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I'm not sure that I'm going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says, 'you are nothing', I will be a writer.” — Hunter S. Thompson

“One of the advantages of being dead, I guess, is that somebody else can edit all this.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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“As far as I'm concerned, it's a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity.” — Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “You shut the door, paint the windows black, rent an electric typewriter and become the monster you always were – the writer.” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “You shut the door, paint the windows black, rent an electric typewriter and become the monster you always were – the writer.” | Image: AmoDays

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“With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as 'objective journalism'. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.” — Hunter S. Thompson

"Most people who deal in words don't have much faith in them, and I am no exception." — Hunter S. Thompson

“Every deadline was a crisis. No doubt it has something to do with a deep-seated personality defect, or maybe a kink in whatever blood vessel leads into the pineal gland. On the other hand, it might easily be something as simple and basically perverse as whatever instinct it is that causes a jackrabbit to wait until the last possible second to dart across the road in front of a speeding car.” — Hunter S. Thompson

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“When you write for a living, and you can't do anything else, you know that sooner or later that the deadline is going to come screaming down on you like a ***** banshee. There's no avoiding it...So one day, you just don't appear at the El Adobe bar anymore; you shut the door, paint the windows black, rent an electric typewriter and become the monster you always were - the writer.” — Hunter S. Thompson

"Not a wasted word. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life." — Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Most people who deal in words don't have much faith in them, and I am no exception.” | Image: AmoDays

Hunter S. Thompson’s quote: “Most people who deal in words don't have much faith in them, and I am no exception.” | Image: AmoDays

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Thompson's funeral was just as breathtaking as his life, as a cannon blew his ashes out at his home in Colorado. Guests in attendance included Bill Murray, Jack Nicholson, and Johnny Depp, among others.

Of course, he had to have one last say before he passed away with his very last words partially stating, "No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun."

Thompson was no doubt a curious and adventurous man. Learn how to tap into your curiosity by reading these quotes for inquisitive minds.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

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