Kurt Vonnegut’s survival guide for these times

Kurt Vonnegut has been dead for nearly ten years now, but his legacy continues with a fresh generation of readers looking for guidance in an uncertain world. He was an outspoken critic of George W. Bush’s administration, and it isn’t difficult to imagine what his reaction would be toward our current political climate and treatment of refugees. If he were alive today, it’s likely he would spend a lot of time quoting himself, trying to get us to treat each other better.

“So it goes.”

Wikimedia Commons | Dresden, 1910 – before the fire bombing of the Second World War
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Village_(Dugway_proving_ground)#/media/File%3ABundesarchiv_Bild_146-1994-041-07%2C_Dresden%2C_zerstörtes_Stadtzentrum.jpg
Wikipedia | Dresden, 1945 – after Allied fire bombing

This oft-repeated statement from Slaughterhouse-Five is fatalistic, but it also leaves room for the continuation of life and, perhaps, hope. Consider KV’s message of peace and humanity by reflecting on this Aleppo-inspired installation erected in Dresden just before the 72nd anniversary of the city’s destruction by fire bombs, a tragedy he experienced firsthand. Vonnegut found it horrifying that civilians should be the targets of a major military operation, a concern many activists express about the conditions in Aleppo. You can express your outrage and compassion by donating herehere, or here.

“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies – God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

Raise your hand if you wish Kurt was your Valentine ✋✋✋✋

A post shared by Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library (@vonnegut_library) on

Nothing says kindness like Kurt making eyes at you while reclining on his lawn in a fashionable loose-fitting sweater. Happy Valentine’s Day from the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library! Check the official site for events, and show your loved one you care by making a donation in their name.

“If this isn’t nice, what is?”

Life is full of uncertainty for the refugees in Australia, Greece, and Kenya, too. So while you lend a helping hand and follow KV’s advice to do good to one another, be sure to look around and find something you are thankful for. If you can’t, this might be a good place to start.

Authors and Humanity is a weekly newsletter that links renowned authors to world events.

Leave a Reply