Quotes from ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ by Richard Bach

Read the review for the book

There are some good quotes in this book, but they aren’t enough to make it worth your while to read this book. Then there is some totally rubbish Deepak Chopra kind of mystical nonsense that will make you cringe real bad.

The Good

The only true law is that which leads to freedom.

The only true law is that which leads to freedom.

Hmm. Nice. The only quote that was worthy of being on a Facebook cover.

His glides ended not with the usual feet-down splash into the sea, but with a long flat wake as he touched the surface
with his feet tightly streamlined against his body. When he began sliding in to feet-up landings on the beach, then pacing the length of his slide in the sand.

Some nice imagery there.

“See here Jonathan ” said his father not unkindly. “Winter isn’t far away. Boats will be few and the surface fish will be swimming deep. If you must study, then study food, and how to get it. This flying business is all very well, but you can’t eat a glide, you know. Don’t you forget that the reason you fly is to eat.”

An okayish metaphor for the ‘be practical’ talk that we usually get from elders. But not really a metaphor if you look closely. Anyway, makes the point well.

His wings were ragged bars of lead, but the weight of failure was even heavier on his back. He wished, feebly, that the weight could be just enough to drug him gently down to the bottom, and end it all.

Deep. Okay not so deep, but almost there.

There’s no way around it. I am a seagull. I am limited by my 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 a falcon’s short wings, and live on mice instead of fish. My father was right. I must forget this foolishness.

The ‘I am not meant for it’ sentiment.

The Deepak Chopra

“Is there no such place as heaven?” “No, Jonathan, there is no such place. Heaven is not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being perfect.” He was silent for a moment. “You are a very fast flier, aren’t you?” “I… I enjoy speed,” Jonathan said, taken aback but proud that the Elder had noticed. “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.”

What a load of crap. So, perfection is heaven. But then, there’s no way of knowing what this ‘perfection’ is, as there’s no number to it, let alone knowing how to reach it. Apparently, perfection is just being there. Oh right, why didn’t you tell me that before!

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?

Umm.. okay. I don’t even know where to begin. How is that even a metaphor? Even if it is, for what? And this is like the last good bye from the elder, so really, what’s the point of saying this? What does the middle of here and now even mean? How can you have time and space on the same axis?

“Your whole body, from wingtip to wingtip,” Jonathan would say, other times, “is nothing more than your thought itself, in a form you can see. Break the chains of your thought, and you break the chains of your body, too…”

It’s all in the mind, sweetie. And just in case you don’t believe me, here’s proof in the next quote..

“Help me,” he said very quietly, speaking in the way that the dying speak. “I want to fly more than anything else in the world…” “Come along then.” said Jonathan. “Climb with me away from the ground, and we’ll begin.” “You don’t understand.. My wing. I can’t move my wing.” “Maynard Gull, you have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way.It is the Law of the Great Gull, the Law that Is.” “Are you saying I can fly?” “I say you are free.” As simply and as quickly as that, Kirk Maynard Gull spread his wings, effortlessly, and lifted into the dark night air.

Yes kids. That is how you do it. Doesn’t matter if your wing is broken. If you can think it, you can do it. Because, magic.

You have to practice and see the real gull, the good in every one of them, and to help them see it in themselves. That’s what I mean by love.

You don’t say!

Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.

Look with your understanding, because eyes are too mainstream.


  1. I really got bored reading just “The Good” part.


    1. Congratulations.


  2. Jason King Seagull · · Reply

    Or you could sit down for thirty minutes and read the book for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Versus listing to someone’s obviously biased opinion who thinks he’s psych major.


    1. I wouldn’t say it’s thirty minutes. More like an hour and a half.


  3. Jason King seagull · · Reply

    Three months later I agree. Maybe an hour and a half ish. But I retract my statement thereafter. Jonathan Livingston seagull had to point out to Fletcher Lynd seagull that by judging others he was only hurting himself. Still my favorite book that I still find meaning in. Maybe I’m biased too.


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