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14-Nov-05, 03:21 AM (PST)
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"Favorite Heinlein quotations"
LAST EDITED ON 14-Nov-05 AT 03:22 AM (PST)
More than any other author, Robert Heinlein played a major part in influencing my life philosophy as I was growing up. He was a bit of a curmudgeon, and he had old-fashioned chauvinistic views that would put him out of step with modern thinking about women's roles -- but he was definitely "old school" in the best sense of the word, and it's clear to me that he adored women.

I still go back and read some of my favorites when I'm troubled or upset... I did some searching and thought I'd share some of my favorite quotes from his writings... ok, ok, I know I went overboard! But he was a prolific writer, and his words still resonate with me, years after I first read them:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.

There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. (tanstaafl)

If the universe has any purpose more important than topping a woman you love and making a baby with her hearty help, I've never heard of it.

Rub her feet.

Another ingredient in a happy marriage: Budget the luxuries first!

If you don't like yourself, you can't like other people.

The phrase "we (I) (you) simply must—" designates some thing that need not be done. "That goes without saying" is a red warning. "Of course" means you had best check it yourself. These small-change clichés and others like them, when read correctly, are reliable channel markers.

The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility. And vice versa.

Age is not an accomplishment, and youth is not a sin.

Age does not always bring wisdom, but it does lend perspective.

It's amazing how much "mature wisdom" resembles being too tired.

Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.

Yield to temptation. It may not pass your way again.

Sex should be friendly. Otherwise stick to mechanical toys; it's more sanitary.

Masturbation is cheap, clean, convenient, and free of any possibility of wrongdoing -— and you don't have to go home in the cold. But it's lonely.

Men are more sentimental than women. It blurs their thinking.

Men are expendable; women and children are not. A tribe or a nation can lose a high percentage of its men and still pick up the pieces and go on... as long as the women and children are saved. But if you fail to save the women and children, you've had it, you're done, you're through! You join Tyrannosaurus Rex, one more breed that bilged its final test.

"Patriotism" is a way of saying "Women and children first." And that no one can force a man to feel this way. Instead he must embrace it freely.

A woman is not property, and husbands who think otherwise are living in a dreamworld.

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.

How can you expect to argue with a woman, who won't?

Whenever women have insisted on absolute equality with men, they have invariably wound up with the dirty end of the stick. What they are and what they can do makes them superior to men, and their proper tactic it to demand special privileges, all the traffic will bear. They should never settle merely for equality. For women, "equality" is a disaster.

Premenstrual Syndrome: Just before their periods women behave the way men do all the time.

A great artist can look at an old woman, portray her exactly as she is... and force the viewer to see the pretty girl she used to be... more than that he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armidillo see that this lovely young girl is still alive, prisoned inside her ruined body.

Women will forgive anything. Otherwise, the race would have died out long ago.

The more you love, the more you can love -- and the more intensely you love. Nor is there any limit on how many you can love. If a person had time enough, he could love all of that majority who are decent and just.

A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.

"Love" is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own... Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy -- in fact, they're almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other. Both at once can produce unbearable turmoil..."

Beauty is not diminished by being shared.

One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.

If tempted by something that feels "altruistic," examine your motives and root out that self-deception. Then, if you still want to do it, wallow in it!

Natural laws have no pity.

Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

The three-legged stool of understanding is held up by history, languages, and mathematics. Equipped with these three you can learn anything you want to learn. But if you lack any one of them you are just another ignorant peasant with dung on your boots.

Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.

If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion. It has long been known that one horse can run faster than another —- but which one? Differences are crucial.

What are the facts? Again and again and again -- what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars fortell", avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history" -- what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!

Brainpower is the scarcest commodity and the only one of real value.

Most people can't think, most of the remainder won't think, the small fraction who do think mostly can't do it very well. The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately, creatively, and without self-delusion -- in the long run these are the only people who count...

You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.

Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal.

Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

Anyone can see a forest fire. Skill lies in sniffing the first smoke.

To get anywhere, or even to live a long time, a man has to guess, and guess right, over and over again, without enough data for a logical answer.

Luck is a tag given by the mediocre to account for the accomplishments of genius.

The United States has become a place where entertainers and professional athletes are mistaken for people of importance.

Remind me to write an article on the compulsive reading of news. The theme will be that most neuroses can be traced to the unhealthy habit of wallowing in the troubles of five billion strangers.

Don't ever become a pessimist... a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun -- and neither can stop the march of events.

...more people worry themselves to death than bleed to death.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do.

Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.

Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so.

Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it.

One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word.

A touchstone to determine the actual worth of an "intellectual" —- find out how he feels about astrology.

The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning while those other subjects merely require scholarship.

Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.

The greatest productive force is human selfishness.

Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win.

There is no such thing as "social gambling." Either you are there to cut the other bloke's heart out and eat it —- or you're a sucker. If you don't like this choice -— don't gamble.

In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.

No matter where or what, there are makers, takers, and fakers.

Money is the sincerest of all flattery. Women love to be flattered. So do men.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.

I don't trust a man who talks about ethics when he is picking my pocket. But if he is acting in his own self-interest and says so, I have usually been able to work out some way to do business with him.

For me, politeness is a sine qua non of civilization.

A generation which ignores history has no past -- and no future.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods.

Belief gets in the way of learning.

I never learned from a man who agreed with me.

Learning isn't a means to an end; it is an end in itself.

When one teaches, two learn.

Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way.

A fool cannot be protected from his folly. If you attempt to do so, you will not only arouse his animosity but also you will be attempting to deprive him of whatever benefit he is capable of deriving from experience. Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.

You live and learn. Or you don't live long.

Get a shot off fast. This upsets him long enough to let you make your second shot perfect.

Place your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark.

Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate —- and quickly.

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.

But goodness alone is never enough. A hard cold wisdom is required, too, for goodness to accomplish good. Goodness without wisdom invariably accomplishes evil."

Avoid making irrevocable decisions while tired or hungry. N.B.: Circumstances can force your hand. So think ahead!

When the need arises -— and it does —- you must be able to shoot your own dog. Don't farm it out —- that doesn't make it nicer, it makes it worse.

Responsibility cannot be shared.

What are the marks of a sick culture? It is a bad sign when the people of a country stop identifying themselves with the county and start identifying with a group. A racial group. Or a religion. Or a language. Anything, as long as it isn't the whole population.

For the first time in my life, I was reading things which had not been approved by the Prophet's censors, and the impact on my mind was devastating. Sometimes I would glance over my shoulder to see who was watching me, frightened in spite of myself. I began to sense faintly that secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy... censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to it's subjects, "This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know," the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked, contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything -- you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.

Of all the strange "crimes" that human beings have legislated of nothing, "blasphemy" is the most amazing -- with "obscenity" and "indecent exposure" fighting it out for the second and third place.

Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is not sinful -- just stupid).

Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.

There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.

Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.

No intelligent man has any respect for an unjust law. He simply follows the eleventh commandment.

Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How's that again? I missed something.

Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let's play that over again, too. Who decides?

What a wonderful world it is that has girls in it!

Durned if I don't think a stacked redhead is more conspicuous than an unidentified flying object.

Darling, a true lady takes off her dignity with her clothes and does her whorish best. At other times you can be as modest and dignified as your persona requires.

There is only one way to console a widow. But remember the risk.

I need not have worried about being naked; no one seemed to notice...which irked me. Gentlemen should at least leer. And a wolf whistle or other applause would not be out of place. Anything less makes a woman feel unsure of herself.

And finally...

Sex without love is merely healthy exercise.

Here, I have to say... there's nothing wrong with healthy exercise!


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Favorite Heinlein quotations [View All], deChat, 03:21 AM, 14-Nov-05, (0)  
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Member since 10-May-04
454 posts
14-Nov-05, 04:46 PM (PST)
Click to EMail chevytat Click to send private message to chevytat Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
1. "RE: Favorite Heinlein quotations"
In response to message #0
I can't believe that somoene besides me was so into HEINLEIN. Red Planet was his first book I read and it just snowballed from there. I still have my whole collection. ONE TATTOO AT A TIME

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14-Nov-05, 08:28 PM (PST)
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2. "Thank you for bringing back some good memories"
In response to message #0
   For me it was "Stranger In A Strange Land" almost 45 years ago. Had a big impact on my life. Right now, I would like to find "The Door Into Summer".

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15-Nov-05, 00:32 AM (PST)
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3. "RE: Thank you for bringing back some good memories"
In response to message #2
>Right now, I would like to find "The Door Into Summer".

The Science Fiction Book Club ( has it available as an SFBC 50th Anniversary Edition (hard cover) for $9.99. The item # is 67-6078.


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15-Nov-05, 08:48 PM (PST)
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4. "Thanks, Nighhawk EOM"
In response to message #3

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15-Nov-05, 09:25 PM (PST)
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5. "RE: Thank you for bringing back some good memories"
In response to message #2
   I still think sometimes about how my views on food and our corporal existence on this planet are affected from reading "Stranger".

Grok that! Lol

Busy paving the road to hell.

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Member since 28-Mar-05
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01-Feb-06, 12:55 PM (PST)
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9. "RE: Thank you for bringing back some good memories"
In response to message #5
Grok?! I forgot all about Groking. "Stranger in a Strange Land" has always been one of my favorite sci-fi books. Any other recomendations? I heard some of his books go way off the deep end, and I'm not trying to go that deep, but "Stranger" was a great book!

Embrace your Destiney....

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01-Feb-06, 07:10 PM (PST)
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10. "RE: Thank you for bringing back some good memories"
In response to message #9
If you want a primer on how to run a revolution, read "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress."



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15-Jan-06, 09:59 PM (PST)
Click to EMail He11oKlitty Click to send private message to He11oKlitty Click to view user profileClick to add this user to your buddy list  
6. "RE: Favorite Heinlein quotations"
In response to message #0
   Thanks for sharing that. He was pretty important in my formative years, and 'Stranger' and 'Time Enough for Love' were favs.

'Dune' was a major read, and I reread it almost every year of college.

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Member since 14-Nov-05
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19-Jan-06, 08:02 PM (PST)
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7. "RE: Favorite Heinlein quotations"
In response to message #6
   LAST EDITED ON 19-Jan-06 AT 08:03 PM (PST)
Thank you for bringing him back to life; from one of his fans.


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Member since 11-Aug-04
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19-Jan-06, 11:44 PM (PST)
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8. "RE: Favorite Heinlein quotations"
In response to message #6
   Methuselah's Children was old-fashioned sci-fi but I liked it as well. Time Enough was the only one that made me cry (it was the geese).

I guess you know that Frank Herbert wrote Dune. Not much in the way of quotes, but a pretty good story.

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01-Feb-06, 10:09 PM (PST)
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11. "RE: Favorite Heinlein quotations"
In response to message #0
Thanks for posting those quotes! It's been a long time since I read Heinlein - you've made me wanat to go back and do it again. Did you know there was a church based on "Stranger"? The Church of All Worlds....


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02-Feb-06, 01:30 AM (PST)
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12. "RE: Favorite Heinlein quotations"
In response to message #11
   "Red Planet" was a good one. Simple story about a boy on Mars. Good fun.

The Sexseeker has spoken!!!

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18-Feb-06, 12:05 PM (PST)
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13. "RE: Favorite Heinlein quotations"
In response to message #12
   I also thank you for bringing back some wonderful memories.

I assume most of those quotes came from the "intermissions" in Time Enough for Love. I fell in love with Dora every time I read that book. "Stanger" is still one of my five favorite books, SF or other and the word Grok has been in my vocabulary ever since.

I have never read "Red Planet". I guess I know what is next on my reading list.

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