Heinlein Quotes





The science fiction novel "Time Enough for Love" by Robert A. Heinlein is the source of some of my favorite quotes.

p241
Most "scientists" are bottle washers and button sorters.
p247
The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility. And vice versa.
p247
Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untravelled, the naive, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as "empty," "meaningless," or "dishonest," and scorn to use them. No matter how "pure" their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best.
p249
A touchstone to determine the actual worth of an "intellectual" - find out how he feels about astrology.
p250
A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.
p251
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
p347
A "critic" is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to judge the work of creative men. There is a logic in this; he is unbiased - he hates all creative people equally.
p349
The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning, while those other subjects merely require scholarship.
p350
Waking a person unnecessarily should not be considered a capital crime. For the first offense, that is.
p351
Do not confuse "duty" with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.

But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is to deal with a leech who wants "just a few minutes of your time, please - this won't take long." Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing with to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time - and squawk for more!

So learn to say No - and to be rude about it when necessary.

Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you.

(This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don't do it because it is "expected" of you.)

p 50
Early rising is a vice . . . it'll stunt your growth and shorten your days.
p 50
. . . Gramp Johnson . . . used to tell a story about a man who was condemned to be shot at sunrise -but overslept and missed it. His sentence was commuted that day, and he lived another forty, fifty years . . . I took it to mean 'sleep whenever you can; you may have to stay awake a long time.' Early rising may not be a vice . . . but it is certainly no virtue. The old saw about the early bird just goes to show you that the worm should have stayed in bed. I can't stand people who are smug about how early they get up.
p 53
. . . getting up early does not get more work done . . . anymore than you can make a piece of string longer by cutting off one end and tying it onto the other. You get less work done if you persist in getting up yawning and still tired. You aren't sharp and you make mistakes and have to do it over. That sort of busy-busy is wasteful. As well as unpleasant. And annoying to those who would sleep late if their neighbors weren't so noisily active at some ungodly cow-milking hour . . . progress doesn't come from early risers - progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.
p 69
. . . he would not willingly attend Judgement day if it was held before noon.
p89
. . . do you know the ancient Chinese ideogram for 'trouble'? It's 'Two women under one roof.'
And finally, one of my all time favorite quotes which is also from this book:
p247
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.



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