Robert A. Heinlein, fully Robert Anson Heinlein, pen name for Anson MacDonald

Robert A.
Heinlein, fully Robert Anson Heinlein, pen name for Anson MacDonald
1907

American Novelist, Hugo Award-winning Science Fiction Writer, called the "dean of science fiction writers"

Author Quotes

The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by H. Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not receive this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history.

The second best thing about space travel is that the distances involved make war very difficult, usually impractical, and almost always unnecessary. This is probably a loss for most people, since war is our race's most popular diversion, one which gives purpose and color to dull and stupid lives. But it is a great boon to the intelligent man who fights only when he must.

The commonest weakness of our race is our ability to rationalize our most selfish purposes.

The hardest part about gaining any new idea is sweeping out the false idea occupying that niche. As long as that niche is occupied, evidence and proof and logical demonstration get nowhere. But once the niche is emptied of the wrong idea that has been filling it ? once you can honestly say, ?I don?t know?, then it becomes possible to get at the truth.

The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for your own immediate family. This is the level at which six pounds of mother cat can be so fierce that she'll drive off a police dog. It is the level at which a father takes a moonlighting job to keep his kids in college ? and the level at which a mother or father dives into a flood to save a drowning child... and it is still moral behavior even when it fails.

The shops certainly did have pretty things and the handmade blouses were among the prettiest. Ticky insisted they were "bargains" and I suppose they were. I never will understand about such things; to my mind a bargain is something I need at a price I can afford.

The correct way to punctuate a sentence that states: Of course it is none of my business, but -- is to place a period after the word but. Don't use excessive force in supplying such a moron with a period. Cutting his throat is only a momentary pleasure and is bound to get you talked about.

The hell I won't talk that way! Peter, an eternity here without her is not an eternity of bliss; it is an eternity of boredom and loneliness and grief. You think this damned gaudy halo means anything to me when I know--yes, you've convinced me!--that my beloved is burning in the Pit? I didn't ask much. Just to be allowed to live with her. I was willing to wash dishes forever if only I could see her smile, hear her voice, touch her hand! She's been shipped on a technicality and you know it! Snobbish, bad-tempered angels get to live here without ever doing one lick to deserve it. But my Marga, who is a real angel if one ever lived, gets turned down and sent to Hell to everlasting torture on a childish twist in the rules. You can tell the Father and His sweet-talking Son and that sneaky Ghost that they can take their gaudy Holy City and shove it! If Margrethe has to be in Hell, that's where I want to be!

The next level in moral behavior higher than that exhibited by the baboon is that in which duty and loyalty are shown toward a group of your own kind too large for an individual to know all of them. We have a name for that. It is called "patriotism."

The slickest way in the world to lie is to tell the right amount of truth at the right time-and then shut up.

The country and culture commonly known as America had had a badly split personality all through its history. Its overt laws were almost always puritanical for a people whose covert behavior tended to be Rabelaisian; its major religions were all Apollonian in varying degrees---its religious revivals were often hysterical in a fashion almost Dionysian.

The human mind?s ability to rationalize its own shortcomings into virtues is unlimited, and I am no exception.

The nice thing about citing god as an authority is that you can prove anything you set out to prove.

The supreme irony of life is that no one gets out of it alive.

The actual joining and blending of two physical bodies with simultaneous merging of souls in shared ecstasy of love, giving and receiving and delighting in each other [is] the source?of all that makes this planet so rich and wonderful. That?s what it should be. Instead it was indifference and acts mechanically performed and rape and seduction as a game no better than roulette but with poorer odds and prostitution and celibacy by choice and by n choice and fear and guilt and hatred and violence and children brought up to think that sex was ?bad? and ?shameful? and ?animal? and something to be hidden and always distrusted. This lovely perfect thing, male-femaleness, turned upside down and inside out and made horrible.

The death rate is the same for us as for anybody... one person, one death, sooner or later.

The human race divides itself politically into those who want to be controlled, and those who have no such desire.

The noblest fate that a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his loved home and the war's desolation.

The Ten Commandments are for lame brains. The first five are solely for the benefit of the priests and the powers that be; the second five are half-truths, neither complete nor adequate.

The Almighty-God idea came under attack because it explained nothing; it simply pushed all explanations one stage farther away. In the nineteenth century atheistic positivism started displacing The Almighty-God notion in that minority of the population that bathed regularly. Atheism had a limited run, as it, too, explains nothing, being merely Godism turned upside down.

The depths of winter longing are ice within my heart the shards of broken covenants lie sharp against my soul the wraiths of long-lost ecstasy still keep us two apart the amen winds of bitterness sill keen from turn to pole. The scares are twisted tendons, the stumps of struck-off limbs, the aching pit of hunger and throb of unset bone, my sanded burning eyeballs, as might within them dims, add nothing to the torment of lying here alone... The shimmering flames of fever trace out your blessed face My broken eardrums echo yet your voice inside my head I do not fear the darkness that comes to me apace I only dread the loss of you thy comes when I am dead.

The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it. Anything that conflicts with the survival instinct acts sooner or later to eliminate the individual and thereby fails to show up in future generations... A scientifically verifiable theory of morals must be rooted in the individual's instinct to survive--and nowhere else!--and must correctly describe the hierarchy of survival, note the motivations at each level, and resolve all conflicts. We have such a theory now; we can solve any moral problem, on any level. Self-interest, love of family, duty to country, responsibility toward the human race... The basis of all morality is duty; a concept with the same relation to group that self-interest has to individual.

The only religious opinion I feel sure of is this: self-awareness is not just a bunch of amino acids bumping together.

The thing to do with a silly remark is to fail to hear it.

The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ?warm body? democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens? which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it? which for the majority translates as ?Bread and Circuses.? ?Bread and Circuses? is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader?the barbarians enter Rome.

Author Picture
First Name
Robert A.
Last Name
Heinlein, fully Robert Anson Heinlein, pen name for Anson MacDonald
Birth Date
1907
Bio

American Novelist, Hugo Award-winning Science Fiction Writer, called the "dean of science fiction writers"