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Robert A. Heinlein Quotes

Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.
Robert A. Heinlein
How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?
Robert A. Heinlein (Life-Line, 1939)
I've found out why people laugh. They laugh because it hurts so much . . . because it's the only thing that'll make it stop hurting.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Stange Land, 1961)
You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once. 
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
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.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Rolling Stones, 1952)
Yield to temptation. It may not pass your way again.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Sex without love is merely healthy exercise. 
Robert A. Heinlein
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.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Stange Land, 1961)
One man's theology is another man's belly laugh.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Free will is a golden thread running through the frozen matrix of fixed events.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Rolling Stones, 1952)
Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws - always for other fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, 1966)
I will accept the rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. 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.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, 1966)
Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers, 1959)
Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, 1966)
If we blow ourselves up we will do it by misapplication of science; if we manage to keep from blowing ourselves up, it will be through intelligent application of science.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Pragmatics of Patriotism, 1973)
To be matter-of-fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy - and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, 1985)
Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors... and miss.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed.
Robert A. Heinlein (Revolt in 2100, 1953)
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.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
In the eighty or ninety years I have given to this subject, trying to trace out the meanderings of their twisty little minds, the only thing that I have learned for certain about women is that when a gal is gonna, she's gonna. All a man can do is cooperate with the inevitable.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Stange Land, 1961)
Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Selfishness is the bedrock on which all moral behavior starts and it can be immoral only when it conflicts with a higher moral imperative. An animal so poor in spirit that he won't even fight on his own behalf is already an evolutionary dead end; the best he can do for his breed is to crawl off and die, and not pass on his defective genes.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Pragmatics of Patriotism, 1973)
An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
Robert A. Heinlein (Beyond This Horizon, 1942)
Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.
Robert A. Heinlein (Life-Line, 1939)
History does not record anywhere a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Evolution is a process that never stops. Baboons who fail to exhibit moral behavior do not survive; they wind up as meat for leopards.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Pragmatics of Patriotism, 1973)
Never try to outstubborn a cat.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
The most preposterous notion that Homosapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
I’ve never understood how God could expect His creatures to pick the one true religion by faith - it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Stange Land, 1961)
Behind every mystery lies another mystery.
Robert A. Heinlein (Job: A Comedy of Justice, 1984)
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 with the 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 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.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. 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. 
Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, 1966)
Does history record any case in which the majority was right?
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits.
Robert A. Heinlein (Life-Line, 1939)
Life is short, but the years are long.
Robert A. Heinlein (Methuselah's Children, 1958)
By cultivating the beautiful we scatter the seeds of heavenly flowers, as by doing good we cultivate those that belong to humanity.
Robert A. Heinlein
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!
Robert A. Heinlein (Job: A Comedy of Justice, 1984)
The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive.
Robert A. Heinlein (Job: A Comedy of Justice, 1984)
Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers, 1959)
There is no conclusive evidence of life after death. But there is no evidence of any sort against it. Soon enough you will know. So why fret about it?
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
The two highest achievements of the human mind are the twin concepts of "loyalty" and "duty." Whenever these twin concepts fall into disrepute - get out of there fast! You may possibly save yourself, but it is too late to save that society. It is doomed.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
A government is a living organism. Like every living thing its prime characteristic is a blind, unreasoned instinct to survive. You hit it, it will fight back.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Stange Land, 1961)
Being privileged to work hard for long hours at something you think is worth doing is the best kind of play.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
A religion is sometime a source of happiness, and I would not deprive anyone of happiness. But it is a comfort appropriate for the weak, not for the strong. The great trouble with religion - any religion - is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak certainty of reason - but one cannot have both.
Robert A. Heinlein (Friday, 1982)
The slickest way in the world to lie is to tell the right amount of truth at the right time - and then shut up.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Stange Land, 1961)
Delusions are often functional. A mother's opinions about her children's beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
There is no such thing as luck. There is only adequate or inadequate preparation to cope with a statistical universe.
Robert A. Heinlein (Have Space Suit - Will Travel, 1958)
The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Man Who Sold The Moon, 1950)
Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other “sins” are invented nonsense.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its 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.
Robert A. Heinlein (If This Goes On, 1940)
Age is not an accomplishment, and youth is not a sin.
Robert A. Heinlein (Methuselah's Children, 1958)
Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
There comes a time in the life of every human when he or she must decide to risk "his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor" on an outcome dubious. Those who fail the challenge are merely overgrown children, can never be anything else.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Stange Land, 1961)
Some things, the more you understand the more you loathe them.
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers, 1959)
Take sides! Always take sides! You will sometimes be wrong — but the man who refuses to take sides must always be wrong.
Robert A. Heinlein (Double Star, 1956)
If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Anybody can look at a pretty girl and see a pretty girl. An artist can look at a pretty girl and see the old woman she will become. A better artist can look at an old woman and see the pretty girl that she used to be. But a great artist - a master... 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... and more than that, he can make anyone with the sensitivity of an armadillo, or even you, see that this lovely girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body. He can make you feel the quiet, endless tragedy that there was never a girl born who ever grew older than eighteen in her heart... no matter what the merciless hours have done to her.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Stange Land, 1961)
The intelligent fights only when he must and never for sport.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
A generation which ignores history has no past, and no future.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Touch is the most fundamental sense. A baby experiences it, all over, before he is born and long before he learns to use sight, hearing, or taste, and no human ever ceases to need it. Keep your children short on pocket money... but long on hugs.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Anyone who can worship a trinity and insist that his religion is a monotheism can believe anything... just give him time to rationalize it.
Robert A. Heinlein (Job: A Comedy of Justice, 1984)
The nice thing about citing god as an authority is that you can prove anything you set out to prove.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Past Through Tomorrow)
I did the only really brave thing I have ever done in my life: I inched forward.
Robert A. Heinlein (Glory Road, 1963)
Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy. 
Robert A. Heinlein
A human being has no natural rights of any nature.
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers, 1959)
The profession of shaman has many advantages. It offers high status with a safe livelihood free of work in the dreary, sweaty sense. In most societies it offers legal privileges and immunities not granted to other men. But it is hard to see how a man who has been given a mandate from on High to spread tidings of joy to all mankind can be seriously interested in taking up a collection to pay his salary; it causes one to suspect that the shaman is on the moral level of any other con man. But it is a lovely work if you can stomach it.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, 1966)
Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
The faith in which I was brought up assured me that I was better than other people; I was saved, they were damned... Our hymns were loaded with arrogance - self-congratulation on how cozy we were with the Almighty and what a high opinion he had of us, what hell everybody else would catch come Judgment Day.
Robert A. Heinlein (Stranger in a Stange Land, 1961)
If you would know a man, observe how he treats a cat.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Door Into Summer, 1957)
The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Number of the Beast, 1980)
All men are created unequal.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Morals - all correct moral laws - derive from the instinct to survive. Moral behavior is survival behavior above the individual level.
Robert A. Heinlein (Starship Troopers, 1959)
I said that "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. I want to tell about one such man. He wore no uniform and no one knows his name, or where he came from; all we know is what he did.
In my home town sixty years ago when I was a child, my mother and father used to take me and my brothers and sisters out to Swope Park on Sunday afternoons. It was a wonderful place for kids, with picnic grounds and lakes and a zoo. But a railroad line cut straight through it.
One Sunday afternoon a young married couple were crossing these tracks. She apparently did not watch her step, for she managed to catch her foot in the frog of a switch to a siding and could not pull it free. Her husband stopped to help her.
But try as they might they could not get her foot loose. While they were working at it, a tramp showed up, walking the ties. He joined the husband in trying to pull the young woman's foot loose. No luck —
Out of sight around the curve a train whistled. Perhaps there would have been time to run and flag it down, perhaps not. In any case both men went right ahead trying to pull her free ... and the train hit them.
The wife was killed, the husband was mortally injured and died later, the tramp was killed — and testimony showed that neither man made the slightest effort to save himself.
The husband's behavior was heroic ... but what we expect of a husband toward his wife: his right, and his proud privilege, to die for his woman. But what of this nameless stranger? Up to the very last second he could have jumped clear. He did not. He was still trying to save this woman he had never seen before in his life, right up to the very instant the train killed him. And that's all we'll ever know about him.
This is how a man dies.
This is how a man ... lives!
Robert A. Heinlein (The Pragmatics of Patriotism, 1973)
The less respect an older person deserves the more certain he is to demand it from anyone younger.
Robert A. Heinlein (Have Space Suit - Will Travel, 1958)
Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Rolling Stones, 1952)
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.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
A monarch’s neck should always have a noose around it. It keeps him upright.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, 1985)
It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
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.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Courage is the complement of fear. A man who is fearless cannot be courageous.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
If you happen to be one of the fretful minority who can do creative work, never force an idea; you’ll abort it if you do. Be patient and you’ll give birth to it when the time is ripe. Learn to wait.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
No storyteller has been able to dream up anything as fantastically unlikely as what really does happen in this mad Universe.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
The Bible is such a gargantuan collection of conflicting values that anyone can prove anything from it.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Number of the Beast, 1980)
Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury, or folly, which can - and must - be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible. Attempts to formulate a "perfect society" on any foundation other than "Women and children first!" is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal. Nevertheless, starry-eyed idealists (all of them male) have tried endlessly - and no doubt will keep on trying.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
I wanted the feeling of romance and the sense of wonder I had known as a kid. I wanted the world to be what they had promised me it was going to be - instead of the tawdry, lousy fouled-up mess it is.
Robert A. Heinlein (Glory Road, 1963)
"Logic" proved that airplanes can't fly and that H-bombs won't work and that stones don't fall out of the sky. Logic is a way of saying that anything wihich didn't happen yesterday won't happen tomorrow.
Robert A. Heinlein (Glory Road, 1963)
One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Learning isn’t a means to an end; it’s an end in and of itself.
Robert A. Heinlein
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. 
Robert A. Heinlein (Job: A Comedy of Justice, 1984)
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.
Robert A. Heinlein (To Sail Beyond the Sunset)
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
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. 
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
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.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
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.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Don't appeal to mercy to God the Father up in the sky, little man, because he's not at home and never was at home, and couldn't care less. What you do with yourself, whether you are happy or unhappy - live or die - is strictly your business and the universe doesn't care. In fact you may be the universe and the only cause of all your troubles. But, at best, the most you can hope for is comradeship with comrades no more divine (or just as divine) as you are. So quit sniveling and face up to it - "Thou art God!"
Robert A. Heinlein (Grumbles From the Grave, 1989)
You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do.
Robert A. Heinlein (Waldo & Magic, Inc., 1950)
You live and learn. Or you don't live long.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love, 1973)
Maybe one chance is all you ever get.
Robert A. Heinlein (Glory Road, 1963)
Robert A. Heinlein Biography

Born: July 7, 1907
Died: May 8, 1988

Robert A. Heinlein was an American writer. He wrote mainly science fiction and was and still is considered to be one of the greatest authors in his genre.

Notable Works
Starship Troopers (1959)
Stranger in a Strange Land
(1961)
Glory Road
(1963)
The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
(1966)
Time Enough for Love
(1973)
Friday
(1982)
Job: A Comedy of Justice (1984)
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