30 May 2009


American author

See also: 
• “The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed” (Revolt in 2100, postscript, 1953)

• “Correct morality can only be derived from what man is — not from what do-gooders and well-meaning aunt Nellies would like him to be.” (Starship Troopers, 1959)

• “How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?” ("Doctor Pinero" in Life-Line, 1939)

• “I have never been impressed by the formal schools of ethics. I had sampled them—public libraries are a ready source of recreation for an actor short of cash—but I had found them as poor in vitamins as a mother-in-law’s kiss. Given time and plenty of paper, a philosopher can prove anything. I had the same contempt for the moral instruction handed to most children. Much of it is prattle and the parts they really seem to mean are dedicated to the sacred proposition that a “good” child is one who does not disturb mother’s nap and a “good” man is one who achieves a muscular bank account without getting caught. No, thanks!” (Double Star, 1956)

• “Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal.” (Assignment in Eternity, 1953)

• “Morals — all correct moral laws — derive from the instinct to survive. Moral behavior is survival behavior above the individual level.” (Starship Troopers, 1959)

• “No philosophy that he had ever heard or read gave any reasonable purpose for man's existence, nor any rational clue to his proper conduct. Basking in the sunshine might be as good a thing to do with one's life as any other — but it was not for him and he knew it, even if he could not define how he knew it.” (Methuselah’s Children, 1958)

• “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 uncertainty of reason — but one cannot have both.” (Friday, 1983)

• “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.” (Gwen Novak /Hazel Stone, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, 1985)

• “You don’t pay back, you pay forward.” (Answer to Jerry Pournelle when he asked Heinlein how he could pay him back for helping him with his writing career, as reported in Pournell’s Starswarm, 1997)

Learn more about Robert Heinlein HERE 
Find more quotations from Robert Heinlein HERE
Read about his character Lazarus Long HERE

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