Quotes from ‘Time Enough for Love’

Robert A. Heinlein‘s huge novel, Time Enough for Love, seemed to me boring at first glance. It is science fiction, no matter what you may think from the title. For 1973 however, I was impressed at the freedom of thought expressed in the ideas of the main character, Lazarus Long. It’s definitely worth reading, especially if you like hard SF.

Way too many quotes:

  • Always cut the cards. You may lose anyhow – but not as often, nor as much. And when you do lose, smile.
  • Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
  • After a long time it is hard to tell a real memory from a memory of a memory of a memory of a real memory. That’s what happens when you think about the past: You edit it and rearrange it, make it more tolerable.
  • Give the future enough thought to be ready for it, but don’t worry about it. Live each day as if you were to die next sunrise. Then face each sunrise as a fresh creation and live for it, joyously. And never think about the past. No regrets, ever.
  • Modesty has never been one of my vices.
  • Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.
  • You get less work done if you persist in getting up yawning and still tired. You aren’t sharp and make mistakes and have to do it over.
  • – I’m beginning to understand you.
    – You do? That’s more than I’ve ever managed. When you get me figured out, tell me about me; I’ll be interested.
  • I’ve never wasted skull sweat on revenge…
  • Latin is majestic, especially when you don’t understand it.
  • Compound interest is murder.
  • Work is not an end in itself; there must always be time enough for love.
  • Privacy is as necessary as company; you can drive a man crazy by depriving him of either.
  • If a man pushes a rock, can he ignore an avalanche that follows?
  • By the data to date, there is only one animal in the Galaxy dangerous to man – man himself. So he must supply his own indispensable competition. He has no enemy to help him.
  • Men are more sentimental than women. It blurs their thinking.
  • Certainly the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you; if you don’t bet, you can’t win.
  • Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.
  • Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.
  • 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?
  • A “pacifist male” is a contradiction in terms.
  • What a wonderful world it is that has girls in it!
  • History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help.
  • If you don’t like yourself, you can’t like other people.
  • No state has an inherent right to survive through conscript troops and, in the long run, no state ever, has. Roman matrons used to say to their sons: “Come back with your shield, or on it.” Later on, this custom declined. So did Rome.
  • Cheops’ Law: Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.
  • All men are created unequal.
  • Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.
  • 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.
  • Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves.
  • You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once.
  • Avoid making irrevocable decisions while tired or hungry.
  • An elephant: A mouse built to government specifications.
  • A woman is not property, and husbands who think otherwise are living in a dreamworld.
  • They may be right. But I don’t have to like it – and I don’t.
  • Stupidity is the only universal capital crime.
  • Courage is the complement of fear. A man who is fearless cannot be courageous. (He is also a fool.)
  • People who go broke in a big way never miss any meals.
  • The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility.
  • Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human.
  • Specialization is for insects.
  • The more you love, the more you can love – and the more intensely you love.
  • Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil.
  • Everybody lies about sex.
  • Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.
  • A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.
  • Money is the sincerest of all flattery.
  • You live and learn. Or you don’t live long.
  • One man’s “magic” is another man’s engineering. “Supernatural” is a null word.
  • “Of course” means you had best check it yourself.
  • Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy.
  • “Accidents” around the Senior are usually planned.
  • Hindsight is a vice… especially when it is foresight.
  • Complexity is contrary to the basic principle of successful lying.
  • There is no point in worrying. But there is point in trying to anticipate what can be done about it.
  • Money is the universal weapon.
  • I didn’t make the rules; I just enforce them.
  • No anomaly, no paradox – either total success or total failure.
  • It is never foolish to love.
  • Patience I have learned. The centuries may not give a man wisdom, but he acquires patience or he doesn’t live through them.
  • Make money, lose money – who cares? The idea is to enjoy it.
  • There is always a last mistake.
  • Always take an honor guard with you. If you have to go, go down fighting. The size of your guard of honor determines your status in hell.
  • If the human animal has any value at all, he is too valuable to be property. If he has any inner dignity, he is much too proud to own other men.
  • Shakespeare and I never let grammar interfere with expressing ourselves.
  • Some people are ants by nature; they have to work, even when it’s useless. Few people have a talent for constructive laziness.
  • It’s much safer to break a law knowingly than to do so through ignorance.
  • A pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun – and neither can stop the march of events.
  • No matter where or what, there are makers, takers, and fakers.
  • Happiness is in the heart.
  • To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods.
  • A “critic” is a man who creates nothing and thereby feels qualified to judge the work of creative men. There is logic in this; he is unbiased – he hates all creative people equally.
  • Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.
  • Being generous is inborn; being altruistic is a learned perversity.
  • Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other “sins” are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is not sinful – just stupid.)
  • Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.
  • A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain.

2 Responses to Quotes from ‘Time Enough for Love’

  1. Neus says:

    Nice quotes! Thanks for sharing.

  2. A reminicence for a friend..

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