Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Granny steals entire post from another site: LiveJournal :::
Just cause I always loved Robert Heinlein
Books I Love 1
Thanks to serenejournal for suggesting, in passing, a daily list: books I love. The first has to be Stranger in a Strange Land. The satire hit me first, then the sex, then the Eastern religion. Yes, I know that it's flawed, but the good stuff remains. Heinlein was a Trickster, whose two desires were to make money and make people think. He certainly succeeded with the latter, as far as I am concerned. (And I bought all his books.)
I append a list I did for alt.poly on "Good things about Robert Heinlein, besides the obvious":
"Man, as a social animal, can no more escape government than the individual can escape bondage to his bowels."
"Thou Art God": the Martian blasphemy that's also Eastern wisdom.
His innocent observer of Terran culture learned a valuable lesson about humanity from seeing a monkey hit a smaller monkey, who in turn hit a still smaller one.
Long before the 80s, he told a story in which the "amiable nullity" who led the free world was actually controlled by his wife's astrologer.
He said that Mother's Day is an excuse to peddle the sexual organs of plants.
In one book, he had a character who labored to make things better for all those billions of people because "their lives may not have cosmic significance, but they have feelings. They can hurt." That may or may not have expressed Heinlein's own beliefs at the time, but it perfectly represents the condescension of liberals and their equally genuine compassion. (I am a liberal.)
"-Suppose we are all different parts of the same record, being played at different times and in different places-" (Letter to Theodore Sturgeon)
The taboo against cannibalism is a good idea because we’re not civilized, so it’s nice to have one fewer way that people prey on each other.
"When Robert Heinlein invented the term 'grok' to mean simultaneously know, eat, embrace, make love to and incorporate, he was invoking the secret logic of all writing, and the reason it is so comforting to write"--Donna Minkowitz
"waldoes": devices that enable one to pick up and manipulate parts of the physical world without actually touching them. He left it to the reader to realize that the three greatest waldoes are language, mathematics, and science.
Astrology is nowhere near being a science, but a perceptive astrologer can use its symbols as a guiding metaphor to interpret people. (I doubt that it’s much worse than other social sciences. I’d much rather trust my psyche to a good astrologer than a bad Freudian.)
understanding scientific method and using it where it works, but also being able to express nonmaterialistic approaches without sounding like _The Weekly World News_.
and of course the invaluable intellectual exercise in recognizing the many areas in which he was utterly full of shit.