Time Enough for Love

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Time Enough for Love (1973) is a science fiction novel, written by Robert A. Heinlein, about the life of Lazarus Long (birth name: Woodrow Wilson Smith), the oldest living human, now more than two thousand years old.

Quotes[edit]

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.
A zygote is a gamete's way of producing more gametes. This may be the purpose of the universe.
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.
Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense.
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published in August 1988 by Ace, and often reprinted, ISBN# 978-0-441-81076-5
Most, if not all of these quotations are of the recurring Heinlein character "Lazarus Long"
  • History has the relation to truth that theology has to religion—i.e., none to speak of.
    • "Introduction" (p. ix)
  • Oh, I have strong opinions, but a thousand reasoned opinions are never equal to one case of diving in and finding out. Galileo proved that and it may be the only certainty we have.
    • "Prelude I" (p. 9)
  • I learned centuries back that there is no in any society crowded enough to need IDs. A law guaranteeing privacy simply insures that bugs—microphones and lenses and so forth—are that much harder to spot.
    • "Prelude I" (p. 15)
  • Security people always spy on their bosses; they can’t help it, it’s a syndrome that goes with the job.
    • "Prelude I" (p. 16)
  • There’s no virtue in being old, it just takes a long time.
    • "Prelude I" (p. 16)
  • Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn—when they do, which isn't often—on their own, the hard way.
    • "Prelude II" (p. 19)
  • Age does not bring wisdom. Often it merely changes simple stupidity into arrogant conceit. Its only advantage, so far as I have been able to see, is that it spans change. A young person sees the world as a still picture, immutable. An old person has had his nose rubbed in changes and more changes and still more changes so many times that he knows it is a moving picture, forever changing. He may not like it—probably doesn’t; I don’t—but he knows it’s so, and knowing it is the first step in coping with it.
    • "Prelude II" (p. 19)
  • “Then you believe in an afterlife?”
    “Slow up! I don’t ‘believe’ in anything. I know certain things—little things, not the Nine Billion Names of God—from experience. But I have no beliefs. Belief gets in the way of learning.
    • "Prelude II" (p. 20)
  • I spent my boyhood the way every boy does—trying to keep my elders from finding out what I was up to.
    • "Prelude II" (p. 22)
  • “Common sense?”
    “Son, that phrase is self-contradictory. ‘Sense’ is never ‘common.’”
    • "Prelude II" (p. 26)
  • Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.
    • "Prelude II" (p. 31)
  • Lazarus expressed a rhetorical and physiologically improbable wish.
    • "Prelude II" (p. 34)
  • The purpose of my government is never to do good, but simply to refrain from doing evil.
    • "Variations on a Theme I: Affairs of State" (p. 47)
  • Progress doesn't come from early risers—progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.
    • "Variations on a Theme I: Affairs of State" (p. 53)
  • He enjoyed it, for every hour in school was an hour sitting down doing nothing harder than reading. Before and after school he had to do chores on his family’s farm, which he hated, as they were what was known as “honest work”—meaning hard, dirty, inefficient, and ill-paid—and also involved getting up early, which he hated even worse.
    • "Variations on a Theme II: The Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail" (p. 54)
  • Do not ask why; it was no more subject to rational explanation than is any other branch of theology.
    • "Variations on a Theme II: The Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail" (p. 59)
  • But David, like all true geniuses, paid only pragmatic attention to rules made by other people—he obeyed the Eleventh Commandment and never got caught.
    • "Variations on a Theme II: The Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail" (p. 63)
  • Don’t ask me why. It was Navy policy and therefore did not have a reason.
    • "Variations on a Theme II: The Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail" (p. 63)
  • A capsule description of most human “progress”: By the time you learn how, it’s too late.
    • "Variations on a Theme II: The Tale of the Man Who Was Too Lazy to Fail" (p. 70)
  • May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.
    • "Variations on a Theme III: Domestic Problems" (p. 83)
  • Whoring is like military service, Ira—okay in the upper brackets, not so good lower down.
    • "Variations on a Theme III: Domestic Problems" (p. 109)
  • Whores perform the same function as priests, Ira, but far more thoroughly.
    • "Variations on a Theme III: Domestic Problems" (p. 109)
  • ‘Put not your faith in princes,’ Ira; since they don’t produce, they always steal.
    • "Variations on a Theme III: Domestic Problems" (p. 109)
  • In the first place, very little thinking was ever done in English; it is not a language suited to logical thought. Instead, it’s an emotive lingo beautifully adapted to concealing fallacies. A rationalizing language, not a rational one.
    • "Variations on a Theme IV: Love" (p. 120)
  • “I'm still learning English. By the naturalistic method the way a child learns his milk language. No grammar, no syntax, no dictionary—just listen and talk and read it. Acquire new words by context. By that method I acquired a feeling that ‘love' means the shared ecstasy that can be attained through sex. Is that right?”
    “Son, I hate to say this—because, if you've been reading a lot of English, I see how you reached that opinion—but you are one hundred percent wrong.”
    • "Variations on a Theme IV: Love" (p. 122)
  • If there is a purpose in life more important than two people cooperating in making a baby, all the philosophers in history haven’t been able to find it.
    • "Variations on a Theme IV: Love" (p. 122)
  • Maybe Jesus was right when he said that the meek shall inherit the earth—but they inherit very small plots, about six feet by three.
    • "Variations on a Theme VI: The Tale of the Twins Who Weren’t" (p. 158)
  • Respect for laws is a pragmatic matter. Women know this instinctively; that’s why they are all smugglers. Men often believe—or pretend—that the “Law” is something sacred, or at least a science—an unfounded assumption very convenient to governments.
    • "Variations on a Theme VI: The Tale of the Twins Who Weren’t" (p. 159)
  • They did ask, sometimes, and accepted my decision without argument. But I could see that they did not always believe me. That pleased me; they were starting to think for themselves—didn’t matter if they were wrong.
    • "Variations on a Theme VI: The Tale of the Twins Who Weren’t" (p. 176)
  • That was encouraging; a person who can read and write and has a head for math can learn anything she needs to know.
    • "Variations on a Theme VI: The Tale of the Twins Who Weren’t" (p. 179)
  • He shut up, realizing that grim old Mother Nature, red of tooth and claw, invariably punished damfools who tried to ignore Her or to repeal Her ordinances; he need not interfere.
    • "Variations on a Theme VI: The Tale of the Twins Who Weren’t" (p. 189)
  • Every so often some idiot tries to abolish marriage. Such attempts work as well as repealing the law of gravity, making pi equal to three point zero, or moving mountains by prayer.
    • "Variations on a Theme VII: Valhalla to Landfall" (p. 194)
  • Latin is majestic, especially when you don’t understand it.
    • "Variations on a Theme VII: Valhalla to Landfall" (p. 196)
  • Half the battle with any culture is knowing its taboos.
    • "Variations on a Theme VIII: Landfall" (p. 215)
  • Privacy is as necessary as company; you can drive a man crazy by depriving him of either.
    • "Variations on a Theme IX: Conversation Before Dawn" (p. 220)
  • “She loved them,” said Minerva.
    “Yes, she did, dear, by the exact definition of love. Llita placed their welfare and happiness ahead of her own.”
    • "Variations on a Theme IX: Conversation Before Dawn" (p. 225)
  • Llita was well above average smart but suffered from the democratic fallacy: the notion that her opinion was as good as anyone’s—while Joe suffered from the aristocratic fallacy: He accepted the notion of authority in opinion.
    • "Variations on a Theme IX: Conversation Before Dawn" (p. 225)
  • Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 240)
  • If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 240)
  • A generation which ignores history has no past—and no future.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 241)
  • 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. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (pp. 241-242)
  • 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.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (pp. 242-243)
  • All men are created unequal.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 243)
  • 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.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 243)
  • One man's theology is another man's belly laugh.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 243)
  • Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (pp. 243-244)
  • A woman is not property, and husbands who think otherwise are living in a dreamworld.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 245)
  • A zygote is a gamete's way of producing more gametes. This may be the purpose of the universe.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 245)
  • Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How's that again? I missed something.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 246)
  • Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let's play that over again, too. Who decides?
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 246)
  • What are the facts? Again and again and again — what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars foretell," avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history" — what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 246)
  • God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent — it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 247)
  • The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility. And vice versa.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 247)
  • 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.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 247)
  • 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.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 248)
  • Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 248)
  • The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens 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.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 248)
  • The second most preposterous notion is that copulation is inherently sinful.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 248)
  • The shamans are forever yacking about their snake-oil "miracles." I prefer the Real McCoy — a pregnant woman.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 249)
  • Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 250)
  • A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 250)
  • One man's "magic" is another man's engineering. "Supernatural" is a null word.
    • "Intermission: Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 250)
  • Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
    • "Variations on a Theme XI: The Tale of the Adopted Daughter" (p. 283)
  • “My mistake and it may be my last one.”
    “Woodrow! Don’t talk that way!”
    “Sorry, dear. But there is always a last mistake.”
    • "Variations on a Theme XII: The Tale of the Adopted Daughter (continued)" (p. 289)
  • Love is what still goes on when you are not horny.
    • "Variations on a Theme XII: The Tale of the Adopted Daughter (continued)" (p. 295)
  • Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow if tomorrow might improve the odds.
    • "Variations on a Theme XII: The Tale of the Adopted Daughter (continued)" (p. 334)
  • If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for, but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong. If this is too blind for your taste, consult some well-meaning fool (there is always one around) and ask his advice. Then vote the other way. This enables you to be a good citizen (if such is your wish) without spending the enormous amount of time on it that truly intelligent exercise of franchise requires.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 346)
  • Sovereign ingredient for a happy marriage: Pay cash or do without. Interest charges not only eat up a household budget; awareness of debt eats up domestic felicity.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 346)
  • God split himself into a myriad parts that he might have friends. This may not be true, but it sounds good—and is no sillier than any other theology.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 347)
  • Does history record any case in which the majority was right?
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 347)
  • The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning, while those other subjects merely require scholarship.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 348)
  • Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 349)
  • Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors — and miss.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 349)
  • Minimize your therbligs until it becomes automatic; this doubles your effective lifetime—and thereby gives time to enjoy butterflies and kittens and rainbows.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 349)
  • Waking a person unnecessarily should not be considered a capital crime. For a first offense, that is.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 350)
  • The correct way to punctuate a sentence that starts: “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.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 350)
  • Natural laws have no pity.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 351)
  • Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 351)
  • Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 352)
  • Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 352)
  • “I came, I saw, she conquered.” (The original Latin seems to have been garbled.)
    • "Second Intermission: More from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long" (p. 353)
  • The historicity of Jesus is the slipperiest question in all history because for centuries the question couldn’t be raised. They would hang you for asking—or burn you at the stake.
    • "Variations on a Theme XIII: Boondock" (p. 357)
  • If heredity were not overwhelmingly more important than environment, you could teach calculus to a horse.
    • "Variations on a Theme XIV: Bacchanalia" (p. 394)
  • I see no use in written marriage contracts; they can’t be enforced...whereas if the partners want to make it work, no written instrument is necessary.
    • "Variations on a Theme XV: Agape" (p. 417)
  • A man who refuses to take his own death into account in making plans is a fool. A self-centered fool who does not love anyone.
    • "Variations on a Theme XVI: Eros" (p. 432)
  • It is hard to shake off any taboos a child is indoctrinated with in his earliest years. Even if he learns later that they are nonsense.
    • "Variations on a Theme XVII: Narcissus" (p. 445)
  • I'll find a tutor—no, Laz, not a horizontal one. Don’t you ever think about anything else?
    (Come to think of it, dear, what else is worth thinking about? Money?)
    • "Da Capo II: The End of an Era" (pp. 467-468)
  • He saw that he had committed the prime sin against survival: He had indulged in wishful thinking.
    • "Da Capo V" (p. 498)
  • The best thing about the future was that it was unknown. Cassandra’s one good quality was that she was never believed.
    • "Da Capo V" (p. 507)

External links[edit]

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