Stranger in a Strange Land

Stranger in a Strange LandI stumbled across a quote from this book this morning, and it reminded me how much I enjoyed reading it. I was also reminded of just how many great quotes and passages there are in that book; so I thought I’d share a few with you.

In case you’ve never heard of Stranger in a Strange Land, it’s a novel by Robert A. Heinlein about Valentine Michael Smith, a newborn that survived the first mission to Mars. Raised by Martians, Valentine returns to Earth an innocent, rich heir, and “owner” of Mars.

Oh, and don’t write the book off merely as science-fiction or otherwise something you wouldn’t normally read. It really is an interesting story and extremely well written. Seriously, give it a try!

On love and happiness …

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

On jealousy …

“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 – in fact, they are almost incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other.”

On pain, and laughter …

“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.”

On power …

“Consider the black widow spider. It’s a timid little beastie, useful and, for my taste, the prettiest of the arachnids, with its shiny, patent-leather finish and its red hourglass trademark. But the poor thing has the fatal misfortune of possessing enormously too much power for its size. So everybody kills it on sight.”

On the English language …

“English is the largest of human tongues, with several times the vocabulary of the second largest language — this alone made it inevitable that English would eventually become, as it did, the lingua franca of this planet, for it is thereby the richest and most flexible — despite its barbaric accretions . . . or, I should say, because of its barbaric accretions. English swallows up anything that comes its way, makes English out of it.”

And finally, on art and insight …

“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–and that is what Auguste Rodin was–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 young girl is still alive, not old and ugly at all, but simply prisoned inside her ruined body.”

… and there are many, many more that you can enjoy for yourself when you read the book! As I say, well written and an enjoyable, quirky look at the World…

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