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A human being should

15 January 2016

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.

Robert A. Heinlein

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22 Comments to “A human being should”

  1. Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. — Mark Twain, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar”

    (since I need to post ‘something’ in order to get the comments emailed …)

  2. The key point, of course, is the last line.

    Sounds like PG is mining TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE or at least THE NOTEBOOKS OF LAZARUS LONG. Good source for conversation starters.

    My favorite Heinlein quote is “Take sides! Always take sides! You will sometimes be wrong – but the man who refuses to take sides must always be wrong.”

    No mention of the women who stand quietly shaking their heads at the fool men. 😉

    • Um, his women were pretty strong characters in the books I’ve been reading. Yes, there’s still some sexism, but that’s the product of the era in which the books were written.

      I am REALLY enjoying his juvenile fiction.

      • Oh, I know.
        (I was just trying to be funny. Us y-chromosome bearers do tend to get into extended debates over trivialities.)

        Heinlein was too good a writer to let his times define his characters. One reason he’s enduring better than many of his contemporaries.

        And his juveniles are legendary for good reason.

  3. This advice from a man who — by his own admission — never hunted or fished.

  4. I can do all but two of those things. Hog butchering and, alas, equations are beyond my ken.

    I liked Heinlein most of the time. He did tend to do a lot of hurting toward his female characters in the pieces I read, so I’m not a 110% Heinlein fan for that reason.

    However, my music group has an original composition using the words to “The Green Hills of Earth” which we’re singing next month, and it’s beyond beautiful. It makes my throat ache for the feelings expressed in Heinlein’s lyrics.

  5. Jamie, I could tell you about my invasion planning skills, but then I’d have to shoot you.

    • 🙂

      Apropos, everyone — BookBub informs me that “Robert Heinlein’s Expanded Universe: Volume 1” is on sale at Amazon right now for $2.99 on Kindle.

      I have “Double Star” in my to-read-queue, mainly to remind me to get the other classics when I get binge-reading time again.

  6. Like the Heinlein quotes. I am, just now, about ten pages from finishing a re-read of Time Enough for Love, which I first read in 1981 and consider one of the three books that got my brain going in the right direction as a young man. (The other two were “Life and Time,” a collection of Asimov’s essays, and Alvin Toffler’s “The Third Wave.”

    The re-read is taking a long time, mostly because I am reading it from a paperback and the font size is not, therefore, adjustable, as it is on my Kindle.

  7. An insect should be able to do one thing, and do it well: fight, build, rule, serve, compose, sing, compute. Generalization is for mammals.

    – Unknown

  8. only one ommission: read Time Enough for Love by Heinlein. Gads, we miss him.

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