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Thread: This I believe -- Heinlein
Mar 31st, 2010 7:29 PM #1
This I believe -- Heinlein
Thoughts by Robert A. Heinlein, aeronautical engineer and science fiction writer:
Noble Essential Decency
I am not going to talk about religious beliefs but about matters so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them. I believe in my neighbors. I know their faults, and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults.
Take Father Michael, down our road a piece. I’m not of his creed, but I know that goodness and charity and loving kindness shine in his daily actions. I believe in Father Mike. If I’m in trouble, I’ll go to him. My next door neighbor’s a veterinary doctor. Doc will get out of bed after a hard day to help a stray cat—no fee, no prospect of a fee. I believe in Doc.
I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any door in our town, say “I’m hungry,” and you’ll be fed. Our town is no exception. I found the same ready charity everywhere. For the one who says, “The heck with you, I’ve got mine,” there are a hundred, a thousand, who will say, “Sure pal, sit down.” I know that despite all warnings against hitchhikers, I can step to the highway, thumb for a ride, and in a few minutes a car or a truck will stop and someone will say, “Climb in Mack. How far you going?”
I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime. Yet for every criminal, there are ten thousand honest, decent, kindly men. If it were not so, no child would live to grow up. Business could not go on from day to day. Decency is not news. It is buried in the obituaries, but it is a force stronger than crime.
I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses, in the tedious sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land. I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look around you. There never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.
I believe that almost all politicians are honest. For every bribed alderman, there are hundreds of politicians—low paid or not paid at all—doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true, we would never have gotten past the Thirteen Colonies.
I believe in Rodger Young. You and I are free today because of endless unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River. I believe in—I am proud to belong to—the United States. Despite shortcomings—from lynchings, to bad faith in high places—our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.
And finally, I believe in my whole race—yellow, white, black, red, brown—in the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability, and goodness of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth—that we always make it just for the skin of our teeth—but that we will always make it, survive, endure.
I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching oversized braincase and the opposable thumb—this animal barely up from the apes—will endure, will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets—to the stars and beyond—carrying with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage, and his noble essential decency. This I believe with all my heart.
Mar 31st, 2010 7:39 PM #2
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- Feb 2010
I believe in all the same except for the bit about politicians. Times have changed. I think he would agree. From crooked sheriffs and crocked city council to crooked congress and crooked presidents...times have changed. The changes are effecting the whole system.Jim Crow America relegated Blacks to the back of buses. Israel wants Arabs excluded from the bus entirely.
Mar 31st, 2010 8:15 PM #3
I agree with him and love that last bit too. I have a lot of hope that humanity will not only survive but flourish, spreading out across the galaxy."We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular."
Edward R. Murrow
Mar 31st, 2010 8:35 PM #4
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- Mar 2005
- The Large Hadron Collider
I cut my teeth in Science Fiction reading Robert A. Heinlein primarily then moved onto the other SF Greats. thankfully there was a large anthology of work for me to choose from since he'd been around before I was. his works, both essays and fiction, are very insightful and inspiring, though when he deals with uncomfortable subjects what is inspired is discomfort.
there was an article published after his death that related Heinlein's opinions of the times, of his growing unease at the way the US government was progressing. I forget the details, I just remember he didn't like the way things were going in the mid to late 1980's.
a lot of people I know dislike him because when you get into his politics and beliefs it gets contradictory and confusing. I figure this is why I liked him so much, despite his faults (which came out after his passing).
recall this quote is from a radio speech he gave in the 1950's ... as Anarch pointed out, times have changed ...For every human problem there is an easy and simple answer. And it is always wrong. - H.L. Mencken
May 5th, 2010 5:01 AM #5
I think I was too much into Ray Bradbury's visual writing-style, and Clifford Simak's common-human meets uncommon-alien plotting-style, to overcome my intimidation by Heinlein's volumes as the 60's ticked-on.
It's hard to delve-into Philip K. Dick's work too." Take Badlaw's body out to the gold-mine 'n toss it down a shaft. "
May 5th, 2010 8:57 AM #6
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- Mar 2005
- The Large Hadron Collider
but don't expect the novels and stories to reflect any movies that may have been made. Philip K Dick was pretty fucked up most of his adult life (so fucked up it's amazing he was able to write even semi-coherently) and his novels reflect this situation.For every human problem there is an easy and simple answer. And it is always wrong. - H.L. Mencken
May 5th, 2010 10:31 AM #7
I remember a friend telling me; You gotta start reading Dick's stuff. I asked why, 'n recieved; Because he does LSD and no other sci-fi writers do it...
I remember thinking that all LSD probably does is trap Dick into the 'setup structure' of a story, with no bearing on the plot itself." Take Badlaw's body out to the gold-mine 'n toss it down a shaft. "
May 5th, 2010 9:18 PM #8
I really think the only more influential (though not necessarily better) sci-fi writer is Isaac Asimov."We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular."
Edward R. Murrow
May 5th, 2010 9:31 PM #9
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- Mar 2005
- The Large Hadron Collider
his plots are generally convoluted and his characters are always fucking flawed beyond comprehension - a lot of his Science Fiction isn't so much Science as the kind of fiction that bears so little resemblance to anything else but still retains some trappings of technological influence that it's the best generalization for it.
be warned, a trip down the road Philip K Dick walked has no roadmap or signposts ... and even the road can be untrustworthy as a guide ...
and afterwards, if you have time, try some Philip Jose Farmer - also really mind bending stuff but his shit's so out there that very few people have ever tried to make movies or series out of his work (there was the rather half-assed Riverworld attempt, the less said the better). maybe start with the Riverworld series then work through his stuff until you culminate with Image Of The Beast/Blown (a 2 part novel usually sold in one volume).
and I stress once more - there are no Happy Endings in Dick's stories - the ones in the movies are 'Studio Influence based on test audience responses.' think of the original Blade Runner and the Director's Cut - the latter is closer to Dick than the former.For every human problem there is an easy and simple answer. And it is always wrong. - H.L. Mencken
May 8th, 2010 4:19 AM #10
Interesting and nice:
In 1963, Dick won the Hugo Award for The Man in the High Castle. Although he was hailed as a genius in the science fiction world, the mainstream literary world was unappreciative, and he could publish books only through low-paying science fiction publishers such as Ace. Even in his later years, he continued to have financial troubles. In the introduction to the 1980 short story collection The Golden Man, Dick wrote: "Several years ago, when I was ill, Heinlein offered his help, anything he could do, and we had never met; he would phone me to cheer me up and see how I was doing. He wanted to buy me an electric typewriter, God bless him—one of the few true gentlemen in this world. I don't agree with any ideas he puts forth in his writing, but that is neither here nor there. One time when I owed the IRS a lot of money and couldn't raise it, Heinlein loaned the money to me. I think a great deal of him and his wife; I dedicated a book to them in appreciation. Robert Heinlein is a fine-looking man, very impressive and very military in stance; you can tell he has a military background, even to the haircut. He knows I'm a flipped-out freak and still he helped me and my wife when we were in trouble. That is the best in humanity, there; that is who and what I love."
Sep 29th, 2011 1:34 AM #11
I've just discovered the following about Heinlein's being so convinced of alien life, and so well respected, that the US government requested his appearance in front of a Senate committee investigating the plausibility of alien life walking amongst humans, here on earth.
What sadness, then, that, suspiciously -- to me -- he just happened to suffer unexpected illness leading to his death, just before his appearance.
Heinlein predicted “first contact” in the early 21st century
In fact, the late great science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein is famous for saying “Earth is too small a basket for mankind to keep all its eggs in.”
Robert Heinlein has rock star status in the world of science fiction. In fact, Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke were once known as the “Big Three” of science fiction writing and predictions. All three of these top world authors said UFO’s “are real.”
Heinlein said “alien life has been here since the beginning of man’s existence on Earth, and that a visit to cyberspace “is like a visit to the collective consciousness of not only our world, but the aliens who made this cyberspace possible.”
Prior to his death on May 8, 1988, Heinlein was dubbed “the dean of all science fiction writers” because he was not only the most popular, influential and controversial authors of his genre – because he believed UFO’s and aliens were here walking the Earth – but because he set such a high standard for “science and engineering plausibility.”
Because Heinlein was so well respected, the U.S. House and Senate asked him to appear before a special “Joint Committee” investigating both UFO sightings and the author’s theory that aliens were living among Earthlings and doing both good and bad things for mankind.
However, just prior to this special session of Congress to hear what’s what from the world’s leading authority on extraterrestrial life, Heinlein was suddenly stricken in his sleep from reported “emphysema and heart failure.”
After his death, his wife Virginia Heinlein tried to jump start her late husband’s call to the world about UFO’s and alien life both happening now and real on the planet Earth, but with the experts death, so did the same interest that is today capturing the world’s attention when it comes to this recent rash of credible UFO sightings around the world.
At the same time, the mathematician and physicist Story Musgrave noted during his Space Shuttle flight at the age of 61 that looking down on the Earth from space it’s more than highly possible that other life exists out there.absit invidia
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