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paul's e-scrapbook


Collated by Paul Quek

  • The biscuits and the syrup never come out even.

  • All men are created unequal.

  • Anything free is worth what you pay for it.

  • Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.

  • Natural laws have no pity.

  • Natural laws are never merciful.

  • You live and learn. Or you don't live long.

  • Always place your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark.

  • Get a shot off fast. This upsets him long enough to let you make your second shot perfect.

  • Hurting another person is the only sin. (Hurting yourself is just stupid.)

  • The greatest productive force is human selfishness.

  • Force, while it may not be the best way to solve disputes, it solves quite a few of them. Anyone who thinks that "violence never solves anything" is living in a dream world.

  • Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

  • Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.

  • Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it.

  • The hardest part about gaining any new idea is sweeping out the false idea occupying that niche. As long as that niche is occupied, evidence and proof and logical demonstration get nowhere. But once the niche is emptied of the wrong idea that has been filling it -- once you can honestly say, I don't know, then it becomes possible to get at the truth.

  • 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!

  • If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.

  • To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods.

  • Most people can't think, most of the remainder won't think, the small fraction who do think mostly can't do it very well. The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately, creatively, and without self-delusion -- in the long run these are the only people who count ...

  • Being intelligent is not a felony, but most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

  • The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility. And vice versa.

  • No storyteller has ever been able to dream up anything as fantastically unlikely as what really does happen in this mad Universe.

  • To be matter of fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy -- and dull fantasy at that -- as the real world is strange and wonderful.

  • An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.

  • A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Money is a powerful aphrodisiac. But flowers work almost as well.

  • What a wonderful world it is that has girls in it!

  • Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse.

  • Women will forgive anything. Otherwise, the race would have died out long ago.

  • A man does not insist on physical beauty in a woman who builds up his morale. After a while he realizes that she is beautiful -- he just hadn't noticed it at first.

  • Always tell her she is beautiful, especially if she is not.

  • Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.

  • Whenever women have insisted on absolute equality with men, they have invariably wound up with the dirty end of the stick. What they are and what they can do makes them superior to men, and their proper tactic is to demand special privileges, all the traffic will bear. They should never settle merely for equality. For women, "equality" is a disaster.

  • Another ingredient in a happy marriage: Budget the luxuries first!

  • Formal courtesy between husband and wife is even more important than it is between strangers.

  • All's fair in love and war -- what a contemptible lie!

  • May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.

  • Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win.

  • Money is the sincerest of all flattery. Women love to be flattered. So do men.

  • Money is truthful. If a man speaks of his honor, make him pay cash.

  • I don't trust a man who talks about ethics when he is picking my pocket. But if he is acting in his own self-interest and says so, I have usually been able to work out some way to do business with him.

  • Never appeal to a man's "better nature". He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.

  • 100 Dollars placed at 7 percent interest compounded quarterly for 200 years will increase to more than 100,000,000 Dollars, by which time it will be worth nothing.

  • A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.

  • Courage is the complement of fear. A man who is fearless cannot be courageous. (He is also a fool.)

  • Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors ... and miss.

  • A generation which ignores history has no past -- and no future.

  • History has the relation to truth that theology has to religion -- i.e. none to speak of.

  • The majority is never right.

  • Does history record any case in which the majority was right?

  • Was there ever a time when the majority was right?

  • 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.

  • One man's theology is another man's belly laugh.

  • 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 attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills.

  • The most preposterous notion that Homo 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.

  • Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.

  • Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.

  • Of all the strange "crimes" human beings have legislated out of nothing, "blasphemy" is the most amazing -- with "obscenity" and "indecent exposure" fighting it out for second and third place.

  • The sovereign franchise has been bestowed by all sorts of rules -- place of birth, family of birth, race, sex, property, education, age, religion, et cetera. All these systems worked, and none of them well. All were regarded as tyrannical by many, all eventually collapsed or were overthrown...

        Under our system every voter and office holder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage.

  • An armed society is a polite society.

  • No state has an inherent right to survive through conscript troops and, in the long run, no state ever has.

  • Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.

  • The two highest achievements of the human mind are the twin concepts of "loyalty" and "duty". Whenever these twin concepts fall into disrepute -- get out of there fast! You may possibly save yourself, but it is too late to save that society. It is doomed.

  • Do not confuse "duty" with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.

        But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is with the leech who wants "just a few minutes of your time, please -- this won't take long." Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time -- and squawk for more!

        So learn to say No -- and be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you. (This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even for a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don't do it because it is "expected" of you.)

  • Those who refuse to support and defend a state have no claim to protection by that state.

  • A perfect democracy, a 'warm body' democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally has no internal feedback for self correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens ... which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it ... which for the majority translates as 'Bread and Circuses'

        Bread and Circuses is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader -- the barbarians enter Rome.

  • Knock-Knock Who's there?
    Armageddon who?
    Armageddon tired of all these knock-knock jokes!

  • Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

  • The Earth is just too small and fragile a basket for the human race to keep all its eggs in.

  • When the need arises -- and it does -- you must be able to shoot your own dog. Don't farm it out -- that doesn't make it nicer, it makes it worse.

  • Never try and teach a pig to sing: it's a waste of time, and it annoys the pig.

  • Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.

  • If you don't like yourself, you can't like other people.

  • Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate -- and quickly.

  • A motion to adjourn is always in order.

  • Roman matrons used to say to their sons: "Come back with your shield, or on it." Later on, this custom declined. So did Rome.

  • You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.

  • A brute kills for pleasure. A fool kills from hate.

  • Never try to outstubborn a cat.

Heinlein's Rules for Writing

  1. You must write.
  2. You must finish what you write.
  3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
  4. You must put the work on the market.
  5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

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