Literary Quotations
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Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

A government is a living organism. Like every living thing its prime characteristic is a blind, unreasoned instinct to survive. You hit it, it will fight back.

--Chapter 5

I've never been able to understand "faith" myself, nor to see how a just God could expect his creatures to pick the one true religion out of an infinitude of false ones--by faith alone. It strikes me as a sloppy way to run an organization, whether a universe or a smaller one.

--Chapter 13

Man is the animal that laughs at himself.

--Chapter 14

Democracy's worst fault is that its leaders are likely to reflect the faults and virtues of their constituents.

--Chapter 18

Big money isn't hard to come by. All it costs is a lifetime of single-minded devotion to acquiring it and making it grow into more money.

--Chapter 21

You obviously don't know what an Old Man of the Sea great wealth is. It is not a fat purse and time to spend it. Its owner finds himself beset on every side, at every hour, wherever he goes, by persistent pleaders, like beggars in Bombay, each demanding that he invest or give away part of his wealth. He becomes suspicious of honest friendship--indeed honest friendship is rarely offered him; those who could have been his friends are too fastidious to be jostled by beggars, too proud to risk being mistaken for one.

--Chapter 21

Hate always sells well, but for repeat trade and the long pull happiness is sounder merchandise.

--Chapter 24

If a thing is sinful on Sunday, it is sinful on Friday.

--Chapter 24

To the pure all things are pure.

--Chapter 28

Victory in defeat, there is no higher.

--Chapter 30

The ordinary bloke will not voluntarily pay for "art" that leaves him unmoved--if he does pay for it, the money has to be conned out of him, by taxes and such.

--Chapter 30

In the eighty or ninety years I have given to this subject, trying to trace out the meanderings of their twisty little minds, the only thing that I have learned for certain about women is that when a gal is gonna, she's gonna. All a man can do is cooperate with the inevitable.

--Chapter 30

Goodness without wisdom invariably accomplishes evil.

--Chapter 36

It is said that God notes each sparrow that falls. And so He does. But the proper closest statement of it that can be made in English is that God cannot avoid noting the sparrow because the Sparrow is God. And when a cat stalks a sparrow both of them are God, carrying out God's thoughts.

--Chapter 36

Blessed is he who knows himself and commands himself, for the world is his and love and happiness and peace walk with him wherever he goes.

--Chapter 37