12 Rules for Life – SF edition (heh)

12 SF Rules For Life. (Read through for author’s context.)

My analysis:

1. “An atom-blaster is a good weapon, but it can point both ways.” — Isaac Asimov, “Foundation.”
This is a perfectly good piece of wisdom adapted for the circumstances. (No one uses swords in the future anymore, so a saying like “every sword has two edges” would be meaningless. I mean, come on, who uses bladed weapons in the future!?)

2. “Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more.” — Robert Heinlein, “Starship Troopers.”

Well, maybe, I guess. Having enough sleep is fundamental to protecting your mental and physical health. But I was waiting for something, y’know, kind of profound. Something to live by, not just something that would look nice on the wall in a swooshy font.

3. “To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: This skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.” — Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Left Hand of Darkness.”

One of the fundamentals of the homo excelsius is that he never accepts limits and never shrinks from asking questions. A well-rested individual will be able to handle the psychological danger of Asking The Big Questions.

4. “Repressive societies always seemed to understand the danger of ‘wrong’ ideas.” — Octavia Butler, “Kindred.”

There is such a thing as a wrong idea, an unhealthy idea. In a healthy state these things will die of their own accord. Mind viruses only survive with help from inside the system. With rule of law, the Ku Klux Klan has no power. With an impartial and strictly enforced rule of law, Antifa wouldn’t exist.

5. “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Fellowship of the Ring.”

I love this scene in the book: it has just been suggested that the Fellowship swear an oath to help stiffen their resolve for the journey….which is swatted down hard by Elrond, survivor of the Third Kinslaying and foster-son of the remaining members of the Oath of Feanor murder squad.

6. “Don’t provoke the Borg!” — said by Q to his son Q in “Star Trek: Voyager.”

Ehh whatever.

7. “Some things you teach yourself to remember to forget.” — William Gibson, “Count Zero.”

This one is also stupid.

8. “We do not pretend to have achieved perfection, but we do have a system, and it works.” — spoken by the alien Klaatu in “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951).

Complaisance (sp?) is the enemy of advancement. It is for this reason that the strong-jawed heroes of the era will eventually end up overthrowing the galactic order and establishing a new system, Klaatu barada nicto aside.

9. “Guerrillas have something to hope for.” — James Tiptree Jr. (pen name of Alice Bradley Sheldon), “The Women Men Don’t See.”

I suppose. Although it might just be the hope that the other side won’t hire Dorsai.

10. “Whether a thought is spoken or not it is a real thing and it has power.” – Frank Herbert, “Dune.”

Frankly, if I had to go for a quote from Dune, it would have been either:

“You’ve heard of animals chewing off a leg to escape a trap? There’s an animal kind of trick. A human would  remain in the trap, endure the pain, feigning death that he might kill the trapper and remove a threat to his kind.”

11. “The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They’re Caesar’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, ‘Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.’” — Ray Bradbury, “Fahrenheit 451.”

Books are important. Princess Irulan would agree, and would also have put it more pithily.

12. “Beware of the Dark Side. Anger, fear, aggression: The Dark Side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” — Yoda, “The Empire Strikes Back.”

This isn’t a list by a very erudite SFian.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it  has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be
nothing. Only I will remain.”

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