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“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

– Robert A. Heinlein

Meaning of the quote

Heinlein gives a very good description of the self-sacrificing quality of love. In romantic love, this line perfectly embodies the idea of two becoming one. In all other forms of love, this expresses the idea of caring about others as much as one cares about his or herself. It echoes the biblical idea of treating others as you would want to be treated. Finally, it says that one cannot feel content without first knowing that everyone one cares about is content also.

Origin of the quote

This line is from the first edition of Heinlein’s novel “Stranger in a Strange Land” (1961), spoken by the character Jubal Harshaw. It is worth noting that this line was removed from the later “uncut” addition of this novel (1991), thus the term “uncut” is a bit of a misnomer.

About Robert A. Heinlein

Robert Anson Heinlein (1907-1988) is one of the greatest science fiction authors of the 20th century. Heinlein remains popular, influential and controversial. Additionally, he was a Naval officer and aeronautical engineer. He was one of the first authors in the science fiction genre to emphasize scientific accuracy, which earned him the nickname of the “Dean of science fiction writers.”

He is known for pioneering the sub genre of hard science fiction. Heinlein published 32 novels, 59 short stories, and 16 collections. Many of his novels have been made into movies, as well as, have inspired movies. Some of his most famous works are: Starship Troopers (1959), Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966).