Sunday, April 23, 2006

Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert A. Heinlein (The Unedited Full Version)

as i was putting in some downtime at a starbucks coffee shop in makati, i spotted a male african-american alone in a table reading a sports magazine. having never talked to a black person before, i decided to approach the guy and strike up a lively, if not, ribald conversation. i had the intention of steering the talk towards north american sports like baseball and football but it so happens he was a fan of neither (his sports mag, i found out much to my chagrin, was about motorcycles and racing in general). we ended up discussing a particular phase in his life when he was into sci-fi and he mentioned in passing his favorite sci-fi book of all time: “stranger in a strange land”. thus, without so much as a pompous preamble, the seed of curiosity for this highly acclaimed book was implanted in me.

“stranger in a strange land” is a story of a man born on mars, raised by martians, and brought to earth by earthmen who were previously unaware that there was a survivor from the first, and until then, only martian expedition.

immediately, michael, the martian-born human felt puzzled over earth culture. eager to praise his new earth friends (whom he calls water brothers), he began to learn the english language, read books and watch stereovision (the futuristic equivalent of tv) in order to gain better knowledge about earth history, politics, religion and ethics, among other things.

possessing powers “untrained” earthmen couldn’t do (e.g. levitation, telekinesis, telepathy, teleportation) coupled with his practically bottomless inheritance from his dead parents and add to that his new learning (grokking) of earth culture and the cause of man’s never-ending misery and unhappiness, he resolved to make it his duty and responsibility to guide his fellow humans to physical, emotional and spiritual bliss.

winner of the hugo award in 1962, the novel, even in its edited form, was considered a bit offensive. heck, even now, as we boldly live the journey of the 21st century, the book may still offend some people.

consider, michael preaching the beauty and wonder of sex, such that it should be enjoyed by everyone as often as he or she wants with as many sexual partners he or she so desires. michael points out that sex – something martians never have – is a treasure that makes everyone feel good so why should we limit the practice of this exquisite act with only one partner? denying ourselves the pleasure of this act equates to selling ourselves short and we all know it!

earth has rules regarding monogamy because we are immature when it comes to sex. we get jealous when our sexual partner has sex with another person. granted, the rules are there to perform a function to safeguard society’s depraved culture. but what if we learn to overcome our immature attitudes regarding sex and relationships in general, wouldn’t we be living in a more peaceful world where everyone is either literally or figuratively considered family?

michael’s alien, simple-minded approach towards sex is just one of the many outlandish concepts argued in this book that may prove to be too progressive for some people. another one is how god is inherent in each one of us and all living things for that matter. i am god, thou art god, everyone is god. or so the mantra goes.

whereas we know great sci-fi books to be ahead of their time when it comes to science and technology, this book by mr. heinlein (god rest his soul) is also extremely advanced in terms of psychology, philosophy, theology, and most likely, in other intellectual departments i am not even aware of.

rating: 5 of 5 stars * * * * *
“i am just an egg” whose mind wishes to be broadened by an “old-one” like mr. heinlein.


rmacapobre said...

this is a must have

rmacapobre said...

i dont nessesarily practice what it preaches but i do like the idea of uninhibited sex ..