Wednesday, August 4, 2010
from STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, Chapter XIV
In Laputa, according go Lemuel Gulliver, no person of importance listened or spoke without help of a "climatole" - or "flapper" in English translation, as such servant's duty was to flap the ears of his master with a bladder whenever, in the opinion of the servant, it was desirable for his master to speak or listen. Without the consent of the flapper it was impossible to converse with any Laputian of the master class
The flapper system was unknown on Mars. Martian Old Ones would have as little use for flappers as a snake has for shoes. Martians still corporate [in this life body] could have used flappers but did not; the concept ran contrary to their way of living.
A Martian needing a few minutes or years of contemplation simply took it; if a friend wished to speak with him, the friend would wait. With eternity to draw on there could be no reason for hurrying - "hurry" was not a concept in Martian. Speed, velocity, simultaneity, acceleration, and other abstractions of the pattern of eternity were part of Martian mathematics, but not of Martian emotion.
Contrariwise, the unceasing rush of human existence came not from mathematical necessities of time but from the frantic urgency implicit in human sexual bipolarity.
- Robert A. Heinlein, SINASL, (New York: Ace Books, 1961) 128-129.