Stranger in a Strange Land
by Robert A. Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land Tradition and Customs Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Patricia Paiwonski gave Ben Caxton the all-out kiss of brotherhood before he knew what hit him (31.1).
Basically, Ben makes the mistake of entering a room and thinking the customs on the other side of the door would be the same as his. Do this, and you might be in for a shock. In this case, a good shock, but a shock nonetheless.
He's still grokking clothes. He groks they're a wrongness that keeps people apart—gets in the way of letting love cause them to grow closer." (31.201)
Mike sees clothes as totally arbitrary—how we buy clothes, where we buy clothes, when we should and shouldn't wear them. What body parts the clothes need to cover up is equally arbitrary (see a 1920s male swimsuit for a perfect example). Mike just takes it one step further.
"All your stomach can reflect is prejudice trained into you before you acquired reason." (33.82)
Sometimes our minds are so ingrained with a certain custom or tradition that our bodies follow suit. Since Ben's mind controls his body, he feels physically ill at the prospect of something so foreign to his traditional understanding.