Thoughts 1

Personal Quotes and Excerpts

A man values what he doesn't have or what he is incapable of doing.

We are not born to change the world. We are born to find out who we truly are and what we are most capable of, so that our results may propagate and then, possibly, change favorably the destiny of all mankind.

In embracing this selfishness at the start of the journey, we open ourselves to a path that is truly altruistic. He who chooses to give himself throughout his whole life, without knowing himself, never achieves his full potential of helping others.

[Reflections on the Delphic maxims].

What starts in the mind will only find an end in the mind itself.

To understand language is to understand the World. 

As we conceptualize reality around us, new words are created to satisfy these needs. We are always grasping into something that is far too wide for our narrow focus. Words persist through time, but the original need is often forgotten. A concept cannot be fully understood until we have retraced the original purpose of the word. It is more fundamental to know a purpose than it is to know a meaning. 

Often, we know about things nothing beyond their names. Time, mass, energy, these are some examples.  

Language also reveils subtle details about the reasoning processes of individuals. Minor distinctions such as an emphasis on efficiency, aesthetics, conciseness or hints into belief systems become transparent once a person commits to communicate. What is perceived as stereotypes in ethnical groups is nothing more than subtle variances in the way people conceptualize the world, reflected in language. These divergences, possibly determined genetically, complement rather than set apart the human race.

[This comment is derived from my crude understanding of this video, by Lecturer Lúcia Helena Galvão, in portuguese. It does not necessarily reflect the Lecturer's views].

By whispers and shouts, History is made.

An old friend once told me not to try to rush the river. It will flow by itself.

Celebrate a man's life, but not his death.

Celebrate a man by the way he lived his life, but not by the way his life has passed.

Words wear out.

Sadly, freedom and madness often go hand to hand.

~Some things have a due date, others are meant to never be complete. But woe of the world of the things that should have an end and we leave them unfinished.

May your prosperity be matched by your generosity of spirit.

Of the teachings of Jesus Christ, what a christian takes to the heart, an atheist takes to the light of reason.

Playing Sid Meier's Civilization IV game in my youth, and reflecting about it, has taught me more about geopolitics and the ways of the World than many books. Parents, don't dismiss the fact that a computer game can teach too.

Whenever a physicist passes away, a new star is born in the Universe.

If you really must measure someone by a single thing, measure they by its ability to love. It is no use to be the most educated person that has ever lived if you have not learned the lesson to love one another. There isn't just romantic love in the world. Parental love, familiar love, frateral love, professional love, love towards one-self. Then you can trim out the details of whether you will love often, just one person, or maybe for life. But do love, just go out there and practice it. 

Clean is the heart of he who dirtied his clothes at the office.

I live for the day when what is ugly to be said, offensive to the senses and to the heart, is left implicit.

Every control system comes with an administrative burden.

If you want a good work, give a man a deadline. If you want a superb work, see how he goes unleashed. But if you want something that will change the rules of game, then find him something he will fall in love with.

Against what is not understood, there is no defense. 

Books have no owners, merely holders.

[COMMENT] This quote is not about physical books, but about Knowledge. 

Cherish the things that grows deep in meaning with time, that evolve in technique, that converge to perfection.  For these will be worth fighting for.

That no job or task be too low for you, but that you mind doing what you actually do best.

Just remember this: the bogeyman is terrified of you too!

But I say to you, contrary to what most people believe, that the man of every time know when they are in the wrong side of History. That the humans who saw the blankets woven in human hair, or the squalid children in concentration camps knew back then that they had gone too far. That the American pioneers who traded infested blankets to natives were aware of what they were doing; That the Spanish, when shedding Incan blood had for themselves that no gold or glory would help them to forget their night terrors.   

For many reasons we feel powerless to halt the driftless train of History. But in the end, History is made by the action of each and every one of us. May you, my dear reader, find the wisdom and courage within yourself to rise up when the such a moment arrives and stand up for what is righteous.  

It is an exercise in empathy to answer a question, any question, as you would have liked it to be answered to yourself. 

This is particularly important in online discussions, where you do not look into the other person's eyes. It is easy to forget for a moment, that on the other side of the screen lies another beating heart. There should be no place for arrogant posturing in the scientific pursuit of truth. When the philosopher Socrates stated not knowing a thing, he did more than state the fact that our balloon of ignorance expands as we inflate it with more facts; contrary to what one might expect. He placed himself in a humble position towards this vast unknown that is presented to us. A humble man is more willing to listen to what the other person has to say and examine things by their actual worth, rather than by what he expects the world to be.

When a young heart receives a dismissive reply instead of a forgiving answer, it associates the act of questioning with the emotion of being censured. Soon, the heart asks no more questions. The spirit of the youth dies. Even worse, a peer-pressure starts to form as questioning is seen as an unholy act by others. It deviates from norm. Science is nerd stuff now, it is not cool, it is not mainstream. 

This is, in my opinion, why traditional classrooms are such quiet places. Hollow halls, hundreds of them around the World, where knowledge is passively consumed. The apex of brain evolution, reduced to a loose repository of numbers and formulas. At what point did we go wrong? I imagine a group of people sitting under an elm tree in Ancient Times, around one of those mighty philosophers. Probably then, people remained silent, in avid listening, not because they feared reprisal but rather because the words were so moving and the thoughts so profound that no one dared to disturb the monologue. All our technology, our years in methodological research,and the young minds slip through our fingers just like sand. Are you sure we are still after Science, as a whole?

But not all is this grim place depicted here. Some people realize this, and there are places everywhere in the Internet where people find respect for each other. They make they work unrestricted, and patiently point others to the right direction. Strangers, making sudden connections miles apart in a way not permitted a century ago. Inspiring teachers everywhere in the World, from all walks of life, fighting against the dumbing down of a generation. It is in these shores of the Web, that I hold on to hope.

The Gears

And thus the repairman receives word that one of the machines in the east side of the Factory has broken down; he proceedes immediately to repair it. Can't keep the supervisor waiting, "time is money", he repeated without a second thought. The pale-red toolbox secured tighly on his right hand, it is a long way across the industrial park. His legs are not the same as they were when he started up the job. The old repairman, in his late 60s now, can't hardly keep up with how the Factory seems to grow larger and larger every day. Novel things take up the space of the old ones, coexisting only for a brief period, and he wonders now just how long until he, himself, is replaced. 

He barely notices anymore the myriad of sounds and colors that make up that place. Colorful pipes twist themselves, bending around the grayish corridors, alongside with machines that make motion and curious sounds; a bubbling over here, repetitive loud bangs, the whispers of a distant air flow. Rushed, faceless steps race across him, but the factory is mostly empty that late hour. "For every thing in that Factory, man or machine alike, there is a singular purpose, a reason for being", thinks the man. And this vision of an orderly world marvels him.

After what seemed like ages, he finally arrives at the faulty machine. The giant steel monster rises tall up to the ceiling, but he is not intimidated. He has dealt with those beasts all his adult life, and no oil spill, burning hand, electric shock or bump on the head has ever defeated him on a mission. The paperwork is not very enlightening: "It does not work, please fix". He turns on the power, and well, it is really broken. Nothing moves. Fortunately this old machine is one that he knows too well. He has fixed it a hundred times, and can count the times to have improvised a solution that breathed new life into that inanimate assembly of parts. 

With each re-breath, a joy reserved to the Creator.

He sets down the toolbox next to the machine and lowers himself down, cursing his old spine. All his years of experience hints that the problem is mechanical in nature. Opening the panel with skilled precision, he reveals the bows of a hundred gears. A flashlight in his hand, he begins inspecting those metal parts, the thought drifting at times to the local pub, the sports game and the cold pint.

Then the old repairman finally sees it. That twisty feeling of the out-of-the-ordinary hits him. It seems that one of the boys left a metal pin fall into the air vents. On its way, it jammed one of the gears, costing its tooth. Amazed at his own deductive powers, he surgically removes the pin as if it were a splinter, and reaches out for his toolbox, carefully prepared to take care of well, anything. "I've got just the thing", he thinks, removing a selection of possible gear matches from the box. The damaged gear on his hands, he compares it with the spare parts to find the elected one. 

He tries it, but it is not quite a fit. The old man goes back to toolbox, uncovering some older ones that were hidden by tools. A few more tries with different gears, no luck. Suddenly twenty or so gears of different sizes and teeth numbers present themselves in front of the puzzled man. "It is not possible that I left it in the workshop. No, it is not possible." he says to himself. Reaching out inside the box, his fingers touch the cold metal of a gear that he has never noticed before. A perfect match to the damaged one he holds in his left hand. He is about to replace it into the machine, but hesitates for a second:

"Why is it that some gears are a perfect fit, while others just don't fit that well into the machine?". the man wonders. Some gears seem to be be perfect, hardly require any lubricant, and even make less noise. "These are the best gears", he concluded. But then again, there were times when these perfect gears were not around, and he had to improvise with not-so-perfect gears. All-around gears could fit a number of situations, so he didn't had to carry so many gears around. "Maybe general purpose gears had their advantages too", he thought. Then he looked at a curious wooden-gear and censured himself, "Why do I keep this gear around? the machine that used this gear no longer exist!". Then a sudden spooky thought rushed through his mind: "Are there, in the toolbox, gears for machines that have not been invented yet?"

Every nanosecond is a chance to shape your destiny.

Whenever I am about to discard an idea because it was deemed more expensive than existing solutions, I am reminded that people don't always buy the cheapest car out there, they buy the best car. 

If a machine frees a human's hand, why isn't every human free?


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