Stupidity and Courage

21 02 2013

“It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”

– Mark Twain

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

– Coco Chanel

Via 19 Quotations – Pen.io.





As Burt once said…

27 10 2012

Albert Einstein is remembered for his genius in mathematics and physics. A great thinker by pretty much any measure.

But he also had strong views on religion, love and more human things.

There appear to be no source references, but this site claims quite a diverse range of quotes from Big Al. Collected Quotes from Albert Einstein.

A couple of my own favourites:

  • “Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”
  • “I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”
  • “Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.”
  • “Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”
  • “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”
  • “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

I can’t help thinking he was “real” and not hung up on his own brilliance. In my own life, I have met maybe 2 or 3 truly brilliant people. Only one – the first – was able to relate effectively with the real world and not need to exist in the rarefied atmosphere that some clever people think they deserve.

Whether it’s through sharing knowledge, perspectives, emotions, a “perfect” greeting card, or even a “special leaf” – there are a handful of people we will interact with in our time on this spinning rock who will truly make a difference to who we are, and how we live our lives. We may not recognise it at the time. We may not be able to keep them close. But the change is made, and the effect is strong and long-lasting.

Someone once told me we are only capable of changing “who we are” a total of 5% in our lifetime. I’m not so sure (I also heard we were 99% the same as chimps and pretty similar to mushrooms, so 5% seems a lot), but I accept that our inner core is pretty unshakable, and that it is non-trivial to change our core behaviours. But it is possible, and it does happen.

What interactions have helped make you who you are today?

  • A teacher?
  • An author of an amazing book you once read?
  • The creator of a great art piece you felt moved by?
  • A blender of fine teas?
  • A lover?





Civilisation, and what we think about it

14 05 2012

So I was struggling to remember a phrase I once read in a science fiction book as a kid. Assuming it was an Asimov book wasted me a good few minutes on Google. It turned out to be Brian Aldiss:

Civilization is the distance man has placed between himself and his excreta.

Quite to the point I thought! I eventually found it on a page with many more quotes about civilisation. Another gem I discovered was by Bryan White:

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.