Stuff I'm reading, looking at, listening to, quotes and other scraps.
15 July 2015
I think one of the things that really separates us from the high primates is that we’re tool builders. I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. And, humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing, about a third of the way down the list. It was not too proud a showing for the crown of creation. So, that didn’t look so good. But, then somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And, a man on a bicycle, a human on a bicycle, blew the condor away, completely off the top of the charts.
And that’s what a computer is to me. What a computer is to me is it’s the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with, and it’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”
08 July 2015
05 July 2015
I am quite convinced that without such a ‘we’, there can be no proper fulfilment of even the most ordinary ‘I’, that is, of the personality. To find its fulfilment, the ‘I’ needs at least two complementary dimensions: ‘we’ and – if it is fortunate – ‘you’. I think M. was lucky to have had a moment in his life when he was linked by the pronoun ‘we’ with a group of others.
And later: ‘A real community is unshakable, indubitable, and enduring. It cannot be broken up, pulled apart, or destroyed. It remains unaffected and whole even when the people united by it are already in their graves.’
Such cliques are not proof of the existence of a sense of fellowship, since they consist of individualists who are out to achieve only their own aims. They refer to themselves as “we”, but in this context the pronoun indicates only a plurality devoid of any deeper sense or significance.’ The underlying theme of the memoirs is this war between humanist values and the utilitarian system which was imposed by decree and then by terror,
one of her most memorable phrases, Nadezhda describes her husband’s work on a poem as a dig for ‘the nugget of harmony’, and in the same chapter comments that ‘the search for lost words is an attempt to remember what is still to be brought into being.’
—Osip and Nadezhda Mandelstam