Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Slow Growth

"You cannot force ideas. Successful ideas are the result of slow growth. Ideas do not reach perfection in a day, no matter how much study is put upon them. It is perseverance in the pursuit of studies that is really wanted.
Next must come concentration of purpose and study. That is another thing I mean to emphasize. Concentrate all your thought upon the work in hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.
Man is the result of slow growth; … the most successful are those whose success is the result of steady accretion. That intellectuality is more vigorous that has attained its strength gradually. It is the man who carefully advances step by step, with his mind becoming wider and wider, and progressively better able to grasp any theme or situation, persevering in what he knows to be practical, and concentrating his thought upon it, who is bound to succeed in the greatest degree."

- Alexander Graham Bell (1847 - 1922) 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Constructions in Space

"It is well known that geometry presupposes not only the concept of space but also the first fundamental notions for constructions in space as given in advance. It only gives nominal definitions for them, while the essential means of determining them appear in the form of axioms. The relationship of these presumptions is left in the dark; one sees neither whether and in how far their connection is necessary, nor a priori whether it is possible. From Euclid to Legendre, to name the most renowned of modern writers on geometry, this darkness has been lifted neither by the mathematicians nor the philosophers who have laboured upon it."

- Bernhard Riemann (1826 - 1866)

Friday, November 26, 2021

Vuja de

"The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better option exists. I’ve spent more than a decade studying this, and it turns out to be far less difficult than I expected. The starting point is curiosity: pondering why the default exists in the first place. We’re driven to question defaults when we experience vuja de, the opposite of déjà vu. Déjà vu occurs when we encounter something new, but it feels as if we’ve seen it before. Vuja de is the reverse—we face something familiar, but we see it with a fresh perspective that enables us to gain new insights into old problems. "

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Unfathomable Mystery

"In the universe there is an un-measurable, indescribable force which sorcerers call intent, and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link. Sorcerers, or warriors, were concerned with discussing, understanding, and employing that connecting link...Sorcerers, therefore, divide their instruction into two categories; one is for everyday-life state of awareness, the other is for the states of heightened awareness, in which sorcerers obtained knowledge directly from intent, without the distracting intervention of spoken language.
... that a warrior, aware of the unfathomable mystery that surrounds him and aware of his duty to try to unravel it, takes his rightful place among mysteries and regards himself as one. Consequently, for a warrior there is no end to the mystery of being, whether being means being a pebble, or an ant, or oneself. That is a warrior's humbleness. One is equal to everything.
The world is incomprehensible.
We won’t ever understand it;
we won’t ever unravel its secrets.
Thus we must treat the world as it is:
a sheer mystery."

Carlos Castaneda (1925 - 1998)

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

An Illusion, a Phantom, or a Dream

“So I say to you –
This is how to contemplate our
conditioned existence in this fleeting world:
'Like a tiny drop of dew,
or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning
in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion,
a phantom, or a dream.'
'So is all conditioned
existence to be seen.'
Thus spoke Buddha."

- Diamond Sutra (c.858)

Monday, November 22, 2021

Macro and the Micro

"It is all very beautiful and magical here - a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breathe it, let the sun bake it into you. The skies and land are so enormous, and the detail so precise and exquisite that wherever you are you are isolated in a glowing world between the macro and the micro, where everything is sidewise under you and over you, and the clocks stopped long ago."

- Ansel Adams (1902 - 1984)
Letter to Alfred Stieglitz

Postscript. The purest simplest joy of life is life itself: living, being, breathing, seeing, feeling, sharing, ... But there are preternaturally precious moments when the experience is so all-consuming and so far transcends what words alone are incapable of revealing (though the wisest among us are sometimes able, in Zen-like fashion, to capture glimpses of the deepest truths), that one is simply lost in the Einsteinian awe of it all ("I have nothing but awe when I observe the laws of nature," as quoted in Einstein and the Poet). For me, this happens (alas, far less frequently than I wish) when I become "lost" amidst the "macro and the micro"; when otherwise arbitrary language-driven distinctions among trees and forest and leaves and space and time ... all dissolve and become one and inseparable. A feeling that seems to be also shared by my eldest son, Noah, who is seen here contemplating his own universe of mysteries by the side of a small footpath he and I took this weekend in a local park: