“ "The core function of the memory system could in fact be to imagine the future (…) The system is not designed to perfectly replay past events. (…) It is designed to flexibly construct future scenarios in our minds. As a result, memory also ends up being a reconstructive process, and occasionally, details are deleted and others inserted.” ”—Tali Sharot, a British Academy postdoctoral fellow at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London, Optimism Bias: Human Brain May Be Hardwired for Hope, Time, June 6, 2011 See also: ☞ The Optimism Bias and Memory
“ "The one prudence in life is concentration; the one evil is dissipation: and it makes no difference whether our dissipations are coarse or fine; property and its cares, friends and a social habit, or politics, or music, or feasting. Everything is good which takes away one plaything and delusion more, and drives us home to add one stroke of faithful work.” ”—Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, and poet (1803-1882), The Conduct of Life (1860)
“ "If something becomes unimportant to people, it gets scrapped for parts; if it becomes important, it turns into a symbol and must eventually be destroyed. The only way to survive over the long run is to be made of materials large and worthless, like Stonehenge and the Pyramids, or to become lost. The Dead Sea Scrolls managed to survive by remaining lost for a couple millennia. Now that they’ve been located and preserved in a museum, they’re probably doomed. I give them two centuries - tops.” ”—Danny Hillis, American inventor, entrepreneur, and author. He co-founded Thinking Machines Corporation, a company that developed the Connection Machine, a parallel supercomputer designed by Hillis at MIT, The Millennium Clock, Wired Scenarios, 1995
“ "Is it a fact - or have I dreamt it - that, by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time? Rather, the round globe is a vast head, a brain, instinct with intelligence!" ”—Nathanial Hawthorne, American novelist and short story writer (1804-1864), The House of the Seven Gables, Chapter 17, (1851)
“Within the brain, it seems, the self is both everywhere and nowhere. “If you make a list [for what’s needed for a sense of self], there is hardly a brain region untouched,” says cognitive philosopher Thomas Metzinger of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. Metzinger interprets this as meaning the self is an illusion. We are, he says, fooled by our brains into believing that we are substantial and unchanging. (…)
Studies have shown that each time we recall an episode from our past, we remember the details differently, thus altering ourselves.
So the self, despite its seeming constancy and solidity, is constantly changing. We are not the same person we were a year ago and we will be different tomorrow or a year from now. And the only reason we believe otherwise is because the brain does such a stellar job of pulling the wool over our eyes.” ”—Anil Ananthaswamy, a consultant editor of New Scientist in London, Existence: What is the self?, New Scientist, 04 August 2011
“For if every true love affair can feel like a journey to a foreign country, where you can’t quite speak the language, and you don’t know where you’re going, and you’re pulled ever deeper into the inviting darkness, every trip to a foreign country can be a love affair, where you’re left puzzling over who you are and whom you’ve fallen in love with.
All the great travel books are love stories, by some reckoning—from the Odyssey and the Aeneid to the Divine Comedy and the New Testament—and all good trips are, like love, about being carried out of yourself and deposited in the midst of terror and wonder. (…)
All, in that sense, believed in “being moved” as one of the points of taking trips, and “being transported” by private as well as public means; all saw that “ecstasy” (“ex-stasis”) tells us that our highest moments come when we’re not stationary, and that epiphany can follow movement as much as it precipitates it. (…)
So travel, at heart, is just a quick way to keeping our minds mobile and awake. As Santayana, the heir to Emerson and Thoreau with whom I began, wrote, “There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.”
Romantic poets inaugurated an era of travel because they were the great apostles of open eyes. Buddhist monks are often vagabonds, in part because they believe in wakefulness. And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” ”—Pico Iyer, British-born essayist and novelist, Why We Travel, World Hum, 27 Apr 2009
“ "Every aspect of almost every culture, from musing to music, from dining to dance and everything else you can think of, has been shaped by trade in goods, ideas, technologies, and - more than anything else - by the simple fact of people moving around the planet and interacting.
A healthy culture is like a healthy person: it is constantly changing, growing, and evolving, yet something persists through these changes, a ballast that keeps it upright and recognizable no matter how much it is buffeted by the transformative winds of trade.
We can even expand the analogy a bit, and think of a culture as something akin to a society’s immune system — it works best when it is exposed to as many foreign bodies as possible. Like kids raised in too-clean environments, cultures that are isolated from the world are beautiful but extremely fragile.
That is why, when it comes to protecting the particular cultures of the world, “authenticity” of the sort that natives engage in for tourists is probably the last thing we should be concerned with. (…)
As a Pacific Island dancer replied when asked about his culture: “Culture? That’s what we do for tourists.”” ”—Andrew Potter, Canadian philosopher, author, and magazine columnist, Cultural immersion or imitation?, The New Zealand Herald, May 4, 2010
“From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master total and absolute,
Listening to others, considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.”—Walt Whitman, American poet, essayist and journalist (1819-1892), Song of the Open Road (55) from his 1856 collection Leaves of Grass
“ "The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds." ”—R. D. Laing, Scottish psychiatrist (1927-1989)
“ "Simply put, our brain is inherently well suited for some tasks, but ill suited for others. Unfortunately, the brain’s weaknesses include recognizing which tasks are which, so for the most part we remain ignorantly blissful of the extent to which our lives are governed by the brain’s bugs.” ”—Dean Buonomano, professor in the departments of neurobiology and psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles and an investigator at UCLA’s Brain Research Institute, Brain Bugs. How the brain’s flaws shape our lives, W.W. Norton, 2011
“ "The brain is an incomprehensibly complex biological computer, responsible for every action we have taken and every decision, thought, and feeling we’ve ever had. This is probably a concept that most people do not find comforting. Indeed, the fact that the mind emerges from the brain is something not all brains have come to accept. But our reticence to acknowledge that our humanity derives solely from the physical brain should not come as a surprise. The brain was not designed to understand itself anymore than a calculator was designed to surf the Web.” ”—Dean Buonomano, professor in the departments of neurobiology and psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles and an investigator at UCLA’s Brain Research Institute, Brain Bugs. How the brain’s flaws shape our lives, W.W. Norton, 2011 See also: ☞ Dean Buonomano on ‘Brain Bugs’ - Cognitive Flaws That ‘Shape Our Lives’
“ "Like a parent that carefully filters the information her child is exposed to, the brain edits and censors much of the information it feeds to the conscious mind. In the same fashion that your brain likely edited out the extra "the" from the previous sentence, we are generally blissfully unaware of the arbitrary and irrational factors that govern our decisions and behaviors." ”—Dean Buonomano, professor in the departments of neurobiology and psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles and an investigator at UCLA’s Brain Research Institute, Brain Bugs. How the brain’s flaws shape our lives, W.W. Norton, 2011
“ "Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is." ”—Isaac Asimov, American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books (1920-1992)
“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of education have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.
One had to cram all this stuff into one’s mind, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a deterring effect that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an entire year.” ”—Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics, Nobel Prize laureate (1879-1955), cited in What Einstein, Twain, and Forty Eight Other Creative People Had to Say About Schooling, Psychology Today, July 26, 2011
“ "That is what you want to know - the truth about everything - and then the truth about combinations of things. Some combinations have such logic and integrity that they can work coherently despite non-working elements embraced by their system.
Whenever you come to a word with which you are not familiar, find it in the dictionary and write a sentence which uses that new word. Words are tools - and once you have learned how to use a tool you will never forget it. Just looking for the meaning of the word is not enough. If your vocabulary is comprehensive, you can comprehend both fine and large patterns of experience.” ”—Buckminster Fuller, American engineer, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist (1895-1983), from Critical Path (1981), St Martin’s Press, NY See also: ☞ The Relativity of Truth - a brief résumé
“ “My cousin Helen, who is in her 90s now, was in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. She and a bunch of the girls in the ghetto had to do sewing each day. And if you were found with a book, it was an automatic death penalty. She had gotten hold of a copy of ‘Gone With the Wind’, and she would take three or four hours out of her sleeping time each night to read. And then, during the hour or so when they were sewing the next day, she would tell them all the story. These girls were risking certain death for a story. And when she told me that story herself, it actually made what I do feel more important. Because giving people stories is not a luxury. It’s actually one of the things that you live and die for.” ”—Neil Gaiman, English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films (tnx crmerry)
“ "This isn’t about what is,” said Mr. Nancy.
“It’s about what people think is. It’s all imaginary anyway. That’s why it’s important. People only fight over imaginary things.” ”—Neil Gaiman, English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films, American Gods, William Morrow, 2001
“ "You’re alive, Bod. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you’re dead, it’s gone. Over. You’ve made what you’ve made, dreamed your dream, written your name. (…) That potential is finished." ”—Neil Gaiman, English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films, The Graveyard Book, Bloomsbury, 2008
“ "Humanismis a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion.
Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility.
It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice. Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values — be they religious, ethical, social, or political — have their source in human experience and culture.
Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.” ”—The Humanist Magazine, a publication of the American Humanist Association
“ "I have always felt that violence was the last refuge of the incompetent, and empty threats the last sanctuary of the terminally inept." ”—Neil Gaiman, English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films, Neverwhere
“At every level in the vast and dynamic world of living things lies diversity. From biomes to biomarkers, the complex array of solutions to the most basic problems regarding survival in a given environment afforded to us by nature is riveting. In the world of humans alone, diversity is apparent in the genome, in the brain and in our behavior.
The mark of multiple populations lies in the fabric of our DNA. The signature of selfhood in the brain holds dual frames, one for thinking about one’s self as absolute, the other in context of others. From this biological diversity in humans arises cultural diversity directly observable in nearly every aspect of how people think, feel and behavior. From classrooms to conventions across continents, the range and scope of human activities is stunning.
Recent centuries have seen the scientific debate regarding the nature of human nature cast as a dichotomy between diversity on the one hand and universalism on the other. Yet a seemingly paradoxical, but tractable, scientific concept that may enhance our cognitive toolkit over time is the simple notion that diversity is universal.” ”—Joan Chiao, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University, answering the question What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody’s Cognitive Toolkit?, Edge, 2011
“ "Potentially evil. Potentially good, too, I suppose. Just this huge powerful potentiality waiting to be shaped." ”—Neil Gaiman, English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films, Good Omens, Gollancz, 1990
“ "It is a small world. You do not have to live in it particularly long to learn that for yourself. There is a theory that, in the whole world, there are only five hundred real people (the cast, as it were; all the rest of the people in the world, the theory suggests, are extras) and what is more, they all know each other. And it’s true, or true as far as it goes. In reality the world is made of thousands upon thousands of groups of about five hundred people, all of whom will spend their lives bumping into each other, trying to avoid each other, and discovering each other in the same unlikely teashop in Vancouver. There is an unavoidability to this process. It’s not even coincidence. It’s just the way the world works, with no regard for individuals or for propriety." ”—Neil Gaiman, English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films, Anansi Boys, Morrow, 2005
“ "What’s your name,’ Coraline asked the cat. ‘Look, I’m Coraline. Okay?’
‘Cats don’t have names,’ it said.
‘No?’ said Coraline.
‘No,’ said the cat. ‘Now you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.” ”—Neil Gaiman, English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films, Coraline, Bloomsbury, 2002
“Rolf-Dieter Heuer on the limits of human knowledge
"Q: Can something as vast and as complex as the universe ever be reduced to the scope of human mental capacities, or are there natural limits to what we can know?
That is a difficult question. Every time we discover something, we open the door to new knowledge but find new sets of questions that are more complex and dig deeper into the subject. So there is no real limit, the process of discovery never stops. Maybe the time to answer these questions, i.e. to open these new doors, will increase, but eventually we will be able to open them. "
“ "The story I told you, as well as the commentaries it inspired, will be recorded in the book of the eye. The ladder urges us beyond ourselves. Hence its importance. But in a void, where do we place it?" ”—Edmond Jabès, Jewish writer and poet (1912-1991), Mirror and Scarf, from the Book to the Book: An Edmond Jabès Reader, Wesleyan University Press, 1991, trans. Rosmarie Waldrop (tnx proustitute)
“ "I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale. (…)
Neither do I believe that the spirit of adventure runs any risk of disappearing in our world. If I see anything vital around me, it is precisely that spirit of adventure, which seems indestructible and is akin to curiosity.” ”—Marie Curie, Polish physicist–chemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. The first person honored with two Nobel Prizes (1867-1934), cited in Madame Curie: A Biography (1937) by Eve Curie Labouisse, p. 341.