Archives for posts with tag: philosophy

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Albert Einstein (attributed), Germany/United States, 1879-1955

If you read all those quotes from Albert Einstein, his aphorisms alone already make him a genius – you don’t even need relativity and all this scientific stuff we ordinary humans understand so little about.

It is disputed whether Einstein actually said this (which reminds me about another quote, attributed to Abraham Licoln: The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that it’s difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine), but that is not the point for now.

The point is, often we are trying to make fish climb trees, and get frustrated with them when they are failing. At least, I feel too often like a fish in a tree.

 

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To be sane in a world of madmen is itself a kind of madness

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Switzerland/France, 1712-17

Last week, I went to the alumni day of my Master’s programme. Alumni days and school reunions, wisdom teaches, are always risky business. To put it blatantly, there is always a chance that you actually never liked turn out to be more successful than you are. Fortunately, the annoying people didn’t show up, and the content of the day was surprisingly good. This included a lecture where the professor quoted almost a dozen of philosophers. My favourite one was this one by Rousseau. Indeed, sometimes it is better to be mad and to go with the stream than to keep sanity and be isolated.

You see things as they are and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’

George Bernard Shaw, Ireland, 1856-1950

This is probably one of my favourite quotes. I aspire to have the attitude to look at life, and say ‘why not?’ whenever I have a certain idea, plan, or ambition. It is so much easier to ask ‘why’, to break down ideas of others or yourself. Asking ‘why not’ is the key to an interesting, adventurous life.