Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Few words

A multitude of words is no proof of a prudent mind.

Thales
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As I approach my 71st I find I have three real pleasures: writing, painting and reading. When I sit down here to write, even though I'm a mediocre typist and have to do a lot of editing, I enjoy it so much I don't want to stop. Hence my emails and journal entries can be verbose, a multitude of words. Terseness is not my forte.

When I'm painting I also don't want to stop. Each dab of the brush leads to the next one and I love to see the forms and colors rise in front of me.

But it is while reading that I feel my life is moving forward. For 50 years I was more interested in getting roles and acting them. Reading was an obligatory thing. I was considered by some to be not well read and intellectually behind the pack. It wasn't true, but since I only knew about things that interested me there were holes in the tapestry of my knowledge. I was never a well rounded student, thank goodness.

When I first became interested in philosophy I was drawn to the great old masters: Aristotle, Plato and Socrates. The first two left volumes of writing behind. Socrates who taught both of them never wrote down anything philosophical, as far as I know.

Then I became curious about what was happening before Socrates. Both Plato and Aristotle made reference to some early philosophers. Of course, as long as there were thinking humanoids, there must have been philosophers. It was then that I uncovered (as if they had been buried in ancient tombs) Anaximander, Anaximenes and Thales (pronounced th, as in think, long A, leez, more or less), who lived during the 6th Century BCE.

He was known as Thales of Miletus, the first Western scientist and Bertrand Russel said Western philosophy begins with Thales. So here was one important guy.

Two of his famous achievements were accurately predicting an eclipse of the sun which, when it occurred, stopped a war. and determining the height of an Egyptian pyramid by measuring its shadow at the same moment when his own shadow equaled his own height.

He must have written things but there isn't much left except fragments and quotes. He probably took his own advice and, unlike me, was a man of a few words.

DB - The Vagabond
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Tomorrow: The Dumbed Down Human
(((((((((((((((((((
WINTER QUESTION
(This is not a contest.)

Given the resources and opportunity, what one thing do you want to do in 2010 that you've never done before.

You have all Winter to answer. Answers will be posted on the first day of Spring.
14 responses so far.

DB - The Vagabond

6 comments:

Big Mark 243 said...

I saw written a line... "Who was there at the world's beginning and who will be there at it's end?"

Does being 'remembered' have any relevance to their impact on the world? What stops the radio waves in space?

Real and profound impact in the universe is akin to the waves in the ocean, connecting to others. Some become great tidal entities and others end quietly at a beach. Yet I can't question the impact of either on the world.

They both have the same significance.

DB said...

Testing, testing.

Cathy said...

Leave it to an artist of the mind and heart to know who Thales of Miletus was, how I adore your Greco-Roman side lol. A shared interest, like reading. Few people know that our beloved Socrates, quite a maniac actually, never wrote a single word yet is our imprimatur of philosophers. Do you ever wonder if such times as 4-300 BCE can return in any measure of how we conduct our lives? Such a fast-paced scale of evolving caused us to lose so much, I feel.

mrs. miss alaineus said...

i nominated you for an award db- you so rock!


xxalainaxx

Judith Ellis said...

Love the quote, DB. When I was in graduate school I had an Oxford professor who required us to very deduce dense philosophical works to a 250-word precise. It was the best exercise ever! Thanks for the post. Happy 71st!

Rose~* said...

Enjoyed the quote, also. Wishing you a wonderful 71st Birthday, when it appears.