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Monday, September 08, 2008

The things we learn when we look around a little

I've added a new thing to my Firefox browser - to see how it works. Its called stumble upon! Take a look at it here:

The point of it is that it profiles your preferences and then looks for random stuff for you that might be of interest. A way to break the chain of going to the same old pages each day - without much thinking involved.

I wanted to see how it profiled things, and to date its doing OK, but it hasn't had much chance to learn my profile yet so I am holding my judgement back for a week or so.

Anyway, the point of this blog article is to say that when you look around a little sometimes you learn something new and today I was pleased to be directed towards the following essay......

"How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people -- first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving...

"I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves -- this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed empty to me. The trite objects of human efforts -- possessions, outward success, luxury -- have always seemed to me contemptible.

"My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a 'lone traveler' and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude..."

A prize for the first person to contact me via this blog or email with the name of the author :)

What this stumbling experience reminded me of this morning was that there are some great minds out there. Some from the present, some from the past and some developing for the future. It's impossible to keep up with all of them, its almost impossible to keep up with some of them, but its absolutely essential to keep trying! Knowledge is life.


Michele Smith said...

"The World as I See It", by Albert Einstein. It is good to remember the humanity behind the men/women who changed our world. And it is good to be reminded by them to stop and take a look around once in a while.
The essay goes on to say one of Einstein's famous quotes, "The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious." How true. To have the chance to look upon things as if seeing them through a child's eyes, wide open with wonder. Those moments are priceless.
I was reminded of two other literary works while pondering this essay. They are both by Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and "Road Less Traveled." I had not thought of them in some time and somehow that is where my mind took me.
Good way for me to start the work week.

Stewart Noakes, TCL said...

HI Michele
thanks for your comment. Glad that the blog has had a positive impact on your start to the week.

Send me your email address and I'll sort out a prize for you - you were the first one to comment on the authorship correctly :)

you can contact me directly at


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