"Science is fundamentally amazing. There just isn’t a fact that isn’t remarkable. What drew me to write about science is that, although I had been a terrible student of science at school, I was certain that there must be some level at which even I could engage with science."
"Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles—is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.
They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing."
"The concept of an embryo is a staggering one, and forming an embryo is the hardest thing you will ever do. To become an Embryo, you had to build yourself from a single cell. You had to respire before you had lungs, digest before you had a gut, build bones when you were pulpy, and form orderly arrays of neurons before you knew how to think. One of the critical differences between you and a machine is that a machine is never required to function until after it is built. Every animal has to function even as it builds itself."
- Gilbert, Principles of developmental biology 8th edition (2006)
"In a 2006 interview David Foster Wallace said, “it seems significant that we don’t want things to be quiet, ever, anymore.” Stores and restaurants have their ubiquitous Muzak or satellite radio; bars have anywhere between 1 and 17 TVs blaring Fox and soccer; ads and 30-second news cycles play on screens in cabs, elevators and restrooms. Even some libraries, whose professional shushers were once celebrated in cartoon and sitcom, now have music and special segregated areas designated for “quiet study,” which is what a library used to be."
"I have approximate answers and possible beliefs in different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and of many things I don’t know anything about, but I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose which is the way it really is as far as I can tell possibly. It doesn’t frighten me."
- Richard Feynman during an interview in BBC’s Horizon program (1981)
"There is that scent in the air, of going back to school, of beginning again and reconfirming the order that exists. He wants to feel good, he always used to feel good at every turning of the year, every vacation or end of vacation, every new sheet on the calendar: but his adult life has proved to have no seasons, only changes in the weather, and the older he gets, the less weather interests him."
"The French use the concept of ‘jolie laide’ to describe certain female beauty – it means, literally, ‘beautiful ugliness’ and they use it to describe a woman like, let’s say, Charlotte Gainsbourg, who is not classically beautiful yet has something about her that’s appealing. Koolhaas’s work and Tokyo and others fall into the category of ‘jolie laide’: not formally or classically beautiful, but appealing. We need to stretch our concept of the word beautiful to encompass a wide variety of things."
“We will all discover sooner or later that what is essential has very little to do with IQs and honors and titles and fame,” he told the students, who welcomed him with a standing ovation at Foreman Field. “It has very little to do with the fancy outsides of life. What ultimately nourishes our souls is knowing that we can be trusted; that we never have to fear the truth; that the foundation of our very being is good stuff.” - Mister Rogers, ODU commencement address (May 6, 2000)
Video courtesy of mi hermano, quote courtesy of that time I saw my mom graduate from college.