For most of my life, my time was equally divided between work and worry. I spent far too much time doing each of those things, and probably still do. However, in semi-retirement, I have made other important activities part of my early morning routine:
*2) choosing one small thing to do for myself on this day;
*3) choosing one small thing to do for others on this day;
*4) and (now after a brief helpful conversation on Hi with Shu Kuge) focusing for just 15 minutes on one of the quotes I have assembled from my reading or from the excellent tool Wikiquote.
We often think, naïvely, that missing data are the primary impediments to intellectual progress — just find the right facts and all problems will dissipate. But barriers are often deeper and more abstract in thought. We must have access to the right metaphor, not only to the requisite information. Revolutionary thinkers are not, primarily, gatherers of facts, but weavers of new intellectual structures. Stephen Jay Gould in “For Want of a Metaphor”, in The Flamingo’s Smile (1985) p. 151
I’ve always enjoyed reading Stephen Jay Gould, not because he was a profound thinker but because, he helped me see some things in a new light. He is best known as a science popularizer, paleontologist, evolutionary theorist (e.g. punctuated equilibrium), and historian of science. As an historian of science myself, I didn’t really rely on him for those sorts of things so much as for small nuggets of insight that brighten my day.
BTW I am continually amazed that Gould is so hated in certain intellectual quarters, the object of much invective and ad hominem argument. My response to this deplorable line of argumentation: “he may be right and he may be wrong, but I know that I miss him now that he’s gone.”
Burning the Books
Beginning or End?
Small blessings #4: Just a touch of rose.