Words of Influence

“I know not who put me into the world, nor what the world is, nor what I myself am. I am in terrible ignorance of everything. I know not what my body is, nor my senses, nor my soul, not even that part of me which thinks what I say, which reflects on all and on itself, and knows itself no more than the rest. I see those frightful spaces of the universe which surround me, and I find myself tied to one corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am put in this place rather than another, nor why this short time which is given me to live is assigned to me at this point rather than at another of the whole eternity which was before me or which will come after me. I see nothing but infinities on all sides, which surround me as an atom, and as a shadow which endures only for an instant and returns no more. All I know is that I must die, but what I know least is this very death which I cannot escape.”
Blaise Pascal

“English Teeth, English Teeth! Shining in the sun A part of British heritage Aye, each and every one. English Teeth, Happy Teeth! Always having fun Clamping down on bits of fish And sausages half done. English Teeth! HEROES’ Teeth! Hear them click! and clack! Let’s sing a song of praise to them – Three Cheers for the Brown Grey and Black.”
Spike Milligan

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Hamlet to Horatio

When girls collide…Bits of flesh and eyeballs burning in the night…And when the storm dies down…pick the pieces up and put them on the ground.

And in the bloody tongue…We sing a dirty song…To wish, cuss so bad

But they said, yes they said…It’s in your head, it’s in your head…And they said, it’s in your head…It’s in your he-ead, in your he-ead…In your he-ead, in your he-ead.


“I’m beginning to notice some improvement.”
Casals aged 93 when asked why he continued to practice the cello three hours a day

“When you buy your first tube of paint you’re issued an artist’s licence. And an artist’s license says ‘you can do anything you want to do'”
Bob Ross

“…But the more I look into it, the more I’m sympathetic to a controversial view held by the psychologist Euan Macphail, among others, that all nonhuman vertebrates are equally intelligent. Now, that sounds like a ridiculous statement at first, but when you start trying to strip away all the species-specific characteristics and get to the core cognitive abilities — certain problem-solving, list-making, pattern-recognizing skills — you are very hard-pressed to find many differences between species. People say that sheep are really dumb, but sheep are clearly capable of recognizing individuals by their facial characteristics, and they can learn feeding schedules very quickly and very efficiently. So can goldfish. You can train a goldfish to choose this spot versus that spot in its tank to get fed. A lot of times when you do find apparent differences in learning ability, it’s really that the experiments were not designed very well. The classic case is that rats did not do well on a visual-discrimination test in which they had to pick certain visual patterns to get a food reward. People took this to mean that rats aren’t as good at learning as monkeys are. Well, it turns out that rats don’t have very good eyesight, but if you give them the same test using different odors instead of different visual stimuli, they learn just as quickly as any other animal does. Why should this be? There are certain things that develop pretty early on in the course of evolution, that are so fundamental and so universally useful that they’re very widespread. It may well be that the basic mechanism of learning is one of those things.”
Stephen Budiansky

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