Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The beginning and Pasteur

I tend to judge historical characters predominantly by quotes that have reached us through history. I find that they preserve a summary of that figure's outlook on life, their philosophy, and their wisdom, often without the political baggage that might have accompanied them in their era. Furthermore, I like quotes because they are dense. Concise nuggets ripe for pondering. 


So, for example, Pasteur, in addition to being a brilliant medical scientist, had some nice philosophical thoughts. Here are some of the ones I like best, translated from the French:


"The Greeks have given us one of the most beautiful words of our language, the word "enthusiasm" — a God within. The grandeur of the acts of men are measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a God within."


Enthusiasm makes any endeavor enjoyable. And it only takes a little bit of will to bring it to bear. 


"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity."


That's what my grandpa says too. Determination. Take hold of a vision for your future and construct your world to fulfill it. 


"The idea of God is a form of the idea of the Infinite."


Pasteur is obviously a faithful man as his words often reference the divine, but he is not blindly faithful. He has formed his own thoughtful relationship with his God and the infinite. Einstein thought somewhat in this manner too.




One of my favorite mantras is "Fortune favors the prepared mind". I discovered recently that the original French from Pasteur ("Dans les champs de l'observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés") translates as "In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared minds". While Pasteur ostensibly restricts his adage to "the fields of observation", it has taken on much broader application in present day. Fortune favors the prepared mind in all sorts of endeavors; indeed, I think, in life itself. 


I find that most great people - the deepest thinkers and greatest doers of our time and history - converge on a common few succinct ideas that encapsulate their success. This is wisdom.


Another quote, which the internet tells me is from Goethe, comes to mind: "He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth". 3,000 years has generated many ideas and has begun to converge on wisdom. One efficient way to draw on 3,000 years is through the concise nuggets of deep quotes from great thinkers and doers. 




I like to cultivate a prepared mind - un esprit préparé - from all the sources of wisdom in the world so that Fortune may favor me. This blarg, among other miscellaneous things, describes some adventures in this cultivation.






I am not an expansive writer. Please forgive the frequent occurrences where I seem to not elaborate sufficiently. Though, one middle school teacher of mine said that I had a knack for saying the most in an essay in the least amount of words. So I do hope that I am communicating the essence of my thoughts. But to be clear, most of these posts are for myself so that I can get these ideas written down.



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