Here then, is still some more stuff…
What’s with that long domain name?
It comes from the end of Ben Pimlott’s introduction to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four:
‘It is intolerable to us,’ says the evil O’Brien, ‘that an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be.’ Nineteen Eighty-Four is a great novel and a great tract because of the clarity of its call, and will endure because its message is a permanent one: erroneous thought is the stuff of freedom.1
That and the fact that all the shorter domain names I wanted were already taken…
I should add that “erroneous thoughts”, as loosely defined above, are more than just a requirement of freedom. In fact, they are fundamental for the advancement of both knowledge, and progress in general. Here is how John Stuart Mill, the founder of political liberalism, explained it, back in 1859:
But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.2
Better to have fruitful errors than barren truths.
(missing sources are coming, soon…)
Reason is a harmonising, controlling force rather than a creative one. Even in the most purely logical realms, it is insight that first arrives at what is new.
Men in their prime, if they have convictions, are tasked to act on them.
Maybe Newton should have said, “I used the shoulders of giants as a springboard”.
Non scholae, sed vitae discimus.
—Lucius Annaeus Seneca (reversed)
It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.
—John Philpot Curran
Nay, the same Solomon the king, although he excelled in the glory of treasure and magnificent buildings, of shipping and navigation, of service and attendance, of fame and renown, and the like, yet he maketh no claim to any of those glories, but only to the glory of inquisition of truth; for so he saith expressly, “The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of the king is to find it out;” as if, according to the innocent play of children, the Divine Majesty took delight to hide His works, to the end to have them found out; and as if kings could not obtain a greater honour than to be God’s playfellows in that game
—Francis Bacon (The Advancement Of Learning, 1605)
And the old tag line comes from here:
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
—Sir Isaac Newton (my emphasis)
First of all, if you still have not had enough to read, then here are some thoughts on my undergraduate years. Next, when I write, it is not uncommon for the words of the Portuguese physicist João Magueijo to come to mind:
The author would like to thank those keen to act as modern-day Inquisitors for no longer playing with fire.
A side effect of occasionally(?) pissing people off, I suppose… And related to how I write, here’s how I try, to the best of my ability and time, to research:
And some more images…
… because why not, right?