Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rational free spirits ...

... are the light brigade who go on ahead and reconnoitre the ground which the heavy brigade of the orthodox will eventually occupy.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799)


  1. An excellent quote and prescient given the fates of both brigades at the Crimea... THe light brigade was creamed but the Heavy Brigade charged (which is forgotten) won a decisive victory...

    How art can predict life ans well as imitate it!

  2. Yes indeed, the photons of light do travel outwards from the stars so much faster than the heavy particles, but whatever victories they win or losses they suffer, they all reach the destruction of heat death in the end. Vibrations, dissipating, nothing else.

  3. This rational free spirit will drink to Lichtenberg. Prost!

    And to all of you. À votre santé! Cheers!

  4. From my son, "Very true! All new discoveries, scientific or otherwise, are made by a few heroic pioneers. No one listens to them. They face rejection and worse. But eventually their discoveries become the standard of orthodoxy, and they are accepted by everyone, or by nearly everyone."

    I'll drink to Martin! But I don't think I can call myself a rational free spirit anymore. I haven't (yet) done anything very remarkable. Ah! well...As long as I keep trying, and don't impede the heroic souls I meet on the road.

  5. Can you be free and rational at the same time?

  6. Jams,
    unlike the majority of our species Lichtenberg had lots of sense inside his head. His Sudelbücher (Waste Books) are a treasure trove.

    ha ha ha, I was almost sure you'd focus on this very aspect.

    It's quite true, although I do not like the word heroic.
    And here's a link to one of those scientists who'd not let the (arrogant) mocking of teachers and many colleagues discourage him.
    Shshshhh: I am sure Stefan Hell will get a Nobel Prize. Sooner or later.

    Free spirit and rationality might not be mutal dependant, but you can have them both at the same time. Why do you ask?