Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Foreboding

Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking.  I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or my grandchild's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.  The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sounds bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentation on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

-- Carl Edward Sagan (1934 - 1996), American astronomer and author, The Demon-Haunted World : Science as a Candle in the Dark (1995), Ch. 2 : Science and Hope, p. 25, h/t @TonyT2Thomas

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Right Is Right

Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,
These three alone lead life to sovereign power.
Yet not for power (power of herself
Would come uncall'd for) but to live by law,
Acting the law we live by without fear;
And, because right is right, to follow right
Were wisdom in the scorn of consequence.

-- Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (1809 - 1892), Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign, after William Wordsworth, "Oenone", st. 14

Monday, August 08, 2022

Some Were Wrong

By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.

I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of the events that led to this decision. I would say only that if some of my judgments were wrong, and some were wrong, they were made in what I believed at the time to be the best interest of the Nation.

To those who have stood with me during these past difficult months, to my family, my friends, to many others who joined in supporting my cause because they believed it was right, I will be eternally grateful for your support.

And to those who have not felt able to give me your support, let me say I leave with no bitterness toward those who have opposed me, because all of us, in the final analysis, have been concerned with the good of the country, however our judgments might differ.

So, let us all now join together in affirming that common commitment and in helping our new President succeed for the benefit of all Americans.

-- Richard Milhous Nixon (1913 - 1994), 37th president of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974, Resignation speech, 8 August 1974

Friday, August 05, 2022

Elastic

The time which we have at our disposal every day is elastic; the passions that we feel expand it, those that we inspire contract it; and habit fills up what remains.

-- Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922), French novelist, essayist, and critic,  Remembrance of Things Past (1913-1927), Vol II: Within a Budding Grove (1919), Ch. I: "Madame Swann at Home"

Thursday, August 04, 2022

No Matter Whether We Know

Good deeds remain good, no matter whether we know how the world was made or not.  Vile deeds are vile, no matter whether we know or do not know what, after death, will be the fate of the doer.  We know, at least, what his fate is now, namely, to be wedded to the vileness. 

-- Felix Adler (1851 - 1933), Jewish professor of political and social ethics, rationalist, and religious leader who founded the Ethical Culture movement, Life and Destiny (1913) Section 9 : Ethical Outlook

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Experience

Experience isn't interesting until it begins to repeat itself -- in fact, till it does that, it hardly is experience.

-- Elizabeth Bowen (1899 - 1973), Anglo-Irish novelist and short story writer, The Death of the Heart (1939)

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

The Professional Is Involved

If you're really looking for a reason why I feel I've played enough, I'll tell you this.  There are professionals and there are mercenaries in sports.  The difference between them is that the professional is involved.  I was never a mercenary.  If I continued to play, I'd become a mercenary because I'm not involved anymore.

I have a year to go on my contract with the Celtics.  It's one of the most lucrative in sports, and I was very happy with it.  A couple of my friends think I should at least stick out that year because of the money.  Believe me, I wouldn't mind having all that money.  But I'm not going to play basketball for money.  I've been paid to play, of course, but I played for a lot of other reasons, too.

-- William Felton Russell (12 February 1934 – 31 July 2022), former U.S. basketball player of the Boston Celtics, remembered for his central role in the Celtics dynasty that won eleven NBA championships in thirteen seasons, "I'm Not Involved Anymore", Sports Illustrated (4 August 1969)

Monday, August 01, 2022

RIP Nichelle Nichols

Star Trek represented, and still does represent, the future we can have, a future that is beyond the petty squabbles we are dealing with here on Earth, now as much as ever, and are able to devote ourselves to the betterment of all human kind by doing what we do so well: explore.  This kind of a future isn't impossible -- and we need to all rethink our priorities to really bring that vision to life.

-- Nichelle Nichols (28 December 1932 - 30 July 2022) American actress, singer, and voice artist, best known for her portrayal of Nyota Uhura in Star Trek and its film sequels.  Nichols' portrayal of Uhura was groundbreaking for African American actresses on American television, as quoted in "Uhura Fest: 'Star Trek' legend Nichelle Nichols talks Wizard World Philly and transcending race" by Jerome Maida, The Philadelphia Enquirer (29 May 2017)