The truth of art keeps science from becoming inhuman, and the truth of science keeps art from becoming ridiculous.
Evolution happens like a movie, with frames moving by both quickly and gradually, and we often can’t see the change while it’s occurring. Every time we find a fossil, it’s a snapshot back in time, often with thousands of frames missing in between, and we’re forced to reconstruct the whole film. Life is what happens in between the snapshots.
One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike—and yet it is the most precious thing we have.
When I was a child, it was believed that animals became extinct because they were too specialized. My father used to tell us about the saber-tooth tiger’s teeth — how they got too big and the tiger couldn’t eat because he couldn’t take game anymore. And I remember my father saying, with my brother sitting there, ‘I wonder what it will be with the human beings that will be so overspecialized that they’ll kill themselves off?’
My father never found out that my brother was working on the bomb.
Be curious. Read widely. Try new things. I think that a lot of what people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity.
Even in the fossil remains of the earliest lifeforms, there is unmistakable evidence of communal living arrangements and mutual cooperation. We humans have been able to design effective cultures that for hundreds of thousands of years have fostered one set of inborn characteristics and discouraged another. From brain anatomy, human behavior, personal introspection, the annals of recorded history, the fossil record, DNA sequencing, and the behavior of our closest relatives, a clear lesson emerges: There is more than one side to human nature. If our greater intelligence is the hallmark of our species, then we should use it as all the other beings use their distinctive advantages — to help ensure that their offspring prosper and their heredity is passed on. It is our business to understand that some predilections we bear as remnants of our evolutionary history, when coupled with our intelligence — especially with intelligence in the subordinate role — might threaten our future. Our intelligence is imperfect, surely, and newly arisen; the ease with which it can be sweet-talked, overwhelmed, or subverted by other hardwired propensities — sometimes themselves disguised as the cool light of reason — is worrisome. But if intelligence is our only edge, we must learn to use it better, to sharpen it, to understand its limitations and deficiencies — to use it as cats use stealth, as walking sticks use camouflage, to make it the tool of our survival.
Education is what people do to you, learning is what you do to yourself.
Well if that doesn’t hit the nail on the proverbial head, I don’t know what does. Let’s be learning facilitators, not educators.
Whenever we proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word ‘understanding.
Space is to place as eternity is to time.