To cheer you up in difficult times 16: Optimism, two quotes

A timely quote

“If there’s so much shit around, there has to be a pony somewhere.”

Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

and

Give me a couple of years free from other duties, and I shall complete the task – the task of copying the whole book of nature, and of writing the new science

Francis Bacon, according to Karl Popper

 

Francis Bacon drawn by Neta Kalai

The hard choice between family, teaching and committee work on the one hand, and writing the whole book of nature on the other

Blogged again (original 2008, and Chapter 23 in “Gina Says“), to cheer you up in difficult times.

There has to be a pony somewhere

From Arundhati Roy’s book “The God of Small Things”

Here is a tale from Arundhati Roy‘s book “The God of Small Things”.  In the book Margaret Kochamma tells the following joke to Chacko in Oxford, England, where the two meet: A man had twin sons… Pete and Stuart. Pete was an Optimist and Stuart was a Pessimist… On their thirteenth birthday their father gave Stuart – the Pessimist – an expensive watch, a carpentry set and a bicycle… And Pete’s – the Optimist’s – room he filled with horse dung… When Stuart opened his present he grumbled all morning. He hadn’t wanted a carpentry set, he didn’t like the watch and the bicycle had the wrong kind of tyres… When the father went to Pete’s – the Optimist’s  – room, he couldn’t see Pete, but he could hear the sound of frantic shoveling and heavy breathing. Horse dung was flying all over the room… “What in heaven’s name are you doing?” the father shouted to Pete… A voice came from deep inside the dung. “Well, Father,” Pete said, “if there’s so much shit around, there has to be a pony somewhere.” (The God of Small Things, Flamingo, London 1997, p.243).

Arundhati Roy

Writing the whole book of Nature

Here is a quote from Karl Popper’s paper “Science, Problems, Aims, Responsibilities” about Francis Bacon: “According to Bacon, nature, like God, was present in all things, from the greatest to the least. And it was the aim or the task of the new science of nature to determine the nature of all things, or, as he sometimes said, the essence of all things. This was possible because the book of nature was an open book. All that was needed was to approach the Goddess of Nature with a pure mind, free of prejudices, and she would readily yield her secrets. `Give me a couple of years free from other duties,’ Bacon somewhat unguardedly exclaimed in a moment of enthusiasm `and I shall complete the task – the task of copying the whole Book of Nature, and of writing the new science.’ “

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