some thoughts by those who could see further

Reflection

Consumerism and life time

I have thought a lot about that. I spent over ten years in solitary, in a hole. Plenty of time to think… I spent seven years without one book! That left me time to think. And this is what I discovered: Either you’re happy with very little, free of all that extra luggage, because you have happiness inside, or you don’t get anywhere! I am not advocating poverty. I am advocating sobriety.

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I set my hearth on learning

When I was fifteen I set my heart on learning.   At thirty I took my stand.   At forty I was without confusion.   At fifty I knew the command of Tian.   At sixty I heard it with a compliant ear.   At seventy I follow the desires of my heart and do not overstep the bounds.   (alternative translation) At fifteen, I set my heart on learning.

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Making work better and more efficient

Large-format meetings waste people’s time. Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get [rid] of all large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short. Meetings should be infrequent unless a matter is urgent. Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter.

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Message to future generations

— What would you think it’s worth telling future generations about the life you’ve lived and the lessons you’ve learned from it? I should like to say two things, one intellectual and one moral. The intellectual thing I should want to say is this: When you are studying any matter, or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out.

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Seven signs of non-competitive states

Traditional indicators of noncompetitive performance still apply: corruption (the most seductive activity humans can consummate while clothed); the absence of sound, equitably enforced laws; civil strife; or government attempts to overmanage a national economy. As change has internationalized and accelerated, however, new predictive tools have emerged. They are as simple as they are fundamental, and they are rooted in culture. The greater the degree to which a state — or an entire civilization — succumbs to these “seven deadly sins” of collective behavior, the more likely that entity is to fail to progress or even to maintain its position in the struggle for a share of the world’s wealth and power.

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The Internationalization of Amazonia

During a recent discussion, in the United States, someone asked my opinion regarding the internationalization of the Amazon Region. The youngster asserted that he expected a response of a humanist and not of a Brazilian.   This was the first time anyone had established the humanist viewpoint as the starting point for my response. In fact, as a Brazilian I would have responded simply against internationalization of the Amazon Region.

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The danger of science denial

[…] in this, the 21st century, when it comes time to make decisions about science, it seems to me people have lost the ability to judge what is true and what is not. What is reliable and what is not reliable. What you should believe, and what should you not believe.   And when you have people who don’t know much about science standing in denial of it and rising to power, that is a recipe for the complete dismantling of our informed democracy.

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The essence of simplicity

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. — Antoine de saint-exupéry   Plurality should not be assumed without necessity. — William of Ockham (Ockham’s Razor)   Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. — Albert Einstein   The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

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The investment of societies

No society wants you to become wise: it is against the investment of all societies. If people are wise, they cannot be exploited. If they are intelligent, they cannot be subjugated, they cannot be forced into a mechanical life, to live like robots. They will assert themselves — they will assert their individuality. They will have the fragrance of rebellion around them; they will want to live in freedom.

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The purpose of religion

I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest - and scientists have to be - we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling.

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