A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Editor’s Pick: Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Credit: The philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty in his home in Paris 1950; Getty Images

Short Bio

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) was a French phenomenologist philosopher and a leading figure in existentialism. He was born in Rochefort-sur-Mer, France and died in Paris, France. He studied at the École Normale Supérieure and later taught at the Sorbonne, the University of Lyon, and the Collège de France. Merleau-Ponty is best known for his work in phenomenology, which emphasizes the role of perception and embodiment in understanding the world. His major works include "Phenomenology of Perception" (1945) and "The Structure of Behavior" (1942). He died at the age of 53 in a road accident.

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Quotes to reflect on

Credit: Faulkner in 1954, photographed by Carl Van Vechten; via Wikipedia

5 quotes by the American writer William Faulkner 

1. "I decline to accept the end of man."

2. "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

3. "The human heart has hidden treasures, In secret kept, in silence sealed; The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, Whose charms were broken if revealed."
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7 thoughts by Franz Kafka that will make you think twice

Credit: Portrait Franz Kafka, around 1905; Getty Images

Thoughts to reflect on

1. "A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity."

2. "All language is but a poor translation."

3. "By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired."

4. "Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself."

5. "It's only because of their stupidity that they're able to be so sure of themselves."

6. "He is terribly afraid of dying because he hasn't yet lived."

7. "I usually solve problems by letting them devour me."


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Editor’s pick: James Joyce

Excerpts from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)

1. "I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use -- silence, exile, and cunning."

2. "You made me confess the fears that I have. But I will tell you also what I do not fear. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as long as eternity too."

3. "The object of the artist is the creation of the beautiful. What the beautiful is is another question."

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Thoughts to reflect on: Ingmar Bergman

Credits: Swedish Director Ingmar Bergman (Photo by Li Erben/Sygma via Getty Images)

8 quotes by the great Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman on the nature of the artist

1. The demons are innumerable, appear at the most inconvenient times, and create panic and terror. But I have learned that if I can master the negative forces and harness them to my chariot, then they can work to my advantage.

2. I throw a spear into the darkness. That is intuition. Then I must send an army into the darkness to find the spear. That is intellect.

3. Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.

4. The smallest wound or pain of the ego is examined under a microscope as if it were of eternal importance. The artist considers his isolation, his subjectivity, his individualism almost holy.

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Editor’s Pick: Carl Sagan

Credit: 20th March 1974: Portrait of American astronomer and author Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996); Photo by Santi Visalli Inc./Getty Images

Excerpts from The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1995)

1. "Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity as by ignorance, particularly our ignorance about ourselves."

2. "Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both."

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Editor’s pick: Friedrich Nietzsche

Credit: Image source; made by Islingt0ner

The Three Metamorphoses, from Thus spake Zarathustra, 1883

"OF THREE metamorphoses of the spirit do I tell you: how the spirit becomes a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion, at last, a child. Many heavy things are there for the spirit, the strong reverent spirit that would bear much: for the heavy and the heaviest longs its strength.

What is heavy? so asks the spirit that would bear much, and then kneels down like the camel, and wants to be well laden.

What is the heaviest thing, you heroes ? asks the spirit that would bear much, that I may take it upon me and exult in my strength. Is it not this: To humiliate oneself in order to mortify one's pride? To exhibit one's folly in order to mock at one's wisdom?

Or is it this: To desert our cause when it triumphs? To climb high mountains to tempt the tempter? Or is it this: To feed on the acorns and grass of knowledge, and for the sake of truth to suffer hunger in one's soul?


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6 advices for young writers by Isaac Babel

Short Bio

Isaac Emmanuilovich Babel (1894 –1940) was a Russian writer, journalist, playwright, and literary translator. He is best known as the author of Red Cavalry and Odessa Stories, and has been acclaimed as "the greatest prose writer of Russian Jewry."[1] Babel was arrested by the NKVD on 15 May 1939 on fabricated charges of terrorism and espionage, and executed on 27 January 1940 by the Stalinist regime. (Via Wikipedia)

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10 quotes by the Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein

Credit: Wikimedia commons

Thoughts to reflect on

1. The human body is the best picture of the human soul.

2. If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.

3. Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.

4. Like everything metaphysical the harmony between thought and reality is to be found in the grammar of the language.

5. Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

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3 Quotes by the German Philosopher Friedrich Shelling

Credit: A February 1848 daguerreotype of Schelling; via Wikipedia

Thoughts to reflect on

1. "There is no greatness without a continual solicitation to madness which, while it must be overcome, must never be completely lacking. One might profit by classifying men in this respect. The one kind are those in whom there is no madness at all ... and are so-called men of intellect whose works and deeds are nothing but cold works and deeds of the intellect... But where there is no madness, there is, to be sure, also no real, active, living intellect. For wherein is intellect to prove itself but in the conquest, mastery, and ordering of madness?"

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Thoughts to reflect on

Credit: Wikipedia

Carl Linnaeus

1. "I demand of you, and of the whole world, that you show me a generic character... by which to distinguish between Man and Ape. I myself most assuredly know of none."

2. "Nature's economy shall be the base for our own, for it is immutable, but ours is secondary. An economist without knowledge of nature is therefore like a physicist without knowledge of mathematics."

3. "When all the thoughts are concerning one thing and the person loses interest in other things, the melancholy begins."

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Thoughts to reflect on: Cortázar

Credit: GettyImages

Julio Cortázar

1. "But what is memory if not the language of feeling, a dictionary of faces and days and smells which repeat themselves like the verbs and adjectives in a speech, sneaking in behind the thing itself,into the pure present, making us sad or teaching us vicariously..."

2. "I sometimes longed for someone who, like me, had not adjusted perfectly with his age, and such a person was hard to find; but I soon discovered cats, in which I could imagine a condition like mine, and books, where I found it quite often."

3. "Memory is a mirror that scandalously lies."

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5 brilliant quotes from famous scientists

Credit: Gettyimages

Thoughts to reflect on

1. "Did the genome of our cave-dwelling predecessors contain a set or sets of genes which enable modern man to compose music of infinite complexity and write novels with profound meaning? …It looks as though the early Homo was already provided with the intellectual potential which was in great excess of what was needed to cope with the environment of his time."

-Susumu Ohno (geneticist, 1928-2000)

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Editor’s pick: Mikhail Bulgakov

Credit: moscovery.com

Excerpts from The Master and Margarita (1967 )

1. "But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if
evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows
disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the
shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and living beings.
Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because
of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You're stupid."

2. "Yes, man is mortal, but that would be only half the trouble. The worst of it is that he's sometimes unexpectedly mortal—there's the trick!"

3. "Is that vodka?" Margarita asked weakly.
The cat jumped up in his seat with indignation.
"I beg pardon, my queen," he rasped, "Would I ever allow myself to offer vodka to a lady? This is pure alcohol!"

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Thoughts to reflect on: Jordan Peterson

Credit: Gettyimages

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

1. "I don't think that you have any insight whatsoever into your capacity for good until you have some well-developed insight into your capacity for evil."

2. "You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act. You simply don't know what you believe, before that. You are too complex to understand yourself."

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Inspirational Quotes

Credit: Gettyimages

Science is Inspiration

1."Let's say intelligence is your ability to compose poetry, symphonies, do art, math and science. Chimps can't do any of that, yet we share 99 percent DNA. Everything that we are, that distinguishes us from chimps, emerges from that one-percent difference."
Neil deGrasse Tyson

2. "Every brilliant experiment, like every great work of art, starts with an act of imagination."
Jonah Lehrer

3. "Above all, don't fear difficult moments. The best comes from them."
Rita Levi-Montalcini
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Science is Wisdom

Credit: Gettyimages

5 scientific quotes about life

1. I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

- Isaac Newton

2. Life cannot have had a random beginning ... The trouble is that there are about 2000 enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10^40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.

- Fred Hoyle

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Editor’s pick: Georg Simmel

Credit: Gettyimages

Excerpts from The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies (1906)

"Since one never can absolutely know another, as this would mean knowledge of every particular thought and feeling; since we must rather form a conception of a personal unity out of the fragments of another person in which alone he is accessible to us, the unity so formed necessarily depends upon that portion of the Other which our standpoint toward him permits us to see."

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Thoughts to reflect on

Credit: Gettyimages


3 Famous Thinkers on Science

1. Natural science will in time incorporate into itself the science of man, just as the science of man will incorporate into itself natural science: there will be one science.
- Karl Marx

2. Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
- Albert Einstein

3. Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.
- Max Planck


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5 provocative science quotes by Rupert Sheldrake

Credit: Gettyimages

1. Bad religion is arrogant, self-righteous, dogmatic and intolerant. And so is bad science. But unlike religious fundamentalists, scientific fundamentalists do not realize that their opinions are based on faith. They think they know the truth.

2. I think that the 'laws of nature' are also prone to evolve; I think they are more like habits than laws.

3. Contemporary science is based on the philosophy of materialism, which claims that all reality is material or physical.

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Credit: J. Krishnamurti, the Indian philosopher, aboard the S.S. Bremen, arriving in New York City for a vacation; Getty Images 7 Thoughts by the Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti 1. "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly si...
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