Wednesday, February 12, 2014

UST-AB DevCom: Defining Moments of Great Men

Lesson: Write down three of your own "defining moments". Handwritten on bond paper.  

Defining Moments of Great Men
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog 
 Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 KHz DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday

1. "No part is more important than the whole." Auguste Rodin

The famous statue of Honore de Balzac carved by Auguste Rodin, has no hands.  But when Rodin carved it, it had hands.  

This is how the statue lost its hands. After completing his work, the scilptor called in his students and friends to see it. "What hands!" gasped one.

"Master, I have never seen such hands.  Only  a god could carve hands like that." said another, "they are alive!"

  Honore de Balzac without arms; bust details.  

"Those hands! Those hands!" exclaimed a third student. "If you had never produced anything else, master, these hands would make you immortal."

Rodin was not pleased in the least.  He seized an axe and rushed to the statue.

His students ried to hold him back but with unbelievable strength, he chopped off the hands that had forth such a praise. "Fools!" he shouted. "I have to destroy those hands because they had a life of their own.  They did not belong to the life of the entire statue.  Remember this and remember it well!  No part is more important than the whole."   

2. Newton lay dying

When Isaac Newton lay dying, a friend said to him: "It must be a source of pride and gratification to know that you penetrated so deeply into a knowledge of nature's laws." 

"Far from feeling proud," spoke Newton, "I feel like a little child who has found a few bright colored shells and pebbles while the vast ocean of truth stretches unknown and unexplored before my eager fingers."  

3. Captain Scott's last word: COURAGE - a message

Captain Scott died in a blinding blizzard while on his way to the South Pole.  Years later they found his frozen body.  In his hand was an unfinished letter to his friend, Sir Barrie, the eminent British writer.  In that letter Scott had tried to tell of the cold and dispiriting conditions they were in, adding however, a cheerful note: "I would do you good to hear our songs and our cheery conversations."  Then there stood out a final word in wide characters.  It spelled: "COURAGE."

When Sir Barrie received the letter, he kept it in a casket with great care.  Shortly after, the writer lost the use of his right hand.  Now he could not write even a line. Helpless and unhappy, one day he took out his friend's letter and read it through again and again.

He looked at the last word "COURAGE" and then told himself: "If Scott could write about courage when things were at their worst, why cannot I have the courage to learn to write with my left hand?"

And he did learn to write with his left hand, though afterwards he recovered the use of his right hand.

(Author's Note: Captain Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole on January 17, 1912. In a small tent, flying the Norwegian flag, he found a letter from Captain Amundsen wishing him a safe return. It was on his journey back that he and the members of his team met their tragic end.)  

4. "That makes no difference." - Pope Pius IX 
Pope Pius IX was one day walking along through the galleries of the Vatican.  He saw at a distance a young Englishman who was gazing ecstatically at one of Raphael's paintings.  The Pope went up to him and asked, "I presume you are an artist, my son."

The young man confessed that he had come to Rome to study painting.  But he informed the Pontiff that he had not enough money to pay the fees for instruction at the Academy. Whereupon Pope Pius IX promised to provide for his fees.

"But, your Holiness," blurted the young man, "I am a Protestant!"

"That makes no difference," smiled the Holy Father.  "Admission to the studios will not deny you of that score."  

5. "One piece for the young lady." - Albert Schweitzer

When Albert Schweitzer visited America in 1949, a former Strasbourg Sunday-school pupil of his met him at the Cleveland railway station and took him to a restaurant for breakfast.  An Alsatian coffee cake, especially prepared for the occasion, was produced, thus giving the table a festive look. (Dr Schweitzer is a native of Alsace, a French Region at the border of Germany.)

When time came to cut the cake, Dr Schweitzer was handed the knife.  He stood up, poised the blade and counted the people.  There were nine of them, but Dr. Schweitzer cut the cake into ten pieces.

"One piece for the young lady who so graciously served us," he explained, hnding the tenth piece to the waitress. 

6. "I would read some poetry and listen to some music..." - Charles Darwin

These words come from Charles Darwin: "If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once  week; for perhaps that part of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use.

"The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by weakening the emotional part of our nature."  

7. Seventy-five drafts of Thomas Gray's "Elegy"

Seventy-five drafts of Thomas Gray's poem "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" may be seen in the British Museum.  The poet did not like the way he wrote the first time nor the second nor the third.  He way satisfield only when he had written the poem over and over 75 times. 

Author's Note: The poem is an elegy in name but not in form; it employs a style similar to that of contemporary odes.  It embodies a meditation on death, and remembrance after death, and in pondering on the lives of the obscure and unknown buried in the churchyard. It could be for this depth of reflection that drove Gray into "perfecting" this poem, so to speak, which became his masterpiece, and one of the most loved and enduring poems in English, and world, literature. 

(Author's Note: The final copy of  Gray's Elegy is printed in a separate topic and lesson in this Blog.)  

8. Voltaire surrounded by a mob 

Feeling ran high against the French when Voltaire visited England in 1727.  The life of the Frenchman was in danger on the streets.  One day a crowd of angry Englishmen surrounded Voltaire on his walk, shouting, "Kill him! Hang the Frenchman!"

Raising his voice above the shouts of the crowd , Voltaire cried, "Englishmen!  You want to kill me because I am a Frenchman!  Am I not punished enough in not being an Englishman?"

The crowd hurrahed and led him safely back to his residence. ~

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