Sunday, May 29, 2016

Excellence is next to Perfection

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at twenty or at eighty.

Dr. Abe V Rotor
 Living with Nature - School on Blog []
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday []

In response to several requests, I am writing down this third part of Excellence.  The first and second part are posted in this blog. 

Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian man, circa 1490 is also called the Canon of Proportions or Proportions of Man. The drawing is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius who described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical Orders of architecture.
1. "There is more to life than increasing speed." (Mahatma Gandhi)
"Haste makes waste,"  Stop-look-listen, has saved many lives. "He who runs fast cannot see the countryside." "Who walks fast gets a stabbing wound." "Stop before you reach deadend." These are some lessons I learned early from my dad.
I remember a story about a trader driving a cart loaded with coconuts for the market.
"How can I get there quickly?" he asked an old man on his way.
"Just go slow." quipped the old man.

"Foolish old man," he muttered and galloped on the dirt road.  The nuts spilled and rolled, he had to stop now and then to retrieve his nuts.  He reached the market late.

 2. We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.
Novelist Ernest Hemingway's favorite photo is one showing him kicking an empty can on the road, football style.

The lost pilot in Antoine de Saint-Exupery's novelette, The Little Prince, found company with a  "little prince"  in the desert while trying to repair his plane.  The child turned out to the little child in oneself, the one who never grows old, who never loses hope and idealism. It is this child that enabled him to go back to civilization.

3. Whatever we possess becomes of double value when we share it with others. 

And if that possession is more than its material value such happiness or love or compassion, it does not only double but will multiply every time we share it with others.  Good deeds defy mathematical law. Kindness, in fact is the highest wisdom. (Talmud)

What makes Gone with the Wind an all-time top grosser is its superb portrayal of human frailties that continue to haunt us.

4. "Although the world is very full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." Helen Keller)  

Helen Keller was blind since infancy.  She rose to fame to become one of the world's greatest women - author, teacher, philosopher - and proved that no infirmity in a person can prevent him or her to live fully and be of service to others. 

Many great men and women were able to overcome their own limitations.  Beethoven was totally deaf when he wrote his musical masterpieces. Claude Monet was losing his sight when his painted Water Lilies, his ultimate masterpiece in huge murals. We know of people around us who succeeded in life in spite of their sufferings.  Suffering to them  could be the compelling reason for success.  They took the least trodden path of life that is most challenging, yet the most rewarding. 

5. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at twenty or at eighty.

People struggle to learn to earn, to earn to learn, but the most difficult is to learn to learn.
If we do not open the door to knowledge, the world closes and leaves us behind. 

6. In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on(Robert Frost) In fact it is Frost's theme in many of his poems such as Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, which ends with this stanza. 

                                          The woods are lovely dark and deep,

                                                  But I have promises to keep,
                                          And miles to go before I sleep, 
                                               and miles to go before I sleep. 

7.  "From the errors of others a wise man corrects his own." Publilus Syrus

This is not often the case.  Developing countries follow the path of industrialization of advanced country and commit the same mistakes. There are more broken families today than before, and in fact, increasing.  

8. When opportunity knocks, some people are in the backyard looking for four-leaf clovers.

Many people take the four-lobed clover leaf as a symbol of good luck like marrying a rich guy, winning the Lotto's jackpot, stumbling on a gold mine. Mother luck is one-in-a-million chance, a castle in the sky, a wish come true in a falling star.

Luck is opportunity you take by the horn, so to speak. it is the fruit of labor.  Or one we read on a jeepney, "Katas ng pawis," a reward from perspiration.  Or "Katas ng Saudi" (Oversea's earning)   
I pulled a joke on my students in a field lecture, "Whoever can pick an unfolded leaf of makahiya (Mimosa) will find his or her wish come true." Meantime I took a rest under a tree.   
                                                           Mimosa pudica (makahiya)

9. To some people truth is not only stranger than fiction, but it's a total stranger. 

A survey revealed that more and more Americans believe the Holy Bible as fiction. Others, to the extreme, detached themselves from organized religions.  They call themselves nones.  

I remember a story of two friends. One said, "I don't belief in a God." Evidently he is an atheist.
"Oh, I see!" quipped the other, as they continued walking on the golf range.

The sky was heavy.  Suddenly a bolt of lightning cracked nearby. The atheist automatically crossed himself and mentioned God.   

"I thought you don't believe in God." 
"Reflex action, lang yan."~

Ignorance is false reflection of truth. (UST Fountain of Knowledge)
10. Nothing makes an argument more interesting than ignorance.
A debate may go on and on in the name of justice and honesty and love, ad infinitum. And quite often, ignorance hides under the skirt of Motherhood Statements where no one appears to be wrong. And truth becomes more difficult to find.

Argument for the sake of finding the truth tells us why Socrates, the father of philosophy and the most revered citizen of Athens in "the glory that was Greece"  was condemned to die.   Why Aesop, father of fables - moralism in animal stories - was pushed to his death from a cliff?    Ignorance is truly dangerous. the enemy of truth. It is not falsehood. ~
In the list of the world's best political novels are Tolstoy's War and Peace and Rizal's Noli Me Tangere. Excellence has its own time and often accompanies a great idea whose time has yet to

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