Archive for March, 2011

Also part of my credo

There is this saying I have picked up somewhere and that keeps popping into my head from time to time. Today I have a chance to revisit it . “Wise man learn from others’ mistake. Smart men learn from own mistakes.” There is also a similar version of this statement:
“An unintelligent man repeats his mistakes, a smart man learns from his mistakes, and a wise man learns from his mistakes and the mistakes of others”.
It’s a profound statement indeed.
The first third of the statement is pretty self explanatory. True. “An unintelligent man repeats his mistakes.” That has to be true because someone who continuously repeats their mistakes isn’t learning. If you aren’t learning, you can’t become intelligent. What I can’t understand is some intelligent man keeps repeating the same mistakes. But then, it’s just because the way we perceive people as “intelligent” … Again, define “smart”, “intelligence”, “clever”,…   What guarantees a book-smarter, or someone who has high intelligence test scores is well-versed in all manners of the brain?  This is simply not the case. In addition to what we normally consider to be intelligence, another component, known as Emotional Intelligence, also exists, and it plays a major role in the way that we interact with others and in various social situations.  We depend on our emotional intelligence to speak, do something for someone else, to respond, to react,…
The second part of the statement is where I feel the majority of people fall. “A smart man learns from his mistakes” shows that the person is learning lessons.

    Learning lessons breeds intelligence, if it is used properly.

That is the key. But, I am going to give people the benefit of the doubt and say they use their knowledge properly. 
What is particular profound to me is the third part of the statement – “A wise man learns from his mistakes and the mistakes of others”. The key in this phrase for me is the use of the word ‘wise’. We live in the world where wisdom is no longer a focus point in a child’s education. It tends to be an “inquisitive” or self-educating department, as it is believed that Wisdom is acquired through personal experience and enriched with a commitment to learn and therefore it is timeless; whereas Knowledge is acquired through school learning and can change over time. Emotional Intelligence is one facet of wisdom.  ‘Wise’ in the dictionary refers to someone with remarkable, extensive knowledge and great manner; someone who has the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting as in “a wise leader is sagacious”; someone who exhibits common sense, who is prudent. “Wise beyond his years” is another phrase that shows the profound importance of the word ‘wise’. “Smart beyond his years”? “Intelligent beyond his years”? Those phrases do not work.
The critical idea is learning from your own mistakes and the mistakes of others, regardless of your gender, male or female. One person can only experience so many things. So, if you can learn from other people and capture their failures, you can use that information to choose new, unique personal experiences. This is what makes a smart person intelligent.  That is what separates the smart man/woman from the wise man/woman. The wise person gets more knowledge by channeling the experiences of others, not repeating the other person’s failures, and adding to his/her knowledge by having own new, unique experiences. As a daily reminder of my life, I try not to repeat my mistakes or the mistakes I have learned from others. And I feel that this does give me a distinct advantage above others.

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Intrigued when reading Dr E. Funk’s philosophy, I am researching on this new terminology “koinophilia” and here I found the modern poem:

Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder;
it’s in the eyes of a hundred beholders.
Helen’s face did not launch a thousand ships,
but the thousand faces of Helen can launch any ship.
Beauty is a regression to the mean,
the line that cuts a bell curve into symmetrical halves.
the true answer given by the magic mirror
when it was asked, “Who is the fairest of them all?”
To behold Helen, to dream of Snow White,
use your mouse.
Drag a thousand noses, eyes, chins, and cheeks
across the computer screen,
and stack them in virtual layers,
then click on the merge icon.
There before you is the statistical average,
a face of uncommon beauty.
Beauty is the algorithm of the mundane.
If beauty is truth, then truth is as common
as the collective mother smiling down
lovingly at her collective infant’s face.
by Richard Fein

As the topic that led to this poem was about face and beauty, I can’t agree more with the author’s point of view:

… what defines beauty. Sir Francis Bacon said that beauty is harmony. Or, beauty is identified when different aspects of the face are in harmony, or in proportion with one another.
Others say that beauty is symmetry. However, studies show that the face has asymmetries in 95 percent of people. If one looks closely enough, he or she will notice that there are many beautiful faces with any number of asymmetries.
Lastly, people have been quoted stating that they cannot define beauty, but that they know it when they see it.
Dr. Funk feels that we cannot define beauty because it is always changing, particularly in the face. Our society today has accepted that beauty is found in all cultures and races.
Fifty years ago, we would have never seen Lucy Liu, Beyoncé, or Jennifer Lopez on the cover of Vogue or voted as People magazine’s most beautiful people. But, they are all beautiful women.
This is defined as koinophilia, or a love of the average. It is an average of all these different facial features that has become the allure to the human eye. Beauty is always changing because we as people are changing. Our perceptions and acceptance of beauty within different cultures are constantly changing which leads to a continually shifting idea of what defines beauty itself.

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The world has eyes on Japan for past few days. An undersea quake of 8.9 magnitude and the subsequent tsunami have put Japan in the “worst crisis since WWII”. Mother Nature monsterously wiped away (part of) a Japanese town. I am eyeing on how Japanese leaders are managing their own country’s crisis and how panic the world is. CNN (continuous negative news) kept repeating their reels. Fox
is not too far from its root.
What disturbs me is, these media companies’ having brought one geologist/meterologist to another onto the tube to explain “what caused the tsunami”, and also the “scientists” out of nowhere to talk about the possibility of nuclear meltdown if the reactors are not in control… It’s all hypotheses. Yes, everybody knows Japan is prone to quakes/tsunami, then I am confident Japan must be prepared for it to certain extent, if not the worst. While people in Europe are protesting the nuclear power plants, why can’t they protest against North Korea for it secret nuclear weapons. Let’s not forget dealing with North Korea. Nuclear energy has served Japan’s economy well but costs highly when Mother Nature still rules the world. Nuclear weapons cost even worse.
While some media news reported “explosion”, others referred to them as “blast”. There is quite a difference between the two. And there are “nitrogen blast”, “hydrogen blast”,… I got tired from the repetitions of the same news from one channel to another. So I resorted to online news at the House of the state. It was a relief to see Japan got all the expert help with the “cooling issues” from GE, US as reported by Reuters in reference to Hillary Clinton’s saying “We just had our Air Force assets in Japan transport some really important coolant to one of the nuclear plants. You know Japan is very reliant on nuclear power and they have very high engineering standards but one of their plants came under a lot of stress with the earthquake and didn’t have enough coolant.”
While Japanese leaders show their calmess and confidence, their people are so postive as in the videos and their saying “what will be will be” on WSJ news.

My Japanese coworker ‘s brother sent her a picture of 2 porcelain/clay cats (he bought them from his trip to Vietnam) with broken legs and said “that’s all the damage he had”. That’s such a “humor in the middle of crisis”.
I admire them for their resilience during the time of crisis. That is outstanding.
Let’s hope the people in charge will get their work done with the best of their efforts. I am in peace of mind thanks to the insights and reasonings at Dr. Josef Oehmen’s blog , (now moved to MIT Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering) – it is a good resource to follow, but a bit worried more for their people’s current living and health conditions.
I am sure Japan will overcome as they did after WWII, knowing the road to recovery is always a challenge.

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It has been a while since I last blogged.
The weather has been so nice. Spring is here. I already think of Summer. I am starting to jot down my list to do for the year before I forget to do it.
I have always had in mind the resolutions, what need to be done, tons of things in mind, and it happened that few items were always missed out in the past. I do list them on my personal computer but never keep track, because I don’t always get on the computer at home. But I do check-list them at the end of the year.
This year I will do it a bit differently, I guess I’m afraid of running out of time, and I know I can procrastinate… Bad habit needs to be gone. So here is the list:
– Complete the paving of the small garden in the back yard.
– List the removed doors and double-sink on Craigslist
– The roof work was done 2 yrs ago, is still under warranty, needs some clean-up and retouch work
– The idea of rainwater collecting has popped up for sometime now, I should start looking into ideas for this green project, and shopping around.
– Re-surface the balconies, front and back.
– Get the sticky shower faucet fixed or replaced. The new replacement bought from Home Depot is not the right one (if not Delta?); for the old house built with the commercial features in mind, I think I have to dig up the information from online or the plumbers.
– Get the townhouse rented out
– Travel more? I can see that. By myself (again)? Would be nice to have a travel partner… Will see what the yr will bring…
– Get one of the old Sony Vaio laptops tuned up for Mom
– Teach Mom on using computer and email, and of course get her on Facebook so she can chat with relatives in Vietnam
– Help cut back Mom’s menu on sugar/carbs. She can eat. Somebody has to watch her.
– Reserve some savings for next prop shopping later on
– Shop for my prescribed eye-glasses. Where is the last prescription? I guess I have to go back to Dr. Fried’s. This has been procrastinated for a few years now, until recently i realized my eyesight has gotten worse at night. I NEED the eyeglasses, to protect ‘mes yeux’.
– Last but not least, staying in shape and take care of my skin.

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