06 May 2010

Respice post te! Hominem te memento!

Brian Dunbar | Getting close to understanding something important

Presented without comment
You feel you’re getting close to understanding something important when you hear Valerie Jarrett, the President’s confidante and adviser, say of him: “He knows exactly how smart he is…. He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.”
Attention "ordinary people" —be afraid.

I'll let others do my commenting for me:

It is far easier to concentrate power than to concentrate knowledge. That is why so much social engineering backfires and why so many despots have led their countries into disasters.
— Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society

The fact is that up to now a free society has not been good for the intellectual. It has neither accorded him a superior status to sustain his confidence nor made it easy for him to acquire an unquestioned sense of social usefulness. For he derives his sense of usefulness mainly from directing, instructing, and planning- from minding other people's business- and is bound to feel superfluous and neglected where people believe themselves competent to manage individual and communal affairs, and are impatient of supervision and regulation. A free society is as much a threat to the intellectual's sense of worth as an automated economy is to the workingman's sense of worth. Any social order that can function with a minimum of leadership will be anathema to the intellectual.
— Eric Hoffer, The Ordeal of Change

The theory behind representative government is that superior men—or at all events, men not inferior to the average in ability and integrity—are chosen to manage the public business, and that they carry on this work with reasonable intelligence and honesty. There is little support for that theory in the known facts.
— HL Mencken

And don't EVER make the mistake that you can design something better than what you get from ruthless massively parallel trial-and-error with a feedback cycle. That's giving your intelligence much too much credit.
— Linus Torvalds

O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
— T.S. Eliot, "The Wasteland," 320-321

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