Showing posts from January, 2021

On the pleasure of knowing that someone knows or In praise of Wikipedia for its 20th birthday (series: notes to myself)

Too much has been said about the love for knowledge, a beautiful lie spread by our wonderful Greeks (Aristotle, Metaphysics , first line : "all men by nature desire to know". As if... ).   There is some truth in the pleasure to know, this much is safe to assume. Not only for its own sake, in the sense that the pleasure to know would be the same even if you were the only person left on earth, like the pleasure of eating chocolate, undiminished even by a third world war and our own self-annihilation. But also in terms of reassurance, as when you know why something has happened, or what is going to happen.  However, there is another pleasure, concerning knowledge, which I believe may have escaped the Epicurean's attention, the hedonist's sensitivity, or the libertine's desire. It is the pleasure to know that someone knows , even if you don't. Dates, facts, and formulae; equations, events, battles, and experiments; poems and their interpreters; the deeds of forgot

On not getting it (series: notes to myself)

"You are not getting it!" you shout in our mind, thinking in CAPITALS.  And this is a fact. It's the reality. It's how the world is. You are right, and he... well, he is not getting it. End of the story. Nothing else to say. It has to happen sometimes. I mean, that you are right. And it does happen, sometimes, that you are right and he is not getting it.  And so, this is the message you should send, simple and honest: "look, you are not getting it, let me tell you how it is ...". And then you try to explain it again. Perhaps slowly, or with different words. Because the plank in front of you is thick. Maybe an analogy (too many analogies, I know, I know...), "look, it's like when ...", or a metaphor, "look, imagine ...".  But no.  Coward.  What you say instead is "sorry, I did not make myself clear".  What? Not true! You didn't didn't! You did (do I need to explain?). You were as clear as the glass which that fly of a

On the art of biting one's own tongue (series: notes to myself)

The art of biting one's own tongue consists in the ability not to engage when someone says something unpleasant, untrue, malicious, or abusive about you. Instead of answering a biased question, arguing against a ludicrous opinion, complaining about an abusive message, correcting a meaningless error, countering a fallacy, explaining a patent mistake, objecting to a groundless criticism, rectifying a willful misrepresentation, rejecting an insinuation, responding to a provocation, retorting to a nasty remark, replying to an offensive allegation, … in short, instead of engaging with your mindless interlocutors you simply ignore them and do absolutely nothing, not even acknowledging that you might have received their communication, not even sharing a “no comment”, just silence. As far as they know, you might have never got the email, read the tweet or the Facebook comment, seen the Instagram picture. If you bite your own tongue appropriately, for them their communication might have nev