Thursday, June 04, 2009

quote/unquote: a soccer pep talk, pseudoscience, Twitter and the lifelong distraction known as work

(Editor's Note: "quote/unquote" is a weekly feature of The Brazosport News and is compiled by Wilson in St. Louis, located near the confluence of Mississippi and Missouri rivers and site of the 1904 World's Fair and 1904 Olympic Games, the first time either of those events were held in the United States.)

"We are the centre of the field, we have accuracy, we have effort, we are attackers who are defending, we are defenders who are attacking, we have speed, we have the respect of our adversaries, we are each goal that we score, we are the ones who are always looking for the opponent's goal. We are one."
--- the concluding message of a video shown to Barcelona's soccer team immediately before the European Champion League's game in which they defeated Manchester United 2-0 last week. the video also included scenes from "The Gladiator"

"Medical analogies, applied to social organisms, are apt to be far-fetched, and there is no point in mistaking mammalian chemistry for what occurs in a city. But analogies as to what goes on in the brains of earnest and learned men, dealing with complex phenomena they do not understand at all and trying to make do with pseudoscience, do have point. As in the pseudoscience of bloodletting, just so in the pseudoscience of city rebuilding and planning, years of learning and a plethora of subtle and complicated dogma have arisen on a foundation of nonsense......The pseudoscience of city planning and its companion, the art of city design, have not yet broken with the specious comfort of wishes, familiar superstitions, oversimplifications, and symbols, and have not yet embarked upon the adventure of probing the real world."
--- Introduction of "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" by Jane Jacobs (1961)

"According to the Harvard Business School's hard-hitting Twitter reports, 10 percent of Twitter users account for 90 percent of all tweets, and women outnumber men."
--------- promotional email from Mother Jones, June 3, '09

"For Mr. de Botton, there is something absurd about the energy and anxiety that we pour into our jobs, given that even our most glorious deeds are destined for oblivion. Work has no greater value, he suggests, than as a lifelong distraction from the fact of our inevitable demise. Having allowed us to put a roof over our heads, work is finally a way of keeping us 'out of greater trouble.'"
----- Francis X. Rocca's review of "The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work" by Alain de Botton, in the Wall Street Journal, 6.2.09

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

work is finally a way of keeping us 'out of greater trouble.'"

Boy, I'm definitely feeling the truth in that.