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Philippe Kahn

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If people would turn their TVs off for half the time, study science and practice an instrument, they'd be virtuosos and have Ph.Ds!
--
Interview with the Times reporter, 2002.

 
Philippe Kahn

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You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.

 
Charlie Parker
 

I am a reasonably emotional person, and I see no reason why that's incompatible with being a scientist. Even if we learn about how everything works, that doesn't mean anything at all. You can reduce how an impala leaps to a bunch of biomechanical equations. You can turn Bach into contrapuntal equations, and that doesn't reduce in the slightest our capacity to be moved by a gazelle leaping or Bach thundering. There is no reason to be less moved by nature around us simply because it's revealed to have more layers of complexity than we first observed.
The more important reason why people shouldn't be afraid is, we're never going to inadvertently go and explain everything. We may learn everything about something, and we may learn something about everything, but we're never going to learn everything about everything. When you study science, and especially these realms of the biology of what makes us human, what's clear is that every time you find out something, that brings up ten new questions, and half of those are better questions than you started with.

 
Robert Sapolsky
 

This is how we go on: one day a time, one meal at a time, one pain at a time, one breath at a time. Dentists go on one root canal at a time; boat builders go on one hull at a time. If you write books, you go on one page at a time. We turn from all we know and all we fear. We study catalogues, watch football games, choose Sprint over AT&T. We count the birds in the sky and will not turn from the window when we hear the footsteps behind as something comes up the hall; we say yes, I agree that clouds often look like other things - fish and unicorns and men on horseback - but they are really only clouds. Even when the lightning flashes inside them we say they are only clouds and turn our attention to the next meal, the next pain, the next breath, the next page. This is how we go on.

 
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You can have all ego, or all non-ego, but in theory you cannot have half one and half the other yet in practice this is exactly what you must have, for everything is both itself and not itself at one and the same time.

 
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I know I shall be called heterodox, and that unseen lightning flashes and unheard thunderbolts will be playing around my head, when I say that women will never be profound students in any other department except music while they give four hours a day to the practice of music. I should by all means encourage every woman who is born with musical gifts to study music; but study it as a science and an art, and not as an accomplishment; and to every woman who is not musical, I should say, 'Don't study it at all;' you cannot afford four hours a day, out of some years of your life, just to be agreeable in company upon possible occasions. If for four hours a day you studied, year after year, the science of language, for instance, do you suppose you would not be a linguist? Do you put the mere pleasing of some social party, and the reception of a few compliments, against the mental development of four hours a day of study of something for which you were born? When I see that girls who are required by their parents to go through with the irksome practising really become respectable performers, I wonder what four hours a day at something which they loved, and for which God designed them, would do for them. I should think that to a real scientist in music there would be something mortifying in this rush of all women into music; as there would be to me if I saw every girl learning the constellations, and then thinking she was an astronomer!

 
Maria Mitchell
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