Jonathon Grissom

Life- A Collection Of Quotes - Poem by Jonathon Grissom

"The first thing I look at each morning is a picture of Albert Einstein I keep on the table right beside my bed. The personal inscription reads "A person first starts to live when he can live outside of himself." In other words, when he can have as much regard for his fellow man as he does for himself. I believe we are here to do good. It is the responsibility, of every human being to aspire to do something worthwhile, to make this world a better place than the one he found. Life is a gift, and if we agree to accept it, we must contribute in return. When we fail to contribute, we fail to adequately answer why we are here."

— Armand Hammer, American business manager and owner, physician (1898-1990)

"I find the question "Why are we here? " typically human. I'd suggest "Are we here? " would be the more logical choice."

— Leonard Nimoy, American actor, film director, poet, musician and photographer

"Observations of distant galaxies have produced provocative evidence for a startling idea: Our universe was just one bubble in a great fountain of bubble universes springing from the Big Bang that created all reality. Given billions of years of evolution, sophisticated living structures have developed, including creatures conscious of their universe, able to manipulate it in massive ways. There is no doubt that life will have developed in many places in our universe. Our own significance, our ultimate potential and our ensemble of possible destinies will be understood by finding and studying the other intelligent creatures of space. Thus a prime task is to seek out other intelligent civilizations and to share knowledge with them."

— Frank Drake, American astronomer and astrophysicist

"No why. Just here."

— John Cage, American composer, music theorist and writer (1912-1992)

"The human species has inhabited this planet for only 250,000 years or so-roughly.0015 percent of the history of life, the last inch of the cosmic mile. The world fared perfectly well without us for all but the last moment of earthly time-and this fact makes our appearance look more like an accidental afterthought than the culmination of a prefigured plan.

Moreover, the pathways that have led to our evolution are quirky, improbable, unrepeatable and utterly unpredictable. Human evolution is not random; it makes sense and can be explained after the fact. But wind back life's tape to the dawn of time and let it play again-and you will never get humans a second time.

We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a ‘higher' answer — but none exists. This explanation, though superficially troubling, if not terrifying, is ultimately liberating and exhilarating. We cannot read the meaning of life passively in the facts of nature. We must construct these answers ourselves — from our own wisdom and ethical sense. There is no other way."

— Stephen Jay Gould, American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science (1941-2002)

"All collected data had come to a final end. Nothing was left to be collected. But all collected data had yet to be completely correlated and put together in all possible relationships. A timeless interval was spent doing that."— Isaac Asimov, American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books, (1920-1992) , "The Last Question", Columbia Publications,1956, cited in John Battelle's The Search

"If things can be seen that differently, how many ways can they be seen differently? Try to get people to stop waiting for the president to enlighten them. Stop waiting for history and the stream of historical events to make itself clear to you.

You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding. It doesn't do you any good to know that somewhere in some computer there are equations that perfectly model or perfectly don't model something that is going on. We have all tended to give ourselves away to official ideologies and to say, ‘Well I may not understand, but someone understands.'

The fact of the matter is that only your own understanding is any good to you. Because it's you that you're going to live with and it's you that you're going to die with. As the song says, the last dance, you dance alone."— Terence McKenna, an American ethnobotanist, philosopher, psychonaut, writer, (1946-2000) , True hallucinations: and, the archaic revival, MJF Books,1998, p.88.

David Deutsch on Artificial Intelligence

"What is needed is nothing less than a breakthrough in philosophy, a theory that explains how brains create explanations. (…)

What distinguishes human brains from all other physical systems is qualitatively different from all other functionalities, and cannot be specified in the way that all other attributes of computer programs can be. It cannot be programmed by any of the techniques that suffice for writing any other type of program. Nor can it be achieved merely by improving their performance at tasks that they currently do perform, no matter by how much. Why? I call the core functionality in question creativity: the ability to produce new explanations. (…)

What is needed is nothing less than a breakthrough in philosophy, a new epistemological theory that explains how brains create explanatory knowledge and hence defines, in principle, without ever running them as programs, which algorithms possess that functionality and which do not. (…)

The truth is that knowledge consists of conjectured explanations — guesses about what really is (or really should be, or might be) out there in all those worlds. Even in the hard sciences, these guesses have no foundations and don't need justification. Why? Because genuine knowledge, though by definition it does contain truth, almost always contains error as well. So it is not ‘true' in the sense studied in mathematics and logic. Thinking consists of criticising and correcting partially true guesses with the intention of locating and eliminating the errors and misconceptions in them, not generating or justifying extrapolations from sense data. And therefore, attempts to work towards creating an AGI that would do the latter are just as doomed as an attempt to bring life to Mars by praying for a Creation event to happen there. (…)

Present-day software developers could straightforwardly program a computer to have ‘self-awareness' if they wanted to. But it is a fairly useless ability."

— David Deutsch, British physicist at the University of Oxford, Creative blocks, aeon, Oct 3,2012.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 24, 2013

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