Sunday, November 18, 2007

Quote of the Day - Silence

"Be silent, or say something better than silence." - Pythagoras

I was doing a little reading today and ran across this quote, which I thought was important for me to remember. That "taming of the tongue" has always been a struggle for me. I'm much better now than I was years ago, but I haven't mastered it yet. Perhaps this will help me - if you don't have something better than silence to contribute, be quiet.

Considering how important silence is, this is a tall order. I'll try to keep it in mind.

And, yes, this is the same Pythagoras of the famous Pythagoras's theorem you studied in geometry class. Never mind that was known by the Babylonians and Egyptians hundreds of years before, it is Pythagoras has gets the credit for proving it. We don't really know if that's true, but it very well may be.

Pythagoras led his own secret society - it was half scientific and half religious - although the religious part was more spiritual than a specific faith. His followers lived a monastic-like life - they had no possessions and were vegetarians. He and his followers were responsible for many other theories - but, as if so often the case, one is more famous than the others.

Pythagoras believed numbers had personality - including gender, appearance, etc. He believed everything was related to numbers - that numbers could explain much about the universe. He was one of the first to connect math and music, and was a good musician himself. He was a self-described philosopher, dabbled in astronomy, and was very forward thinking. Women were also allowed to be in his secret society - and afforded the same rights as men.

Well, what started out as a simple quote of the day has turned into a lengthy post about an ancient mathematician. OK, so, the secret it out... I have a fascination with ancient mathematicians - it's one of the many things I like to read about at times. Please don't write your term paper on Pythagoras without doing some real research instead of relying on my memory for the details.

In fact, when I went to Egypt I had to go to the spot in Alexandria from where Eratosthenes first measured the circumference of the Earth. The taxi driver thought I was a little nuts, as did the young man acting as my tour guide, but by this point in life I've grown somewhat used to people thinking I'm a little weird. Or a lot weird. I will refrain from launching into a bio of Eratosthenes, other than one little tidbit, which I find fascinating - he was the third librarian at the famous Library of Alexandria.

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