Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Starting out

I thought it was Isaac Newton (1643-1727) who gave us this quotable gem, that we see further because we stand on "the shoulders of giants." It appears that he borrowed that phrase from the distinguished scholar and philosopher John of Salisbury who lived during the Middle Ages. But as learned as he was, John himself was actually quoting from a contemporary, one Bernard of Chartres. (I've got to dig deeper - possibly visit the Catholic Encyclopedia).

The point is, no one is entirely 'original' or 100% self-made. We're a confluence of myriad thoughts and ideas. We're all shaped by the things we see, read and ingest. We all build on someone else's work, someone else's blood, sweat and tears. If we are the better for it, we owe it to giants who go before us; they who offered us their insights so we see clearer, and their shoulders to stand on so we see farther.

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