The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
— George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)
Linus Torvalds, recently wrote about debugging hell in his private blog. What I read is a wonderful variation of Paul Watzlawick’s story of a man who is looking for his keys where the lantern shines instead of where he lost them:
Torvalds was desperately looking for the solution of a serious problem which seemed to occur only spontaneously and at a time where it could not be observed, analyzed or tracked. Later, a method was found which allowed to trigger the problem but it apparently had “nothing what-so-ever to do with the actual failure itself”. Eventually, colleagues found “the real clue” by looking at one incident where the problem did not occur.
“If this is what you want”.
Want, wish, desire, need, necessity, to hope for, and long for, to envision and imagine, also habit, being used to, require, or lust, appetite, hunger, passion, zest, and — last but sure not least — love are all similar in some ways. One might say these notions are all the same as much as they are different — and differentiating.
And then, there is what we do, and there is what we talk (or write) about, which is just another act which we think of as being what we “want”.
This is (in short) what I wanted to say.
During wintertime, sometime from October to March, so-called “Maronibrater” offer roasted Maroni (Sweet Chestnuts) everywhere here in Vienna (and in most other larger European towns). I am very lucky that one of the best roasters in town happens to have his stall around the corner from where I live. If you are in Vienna I highly recommend to go to Rochusmarkt in the 3rd district and to try for yourself. Achmed’s stall is at the start of Sechskrügelgasse, next to the Rochuskirche.
The prices for chestnuts are 1.5 Euro for 7 pieces, 2 for 10, and 3 for 16. Often when someone asks for 7 chestnuts Achmed answers with a question like this: “Seven. Do you want exactly seven?”
When I am there, having my chitchat with Achmed, eating chestnuts, Langos (another delicious specialty), and eventually drinking an Arabian coffee (though, available only for regular customers, I am afraid;) it baffles me again and yet again how many people answer his question with
“Yes, please. Exactly seven.”
For those who know what science means in its very original sense it is obvious that the exact sciences are at least the lesser of two evils. No one wants contused lacerations.
Tomorrow will be cancelled due to lack of interest.
— *nix fortune
Recently, I have exchanged two e-mail messages with the owner of a weblog which I happened to stumble upon. After the second message, he asked me: Do we know each other?
My first thought was: How should I know? But then, here is how to know we know each other:
If you think we could perhaps know each other chances are we do not.
If you think that I may ever say so you certainly do not know me.
If you think we might actually never get to know each other we already do (know quite an essential part of what I think we could possibly know from each other).
If you know that my middle name is Epimenides we in fact do know each other. But then, tell me, why do you ask?
If you idiot call me an idiot I will happily be idiot enough to call you idiot an idiot until you idiot will never again call me idiot an idiot. You idiot!
[Humbly translated from a wonderful German tongue twister.
Wenn du Trottel zu mir Trottel Trottel sagst, sag ich Trottel zu dir Trottel so lange Trottel, bis du Trottel zu mir Trottel nie mehr Trottel sagst, du Trottel!