Frases de Lewis Thomas

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Lewis Thomas

Data de nascimento: 25. Novembro 1913
Data de falecimento: 3. Dezembro 1993

Lewis Thomas era médico, poeta, etimologista, ensaista, administrador, educador, conselheiro de política, e investigador dos Estados Unidos.

Citações Lewis Thomas

„A música é o esforço que fazemos para explicar a nós mesmos como os nosso cérebro funciona. Escutamos Bach extasiados porque isso é ouvir uma mente humana.“

—  Lewis Thomas

Music is the effort we make to explain to ourselves how our brains work. We listen to Bach transfixed because this is listening to a human mind.
Lewis Thomas; in "The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher"

„Somos educados para errar, codificados para cometer erros.“

—  Lewis Thomas

We are built to make mistakes, coded for error.
"The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher"; Por Lewis Thomas; Publicado por Bantam Books, 1979; ISBN 055313406X, 9780553134063; 146 páginas http://books.google.com.br/books?id=dtkJcGdL49YC&, página 30

„Usefulness may turn out to be the hardest test of fitness for survival, more important than aggression, more effective, in the long run, than grabbiness.“

—  Lewis Thomas

"The Tucson Zoo", p. 10
The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1979)
Contexto: Maybe altruism is our most primitive attribute out of reach, beyond our control. Or perhaps it is immediately at hand, waiting to be released, disguised now, in our kind of civilization as affection or friendship or attachment. I can’t see why it should be unreasonable for all human beings to have strands of DNA coiled up in chromosomes, coding out instincts for usefulness and helpfulness. Usefulness may turn out to be the hardest test of fitness for survival, more important than aggression, more effective, in the long run, than grabbiness.

„Maybe altruism is our most primitive attribute out of reach, beyond our control.“

—  Lewis Thomas

"The Tucson Zoo", p. 10
The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1979)
Contexto: Maybe altruism is our most primitive attribute out of reach, beyond our control. Or perhaps it is immediately at hand, waiting to be released, disguised now, in our kind of civilization as affection or friendship or attachment. I can’t see why it should be unreasonable for all human beings to have strands of DNA coiled up in chromosomes, coding out instincts for usefulness and helpfulness. Usefulness may turn out to be the hardest test of fitness for survival, more important than aggression, more effective, in the long run, than grabbiness.

„The need to make music, and to listen to it, is universally expressed by human beings.“

—  Lewis Thomas, livro The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher

"The Music of This Sphere"
The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (1974)
Contexto: The need to make music, and to listen to it, is universally expressed by human beings. I cannot imagine, even in our most primitive times, the emergence of talented painters to make cave paintings without there having been, near at hand, equally creative people making song. It is, like speech, a dominant aspect of human biology.

„As a people we have become obsessed with Health. There is something fundamentally, radically unhealthy about all this.“

—  Lewis Thomas

"The Health-Care System", p. 47
The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1979)
Contexto: As a people we have become obsessed with Health. There is something fundamentally, radically unhealthy about all this. We do not seem to be seeking more exuberance in living as much as staving off failure, putting off dying. We have lost all confidence in the human body.

„Be individuals, solitary and selfish, is the message. Altruism, a jargon word for what used to be called love, is worse than weakness, it is sin, a violation of nature. Be separate. Do not be a social animal.“

—  Lewis Thomas

"The Tucson Zoo", p. 10
The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1979)
Contexto: Everyone says, stay away from ants. They have no lessons for us; they are crazy little instruments, inhuman, incapable of controlling themselves, lacking manners, lacking souls. When they are massed together, all touching, exchanging bits of information held in their jaws like memoranda, they become a single animal. Look out for that. It is a debasement, a loss of individuality, a violation of human nature, an unnatural act.
Sometimes people argue this point of view seriously and with deep thought. Be individuals, solitary and selfish, is the message. Altruism, a jargon word for what used to be called love, is worse than weakness, it is sin, a violation of nature. Be separate. Do not be a social animal. But this is a hard argument to make convincingly when you have to depend on language to make it. You have to print out leaflets or publish books and get them bought and sent around, you have to turn up on television and catch the attention of millions of other human beings all at once, and then you have to say to all of them, all at once, all collected and paying attention: be solitary; do not depend on each other. You can’t do this and keep a straight face.

„Everyone says, stay away from ants. They have no lessons for us; they are crazy little instruments, inhuman, incapable of controlling themselves, lacking manners, lacking souls.“

—  Lewis Thomas

"The Tucson Zoo", p. 10
The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1979)
Contexto: Everyone says, stay away from ants. They have no lessons for us; they are crazy little instruments, inhuman, incapable of controlling themselves, lacking manners, lacking souls. When they are massed together, all touching, exchanging bits of information held in their jaws like memoranda, they become a single animal. Look out for that. It is a debasement, a loss of individuality, a violation of human nature, an unnatural act.
Sometimes people argue this point of view seriously and with deep thought. Be individuals, solitary and selfish, is the message. Altruism, a jargon word for what used to be called love, is worse than weakness, it is sin, a violation of nature. Be separate. Do not be a social animal. But this is a hard argument to make convincingly when you have to depend on language to make it. You have to print out leaflets or publish books and get them bought and sent around, you have to turn up on television and catch the attention of millions of other human beings all at once, and then you have to say to all of them, all at once, all collected and paying attention: be solitary; do not depend on each other. You can’t do this and keep a straight face.

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„The future is too interesting and dangerous to be entrusted to any predictable, reliable agency.“

—  Lewis Thomas, livro The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher

"Computers"<!-- , p. 113 -->
The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (1974)
Contexto: The future is too interesting and dangerous to be entrusted to any predictable, reliable agency. We need all the fallibility we can get. Most of all, we need to preserve the absolute unpredictability and total improbability of our connected minds. That way we can keep open all the options, as we have in the past.

„You can’t do this and keep a straight face.“

—  Lewis Thomas

"The Tucson Zoo", p. 10
The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1979)
Contexto: Everyone says, stay away from ants. They have no lessons for us; they are crazy little instruments, inhuman, incapable of controlling themselves, lacking manners, lacking souls. When they are massed together, all touching, exchanging bits of information held in their jaws like memoranda, they become a single animal. Look out for that. It is a debasement, a loss of individuality, a violation of human nature, an unnatural act.
Sometimes people argue this point of view seriously and with deep thought. Be individuals, solitary and selfish, is the message. Altruism, a jargon word for what used to be called love, is worse than weakness, it is sin, a violation of nature. Be separate. Do not be a social animal. But this is a hard argument to make convincingly when you have to depend on language to make it. You have to print out leaflets or publish books and get them bought and sent around, you have to turn up on television and catch the attention of millions of other human beings all at once, and then you have to say to all of them, all at once, all collected and paying attention: be solitary; do not depend on each other. You can’t do this and keep a straight face.

„We are endowed with genes which code out our reaction to beavers and otters, maybe our reaction to each other as well.“

—  Lewis Thomas

"The Tucson Zoo", p. 9
The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1979)
Contexto: We are endowed with genes which code out our reaction to beavers and otters, maybe our reaction to each other as well. We are stamped with stereotyped, unalterable patterns of response, ready to be released. And the behavior released in us, by such confrontations, is, essentially, a surprised affection. It is compulsory behavior and we can avoid it only by straining with the full power of our conscious minds, making up conscious excuses all the way. Left to ourselves, mechanistic and autonomic, we hanker for friends.

„I must mend the ways of my mind. This is a very big place, and I do not know how it works.“

—  Lewis Thomas

The Fragile Species (1992)
Contexto: I must mend the ways of my mind. This is a very big place, and I do not know how it works. I am a member of a fragile species, still new to the earth, the youngest creatures of any scale, here only a few moments as evolutionary time is measured, a juvenile species, a child of a species. We are only tentatively set in place, error prone, at risk of fumbling, in real danger at the moment of leaving behind only a thin layer of of our fossils, radioactive at that.

„Left to ourselves, mechanistic and autonomic, we hanker for friends.“

—  Lewis Thomas

"The Tucson Zoo", p. 9
The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher (1979)
Contexto: We are endowed with genes which code out our reaction to beavers and otters, maybe our reaction to each other as well. We are stamped with stereotyped, unalterable patterns of response, ready to be released. And the behavior released in us, by such confrontations, is, essentially, a surprised affection. It is compulsory behavior and we can avoid it only by straining with the full power of our conscious minds, making up conscious excuses all the way. Left to ourselves, mechanistic and autonomic, we hanker for friends.

„Statistically the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you would think the mere fact of existence would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise.“

—  Lewis Thomas, livro The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher

"On Probability and Possibility"
The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher (1974)
Contexto: Statistically the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you would think the mere fact of existence would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise. We are alive against the stupendous odds of genetics, infinitely outnumbered by all the alternates who might, except for luck, be in our places.

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