63. "To truly understand your own culture--no matter how you define it--requires personal knowledge of at least one other culture, one that is distinctly different from your own."
1. Staying within one culture makes one take for granted everything that the culture provides.
2. Knowledge of another different culture provides one with an opportunity to compare alternative ways of life and make choices.
3. In an age of globalization, one should learn to tolerate cultural differences.
147. "Tradition and modernization are incompatible. One must choose between them."
I agree that in certain cases the two are mutually exclusive. For the most part, however, modernization does not reject tradition; in fact, in many cases the former can and does embrace the latter.
A. In the first place, oftentimes so-called “modernization” is actually an extension or new iteration of tradition, or a variation on it. This is especially true in language and in law.
B. In other areas modernization departs from tradition in some respects, while embracing it in others.
C. Admittedly, in certain instances, tradition must yield entirely to the utilitarian needs of modern life. This is true especially when it comes to architectural artifacts.
172. "Important truths begin as outrageous, or at least uncomfortable, attacks upon the accepted wisdom of the time."
It is customary fate of new truth to begin as heresies.
1. Copernicus’ heliocentric theory in the 16th century was a direct attack upon the accepted wisdom of the time, a geocentric view of the universe postulated by Aristotle and Ptolemy.
2. When Darwin first declared that the wide variety of animal species was due to a process of development over many millennia, he challenged the traditional Christian belief and outraged the religious fundamentalists.
3. In former socialist countries, it took a long and painful time for people to give up the old idea of state-owned economy and to accept the idea of market economy.
173. "Originality does not mean thinking something that was never thought before; it means putting old ideas together in new ways."
1. The notion that so-called “originality” is actually variation or synthesis of existing ideas finds its greatest support in linguistics and in law.
2. Even in the arts—where one might think that true originality must surely reside—so called “new” ideas almost always embrace, apply, or synthesize what came earlier.
3. When it comes to the natural sciences, however, some new ideas are truly original while others put established ideas together in new ways.
4. However, in other instances great advances in science are made by putting together current theories or other ideas in new ways.
176. "The function of science is to reassure; the purpose of art is to upset. Therein lies the value of each."
1. In many cases artists set about to reassure, not to upset.
2. In other cases, artists set about to upset.
3. The final objective of science, in my view, is to discover truths about our world, our universe and ourselves. Sometimes these discoveries serve to reassure, and other times they serve to upset.