Engineers, more than anyone else, are equipped to explore and understand the relationship of the ideal Euclidean view of the world and the actual phenomenon of the world as we experience it. They live in that gap, performing the art of applying mathematical and geometrical models to real world problems; developing the good judgment to make safe and economical decisions to benefit the public.
I've always known that I didn't know anything but now I'm not even sure of that.
"Follow Your Passions" is an often heard, and worthy, maxim, at least as far as it goes. Better is "Question Your Passions". If they are worthy, proceed with enthusiasm. If unworthy, attempt the possibly gut-wrenching discipline of abandoning your passion and replacing it with a worthy one. Or maybe the more disturbing idea of following, out of duty or necessity, a worthy direction for which you have little passion.
Remember, the "Passion of Christ" involved the agony of Gethsemane.
It seems that most opposite concepts, like freedom vs slavery, or happy vs sad, when applied to real world issues are really not either/or propositions. They are actually descriptions of a range of possibilities spread between extremes. We are used to hearing these situations described, "This is not a black and white issue, there are shades of gray."
This is an unhappy metaphor. It makes us think of uncertainty and impurity. "Well, that's kind of a gray area." A murky twilight where our vision is not clear. A white shirt that has gotten dingy.
I prefer rather to think of a spectrum of colors, ranging from red, past orange, along through yellow to green, stopping for a while in the sky blue before moving on to navy blue and violet that gets deep and dark, until it's indistinguishable from black.
The uncertainty disappears. We can vividly see where we are between the extremes. Our various perspectives may bring us to disagree about the exact shade of yellow. "Is it a pale daffodil yellow or an almost orange marigold?" We are not sure. But we happy in our knowledge that it is not red or blue. And it is not dirty. It is bright and clean and yellow.
As David Letterman says, "There is no off position on the genius switch." While I can't boast of a genius switch, I do have a getting smarter switch and I am trying to keep it turned on. This blog will provide an outlet for some of my thoughts. I hope that others will find it useful. I mostly hope that someone will find it. Search engines have never been my friend.
Semi-Retired Civil Engineer currently a student of Philosophy, Literature and Art in the context of a Great Books Curriculum at Gutenberg College