Feynman

“What I cannot build, I cannot understand.”

Richard Feynman invented a whole new way of talking about quantum electrodynamics when writing his PhD thesis at Princeton, which eventually helped him detail some of the properties of weak-force in particle physics in his Nobel prize winning work. Later he invented “Feynman’s diagrams” as an intuitive graphical representation of particle physics, which are still used in theoretical physics to this day.

However, he became famous in part through his maverick and distinctive antics. He was a real character: a very curious character. When at Los Alamos working on the atomic bomb, from picking the locks of his colleagues cabinets which contained top secrets, to playing games with the security personnel; naming a few of his antics which had earned him a well deserved reputation of being a trickster and an iconoclast. Freeman Dyson once wrote that Feynman was “half-genius, half-buffoon”, but later changed this to “all-genius, all-buffoon”. Quickly recognized by the intellectual giants of theoretical physics as a brilliant and quick mind, Feynman was sought out by the innovative thinkers of the day. Contemptous of titles, like all Rationals, when awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, he tried to figure out a way to get out of accepting it.

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The Boss

“The Boss,” as he was called by those under him, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili was born in Gori, Georgia, in the Russian Empire in 1878.  His father, “Besso,” became a drunk, and beat his wife, “Keke,” and son.  They moved a lot, and finally Besso abandoned Keke and Iosif.  Keke, born a serf, was a tough, but righteous and religiously pious woman; she also beat her son. Keke wanted her son to be a priest.

Gori was a rough and poor town.  Street gangs and crime were common, and Iosif, small but wiry, was known to participate in the fighting.  Nevertheless, Iosif was a good student.  The Russian language was required in the Russian empire, and Iosif learned it, but always had a Georgian accent. Education was by rote and corporal punishment was rampant; one teacher rapping the students’ knuckles if their eyes wandered.   Iosif won a scholarship to Seminary at the age of 16.  The seminary was very Spartan, dogmatic, and severe corporal and psychological punishment was normal.

In the seminary, he discovered revolutionary material, including Darwin and Marx, destroying his belief in religion.  “They are lying to us,” he said to a fellow student. Living a double life, one secret, at night, he got involved in Georgian revolutionary activities. He had chosen the name “Koba,” a Russian, fictional Robin Hood-like character. There, quite a few other students became revolutionaries from that Seminary at that time. Ioseph was dismissed for not taking an exam just before graduating, maybe because he couldn’t pay the rapidly rising fees.  He had become a revolutionary, joining an organization that later became the violent part of the Communist party, the Bolsheviks. It was a life of safe houses, forged documents, and secrecy.  Koba was brilliant at organizing workers and also mixing with criminal elements. He collected and directed “enforcers” like Kamo, a brutal, violent, sociopath.  While in prison, he became the boss of the prisoners: he was inured to physical punishment.

Sent to Baku by the revolutionary committee, Koba ordered the murders of many Black Hundreds (right-wing supporters of the Tsar), and conducted protection rackets and ransom kidnappings against the oil tycoons of Baku. He also operated counterfeiting operations and robberies. He befriended the criminal gangs; Koba’s gangsterism upset the Bolshevik and Menshevik intelligentsia, but he was too influential with Lenin and indispensable to be opposed.  As a revolutionary in Tsarist times, he was arrested eight times and escaped seven times, before the Russian Revolution in 1917; but he changed the facts after he was General Secretary, obscuring one of his arrests. It was suspected by some of his fellow Bolsheviks that Koba was a double-agent, a provocateur, for he seemed to go to-and-fro without any visible support, without difficulty, and was not arrested with everybody else in a particular Tsarist roundup.  Koba, most likely known by Lenin as a double-agent, played the game well, with internal party members sometimes sacrificed for the cause. No doubt Koba used this policy for his own purposes also. At one point, when complaints were getting serious, he was arrested, and rumors were dropped for the time being. Continue reading

Let’s be Reason-able

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No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection [opportunity] of [under] the laws. [14th Amendment of the American Constitution, modified by DMK]

“All I ask of our brethren is, that they will take their feet from off our necks, and permit us to stand upright on that ground …”  Sarah Grimke

The Notorious Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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“Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”

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Bourdain

In the Heart of Darkness and Lightbourdain_congo_river

On June 8, 2013,  ‘Congo’ — Season 1, Episode 7 of Parts Unknown was aired on CNN.

“It is the most relentlessly fucked-over nation in the world, yet it has long been my dream to see Congo. And for my sins, I got my wish.” Bourdain starts the episode off on a dramatic note as he tries to recreate his favorite book, Heart of Darkness.

On June 8, 2018, he committed suicide while on location in France for Parts Unknown.  The suicide appeared to be an “impulsive act“.

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Learn

Only the self-educated and educated person is free.
David Mark Keirsey

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“Without education we live within the narrow, dark and grimy walls of ignorance. Education, on the other hand, means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of a human into the glorious light of truth, the light by which humans can only be made free. To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crimes against human nature. It is easy to deny them the means of freedom and the rightful pursuit of happiness and to defeat the very end of their being.”  — Frederick Douglass, –Blessings of Liberty and Education (1894).

Douglass, as an adolescent slave roaming the streets of Baltimore, Maryland would hunt for scattered newspapers, torn Bible pages, scanning broadsides, and generally searching for anything with reading matter.

He had a hunger for knowledge and learning.   For Frederick Douglass is a classical example of a Rational, more specifically what we call a Strategic Coordinating Rational: A FieldmarshalRationals are “the Knowledge-Seeking” Temperament.

Strategic Coordinators

Those Rationals who are quick to judge and to make schedules are eager to take the part of Coordinator. Coordinators determine who is to do what at a given time and place, and this role requires a directive character. Coordinators steadily increase in directiveness as they mature, such that they easily and comfortably command others and expect to be obeyed. Indeed, Coordinators are surprised by any resistance to their directives, because it is so clear to them that others do not know what to do, presumably because their goal is unclear or absent, and because they apparently have no strategy in mind by which to proceed. So, in the view of the Coordinator, most people are operating blindly and going around in circles, plainly in need of direction.

Fieldmarshals arrange a well-ordered hierarchy that makes possible the chain of command and the mobilizing of forces. In their campaigns these expressive, energetic Coordinators commandeer whatever human capabilities and material resources are available and use them to execute a complex strategy … Any kind of undertaking, whether commercial, educational, political, or military — whatever — can be arranged hierarchically, indeed must be if success is to be achieved, and the more efficient the hierarchy, the greater the success.  [Please Understand Me II]

Fieldmarshal Rationals include: Marvin MinskyTan LeMuriel SiebertJerry BussJohn AdamsIndra Nooyi, William Pitt, the YoungerEllen Sirleaf and Joyce Banda, and Margaret Thatcher.

RosenRobert

Robert Rosen, Strategic Engineer: Architect, had a similar thirst for knowledge, but in a different way and of course, it was significantly different time, place, and circumstance, from Douglass.

life

When I was five or six, I was taken to see the Disney film “Fantasia”. I remember being mesmerized by the panoply of life through the eons, which the Disney cartoonists set to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”. This was worth spending a lifetime with. Though I did not even know the word at the time, had already determined to become a Biologist.

By that age, I had long since learned not to ask complicated questions of the adults around me, either family or teachers, because they didn’t know. Although I had no idea then where they came from, books seemed more authoritative, so I began reading anything I could find dealing with life and the living. Unconsciously, I was casting about for information, not only about this life which fascinated me, but on how one best went about understanding it; information on how to be the kind of Biologist I increasingly aspired to be.”

Strategic Engineers

Engineers structure the form and function of the instruments to be employed in pursuing objectives, and is the domain of the probing Rationals, those who prefer to keep their options open and to follow an idea where it leads them. Concentrated as they are on determining the ways and means of operation, Engineers tend to have an informative rather than a directive character, which is to say that they are usually eager to provide information and reports regarding what they are currently engineering, but not at all eager to tell others what to do.

Architects make structural plans, models, blueprints. To these reserved Engineers, often working alone at their desks, drafting tables, and computers, the coherence of their designs is what counts, the elegance of their configurations, be they plans for a building, an experiment, a curriculum, or a weapon of war. [Please Understand Me II]

Architect Rationals include:  David Mark KeirseyJames MadisonSrinivasa RamanujanEmmy NoetherPaul DiracRobert RosenDavid West KeirseyAlbert EinsteinLonnie AthensDavid Bohm

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He wrote many books.

Oliver Wolf Sacks, Strategic Engineer: Inventor, (9 July 1933 – 30 August 2015) was a British neurologist, naturalist, historian of science, and author. Born in Great Britain, and mostly educated there, he spent his career in the United States. He believed that the brain is the “most incredible thing in the universe.” He became widely known for writing best-selling case histories about both his patients’ and his own disorders and unusual experiences, with some of his books adapted for plays by major playwrights, feature films, animated short films, opera, dance, fine art, and musical works in the classical genre.

Beginning in 1970, Sacks wrote of his experience with neurological patients. Some of his 12 books have been translated into over 25 languages.

Inventors develop their skill in devising prototypes more than their skill in designing models. To these outgoing Engineers, functionality is the objective, as in the case of Nikola Tesla, the gifted inventor of the split-phase electric motor, the giant coil, alternating current, the radio, the inert gas light bulb, and countless other ingenious devices. Inventors must make sure their prototypes don’t just make sense on paper, but work in the real world, or else face the consequences.  [Please Understand Me II]

Inventor Rationals include: Atul GawandeLarry PageElaine MorganLynn MargulisElon MuskSteve JobsJoseph James SylvesterFrances CrickPaul AllenWerner Von BraunWolfgang PauliAbraham LincolnMark TwainHedy LamarrJulius Sumner Miller, and Zhang Xin

enlightenment

She titled her book, “Nomad.”

For that was her ancestral origins — misleadingly put as “her genetics”  —  supposedly her “inheritance” and her culture.

But she was different.  Something deep inside was different.

She had always read books, from the beginning as a child.

nomad

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Strategic Coordinating Rational: Mastermind (born Ayaan Hirsi Magan, 13 November 1969) is a Somali-born Dutch-American activist, feminist, author, scholar and former politician. She received international attention as a critic of Islam and advocate for the rights and self-determination of Muslim women, actively opposing forced marriage, honor violence, child marriage and female genital mutilation.  She has founded an organization for the defense of women’s rights, the AHA Foundation.

Masterminds arrange things in coherent and comprehensive sequential order, that is, they coordinate operations by making efficient schedules, with each item entailing the next, as a necessary precursor or consequence. Moreover, Masterminds make contingency plans for keeping their schedules on track. If plan A is in jeopardy or is aborted, switch to plan B. If that doesn’t work, then plan C. Often working behind the scenes, these quiet, reserved Coordinators are able to anticipate nearly everything that can go awry and generate alternatives that are likely to avoid the fate that might befall the first operation. And so it goes, the Mastermind ending with a flow chart of alternate ways and means to reach clearly defined objectives.   [Please Understand Me II]

Mastermind Rationals include:  Andy GroveEd CatmullAyn RandSheryl WudunnSalman Khan,  Susan B AnthonyIssac NewtonSharon PresleyBill GatesMasha Gessen,  Ayaan Hirsi AliRosalind Franklin, and Ulysses S. Grant

On the Question of Learning Words…

… and Tools.

“It is important to understand that the Four Temperaments are not simply arbitrary collections of characteristics, but spring from an interaction of the two basic dimensions of human behavior: our communication and our action, our words and our deeds, or, simply, what we say and what we do.” — David West Keirsey

My father died on July 30th, 2013 and I intend to honor him, if I can, by writing a blog about him and his ideas every year.  First year,  Second Year, Third Year, Fourth Year.david_west_keirsey_young_man

David West Keirsey (August 31, 1921 – July 31, 2013)

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
and next year’s words await another voice.
— T.S. Eliot

He concentrated on them:  the use of words,

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The Man for the Fall Season

He lost. They didn’t elect him.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

 In fact, he lost partially because of his efforts in behalf the nation.  However, it hasn’t been widely recognized that the most impactful, beneficial, and long lasting effect of his decision, wasn’t the decision that he is known for, reviled for, and awarded for.

vietnamese refugees 1975

“All that is gold does not glitter”

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What is the Presidency For?

“Then, what the hell is the presidency for!”
 “I have the power, now, and I intend to use it.”
— Lyndon Baines Johnson

HBO, All the way

Politics is War.

HBO premiered the movie “All the Way” on May 21. It is great film where Four Temperaments are clearly shown in action.

“November 22, 1963: John F. Kennedy was dead in Dallas, killed by an assassin. Jacqueline Kennedy, her clothes still spattered with her husband’s blood, stood beside Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson as Johnson took the presidential oath of office. Camelot was suddenly and shockingly gone. In the passage of a few jolting hours, King Arthur had been replaced by the crude, graceless, but equally energetic Lyndon Johnson, a professional politician from Texas.”  [Presidential Temperament]

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Transformation: Swimming Across the Universe

A corporation is a living organism; it has to continue to shed its skin. Methods have to change. Focus has to change. Values have to change. The sum total of those changes is transformation.”  — Andy Grove

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In Memoriam: Andy Grove
2 September 1936 – 21 March 2016

Andy Grove was noted for making sure that important details were never missed.  Having a strategic vision helps in recognizing the important factors.

He had survived by getting things right in the long term and transforming himself.

“By the time I was twenty, I had lived through a Hungarian Fascist dictatorship, German military occupation, the Nazis’ “Final Solution,” the siege of Budapest by the Soviet Red Army, a period of chaotic democracy in the years immediately after the war, a variety of repressive Communist regimes, and a popular uprising that was put down at gunpoint. . . [where] many young people were killed; countless others were interned. Some two hundred thousand Hungarians escaped to the West. I was one of them.

Even though he arrived in the United States with little money and not knowing English, Grove retained a “passion for learning.”  He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the City College of New York in 1960, followed by a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1963.

“Probably no one person has had a greater influence in shaping Intel, Silicon Valley, and all we think about today in the technology world than Andy Grove.” — Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware

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Cultural Wind Jammer

I have the impression that some ways must be left behind, some mental habits must be abandoned, if we are not to clip the wings of progress. Even to science we must sometimes repeat Charon’s cry: By another way, by other ports, not here, you will find passage across the shore. In my role as teacher I hope to be able to show you other ways, if not other ports. — Giuseppe Vitali

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.” — William James

Bill Thomas has been described as a Cultural Jammer: trying to change the American attitudes towards aging.

In 1991, Bill Thomas, having been an emergency room doctor, became the medical director of a nursing home in upstate New York. He found the place, as the Washington Post put it, “depressing, a repository for old people whose minds and bodies seemed dull and dispirited.”

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