Attitude of the Mantis

Wednesday, 24 August 2011 by

Attitude of the Mantis

YOUR SPIRIT… should be like that of an eagle…swooping down to catch the rabbit.

YOUR POSTURE… should be like that of a cat…about to pounce on a mouse.

YOUR WAIST… should be like that of a dragon…sinuous and flexible.

YOUR ARM… should be like that of a tiger…strong and deadly.

YOUR FOOTWORK… should be like that of a monkey…quick and efficient.

YOUR HEART… should be like that of a fox…cunning.

BUT YOUR HANDS… should be like that of a PRAYING MANTIS.


“You know what’s wrong with scientific power?

It’s a form of inherited wealth. And you know what assholes congenitally rich people are. It never fails. […] Most kinds of power require a substantial sacrifice by whoever wants that power. There is an apprenticeship, a discipline lasting many years. Whatever kind of power you want. President of the company. Black belt in karate. Spiritual guru. Whatever it is you seek, you have to put in the time, the practice, the effort. You must give up a lot to get it. It has to be very important to you. And once you’ve attained it, it is your power. It can’t be given away: it resides in you. It is literally the result of your discipline.”

“Now what is interesting about this process is, by the time someone has acquired the ability to kill with his bare hands, he has also matured to the point where he won’t use it unwisely. So that kind of power has a built-in control. The discipline of getting the power changes you so that you won’t abuse it.”

“But scientific power is like inherited wealth: attained without discipline. You read what others have done, and you take the next step. You can do it very young. You can make progress very fast. There is no discipline lasting many decades. There is no mastery: old scientists are ignored. There is no humility before nature. There is only a get-rich-quick, make-a-name-for-yourself-fast philosophy. Cheat, lie, falsify — it doesn’t matter. Not to you, or to your colleagues. No one will criticize you. No one has any standards. They are all trying to do the same thing: to do something big, and do it fast.”

“And because you can stand on the shoulders of giants, you can accomplish something quickly. You don’t even know exactly what you have done, but already you have reported it, patented it, and sold it. And the buyer will have even less discipline than you. The buyer simply purchases the power, like any commodity. The buyer doesn’t even conceive that any discipline might be necessary.”

– Michael Crichton Jurassic Park

You can map out a Fight Plan…

Monday, 16 May 2011 by

You can map out a fight plan or a life plan,

but when the action starts, it may not go down the way you planned, and you’re down to your reflexes – that means your [preparation]. That’s where your roadwork shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well, you’re going to get found out now, under the bright lights.

– Joe Frazier

I’d learned about music since before I could talk.

I knew ten thousand rules of melody and verse better than I knew the backs of my own hands.

Denna didn’t. In some ways this hampered her, but in other ways it made her music strange and marvelous…

I’m doing a poor job of explaining this. Think of music as being a great snarl of a city like Tarbean. In the years I spent living there, I came to know its streets. Not just the main streets. Not just the alleys. I knew shortcuts and rooftops and parts of the sewers. Because of this, I could move through the city like a rabbit in a bramble. I was quick and cunning and clever.

Denna, on the other hand, had never been trained. She knew nothing of the shortcuts. You’d think she’d be forced to wander the city, lost and helpless, trapped in a twisting maze of mortared stone.

But instead, she simply walked through the walls.

– Patrick Rothfuss The Wise Man’s Fear

“There are two things you must remember. First, our names shape us and we shape our names in turn.”

He stopped his pacing and looked out at us. “Second, even the simplest name is so complex that your mind could never begin to feel the boundaries of it, let alone understand it well enough for you to speak it.”… He reached into his pocket and pulled out a river stone, smooth and dark. “Describe the precise shape of this. Tell me the weight and pressure that forged it from sand and sediment. Tell me how the light reflects from it. Tell me how the world pulls at the mass of it, how the wind cups it as it moves through the air. Tell me how the traces of its iron will feel the calling of a loden-stone. All of these things and a hundred thousand more make up the name of this stone.” He held it out to us at arm’s length. “This simple, simple stone.”

…”My point is this. In each of us there is a mind we use for all our waking deeds. But there is another mind as well. A sleeping mind. Is is so powerful that the sleeping mind of an eight-year-old can accomplish in one second what the waking minds of seven members of the Arcanum could not in fifteen minutes.” He made a sweeping gesture. “Your sleeping mind is wide and wild enough to hold the name of things.”

– Patrick Rothfuss The Wise Man’s Fear