Blog Post

Serendipity and the Stars

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 24 January 2020



Serendipity and the Stars
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 235
Posted DateFriday 24 January 2020 13:43 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen

Recently I wrote about science curiosity, and in writing the post, I told a personal story of my own about my father showing me the stars on a dark and wintry night when I was a boy.

The story of myself as a child stuck in my head for several days after, and I recalled I had read something somewhere about a boy and the stars, so I googled it and found what I was looking for - this wonderful quotation from Walter Lippman.
A boy can take you into the open at night and show you the stars; he might tell you no end of things about them, conceivably all that an astronomer could teach.

But until and unless he feels the vast indifference of the universe to his own fate, and has placed himself in the perspective of cold and illimitable space, he has not looked maturely at the heavens.

Until he has felt this, and unless he can endure this, he remains a child, and in his childishness, he will resent the heavens when they are not accommodating.

He will demand sunshine when he wishes to play, and rain when the ground is dry, and he will look upon storms as anger directed at him, and the thunder as a personal threat.

Having found it, I had to add the quote to my block; it was just too good, and so I went to Wikipedia to find out more about the author Walter Lippman.

In doing so, I discovered this recent article in Vox entitled: Intellectuals have said democracy is failing for a century. They were wrong - Walter Lippmann's famous critique of democracy revisited.

I read the first page and immediately realized that what Walter was writing about in a book in 1922 and where this quote came from was at the heart of one of my interests.

This is serendipity in action. The original quote had nothing to do with my interest in democracy, I simply liked it, but it led me to a thinker, a writer and a book that was at the heart of my passion.

Do you ever feel the universe is trying to help you?

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
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