Isaac Newton who is considered to be a big deal by many especially in physics once said “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Now, I didn’t know this quote before today and maybe that’s because I am not a big science fan but I came across it after someone commented on a picture of my two brothers and I at the beach. (See below)
nanos gigantum humeris insidentes
I have not posted anything in a very long time, I guess after school I just took a very extended hiatus. I went home and besides writing my college supplements I didn’t lift a finger. I thought about doing a “as the year ends” post but my brain was on permanent chill out zone. I told myself I was taking time out to just pause and enjoy reading good books and articles as well enjoy the company of family and friends. But if there is one thing I do now feel compelled to write about is what reading Newton’s quote triggered in me.
To give you a bit of context which I am sure those non science and non philosophers like me definitely need. This quote was actually first written by John Salisbury a British author attributing it to a philosophy held by Bernard of Chartres. Chartres believed that ” we [the Moderns] are like dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants [the Ancients], and thus we are able to see more and farther than the latter. And this is not at all because of the acuteness of our sight or the stature of our body, but because we are carried aloft and elevated by the magnitude of the giants.” When I read this quote I did not dissect it analytically or think about some profound response to it, I just thought of my summer break(winter for those reading in the Northern hemisphere).
This summer I went to spend Christmas and New Years with my brothers, it had been two years since we had all been together to celebrate Christmas and New Years. I did not know what to expect going in but in the end I had the most fun and laughed hysterically non stop ( I also ate too much and did a lot of nothing). I enjoyed being a tourist and exploring a truly beautiful city. Capetown gave me the I-really-don’t-want to leave feeling and also the I-wish-I-was-born-into a vineyard family feeling!
Something that I also realize now in retrospect is that I finally understood Chartres philosophy even before I knew it. Going to Capetown made me truly see the sacrifices my brothers have made for me my entire life, from waking up at 5.45am and preparing my lunch box to giving me that really good looking hoodie or sometimes allowing me to steal it. I like the moderns am not better in anyway but it is because of the past milestones that the Ancients [my brothers] covered that I am able to be who I am today.
My break made me truly understand the importance of family, sacrifice without pain and love without expectation and putting them first above all. Growing up my father loved Vito Corleon and his family values in the Godfather. I never really did like him much, I mean the man was a Mafia head aka Don. But if there is one thing the man said that really makes more sense now is “A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” I am not big on defining a “real” man but I do understand the importance of family and building a strong foundation with them.
Yes, we make friends as we grow who become our family and our support systems but one should never under estimate the value of people who have cheered you on and believed in your potential even before there was any precedent. Happy New Year all and I hope you had a restful break.
PS: If you haven’t already look up this book called Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. It’s a good book!