* These hints, dropped as it were from sleep and night, let us use in broad day. The student is to read history actively and not passively; to esteem his own life the text, and books the commentary. Thus compelled, the Muse of history will utter oracles, as never to those who do not respect themselves. I have no expectation that any man will read history aright, who thinks that what was done in a remote age, by men whose names have resounded far, has any deeper sense than what he is doing to-day.

— Emerson


2008.01.29 Tuesday CHK_2

The Machine

The intent here is
to gain a clearer perception of ourselves,
of humanity in general:
where we’ve been,
where we’re going,
the pitfalls and the possibilities,
the perils and the promise …
perhaps even an answer to
that universal question:

— Back to the Future 2


2008.01.23 Wednesday CHK_2


As to methods there may be a million and then some,
but principles are few.
The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods.
The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have troubles.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson


2008.01.22 Tuesday CHK_2


Two years ago, about May or June 2006, a student started to collect my interesting sentences.

Several months ago, November, a Form 4 student started to collect my interesting sentences.

Last week, my Form 1 students started to collect my interesting sentences.

But don’t expect too much, I am tired.


2008.01.20 Sunday copyright CHK^2

向左走 向右走

Left brain functions

Right brain functions









linear algorithmic processing

holistic algorithmic processing

mathematics: perception of counting/measurement

mathematics: perception of shapes/motions

present and past

present and future

language: grammar/words, literal

language: intonation/emphasis, prosody, pragmatic, contextual


— Wikipedia on “Lateralization of brain function” (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)



2008.01.13 Sunday CHK_2


The phrase hedgehog’s dilemma refers to the notion that the closer two beings come to each other, the more likely they are to hurt one another; however if they remain apart, they will each feel the pain of loneliness.

This comes from the idea that hedgehogs, with sharp spines on their backs, will hurt each other if they get too close.

This is analogous to a relationship between two human beings. If two people come to care about and trust each other, something bad that happens to one of them will hurt the other as well, and dishonesty between the two could cause even greater problems.


The concept originates from Arthur Schopenhauer’s Parerga und Paralipomena, Volume II, Chapter XXXI, Section 396. In his English translation, E.F.J. Payne translates the German “Stachelschweine” as “porcupines”. Schopenhauer’s parable describes a number of hedgehogs who need to huddle together for warmth and who struggle to find the distance where they are warm without hurting one another. The hedgehogs have to sacrifice warmth for comfort. The conclusion that Schopenhauer draws is that if someone has enough internal warmth, he or she can avoid society and the giving and receiving of irritation that results from social interaction.

It is also important to note that hedgehogs do not actually hurt each other when they get close, human beings tend to keep themselves more “on guard” in relationships and are more likely to sting one another in the way that a relaxed hedgehog would if spooked. When living in groups, hedgehogs often sleep close to each other.

— Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)


2008.01.12 Saturday CHK_2

Self Reliance 6

Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone to fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me

— Greatest Love Of All, by Michael Masser & Linda Creed


2008.01.07 Monday CHK_2

Self-Reliance 5

Self-Reliance is an essay written by American Transcendentalist philosopher and essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. It was first published in his 1841 collection, Essays: First Series. It contains the most solid statement of one of Emerson’s repeating themes, the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow his or her own instincts and ideas.

In this essay, Emerson conveys his Transcendentalist philosophy and belief in self-reliance, an essential part of which is to trust in one’s present thoughts and impressions rather than those of other people or of one’s past self. This philosophy is exemplified in the quote: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Emerson stresses the need to believe one’s own thoughts, while actively searching one’s internal mind in order to capture the flash thought that may or may not come across. However, Emerson articulates that although one may have unlimited potential, few actually possess the confidence to develop their minds fully. Emerson then writes, “Trust yourself,” for God will not have his work made manifested by “cowards”. Immediately afterwards, he asserts that everyone has the innate tendency to express independent, genuine verdicts when young, but when young men become adults, Emerson argues, they will become, “clapped into jail by [their] consciousness.”

The essay states that, “To be great is to be misunderstood,” Emerson illustrates this by showing how enormously influential historical characters (Jesus Christ, Pythagoras, Copernicus) were fiercely opposed during their lifetimes, while time later demonstrated their genius.

Emerson also stresses originality, believing in one’s own genius and that creativity lives within all people. From this springs the quote: “Envy is ignorance, imitation is suicide.”

— Wikipedia, December 2007


2008.01.06 Sunday CHK_2