Wednesday, August 10, 2011

150 And Stable

“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.” - Pablo Picasso

While I was at writing group earlier this evening, my dad was sitting in a chair in the bookstore in which we meet listening to a lecture about evolutionary biology, and he told me some of the more interesting points on the way home.

For instance, apparently when we humans try to teach other primates sign language, the only signs they actually use amongst themselves without interacting with us are those for "large bird," "large cat," and "large snake." And while that isn't surprising if one were to think about it...

I also learned that our brains are only capable of keeping track of meaningful relationships with approximately 150 people. I was pleased to discover this, since it gives me fodder in the discussion with my sister as to why I have more than 50 fewer Facebook friends than she does.

Granted, there are some people with whom I am friends on Facebook I do not really have relationships with other than "I know you and will likely interact with you multiple times in the relatively near future" or "we have common ancestors," but there are also people with whom I do have more substantial relationships that I have not friended on Facebook. So a nice 119 (currently) seems fairly reasonable, and it makes sense that I seem to end up unfriending people at about the same rate that I friend them.

Or as my dad put it, "As you find new and interesting people who you would like to know better, you will discover that there are others who you don't really have that much in common with anymore."

Also, it's rather interesting that "friending" is now a verb.


  1. How can we teach our children what they are, when we ourselves so little know who we are? It seems sufficient to teach our children to ask themselves who they are. But I like the quote anyway ;)

  2. I love the quote but, like other similar quotes, the "marvel" seems to be someone famous or an amazing role that most people can not achieve. I think my garbage man is a marvel.


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