What would Richard Feynman do?

I read Surely You Are Joking, Mr. Feynman! Richard Feynman tells stories from his life, from learning to fix radios when he was ten to helping build the atom bomb to playing bongo drums in a ballet. It’s a very entertaining book.

We happen to have bongo drums at home but I almost never play them. After I finished the book I got them out and started playing. The fact that Feynman played bongos made it more interesting to me.

A few months ago my girlfriend gave me for my birthday a gift card to a day spa that has an isolation tank. Isolation tank is a coffin half filled with salt water, and tries to deprive you from sensory experiences to help you meditate and relax. So I went and stayed an hour in the tank and was not overwhelmed. In the book Feynman tells about his visits to an isolation tank and his experiments to hallucinate there. He was quite enthusiastic about it. Now I’m thinking, why didn’t I see it that way?

It is curious how something becomes interesting merely when someone we admire does it. Doubly so in this case because Mr. Feynman followed his own interests, not anyone else’s. That more than anything else set him apart and above the most of us. His curiosity on actual things, not the social theatre around them, let him see what others didn’t.

Imitating Mr. Feynman’s actions makes us less like him. Imitating his attitude, more like him.

6 thoughts on “What would Richard Feynman do?

  1. Dagmar says:

    It is good to have you back! I have been checking for new posts every now and then and was thrilled to find your post just yesterday. Seems to me you are finding your own voice. In your quest to keep it real your online journal is evolving into more entertaining and readable one. Sharing seldom hurts. Thank you for sharing your personal and peculiar observations with the rest of us. Have a nice winter!

  2. Antti Tarvainen says:

    Thanks, Dagmar.

    No offense meant but I marked your comment as spam before noticing it was from you… :-)

    • Dagmar says:

      Non taken. Is positive feedback so rare, it is easily mistaken for spam? Or was it the combination of overly excited expressions and unfamiliar first name that fooled you? Lesson learned: For taken seriously: Criticize. Criticize hard.

      • Antti Tarvainen says:

        I appreciate your comment now that I know it is real.

        The comment is very general, and any blogger would be happy to receive it. The genericity is the problem: alas we live in a world where positiveness without specifics feeds suspicion.

        I understand the comment better now when I gave it a bit more thought. The messenger is part of the message, and I can decode more meaning based on that.

        Anyway, I am happy to have you as a reader, and I appreciate all comments, positive or otherwise.

  3. Dagmar says:

    They shoot messengers, don’t they?
    Sometimes a message is just a message, and a note is just a note. Sometimes there isn’t anything more to be decoded. No hidden agenda. No secret pattern. A note is a note is a note is a note. That’s it. The only thing I finally regret is that I chose to use the lame phrase: ”Sharing seldom hurts.” Everything else is real.

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