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Gravity & Levity: Why-How Opposites Attract [WHOA]

by Rick Baker
On Jun 13, 2013

Gravity & Levity: polar opposites, each laced with double entendre.

Gravity was Zarathustra’s archenemy. Gravity is the fabric of Newton’s legacy. And, when I first heard John Mayer’s song ‘Gravity’ I was blown away…like Aristotle envisioned fire escaping gravity and levitating to the sphere of the moon’s orb…where the light is.

Seneca saw levity as the bone of all good and virtuous. George Bernard Shaw believed levity to be the best package for communicating the right things to say. And, when I first read Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s ‘Antifragility’ I solidified my thinking about the importance of blending polar opposites into our lives…and our decisions.

Then I read Galileo’s ‘Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems’: gravity & levity became front and centre in my thoughts…and they stayed there…two polar opposites, hand-in-hand, sharing centre stage.

While some see his as dark, I think Nietzsche is the most-interesting philosopher…brilliant beyond bi-polar…meshing messages of and with gravity & levity: 

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

“The certain prospect of death could sweeten every life with a precious and fragrant drop of levity – and now you strange apothecary souls have turned into an ill-tasting drop of poison that makes the whole of life repulsive.”

“I would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance.”

 Friedrich Nietzsche





Why-How Opposites Attract [WHOA]


  • An intentional blend of gravity & levity helps ensure variety and moderation.
  • An intentional blend of gravity & levity promotes balance and curiosity.
  • An intentional blend of gravity & levity builds character.


  • Read works that blend gravity & levity…as examples, choose Nietzsche over Newton…choose Twain and Taleb
  • Listen to works that blend gravity & levity...from the Beatles to Beethoven…with some Wagner samplers in between
  • Experience the gravity & levity of the arts…from Michelangelo's David to David Blaine...without riding on high horses


  • Gravity keeps our feet on the ground; Levity places our head above our feet.
  • Gravity attracts one body to another; Levity adds dance to their relationship.
  • Gravity draws and centres; Levity enjoys new horizons.


So, when it comes to gravity & levity I will pay attention to When-How Opposites Attract.

And I am with Nietzsche and Mayer, if I must choose between gravity & levity…

WHOA gravity, stay the hell away from me



Gravity & Levity: the Meaning & History of the Words

Source: Online Etymological Dictionary

gravity (n.)

c.1500, "weight, dignity, seriousness," from Middle French gravité "seriousness, thoughtfulness," and directly from Latin gravitatem (nominative gravitas) "weight, heaviness, pressure," from gravis "heavy" (see grave (adj.)). The scientific sense of "force that gives weight to objects" first recorded 1640s.

 levity (n.)

"want of seriousness, frivolity," 1560s, from Latin levitatem (nominative levitas) "lightness, frivolity," from levis "light" in weight (see lever) + -ity.




How to stop complaining

by Rick Baker
On Jun 11, 2013


While in Italy last month, I re-read Marcus Aurelius' 'Meditations'. It is therapeutic to consider the self-help messages this famous Roman Emperor wrote over 1800 years ago.

Here's an excerpt, from book 4 section 3...

"What's there to complain about? People's misbehavior?

But take into consideration:

  • that rational beings exist for one another;
  • that doing what's right sometimes requires patience;
  • that no one does the wrong thing deliberately;
  • and the number of people who have feuded and envied and hated and fought and died and been buried.

...and keep your mouth shut."

One of my heroes...


Marcus Aurelius

121 AD - 180 AD


Attitude: Creating Positive Attitude | Hero Worship | Wisdom: Surviving the Test of Time

Thought Tweet #752

by Rick Baker
On Jun 4, 2013

Thought Tweet #752 Think in new ways; think in old ways...just don't waste time dabbling in-between.


The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Wisdom survives the test of timeCuriosity & Creativity are essential things.

It's the stuff in-between that wastes time, injures attitude, and accomplishes little.

Create a How To Think list

Thought Tweet #747

by Rick Baker
On May 28, 2013

Thought Tweet #747 "Other people's mistakes? Leave them to their makers.Marcus Aurelius 

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Marcus Aurelius is one of my heroes. 

Over 1800 years ago, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote those words in what was later [much later] published as 'Meditations'. While nobody knows exactly why he wrote several short `books`, it certainly appears he wrote them as a self-help exercise...to keep his thoughts focused and his spirits up when times were tough. The 'books' were written late in Marcus Aurelius' life...likely during the 160`s AD. 

I re-read 'Meditations' in Italy while on my way to Rome last week. The above quote can be found at book 7, section 29.

Clear, concise & nicely-worded wisdom.

Constructive criticism is definitely an oxymoron.

Thought Tweet #746

by Rick Baker
On May 27, 2013

Thought Tweet #746 Wisdom, defined: removing things that are wrong from your 'To Do' & 'To Think' lists.


The Thinking Behind The Tweet

"Experience guides intelligent people as they think and act."

Edward de Bono

'Six Action Shoes', (1991)

(That's another definition of 'Wisdom'.) 


Thought Tweets | Wisdom: Surviving the Test of Time

Born to learn

by Rick Baker
On Oct 19, 2012

People are born with a natural talent for learning.

We learn by:

  • understanding self (starts with our body parts and how they interact with surroundings), 
  • observing other people (our parents having a huge initial impact), 
  • observing our surroundings (identifying patterns, posing & testing hypotheses)
  • perceiving (creating unique & personal explanations of the vast array of stimuli that 'hit' our senses), 
  • memorizing knowledge (short-term & long-term memories of manifold experiences and perceptions), 
  • imagining (holding images in our mind's eye...remembering past events and envisioning future events)
  • practicing skills (so they get hard-wired into our brains), and , of course,
  • interacting with people and things around us (from mirror neurons and Theory of Mind to mentors, trainers, and championship teams). 

Born to learn: that's the way we are born.

Our learning takes the form of a life-long series of self-corrected behaviours coupled with a life-long series of successful outcomes and not-so-successful hard knocks.

People are created with a remarkable capacity for learning.

All people are created that way. Then individual experiences affect the duration and extent of learning. Also, individual choices affect the extent and duration of learning. 

Here's an example of a string of thoughts about learning:

  • I was born to learn.
  • In the past, as I went about my learning, some people encouraged me and some people put me down. 
  • Now, I see learning as my responsibility...I don`t seek encouragement and I am not put off by put downs.
  • Now, I see introspection as the ongoing starting point for learning...as the ancient Greek aphorism states - Know Thyself.
  • Now, I see individual strengths, wisdom, self-control, and positive attitude as the key ingredients for success in any endeavour...and each of these is the substance of life-long learning.
  • I know, to succeed in a business role, I must combine my talents and specialized knowledge with life-long practice and exploration of new things. That is the only way to master business work.
  • I know, because I have seen it first-hand, the capacity for learning does not have to wither with age...it is the one blessing that remains with us as long as we want it to and are prepared to do the brain work that self-feeds.
The capacity for life-long expanded learning is our unique blessing.


Brain: about the Human Brain | Values: Personal Values | Wisdom: Surviving the Test of Time

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