Aphorisms by Piero Angela: the most famous phrases to not forget his life lesson

On August 13, 2022 , the popular Italian science popularizer journalist leaves us. GloboChannel.com wants to share with you a series of aphorisms related to Piero Angela :

“Whenever a child is taught something, he is prevented from discovering it for himself.”

“Individuals who are most successful (and not just women) are usually strong on the inside and courteous on the outside. It’s a bit like the piano. I always remember what my old piano teacher told me: to have a good touch you need steel fingers in velvet gloves … Maybe that’s the way it is in life too. “

“In our country, just as merit is not rewarded, those who transgress are not punished.”

“Creativity is above all the ability to continually ask questions.”

“Our brain is made in such a way that attention is higher the more an event arouses emotions.”

“Good and evil are two symbols. In reality, things are a bit more complicated. “

“My body is like a car: the engine may have 80,000 kilometers, but the driver is only 45 years old.”

“A neutral event, or a neutral environment, is unable to biochemically stimulate the brain, and therefore is unable to cause memory fixing.”

“We must always historicize the right or wrong decisions, or the mistakes that have been made.”

“When something touches our personal interest we scream and get excited, but we don’t do the same when general rules, which concern the community, are broken.”

“Equality must be that of opportunities, obviously it cannot be that of results.”

“Man is not born free, but is conditioned by genes and education.”

“Today the political class in Italy is completely unbalanced on the distribution side (in search of consensus), and it is this imbalance that is at the origin of so many troubles that are under everyone’s eyes today (starting with the immense public debt); while it is extremely deficient on the side of the production of wealth, that which is at the origin of growth. But if the politicians distribute more wealth than what is produced, it is evident that it goes in the red, in the deep red. “

“In our country, just as merit is not rewarded, those who transgress are not punished.”

“Individuals who are most successful (and not just women) are usually strong on the inside and courteous on the outside. It’s a bit like the piano. I always remember what my old piano teacher told me: to have a good touch you need steel fingers in velvet gloves … Maybe that’s the way it is in life too. “

“If the child understands that everything has a cause he will begin to question himself, to relate certain facts to each other, and to associate ideas.”

“In Italian schools, scientific subjects are taught, but science is almost never taught, that is the basic rules that would allow us to understand whether whoever announces having made a discovery is credible or not.”

“There are three important things: talk a lot, repeat and explain.”

“In turn, I tried to tell what I learned. Dear all, I think I have done my part. You too try to do yours for this difficult country of ours. A big hug.”

Carlo Angela , my father, was a psychiatrist and during the racial persecutions he hid Jews, men and women even persecuted in the clinic he managed in San Maurizio Canavese, welcoming them under a false name. He instructed them on how to pretend to be false sick, making them pass for mad, and in this way he saved them. “

Piero Angela, the posthumous message:

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“Dear friends, I’m sorry not to be with you anymore after 70 years together. But nature also has its own rhythms. They have been very stimulating years for me that have led me to get to know the world and human nature.
Above all, I was lucky . to meet people who have helped me to achieve what every man would like to discover. Thanks to science and a method that allows us to face problems in a rational but at the same time human way.
Despite a long illness I managed to complete all my broadcasts and my projects (even a small satisfaction: a jazz record on the piano …) But also, sixteen episodes dedicated to the school on environmental and energy problems.
It was an extraordinary adventure, lived intensely and made possible thanks to the collaboration of a large group of authors, collaborators, technicians and scientists “.

  • There is a basic concept in science: every discovery , every invention is always the result of previous research that has prepared the ground. [3]
  • I have been doing science for almost fifty years, and every time it is surprising to realize that the more things come out of the box of knowledge, the more new things are constantly being created inside. [4]
  • [On the COVID-19 pandemic ] Young people feel invulnerable, but the virus is not seen, not heard. We have also seen what happened to Heads of State who minimized it. On the other hand, if the virus passes from children to parents, the economy of this country jumps. [5]
  • [About his years as an envoy during the Apollo missions, “and what is it like to witness the departure of a rocket live?”] Incredible. The press box was five kilometers away, for safety: in the event of a crash, the rocket, which was a car with millions of liters of fuel, could have wreaked havoc. It was an obelisk 110 meters high, like a 40-story building. The technicians were anxious, the executives of NASA, the American space agency, even more. Not to mention the family members of the astronauts who held hands. And the moment the infernal noise arrived, 15 seconds late due to the distance, many people burst into tears from the tension. The opening seconds of the flight were delicate, and when the rocket had reached a certain altitude the applause started.[6]
  • The title Quark is a bit curious and we borrowed it from physics, where many studies are underway on certain hypothetical subnuclear particles called quarks , which would be the smallest building blocks of matter known so far. So it’s a bit of a going into things. [7]
  • Apollo 8, in December 1968, had circled the moon and returned to Earth . […] On the way out, halfway through, there was a connection and the Earth was seen for the first time from space . I was on the air, I was doing the live commentary, and I had a strong emotion looking at that image: a ball in the Universe . The immediate impression was that we, so small, are nothing. We fight, we kill each other, we pollute this one warm place that allows us to live well, but we really don’t count for anything. [6]
  • Creativity is above all the ability to continually ask questions . [8]
  • Rationality has always been a minority , but it is a battle worth fighting. [9]
  • Research is the real machine of wealth, a wealth that politics has often limited itself to redistributing: but only if you produce a lot and well can you lower taxes. [10]
  • Science has this beauty : that it unites generations, because rules do not change, like fashions, from one generation to another, and it is a path of knowledge along which everyone can advance, provided, of course, that the story is done in a clear and understandable way. [11]
  • In Italian schools, scientific subjects are taught, but science is almost never taught, that is the basic rules that would allow us to understand whether whoever announces having made a discovery is credible or not. [12]
  • Alberto is no longer the son of Piero Angela, I am his father. [13]
  • [On the COVID-19 pandemic ] For HIV there have been people sentenced in court because knowing they were infected they were attacking the virus on others. Today, with Covid, I am not saying to put people in jail, but to absolutely enforce the rules, yes. The army and the street police can also help. As information disseminators, we can lend a hand. But it is a behavioral problem. [5]
  • Because if one tries to understand things, also understand others, the diversity, the reasons of others, then he can also manage his own impulses better. [14]
  • Someone said that the tyrannosaurus is basically a mouth that walks on two legs and there is something true. [15]
  • [On the COVID-19 pandemic ] This is a deadly virus. You may not have to ask “please put the masks on”. Those who do not use them are infectors, especially if they have been well informed. […] [The deniers] are victims of bad information. Some are recoverable, some are not. At the demonstrations against the masks there were four cats and in the long run they will be even fewer. [16]
  • […] it would be good to understand a little better what dinosaurs were . The fact that they were reptiles in fact should not lead to believe that they were close relatives with those we see today, because in reality the dinosaurs had little to do with other reptiles, even those apparently more similar, such as lizards or iguanas. [17]
  • We have been heavily vaccinated by twenty years of fascism and before that by very closed societies. […] The homeland has given many disappointments. [18]

From the interview with Gigi Marzullo

in Gigi Marzullo, Bellidinotte: Modern Warriors & Knights of Other Times , Alfredo Guida Editore, Naples, 1999. ISBN 88-7188-304-7

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  • [“Do you regret something?”] No. I think you must always historicize the right or wrong decisions, or the mistakes that have been made. Back then, it was thought to do well this way. (p. 11)
  • [“Does his communication ability derive from the fact that he is not a man of science?”] Sure. To understand things first, I walk an uphill road, a difficult road, among the thorns. Precisely because I realize the difficulty, to my readers, I try to make them go downhill, among the roses. (p. 12)
  • [“Have you ever been crazy about a woman?”] No. When I read about these passionate dramas, I realize how far away they are from my mentality. (p. 16)
  • [“Are both good and evil forces creating progress?”] Good and evil are two symbols. In reality, things are a bit more complicated. (p. 18)
  • [“Unfortunately we must die.”] But we lived. There are those who have never been born. We have never been born for millennia. We will not be born again, perhaps.
    [“What did this teach you?”] That we must live each day as if it were the last, but also as if it were the first. [19] (p. 18)

From Superquark on vaccines, Piero Angela: “We must defend science”

Interview by Maria Volpe, Corriere.it , 25 July 2018.

  • [On antivaccinism ] When they weren’t there, there were the dead. When I was little, if a friend came to the hospital with diphtheria he died with certainty, there was no cure. I have many memories of friends who died from these diseases. Herd protection, i.e. reaching high percentages of vaccinated, is essential. […] The fact that more and more people do not trust science and give credit to non-skills is neither common sense nor intelligent. And it invites you to reflect.
  • We must always follow the path of conviction and never of contempt, despite certain appearances on the web. We need to bring data and explain. Because in many cases there are parental concerns for children to be vaccinated. But of course we must not forget the goal. Once I was a guest of Lucia Annunziato, together with Roberto Burioni , a doctor on the front line in the fight against antivaccinists. He is right, but sometimes he is too aggressive and may not work.
  • This is the task of the institutions: to always inform and well.

From Piero Angela to Fanpage.it: “Let’s deal with climate change, it will be the next emergency”

Interview by Mariangela Pira, Fanpage.it , June 3, 2021.

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  • Young people need to know that our generation has created trouble and they find it again. It is necessary to have virtuous behavior to cope with it.
  • Local pollution can be tackled with individual behaviors. But the atmosphere goes around the world.
  • There are technologies to increase the yield of solar energy, there must be people who develop ideas and implement them, together with industries and policies that spread them. New technologies cost and should be encouraged by politics.
  • The future does not exist, it is not written anywhere. We prepare it and decide it with our behaviors. The possible futures are many and many depend on the way we behave. To behave correctly we must inform ourselves.
  • Don’t settle for sufficiency. The country needs creative minds and competent people.
  • It is not enough to behave well, you have to make sure that others behave well. When one sees something that doesn’t work, he doesn’t have to say: who cares.
  • My political contact is not a party leader. He is the President of the Republic . He is an institution that has to do the general interest.

From “Don’t Just Trust Opinions”. Piero Angela’s lesson

Interview by Matteo Sacchi, Ilgiornale.it , 9 August 2021.

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  • What happened was understandably frightening. Information on the minimal risks of vaccines has been amplified by the No Vax and many, as a result, have ended up being guided more by emotions than by rationality. The correct information, such as that of the ISS portal, can be found, but let us remember that many at school have been taught scientific subjects, but not the scientific method. It’s not the same.
  • Having acknowledged that for some pseudoscience is a religion and it is not possible to move them, we must instead be able to dialogue with those who are afraid or have had incorrect information. I know that dialogue pays, it works. You can’t think of making fun of or insulting these people and getting results.
  • I use a little aphorism: Science is what you know, it’s not what you don’t know. It can make you smile, but it’s important. Science is intersubjective, opinions don’t matter. Let me explain, opinions are useful for doing science but then they must be demonstrated. Vaccines have been subjected to long and complex trials and what comes out of the trials is not an opinion.

Attributed

  • Always have an open mind , but not so open that the brain falls to the ground. [20]
[ Wrong quotation ] The authorship of this famous aphorism is uncertain: it has been attributed to various personalities, especially in the scientific field, [21] before Piero Angela, who attributes it to James Randi . [22] It can be considered an English proverb . [23]

What is politics for?

Incipit

Today there is a strong resentment against the political class for its too many privileges, for widespread malpractice, for costs, arrogance, inefficiency, corruption, etc. But in reality there is a much deeper question, which this book intends to address, and which concerns the very role of politics in society. In fact, there is too much expectation that it is politics to solve the problems, to face the challenges of our time, and that therefore the solution is the prevalence of that party or that majority.

Quotes

  • The politician , in fact, is the pilot, but without a car he can’t go anywhere. Especially if, as often happens, in politics there is a constant debate on majority parts but not on how to truly improve the country’s performance. (chapter I, p. 12)
  • Today’s seniors not only live longer, they are healthier and more active. Today an elderly person can outrun a cheetah (by car), he can fly higher than an eagle (by plane), he can lift a truck with one hand (by operating a lever). (chapter II, p. 31)
  • […] an incinerator may be an acceptable solution in a country that knows how to do things well and respects the rules, but not in a country (or region) where this does not happen, or is not sure if it will. (chapter II, p. 39)
  • It is sometimes said that the children of smokers tend to be smokers: even when it comes to books, the children of readers on average tend to be more readers than others. Because they are influenced by the parental model, by the family cultural level, by the very existence of books in the home, by the stimuli they receive for reading (even if this is not always the case).
    Developing the habit of reading is not easy: psychologists say that here too, as for many other aspects of human behavior, imprinting is important, that is, the experiences of the first period of life are important. For example, the fact that the mother reads storybooks to the children and puts suitable volumes in their hands. To teach them to “smoke” books (and politics should strongly support this family imprinting through many initiatives, with the help of the media). (chapter V, pp. 65-66)
  • The teacher is the person to whom a parent entrusts the most precious thing their child has: the brain. He entrusts it to her to transform it into a thinking object. But the teacher is also the person to whom the state entrusts its most precious thing: the collective of brains, so that they become the country of tomorrow. (chapter V, p. 66)
  • To unite the world of research with that of industry, personalities […] are needed to create brilliant connections, as did Steve Jobs […]. Jobs had an extraordinary ability to understand how to combine different technological solutions to create incredibly attractive and well-functioning products. He was an extraordinary innovator, gifted with technical skills and a great entrepreneurial instinct. Two qualities that allowed him to create the Apple empire from scratch. (chapter VI, p. 89)
  • Good education is not only about behaving well, but also about making others behave well. Respect the rules, but also enforce them. We know that this second aspect is not very popular with us (“But what are you getting into?”, “Forget it”, “Live and let live” etc.). This way of acting, or rather of not reacting, has created in a certain sense an addiction to small (but also to large) abuses. (chapter VII, p. 100)
  • The fact is that in our country, just as merit is not rewarded, those who transgress are not punished. (chapter VII, p. 102)
  • Culture’s worst enemy is boredom, lack of clarity, or lack of creativity. (chapter XI, p. 142)
  • Our brain is made in such a way that the attention is higher the more an event arouses emotions. (chapter XI, p. 143)

Explicit

It was once said that wars changed situations, creating a trauma that took away the old and gave birth to the new. Today, the crisis caused by the explosion of public debt may perhaps be the only positive opportunity to trigger the beginning of a change, which restores the most precious thing to the country to start walking again: trust.

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From zero to three years

Incipit

The child’s brain is like a chessboard. In the beginning, any game is theoretically possible, any brilliant move is conceivable. Then, when the pieces begin to move, the initial combinations gradually decrease and the game begins to “structure” itself in a certain way.

Quotes

  • It is important for a parent to understand that his child must be able to become a man even more than an engineer or a doctor .
    This construction begins from the very beginning, stimulating curiosity, interest, reasoning and imagination in the little ones.
    We must therefore not confuse the target: it is not a question of teaching the child about things , but teaching to learn through things. (chapter VII, p. 143)
  • The answers are always limited, provisional, unsatisfactory. Questions , on the other hand, are the real engine of mental activity: a man who does not ask himself questions, or who is content with the answers, does not go very far.
    Man must doubt : doubt is an attitude of research, of exploration: certainty , especially ideological or dogmatic, can perhaps make him more integrated, and in a certain sense happier, but with a very high intellectual cost, which is that of his renunciation of doubting, exploring, and therefore thinking. (chapter VII, p. 145)
  • Imagination is the most typically human quality, the one that allows you to create, invent, understand. It is the quality that allows man to find a margin of freedom, to escape, in part, from his condition as a puppet moved by genetic and environmental threads […]. (chapter XI, p. 211)
  • The child , like an actor, is helped more by the desire for applause than by the fear of whistles. (chapter XIII, p. 250)
  • Given the growing rapidity of cultural changes, it is hardly conceivable that a parent, however “modern”, could pass on to their child a model valid for the rest of their life: this would be very presumptuous and unintelligent. Instead, he must try to stimulate his ability to judge situations and find the right answers. That is, he must not teach him a path, but teach him to drive. (chap. XIII, pp. 253-254)
  • I believe that a parent must try to offer the child the best part of himself: not only that, but he must try to live it, because he cannot only offer a model, but also an example. (chapter XIII, p. 255)

Explicit

Being a cultured man today, much more than in the past, means being a man of his own time, with an eye to the future: one can no longer do cultural archeology (as one continues to do), unless first the message of the future was deeply understood.
This can be inconvenient, because it requires constant rethinking and reconversion. But this is precisely the strength of the thinking man, the quality that distinguishes him from the animal; without this cultural regeneration the future that we will hand over to our children risks being only a poisoned fruit.
Observed from another galaxy, human destiny may seem small: a brief moment, between the initial and (probably) final explosion. But, lived from the inside, this life is the most precious thing for us: it is a torch that we must try to transmit for a long time, from hand to hand, according to a path that seems to go deeper and deeper into what is the true vocation of man: knowledge.
But are we still up to this task?

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The man and the puppet

  • We believe we are free, while biology shows us that we are chemical machines completely conditioned by chromosomes and the environment that surrounds us. […]. Our ideas and behavior are by no means freely chosen, but are the result of a combined action of heredity and the environment.
    As for dictatorships (and ideologies), they do not need to resort to drugs or electrodes to cause biochemical and brain changes: speeches and propaganda are enough.
    In fact, biology shows that speech and drug have a substantially similar action in the brain: both induce biochemical and molecular changes in brain organization. (premise, pp. 7-8)
  • Research is by definition movement: what was true yesterday is no longer true today, and will still be changed tomorrow. (chapter I, p. 33)
  • Today the world accepts the concept of injustice more and more with difficulty. There are liberation movements everywhere. But man can only be freed from environmental injustices, not from genetic ones.
    It is possible to ensure that every individual has the right to study, to work, to the recognition of his merits, but at the base there will always be a genetic injustice, because certain men will be born richer in talents, health, and intelligence. of others.
    Once class injustices have been overcome, one will always be faced with another class injustice: that which will inevitably group more or less “deserving” citizens from the genetic point of view. (chapter III, p. 73)
  • Intelligence , as a survival muscle, began to be successful from the primitive age, when it allowed man to build better weapons and overcome a physically stronger enemy: today we reject violence, precisely because we have created a different scale of priority in survival: that of intelligence.
    However, we must realize that intelligence is also violent in its own way, because it tends to assert itself and supplant some values ​​with others. It too is part of the law of the strongest, therefore of evolution. (chapter III, p. 77)

Explicit

I have often, on purpose, violently enlightened certain aspects of biology, with the aim of proposing a healthy debate, necessary for an awareness of the problems that face modern man. It is enough to read the hallucinatory chronicles of the poisoning of the planet, to look at the way cities are being built, or the kind of life we ​​are leading and preparing for our children, to realize that the problem is not in technology but in way to use it.
Mental retardation, which is above all political and moral, seems today to have clouded what has always been one of the strongest vital instincts: the survival of the species, that force which, already through selection, rewarded the maternal instinct and the defense of small at the cost of sacrifice.
For us, however, the future is the next five minutes: we do not seem willing to sacrifice this generation for the next. But the problem can be reversed: is the next generation willing to allow itself to be sacrificed by this one?
I think that young people, those who wish to become imaginative men and not bee-men, are now in a situation of legitimate defense.

The thinking machine

Incipit

One and a half kilograms of nerve cells, 4 billion years of evolution. Our brain , projected into the future of electronics, still carries the story of life layered within itself.

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Quotes

  • Have you ever wondered why man and woman each have only one half of the reproductive organ ? And do they have to take a lot of time (and energy) to put their two parts together? The answer, of course, is that this two-way reproduction has allowed the chromosomes to be scrambled and thus to redistribute the favorable mutations that otherwise would have remained separate in different individuals.
    Thus each of us, through the rites of courtship and mating (with all that this entails: investments, stratagems, emotions, perhaps even poetry and music), becomes an unaware instrument of that fundamental need of nature which is the production of diversity. (chapter I, p. 13)
  • Indeed, only a growing effectiveness in explaining allows a growing capacity to understand . (chapter XV, p. 249)
  • All those involved in teaching should continually remember the ancient Latin motto «ludendo docere», that is «to teach while having fun». In fact, if one manages to insert the aspect of the “game” (in the sense of “interest”), thus exciting individual motivations and igniting the brains, it is possible to multiply the efficiency of information, teaching, of communication. Because the person concerned “is there”. He is stimulated, participates, remembers. And learn. (chapter XV, pp. 256-257)

In the darkness of the light years

  • […] an individual’s knowledge has value only if it can allow him to understand the world in which he lives and eventually allow him to modify it to his advantage. (introduction, p. 5)
  • By culture we mean the global […] capacity to respond adequately to the survival problems that a society has to face. At every level: energetic, agricultural, industrial, educational, mental, behavioral. That is to say, the ability to understand one’s time, to identify the great levers that produce real changes, and to use them to adapt, even mentally, to one’s own environment (or to adapt the environment to oneself). (introduction, p. 6)
  • “Classical” culture and scientific culture must now merge in every individual, to create that binocular vision which alone allows events to be emphasized and profound and to participate consciously in decisions. (introduction, p. 7)
  • In a certain sense […] on Earth there are no resources and raw materials, but there is only the human capacity to transform certain inert materials into resources, thanks to inventions and technologies. (chapter II, p. 43)
  • To seriously face the energy crisis it now seems inevitable to make massive use of the most abundant source of energy that exists, the least polluting, least expensive, most immediately available: that is , energy saving
    According to certain calculations, in fact, with only energy saving one could “free up” as much energy as nuclear power plants produce alone, and it would therefore be more convenient to invest money and effort in saving rather than in energy production . (chapter IV, p. 119)
  • In all living systems , be they biological, economic or political, there are automatic self-regulation when certain imbalances occur; with sometimes even unpleasant consequences.
    It is like in Archimedes ‘ tank , where the immersion of certain bodies inevitably causes thrusts and changes in levels, even if it is not desired. (chapter V, pp. 167-168)
  • […] the school today is incapable of developing those skills and talents that are needed today to continue belonging to an advanced industrial society. It is so detached from the real needs of the world of work that it has become, to a large extent, a factory for the unemployed with a degree. (chapter VIII, p. 204)
  • When we talk about a society in which efforts are destined to improve man, to elevate his education, to assist him, to favor the arts, knowledge, culture, etc., there is a tendency to forget an important detail: that all this requires a lot of energy, raw materials, technology. And productivity .
    In fact, only high productivity allows an increasing number of people to leave agriculture and industry to devote themselves to the services and pleasures of the intellect. (chapter IX, p. 207)
  • […] when I happen to participate in some debate on women’s liberation , I enjoy scandalizing the audience by starting with an apparently ferocious and irreverent joke: ” Women’s liberation is a by-product of oil …
    This sentence naturally immediately arouses different reactions, sometimes indignant. However, it manages to “hook” the listener, albeit in a provocative way, to a concept that seems fundamental to me: that is, that only the availability of energy (and technology, because ultimately also energy is only technology, in the sense that it is the result of an ability to extract and use resources) allows women (and anyone else) to get out of underdevelopment, and to access new goods and new roles. (chap. IX, pp. 218-219)

In the Cosmos in search of life

  • After a fantastic journey into the cosmos that began with the Big Bang , all these atoms that we see in nature have been cooked in supernovae , then compressed, aggregated, boiled, cooled. And finally gathered together to build these extraordinary living (and thinking) beings that we see around us.
    They are atoms, after all, which now return to look towards the space from which they came and to contemplate their origin. In a sense it is the Universe that begins to look at itself. And to ask yourself questions. Is there anyone else in this vast expanse of stars? Or are we alone? (chapter II, p. 38)
  • The space in which we are immersed is so large, so immense that it is almost frightening to look at it inside a telescope. We all know that the Earth is less than a speck of dust, but every time we measure ourselves against the Universe, we are left amazed and almost frozen. (chapter II, p. 39)
  • The theories are certainly very useful, because they are stimulating and serve to set up a research. But without experimental tests they remain what they are: that is, only hypotheses. (chapter VI, pp. 145-146)

Explicit

Maybe there is someone else, on another planet, right now, looking up at the sky in our direction. Or maybe not. Maybe we are alone in space.
In any case, looking all around the Universe there is a very strong feeling that emerges, at least this is the feeling that I personally feel: that of feeling much closer to our old Earth, which remains, despite all its defects, a wonderful place to live.

Coming out of the abyss of the Universe, we realize how sweet our planet is, with its nature, its animals, its landscapes and its people.
Looking very far into space and time we can understand how precious are the things that are here next to us, and that we should learn to love more.

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Because we have to have more children

Incipit

Take a deck of playing cards and place it on the table. Ask a friend to “cut” the deck and split it in two. The 52 cards, once halved, will be reduced to 26.
Have them cut a second time: 13 will remain. After a third cut the cards will be reduced to 6 or 7.
In just three cuts, that is, the deck has gone from 52 to 6 or 7 cards.
Something like this is happening for the new Italian generations. With each generational change, newborns are almost halving.
In all these years, the problem of overpopulation in the world and the associated risks has been discussed above all. And it is true. It is a serious distortion that we will pay dearly for. But this population explosion took place in the poorest regions of the planet: those that will increase the world’s population to over 9 billion in 2050.

Quotes

  • Children fill a life, they become the center of everything: emotions, love, dedication. When they are young they are a continuous discovery as their eyes and mind open to life. They depend completely on us, and we realize that only our care allows them to live, express themselves and develop.
    As they grow they represent a succession of joys, anxieties, satisfactions, worries, happy moments. The sacrifices made for them have no weight. Any parent knows these things very well. Especially the mothers. (chap. IV, p. 49)
  • It should be emphasized that our educational and cultural level also depends to a large extent on the availability of energy . Because only a society that has “spinning wheels” (technology / energy) can afford […] to send masses of young people to school and university. For 15, 20, 25 years these young people do not produce, but only consume: food, clothes, heating, transport, classrooms, teachers, books, etc. After all, even a book of philosophy is an industrial product: when there were no machines and energy, the books were written by hand, on parchment.
    […] throughout his life the philosopher does not produce food, objects, services, but benefits from the productivity allowed by techno-energy, without which he would dig the earth and would also be illiterate … But this is true for the overwhelming majority of intellectual professions: writers, historians, astronomers, writers, paleontologists, art critics, etc. Everyone to hoe. (chap. XI, pp. 166-167)
  • Energy saving and efficiency can be articulated in many ways, in transport in particular. Here too, however, there is a need for incentives that make savings “convenient”. Sermons against waste are of little use: waste decreases only when you touch your wallet. (chapter XI, p. 169)
  • A civil society that does not give full freedom to the press is unthinkable . After all, we know how many events, even in our country, would have remained in the shadows without the meticulous investigative work of so many journalists.
    Of course there is always a price to pay: there may be errors, sometimes distortions or partisan interpretations, but information is indispensable. Like energy. (chapter XIII, p. 221)

Quark Economics

  • The history of life on Earth, we know, is the history of adaptation to the environment. Through a series of mutations and selections, plant and animal species have continually adapted to the changing environment, each time finding the right solutions to survive in the most diverse climates. Those who did not adapt were extinguished. (chap. VII)
  • […] it is not certain that a system must always be in equilibrium : on the contrary, equilibrium is often a situation of immobility. This is seen well in biological systems. For example, when we walk our body tends to lean forward. In this case it is useful (indeed necessary) to get unbalanced. Otherwise we would not walk. (chap. IX)
  • If asked what is the best investment, what would you answer […]? Personally I think the right answer is: probably education . In fact, the best investment is to put money in the children’s brains, in the development of their intelligence, their ability to be creative, competent, suitable for the new world that is opening up. (chap. XIII)
  • […] the school should ultimately teach how to become intelligent. And also practical, to be able to self-manage in a valid way. That is, to make sure that, once you have really forgotten a lot of what you have learned on the benches, a brain emerges that has been trained to respond well to environmental stimuli, that is able to adapt, and to cope correctly. problems. Also using creativity in a constructive way: understood not as a pseudo-imagination a little in disarray, but as a tool to build something concrete every time. (chap. XIII)
  • […] in public services, as in companies or in one’s work, a small but very important rule always applies that someone has brilliantly summarized in a very apt formula, which sounds like this: every time someone receives an income that does not produce, there is someone else who produces an income that he does not receive … (chap. XV)
  • […] none of us is able to stop technological development : because it is something that is walking on its own, through endless ramifications that now extend all over the world. […]. Simply denouncing the risks of technological development is therefore not enough, because, however, technology will continue to advance (and people will use it). […]. What can be done is to acknowledge this situation and, as far as possible, govern it. (chap. XVI)
  • We have innumerable things in our apartment that can destroy or poison us, but we do not refuse them for this: because they are useful to us and because we have learned to use them rationally. In our societies, however, we behave quite differently: we dump the garbage in the living room, we smoke the air in the bedroom, we let the children play with matches and with the bare wires of the electricity in the bathroom. […]. There is no need to say “vade retro” to the water heater or the hair dye or the garbage bag: we must rather regulate its use well. (chap. XVI)
  • Every time you turn on a light bulb , it always gets polluted somewhere anyway. (chap. XVI)

Explicit

The stakes are very high. In fact, creating a mature and informed public opinion means creating a more fertile ground for transformations.
Even politicians, who are often forced to oversimplify problems and titillate the emotions of the voters more than their rationality, could thus encounter less misunderstanding and resistance in proposing changes that are perhaps uncomfortable but more suitable for a modern society.
In fact, a country is modern not only because it has computers or robots, but above all because it has a cultural fabric that allows it to make coherent choices.

I will Always Love You

Incipit

“I will Always Love You.” A phrase that millions of lovers continue to say to each other in all languages, for generations and generations.
Falling in love affects everyone, inexorably: rich and poor, young and no longer young, ugly and beautiful. In this moment, in the world, an endless number of couples love each other, quarrel, make peace, separate.

- Prosegue dopo la pubblicità -

Quotes

  • Of course, attraction (even strong attraction) is a different thing from falling in love. It is only a possible premise.
    Really falling in love means entering a completely different dimension, changing the planet. It means shifting the center of gravity of one’s life and orbiting around a new point of reference. The spotlights of our mind illuminate a single image: that of her (or of him). The rest remains in the background. This image overlaps all the others, it is present everywhere, at all times. It is seen, reviewed, reviewed as in an obsessive replay, it creates joy, yearning, even tremor. The loved one is idealized. It has no flaws. And, if any, they are overshadowed by a kind of emotional color blindness.
    This beloved image is always carried with you, to work, traveling, to bed. She lives and throbs inside our mind and our feelings: we question her, we talk to her, she is the protagonist of our mental theater. Continuously our thoughts surround it, touch it, contemplate it. (chapter I, p. 15)
  • Someone said that falling in love in some cases is like a drug, which profoundly modifies behavior, creates an addiction, induces you to do anything to not lose your loved one, and can lead to dramatic withdrawal crises in the event of an interruption. abruptness of the relationship, that is, of abandonment.
    Things get complicated when falling in love is one-sided. Unrequited love is lived in a painful way: sometimes in silence, with resignation, other times as an obsession. (chapter I, p. 17)
  • Love , in fact, has nothing to do with wisdom: it is a plunge into a new, beautiful, irresistible dimension, where nothing else matters. The accounts will perhaps be done later, when the fever has passed and the after-effects of “madness” will remain. (chapter I, p. 19)
  • Love, therefore, strikes in a subtle, often sudden way. It is an irrational feeling that gently penetrates and invades the whole organism, like an intravenous that spreads widely and changes our way of thinking and acting. Sometimes causing total narcosis. (chapter I, p. 20)
  • In short, brain biochemistry and emotional states are closely linked to each other. And it could not be otherwise, since the brain is not an abstract entity, but an intertwining of nerve cells that “snap” when stimulated by certain chemicals (neurotransmitters, in fact) that modulate their activity. (chapter II, p. 31)
  • The penis is not a muscle but a kind of sponge […].
    In this regard, there is a surprising fact: erection disorders , which many individuals are familiar with, do not exist in the animal world. How come? Because we are the only ones who do not have penis bone! …
    Virtually all mammals, in fact, […] have a bone or cartilage inside the penis (the whale’s is even 7 meters long .. .). Not only that, but they have muscles to “lift” their penis, just like lifting a finger or an arm. It is evident that with such a “rigged” organ an erection is assured. (chapter V, pp. 69-70)
  • It is very interesting that even among homosexuals there is the same difference that can be observed among heterosexuals: males tend to have many partners, even hundreds, while lesbian women tend to have few partners […]. In other words, here too there is a tendency towards “polygamy” on the part of males and “monogamy” on the part of females. (chapter VII, p. 115)
  • […] today the number of singles is very high: some are by choice, family or personal, others because they are separated or divorced. But others are precisely because they couldn’t find the other half of the apple. Because there were few apples. Or because the right ones were already committed. Or because what remained were pears … (chap. VIII, p. 119)
  • A face is like the cover of a book: it can arouse the desire to leaf through it (or to put it back immediately on the shelf). But only by starting to read it does one realize whether it is worth continuing or not. (chapter VIII, p. 122)
  • Sexuality […] presses with the fatal lever of arousal which, as has happened in nature for millions of years, attracts the bodies in an unstoppable system of universal gravitation. (chapter IX, p. 133)
  • Jealousy , moreover , is not by chance defined the other side of love: it is actually the other side of falling in love, sexuality, attachment, which are instinctive passions also inscribed in our genes. All together complement each other: on the one hand they preside over the conquest of a partner, on the other they tend to instinctively defend this conquered good. (chapter X, p. 150)
  • Arguing is something that is part of life, not only in the couple relationship […]. The fact is that in the couple relationship the partner is always in front of him, for the whole life. And the accumulation of resentment that a quarrel can bring with it (with the risk that each time the fight always goes a little further, starting from the previous “threshold”) tells us that it would be wise to avoid injecting too much poison into the circuit of their relationships, to avoid the worst. (chapter XII, p. 183)
  • Respect for the partner, even when it comes to small things, is, moreover, a sign of intelligence, because it means giving up little to save a lot. (chapter XII, p. 195)
  • […] one of the best definitions of intelligence is precisely ” flexibility “: that is, the ability to find the right solutions not by marching straight on one’s own path, but by looking for other, more fruitful paths. (chapter XII, p. 197)
  • Without love, all the lights would have been extinguished for some time: because it is this force that allows life to be reborn every time and to pass from one generation to the next. (chapter XII, p. 199)

Explicit

If diving down like a diver in search of the underlying currents that move our behavior in love is intellectually stimulating, letting go instead, and being carried away by the current, means entering a new extraordinary dimension where questions, theories, no longer count. the experiments, but only a glance: that of the person in front of us. To which one can say with cosmic sincerity: “I will love you forever!”.

Thirteen billion years

  • [On how dinosaurs prevailed over other contemporary reptiles ]A new way of walking and running. It was a fundamental achievement. To understand the extent of this novelty, we need to take a step back and go back to the moment when the first vertebrates emerge from the water and begin to move to the mainland. Those first animals rested on sturdy paws placed laterally to the body: this can be seen well today, for example, in crocodiles, which advance crawling on the ground and twisting the body to the left and right. The result was the inability to run and breathe at the time often. Today, accurate studies have confirmed that many small reptiles are unable to breathe when they run … the walking of reptiles has gradually improved, but the real breakthrough came with the first dinosaurs, who “invented” a type of locomotion of the all new, which does not compress the lungs .. . Through a series of transformations of the pelvis: the legs are no longer arranged laterally, as in the crocodile, but are practically located under the belly, in a vertical position. In this way it was possible not only to free the chest from contortions, and therefore to run and breathe at the same time, but also to become bipedal, that is to walk (and run) on the two hind legs. (chap. XIII)
  • A crocodile or lizard generally does not hold their tails up when walking, dinosaurs do, to balance the weight of their head (or long neck). In fact, in all the sequences of dinosaur footprints found in various parts of the world, no traces of the tail are ever seen. (chap. XIII)
  • In fact, today there are many paleontologists who believe that many species of dinosaurs, despite being reptiles, had warm blood. And that’s why they were so active, energetic and aggressive, and they took care of their little ones. Further evidence is that their most direct heirs, birds, are warm-blooded. (chap. XIII)
  • It is possible that the flight originated from small feathered dinosaurs climbing trees and gliding more and more efficiently. But there is also another suggestive hypothesis: that it all began with the leaps that perhaps occurred in the fights between the males. It is something that also happens today among birds, when they fight: for example, when two roosters fight for dominance, with leaps and flaps of wings to hit the opponent from above. The next step may have been developing longer leaps, to jump over an obstacle or to escape a predator. Today we see this, for example, in hens: hens do not fly, they flutter. Could this have been the sequence that slowly led to the first take-offs and then to the flight? The riddle remains. (chap. XIII)

Travel in science

  • Dissemination must in fact deal with these two problems, which require competence and imagination: that is, on the one hand, to understand things in the right way, interpreting them adequately to transfer them into a different language: on the other, to be not only clear but also non-boring. , while keeping the message intact (indeed, do not be afraid to be funny: humor is one of the companions of intelligence).
    For these reasons, paradoxically, it can be said that it is more difficult … to be easy. Everyone, in fact, is capable of speaking or writing in a dark and boring way: clarity and simplicity are uncomfortable. Not only because they require more effort and more talent, but because when you are forced to be clear you cannot cheat. We all know from experience that words can often serve as a smokescreen to hide thoughts. Or to hide their ignorance on certain topics. By remaining vague and ambiguous, it is easier to mask the holes. Instead, when you are forced to be simple, you have to show that you really understand. Indeed to have arrived at the heart of the matter and to have identified the mechanisms. (chapter II, p. 47)
  • In life, of course, there is always this balance between strength and kindness […]. Individuals who are most successful (and not just women) are usually strong on the inside and courteous on the outside.
    It’s a bit like the piano . I always remember what my old piano teacher told me: to have a good touch you need steel fingers in velvet gloves … Maybe that’s the way it is in life too. (chapter III, p. 81)
  • The whole history of life on Earth teaches us that ” diversity ” is a fundamental value. The richness of life, in fact, is due to its diversity: diversity of enzymes, cells, plants, organisms, animals.
    This was also the case with the history of ideas. The diversity of cultures, philosophies, models, strategies and inventions has allowed the birth and development of various civilizations. (chapter III, p. 96)
  • Space is our direct ancestor, because the atoms and molecules that form us arrived one day here on Earth after a long space journey. […].
    Looking far into space we also look into our past in this way. (chapter V, p. 140)
  • In fact, nature has always been the worst enemy of pre-technological man, who in the past had to fight daily against his perils: bad weather, insects, infections, hunger, animals. Only when he was able to dominate nature did he begin to appreciate it and enjoy its most beautiful aspects of him. (chapter VIII, p. 217)

Explicit

It is a world, the one we are moving towards, that needs to be understood. This book wanted to bring its modest contribution in this direction: since beyond the political, ideological or religious differences that divide individuals, there is a common interest in seeking methods and criteria that allow us to proceed together, in the most intelligent way, towards the future.
And this great effort of understanding can only be based on rationality.

Journey into the world of the paranormal

  • It is really pathetic to see to what extent certain characters prove themselves naive and ready to believe everything, since they approach a phenomenon already convinced that it exists . (chapter II, p. 41)
  • But of course, the main art of the magician , even more than makeup, is to divert the viewer’s attention. Not only that, but in making him remember things differently from how they actually happened. (chapter VII, p. 150)
  • Personally I think that the qualities of man are enhanced by his ability to rise in knowledge, rather than his talent for cultivating ancient illusions.
    To do this, unfortunately, it is however necessary to give up a certain enchanted world; that is, it is necessary to leave the room of fairy tales and fantastic tales.
    This can be uncomfortable and even disappointing. Personally I don’t think so. I think the adventure of intelligence is much more stimulating than that of credulity. And that the desire to discover is more exciting than that of staying in the fairytale room.
    And I think, however, it is difficult to stay there when the door is now open. (chapter X, pp. 140-141)
  • We need not only good drugs but also a good psychological environment, which allows us to find an internal balance that biochemistry alone cannot compensate for.
    A doctor told me a phrase that stuck with me while I was carrying out this investigation. He said to me: “You see, there are people who come to us and they would need not three pills a day, but three hugs a day.” (chapter XIII, p. 291)
  • But the medium must not only be admired: he must also be feared . That is, it is good that the public should also have a certain fear of him, just as there is a fear of supernatural things. In this way the medium can be better protected from any checks that some dubious client had in mind to do. In fact, just as no one dares to shave a jerk’s beard (for fear of “psychic” reprisals), similarly, if a climate of fear is created, very few dare to go against the medium, thinking that he could take revenge with “negative fluids” about health, finances, love etc. (chap. XIV, pp. 300-301)
  • Even when the tricks and subterfuges are revealed some people are not convinced that they have been made fun of. The desire to believe in these phenomena is so strong that it resists any shock. (chap. XIV, p. 305)
  • There are always people who have had a ” hunch “. The fact is that these “presentiments” are never made known when nothing happens (that is, in the vast majority of cases): but only when something happens. (chapter XVI, p. 351)
  • If the horoscopes of the newspapers were true there would be only 12 categories of people on Earth … (chapter XVIII, p. 389)
  • Naturally, astrological predictions “come true” by following the mechanism of all the other prophecies and predictions made by seers and fortune tellers: as always, in fact, the client unconsciously “selects” the results, identifies with certain character descriptions that would fit many others people, remembers only the right things, “interprets” the others and so on. (chap XVIII, p. 390)
  • Of course, there is a risk in this demythization of paranormal phenomena: that of demolishing something without replacing it with something else equally attractive. […]
    Of course, saying that Santa Claus does not exist is not good news. Indeed, it is bad news. On the other hand, what should one say? That there is scientific evidence of the existence of Santa Claus? And that there are testimonies of millions of people who have found toys under the fireplace or under the tree?
    Here we return to an old problem raised by science (and knowledge in general): that is, knowledge does not necessarily lead to happiness, in fact the opposite is more likely, precisely because it generates doubts and takes away security. (chap. XIX, pp. 408-409)
  • In short, there is a price to pay when you want to know: in fact this can mean the loss of certain illusions. […] So? Do you have to close your eyes and ears and not say these things, just because it would be better if they were true?
    Maybe yes. Many people certainly think that it is better to keep these illusions […].
    On the other hand, there are other people who want to know how things are, and who perhaps prefer to lose certain illusions rather than being kept in the dark.
    Also because they consider that the stimulus of knowledge is so strong that they prefer to give up the comforts of beliefs rather than give up exploring this wonderful world that exists outside and within us.
    Those who possess this intellectual curiosity, this desire to know, believe in fact that it would be foolish to be bottled up by myths and deceptions, and thus suffocate what is perhaps the most precious gift of man: the ability to understand. That is, that ability that has allowed us, through evolution, to assume the upright position. (chap. XIX, pp. 409-410)
  • If paranormal phenomena had truly been found in these 100 years, the international community of scientists would certainly have recognized them, also because science is a bit like sport: it cannot deny certain results, provided, of course, that they are audited by independent judges. (chapter XIX, p. 410)

Quotes about Piero Angela

  • My ideal grandfather is Piero Angela, if I could I would ask him to adopt me. Ninety years old, kind, smiling, a great gentleman, and not one of those who bore you when talking about the partisan struggle. With him I would spend many nights talking about astrophysics and biology, about black holes and evolution, about electrons and special and general relativity, and then above all, although to see it it may seem the opposite, he is not someone who sends them to say, in short, c ‘is fun. ( Massimiliano Parente )
  • Piero Angela is a great professional. As we see him in the television dimension: clear, methodical, calm, so he appears as a person. Not that he is contrived or emotionless, quite the opposite. […] His perfect self-control and his staid friendliness partly reflect his shy nature and are partly inscribed in the genetic code of this Piedmontese educated in rationality and tolerance. Characteristics that according to the most esteemed Italian scientific popularizer are complementary. ( Gigi Marzullo )

Note

  1. By all means maintain an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out. (quoted as a proverb in The Skeptical Inquirer , Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, 2001, vol. 25, p. 67)

Bibliography

  • Piero Angela, What is politics for? , Mondadori, Milan, 2011. ISBN 978-88-04-60776-2
  • Piero Angela, From zero to three years: How intelligence is born (or dies) , Garzanti, Milan, 1975.
  • Piero Angela, The man and the puppet: Daily behavior seen through biological conditioning , Garzanti, Milan, 1981.
  • Piero Angela, The thinking machine (Discovering the brain) , Garzanti, Milan, 1987.
  • Piero Angela, In the darkness of the light years , Garzanti, Milan, 1986.
  • Piero Angela, In the Cosmos in search of life , Garzanti, Milan, 1987.
  • Piero Angela and Lorenzo Pinna, Why we have to have more children: The unthinkable consequences of the collapse of births , Mondadori, Milan, 2008. ISBN 978-88-04-58094-2
  • Piero Angela, Quark Economia (To understand a changing world) , Garzanti, Milan, 1986.
  • Piero Angela, I will love you forever: The science of love , Mondadori, Milan, 2005. ISBN 88-04-51490-6
  • Piero Angela, Thirteen billion years , Mondadori Editions, 2015. ISBN 8852064974
  • Piero Angela, Journeys into science: Quark’s world , Garzanti, Milan, 1985.
  • Piero Angela, Journey into the world of the paranormal: Survey on parapsychology , Garzanti, Milan, 1986.

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