Today’s story begins about 570 years before the great switch from BC to AD, making it roughly 2,579 years ago, give or take. Our first thinker, and some would argue the first true thinker in history, is Pythagoras. But, we’ll come back to him…
We leap forward to 1,945 years after the same flip, to the year 1945, and our second thinker is one Vannevar Bush. He too was an amazing thinker, and he at least coughed, if not rolled over in his grave when Al Gore famously announced his invention of the Internet. Bush did not invent the Internet either, but his influence is likely the single greatest of any one soul’s in its creation. Why 1945, per se? Because Bush published, in the Atlantic, one of the most important articles written in the 20th century that year. If you’d like to give it a go—and it isn’t an easy read, but if you get into the spirit, it is a very entertaining one—here’s the link for you: As We May Think
Consider the title of Bush’s so-influential article. That is the real story. How do you think, and when do you really do it? I’m obviously NOT talking about the automatic kind of thinking you do all day every day. When do you really, really think?
Let’s flip back to Ancient Greece now. In his awesome book The Golden Ratio (we’ve added it to the store here), on page 25, Mario Livio reports the counsel from Pythagoras:
Pythagoras established a strict routine for his students, paying particular attention to the hour of waking and the hour of falling asleep. Students were advised upon rising to repeat the verses:
As soon as you awake, in order lay
the actions to be done the coming day.
Similarly, at nightfall, they were to recite:
Allow not sleep to close your eyes
Before three times reflecting on
Your Actions of the day. What deeds
Done well, what not, what left undone.
By the word “lay,” Pythagoras meant something like, ‘lay these out in your mind’s eye, BEFORE you get out of bed!”
Now that’s thinking!
We’ll discuss the connection to Bush’s article very soon! But for now, what do you think? Is Pythagoras Protocol a practice you might embrace?