Just finished reading a short and sweet book by William W. Cohen: “A computer scientist’s guide to cell biology : a travelogue from a stranger in a strange land”. As a student of applied mathematics, wanting to “belong” to the exciting field of bioinformatics and biological modeling, I can truly appreciate the worth of this 100 page book. As the title explains, it is a brief, absolutely no-nonsense introduction to cell biology for a computer scientist, who might as well be a layman as far as this field is concerned!
I truly enjoyed reading this book, and learnt more from it than I had from hours of web surfing. However, that’s not what this post is about. Reading this book sent me into a sort of philosophical tangent-on the path of appreciation.
As I reflect on the last two years of my life (which I spent in and around Keplinger Hall), I realize that I have begun to appreciate many things.
This world is full of marvelous things like trees and clouds and air and water and rocks, so many great and wonderful people have lived on it, so many things happen, so many things can happen. Lots of people, driven by unquenchable curiosity, have learnt so much about these things and these people and possibilities. I appreciate them for their curiosity.
I appreciate Kepler and Napier, not for their genius, but for the hard work they put in to record and explain the celestial movements, or to build the logarithmic tables, with no tools but their mind. What were their reasons? Glory, fame, money, or what Feynman accurately summed up as “pleasure of finding out”? Whatever their reasons might have been, these men were willing to spend every breath for that reason. Where would we be, without people such as these, who are capable of giving themselves so completely to a purpose, no matter how trivial that purpose might seem to others.
I appreciate the professors and the universities who have posted their lectures on internet. There is a surge of gratitude in me when I read notes of people I have never seen, people I will never know, but whose understanding of something is helping me understand it too.
Some of these learned men realize that even among people who are either not capable of following these paths, or are pursuing some other paths, there is an intense curiosity to know what all the other people are doing. And they write books, which tell in simple, and sometimes even funny, clever ways of these wonderful things and all that has been learnt about them and all that remains to be learnt. I appreciate these books and the people who write them.
I have the deepest respect for the people who tell me long lost stories of heroes and heroines.
I am full of gratitude for people who weave new and charming stories for me and also those who tell me about pain.
I know that there is falsehood and cunningness and treachery out there, but I see these interesting people, these kind and generous people, these competent people and I realize that God has indeed made man in His own image and likeness. And I feel glad to be alive.