Sunday, April 26, 2009

Meandering about . . .

A Happy Birthday salute to Frederick Law Olmsted and Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein.

Frederick Law Olmsted (April 26/27*, 1822 – August 28, 1903) was a journalist and landscape designer. He has been called the father of American landscape architecture. Frederick Law Olmsted is famous for designing many well-known urban parks/landscapes, including Central Park in New York, the Niagara Reservation in Niagara Falls, New York and George Washington Vanderbilt II's Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

"If we analyze the operations of scenes of beauty upon the mind, and consider the intimate relation of the mind upon the nervous system and the whole physical economy, the action and reaction which constantly occur between bodily and mental conditions, the reinvigoration which results from such scenes is readily comprehended. . . . The enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it; tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it; and thus, through the influence of the mind over the body gives the effect of refreshing rest and reinvigoration to the whole system." - Frederick Law Olmstead

Trivia bit: In 1865, Frederick Law Olmsted cofounded the magazine The Nation.


Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (April 26, 1889 – April 29, 1951) was a philosopher and has been referred to as the greatest philosopher of the 20th century.

"To believe in God means to see that the facts of the world are not the end of the matter. . . . To believe in God means to see that life has a meaning." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

"It seems to me that, in every culture, I come across a chapter headed Wisdom. And then I know exactly what is going to follow: Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

"A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push it." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

"Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in just the way in which our visual field has no limits." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

"There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

"If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

"A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

"Someone who knows too much finds it hard not to lie." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

"The difficulty in philosophy is to say no more than we know." - Ludwig Wittgenstein

* sources vary on date
Olmsted image source (1)
Wittgenstein stamp image source (1)

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