Monday, September 4, 2017

Some words of wisdom from Piet Hein

Piet Hein was a Danish mathematician, inventor, designer, and poet who was born in Copenhagen in 1905. He died at the age of 90. We were recently at a flow cytometry conference in Copenhagen, and written on one of the walls of our hotel room was one of Hein's short poems, entitled:

Det må vi efterligne (Kulturkritisk)

Kultur er evnen
til at leve livet,
så ny og ægte
livsform leves frem.
Den evne var
de store gamle givet
av hvilken grund
vi efterligner dem.


My translation from Danish into English; I hope that I have gotten the gist of the poem:

We must imitate (culture critical)

Culture is the ability
to live life,
so that new and genuine
life forms are created.
That ability was
the gift of the great old ones
and is the reason
we imitate them.
----------------------------------------------