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  • “Give Me a Lever and a Place to Stand and I’ll Move the World”

    Posted by James R. Rummel on January 30th, 2005 (All posts by )

    The title of this post is attributed to Archimedes, a Greek genius whose amazing colossal brain not only devised new advances in mathematics and the sciences, but also invented defenses to protect his nation.

    The quote concerns the lever, a simple device that everyone will recognize at once. In one context the quote can be taken to be nothing more than hyperbole concerning a common application of physics. But there’s something about it that always gets my heart to quicken just a little bit.

    This might be due to the confident tone, the expression of supreme can-do spirit. But it’s also the fact that right then, just at that moment, the world changed forever. Something that was unknown or unstudied became commonplace and understood. To paraphrase Huxley, a little land was reclaimed from a vast ocean of ignorance.

    Why does this sort of thing affect me so? Because I sincerly believe down to the very depths of my soul that the world is made a little better for everyone when things like this happen. We stalk a little closer towards becoming more than we are now. It’s a victory against the dark.

    Yesterday the world pivoted once more, and I’m overjoyed that I was alive to see it.

    r3065115043.jpg

    (The image above was found on Powerline Blog, and Spiced Sass gave me the heads up so I could find it.)

     

    5 Responses to ““Give Me a Lever and a Place to Stand and I’ll Move the World””

    1. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I ran across that photo yesterday too. I thought it was astounding. So, astounding in fact, I wondered if it were real.

      Nevertheless, this may well be an historic event. If they’re able to form a stable government, write a reasonably good constitution, and fight off the wolves at their door, they may yet survive. If they do, they’ll be a tremendous force for good in the region.

      I think the fact that Iraqis turned out in huge numbers yesterday to vote, despite the prospect of widespread killings and bombings, was an amazing display of courage.

      I think the entire human race should be proud of them. Gives one hope.

    2. James R. Rummel Says:

      “So, astounding in fact, I wondered if it were real.”

      Oh, I’m pretty sure that it’s staged. The Chador is very clean, the stitching I can see is crisp and new, and the model’s skin is not greasy or shiny. If she was really under enough emotional duress to cry I figure that she would have sweated a bit.

      But I never made the claim that the image was genuine, I just think it summed up what a great many people were feeling.

      James

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      “The Chador is very clean, the stitching I can see is crisp and new, and the model’s skin is not greasy or shiny.”

      The image could be real. Apparently, most Iraqi donned their “Sunday Best” (so to speak) in order to go vote. The woman’s new clothing and general good appearance may just reflect her perception of the formal, perhaps even sacred nature of the event.

    4. Ginny Says:

      Rummel, Shannon is clearly right – look at the celebratory nature of the day. Actually, what exactly do you assume she should look like to be “real”?

    5. James R. Rummel Says:

      Actually, what exactly do you assume she should look like to be “real”?

      My, aren’t we snarky today! But to answer your question I’d have to say that I’ve already outlined what I’d expect if the picture was genuine. You know, signs of wear on the chador and signs of emotional distress besides a daub of tears.

      Shannon made a very good point, that the woman might just have worn new clothing for such an important event as voting. Considering that she’s a woman living in an Islamic culture, the significance of casting a ballot is probably beyond my ability to appreciate. But that would mean that the physical signs of great emotional turmoil would be more obvious.

      James