Long ago, Sir Isaac Newton gave us three laws of motion, which were the work of genius. But Sir Isaac's talents didn't extend to investing: He lost a bundle in the South Sea Bubble, explaining later, I can calculate the movement of the stars, but not the madness of men. If he had not been traumatized by this loss, Sir Isaac might well have gone on to discover the Fourth Law of Motion: For investors as a whole, returns decrease as motion increases.
He walked over to Isaac and grabbed him by the shoulders. 'Dude, pillows don't break. Try something that breaks.' Isaac reached for a basketball trophy from the shelf above the bed and then held it over his head as if waiting for permission. 'Yes, ' Augustus said. 'Yes!' The trophy smashed against the floor, the plastic basketball player's arm splintering off, still grasping its ball. Isaac stomped on the trophy. 'Yes!' Augustus said. 'Get it!' And then back to me, 'I've been looking for a way to tell my father that I actually sort of hate basketball, and I think we've found it.
Pull over, ' said Charles, his voice rough. Isaac wasn't going to argue with him. So he eased the van to a stop on the shoulder of the road. Charles hopped out, patted the side of the car, and said, 'Go on out to the address I gave you. I'm going to run the direct path and I should beat you there.' It wasn't until then that Isaac realized Charles had begun changing to wolf. Isaac couldn't speak-except to swear at the worst bits-while he changed, and Charles could have a regular conversation, or something pretty close to it. Damn. When he grew up, he wanted to be like Charles.
Many years later he looked through one of my books and said, "How did you learn all this, Isaac?" "From you, Pappa", I said. "From me? I don't know any of this". "You didn't have to, Pappa", I said. "You valued learning and you taught me to value it. Once I learned to value it, the rest came without trouble." - Isaac Asimov (Isaak Yudovich Ozimov). It's been a good life.
Physicist Isador Isaac Rabi, who won a Nobel Prize for inventing a technique that permitted scientists to probe the structure of atoms and molecules in the 1930s, attributed his success to the way his mother used to greet him when he came home from school each day. "Did you ask any good questions today, Isaac?" she would say.
Richard Saul Wurman
Everyone knows the beautiful story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac. How this noble father led his child to the slaughter; how Isaac meekly submitted; how the farce went on till the lad was bound and laid on the altar, and how God then stopped the murder, and blessed the intending murderer for his willingness to commit the crime.
I used to size people up to see whether they were a good advert for meditation. Then at some point it clicked that there wasn't a type of person they were going to become. They were each just more and more themselves. Jim was very Jim, Isaac was unique in his Isaac-ness and Debbie was increasingly Debbie. That was a great relief - that I could relax into being Tessa.
Isaac Watts, of course, is a hymn writer in the tradition of Congregationalism who lived in the seventeenth and early eighteenth century. He is very interesting and important because he was also a metaphysician. He knew a great deal about what was, for him, contemporary science. He was very much influenced by Isaac Newton, for example. There are planets and meteors and so on showing up in his hymns very often. But, again, the scale of his religious imagination corresponds to a very generously scaled scientific imagination.
I just wish moments weren't so fleeting!' Isaac called to the man on the roof, 'They pass so quickly!' 'Fleeting?!' responded the tilling man, 'Moments? They pass quickly?!... Why, once a man is finished growing, he still has twenty years of youth. After that, he has twenty years of middle age. Then, unless misfortune strikes, nature gives him twenty thoughtful years of old age. Why do you call that quickly?' And with that, the tilling man wiped his sweaty brow and continued tilling; and the dejected Isaac continued wandering. 'Stupid fool!' Isaac muttered quietly to himself as soon as he was far enough away not to be heard.
And so from then onwards, Daniel understood that the point of this grueling sundial project was not merely to plot the curve but to understand why each curve was shaped as it was. To put it another way, Isaac wanted to be able to walk up to a blank wall on a cloudy day, stab a gnomom into it, and draw all of the curves simply by knowing where shadow would pass. This was the same thing as knowing where the sun would be in the sky and that was the same as knowing where the Earth was in its circuit around the sun, and in its daily rotation. Though as months went on, Daniel understood that Isaac wanted to be able to do the same thing even if the blank wall happened to be situated on, say, the moon that Christiaan Huygens had lately discovered revolving around Saturn. Exactly how this might be accomplished was a question with ramifications that extended into such fields as would Isaac, and Daniel for that matter, be thrown out of Trinity College? Were the Earth and all the works of man nearing the end of a long, relentless decay that had begun with the expulsion from Eden, and that would very soon culminate in the apocalypse? Or might things actually be getting better, with the promise of continuing to do so? Did people have souls? Did they have free will?
Augustus Waters was the Mayor of the Secret City of Cancervania, and he is not replaceable", Isaac began. "Other people will be able to tell you funny stories about Gus, because he was a funny guy, but let me tell you a serious one: A day after I got my eye cut out, Gus showed up at the hospital. I was blind and heartbroken and dind't want to do anything and Gus burst into my room and shouted, 'I have wonderful news!' And I was like, 'I don't really want to hear wonderful news right now' and Gus said, 'This is wonderful news you want to hear' and I asked him, 'Fine, what is it?' and he said, 'You're going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!'" Isaac couldn't go on, or maybe that was all he had written.