How many understand that Nature is the essential character of whatever is. It's something you'll find by looking not at, but in, always in. It's always inside the thing, and it makes the outside. And some day, when you get sufficiently proficient in understanding the use of the term, you can tell by the outside pretty much from what's inside.
Frank Lloyd Wright
I was not proficient in Latin and so was not able to go to Oxford or Cambridge. However, I did enter the first-rate chemistry honours program at the University of Manchester in 1950, where the professors were E.R.H. Jones and M.G. Evans, and graduated in 1953, with the financial support of a Blackpool Education Committee Scholarship.
For all we know, the aliens have already done this and unwittingly concluded that there was no intelligent life on Earth. They would now be looking elsewhere. A more humbling possibility would be if aliens had become aware of the technologically proficient species that now inhabits Earth, yet they had drawn the same conclusion.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
There are these rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than they've ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything to others, but lose nothing of yourself.
I know I have a very unusual style of playing, where other more recognized and technically proficient players might look at me and wonder what the heck I'm doing. The purpose of my learning to play the way I do was more to accompany my singing. I figured out a style where I'm mentally playing the drums over a simple melody.
We honestly think that we ourselves and those around us should be proficient with spiritual power, moving and acting with agility and endurance, wisdom and purity, able to conquer long-established habits of sloth and rebelliousness, simply on the basis of our desire and effort and sincerity... We have to train for the spiritual life.
Approaching the stove, she would don a voluminous apron, toss some meat on a platter, empty a skillet of its perfectly cooked a point vegetables, sprinkle a handful of chopped parsley over all, and then, like a proficient striptease artist, remove the apron, allowing it to fall to the floor with a shake of her hips.
The most important lesson I learned...was that the winner of a gunplay usually was the one who took his time. The second was that, if I hoped to live on the frontier, I would shun flashy trick-shooting--grandstand play--as I would poison...In all my life as a frontier peace officer, I did not know a really proficient gunfighter who had anything but contempt for the gun-fanner, or the man who literally shot from the hip.
The historic transition from Novice to Proficient to Adept was said to be accomplished virtually overnight by the progression from marijuana to peyote to lysergic acid. Instant mysticism had arrived. Before the court of law, hippies demanded freedom for LSD the way early Christians demanded freedom for the Eucharist.
The terrorists who have succeeded in carrying out spectacular attacks against Western targets in the past have been college-educated, technically proficient men who are capable of manufacturing and deploying chemical, radiological, and biological weapons. Al Qaeda attracts the kind of highly educated men who one day might be able to pull off such an attack.
Many or few alternatives can be at hand. A wise and skilful choice acts from a sincere effort. Solutions and results come from cooperation, hard work and efficiency. With high intention matched with a flexible, patient heart and proficient action gets best quality and value. As for the restless grumbles raving from unconsciousness of complexity of matters, best be brushed off ducking out wisely from discourtesies.
Nobody - but nobody - has ever become really proficient at golf without practice, without doing a lot of thinking and then hitting a lot of shots. It isn't so much a lack of talent; it's a lack of being able to repeat good shots consistently that frustrates most players. And the only answer to that is practice.
Life is an illusionist, proficient at its art. It proves to be bitter, an adversary But is indeed a friend in disguise, a silent well wisher. It forces us into arduous stations and assesses our limitations. It guides us to the path of defeat, even so secretly desires that we prove it wrong, It demands for us to rise despite the odds and lead it to, the path of victory. It is but a master illusionist.
The system - the American one, at least - is a vast and noble experiment. It has been polestar and exemplar for other nations. But from kindergarten until she graduates from college the girl is treated in it exactly like her brothers. She studies the same subjects, becomes proficient at the same sports. Oh, it is a magnificent lore she learns, education for the mind beyond anything Jane Austen or Saint Theresa or even Mrs. Pankhurst ever dreamed. It is truly Utopian. But Utopia was never meant to exist on this disheveled planet.
There is no such thing as a natural born pilot. Whatever my aptitudes or talents, becoming a proficient pilot was hard work, really a lifetime's learning experience. For the best pilots, flying is an obsession, the one thing in life they must do continually. The best pilots fly more than the others; that's why they're the best. Experience is everything. The eagerness to learn how and why every piece of equipment works is everything. And luck is everything, too.
Since a time has come, Mademoiselle, when the severe laws of men no longer prevent women from applying themselves to the sciences and other disciplines, it seems to me that those of us who can should use this long-craved freedom to study and to let men see how greatly they wronged us when depriving us of its honor and advantages. And if any woman becomes so proficient as to be able to write down her thoughts, let her do so and not despise the honor, but rather flaunt it instead of fine clothes, necklaces, and rings. For these may be considered ours only by use, whereas the honor of being educated is ours entirely.
The mercy bullet I envy horses: if they break a leg and feel humiliated because they can no longer charge back and forth in the wind, they are cured by a mercy bullet. So if something in me gets broken, physically or spiritually, I would do well to look for a proficient killer, even if he is one of my enemies. I will pay him a fee and the price of the bullet, kiss his hand and his revolver, and if I am able to write, extol him in a poem of rare beauty, for which he can choose the metre and rhyme.
When my brother, ... , was a young boy learning the Chinese classics, I was in the habit of listening with him and I became unusually proficient at understanding those passages that he found too difficult to grasp and memorize. Father a most learned man, was always regretting the fact: 'Just my luck!' he would say. 'What a pity she was not born a man!' But then I gradually realized that people were saying 'It's bad enough when a man flaunts his Chinese learning; she will come to no good, ' and since I have avoided writing the simplest character.
If you're a certain type of actor, then eventually stepping into a director's shoes is a natural transition. I've always been the actor who's very focused on the narrative, where my character is in the story, and how I can benefit the story. I've always had a technical aspect of what the lens is, how the camera is going to move, how I can feed the information the director applies within that move. If you're that type of actor, narrative-based, technically proficient, the next step is actually not that far.
Television's perfect. You turn a few knobs, a few of those mechanical adjustments at which the higher apes are so proficient, and lean back and drain your mind of all thought. And there you are watching the bubbles in the primeval ooze. You don't have to concentrate. You don't have to react. You don't have to remember. You don't miss your brain because you don't need it. Your heart and liver and lungs continue to function normally. Apart from that, all is peace and quiet. You are in the man's nirvana. And if some poor nasty minded person comes along and says you look like a fly on a can of garbage, pay him no mind. He probably hasn't got the price of a television set.
We shouldn't let our envy of distinguished masters of the arts distract us from the wonder of how each of us gets new ideas. Perhaps we hold on to our superstitions about creativity in order to make our own deficiencies seem more excusable. For when we tell ourselves that masterful abilities are simply unexplainable, we're also comforting ourselves by saying that those superheroes come endowed with all the qualities we don't possess. Our failures are therefore no fault of our own, nor are those heroes' virtues to their credit, either. If it isn't learned, it isn't earned. When we actually meet the heroes whom our culture views as great, we don't find any singular propensities-only combinations of ingredients quite common in themselves. Most of these heroes are intensely motivated, but so are many other people. They're usually very proficient in some field-but in itself we simply call this craftmanship or expertise. They often have enough self-confidence to stand up to the scorn of peers-but in itself, we might just call that stubbornness. They surely think of things in some novel ways, but so does everyone from time to time. And as for what we call "intelligence", my view is that each person who can speak coherently already has the better part of what our heroes have. Then what makes genius appear to stand apart, if we each have most of what it takes? I suspect that genius needs one thing more: in order to accumulate outstanding qualities, one needs unusually effective ways to learn. It's not enough to learn a lot; one also has to manage what one learns. Those masters have, beneath the surface of their mastery, some special knacks of "higher-order" expertise, which help them organize and apply the things they learn. It is those hidden tricks of mental management that produce the systems that create those works of genius. Why do certain people learn so many more and better skills? These all-important differences could begin with early accidents. One child works out clever ways to arrange some blocks in rows and stacks; a second child plays at rearranging how it thinks. Everyone can praise the first child's castles and towers, but no one can see what the second child has done, and one may even get the false impression of a lack of industry. But if the second child persists in seeking better ways to learn, this can lead to silent growth in which some better ways to learn may lead to better ways to learn to learn. Then, later, we'll observe an awesome, qualitative change, with no apparent cause-and give to it some empty name like talent, aptitude, or gift.
What - what - what are you doing?" he demanded. "I am almost six hundred years old, " Magnus claimed, and Ragnor snorted, since Magnus changed his age to suit himself every few weeks. Magnus swept on. "It does seem about time to learn a musical instrument." He flourished his new prize, a little stringed instrument that looked like a cousin of the lute that the lute was embarrassed to be related to. "It's called a charango. I am planning to become a charanguista!" "I wouldn't call that an instrument of music, " Ragnor observed sourly. "An instrument of torture, perhaps." Magnus cradled the charango in his arms as if it were an easily offended baby. "It's a beautiful and very unique instrument! The sound box is made from an armadillo. Well, a dried armadillo shell." "That explains the sound you're making, " said Ragnor. "Like a lost, hungry armadillo." "You are just jealous, " Magnus remarked calmly. "Because you do not have the soul of a true artiste like myself." "Oh, I am positively green with envy, " Ragnor snapped. "Come now, Ragnor. That's not fair, " said Magnus. "You know I love it when you make jokes about your complexion." Magnus refused to be affected by Ragnor's cruel judgments. He regarded his fellow warlock with a lofty stare of superb indifference, raised his charango, and began to play again his defiant, beautiful tune. They both heard the staccato thump of frantically running feet from within the house, the swish of skirts, and then Catarina came rushing out into the courtyard. Her white hair was falling loose about her shoulders, and her face was the picture of alarm. "Magnus, Ragnor, I heard a cat making a most unearthly noise, " she exclaimed. "From the sound of it, the poor creature must be direly sick. You have to help me find it!" Ragnor immediately collapsed with hysterical laughter on his windowsill. Magnus stared at Catarina for a moment, until he saw her lips twitch. "You are conspiring against me and my art, " he declared. "You are a pack of conspirators." He began to play again. Catarina stopped him by putting a hand on his arm. "No, but seriously, Magnus, " she said. "That noise is appalling." Magnus sighed. "Every warlock's a critic." "Why are you doing this?" "I have already explained myself to Ragnor. I wish to become proficient with a musical instrument. I have decided to devote myself to the art of the charanguista, and I wish to hear no more petty objections." "If we are all making lists of things we wish to hear no more... , " Ragnor murmured. Catarina, however, was smiling. "I see, " she said. "Madam, you do not see." "I do. I see it all most clearly, " Catarina assured him. "What is her name?" "I resent your implication, " Magnus said. "There is no woman in the case. I am married to my music!" "Oh, all right, " Catarina said. "What's his name, then?" His name was Imasu Morales, and he was gorgeous.
Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare 'automeals, ' heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on. Breakfasts will be 'ordered' the night before to be ready by a specified hour the next morning. Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica. [M]en will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button. Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course, for they will be powered by long- lived batteries running on radioisotopes. '[H]ighways ... in the more advanced sections of the world will have passed their peak in 2014; there will be increasing emphasis on transportation that makes the least possible contact with the surface. There will be aircraft, of course, but even ground travel will increasingly take to the air a foot or two off the ground. [V]ehicles with 'Robot-brains' ... can be set for particular destinations ... that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver. [W]all screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible. [T]he world population will be 6, 500, 000, 000 and the population of the United States will be 350, 000, 000. All earth will be a single choked Manhattan by A.D. 2450 and society will collapse long before that! There will, therefore, be a worldwide propaganda drive in favor of birth control by rational and humane methods and, by 2014, it will undoubtedly have taken serious effect. Ordinary agriculture will keep up with great difficulty and there will be 'farms' turning to the more efficient micro-organisms. Processed yeast and algae products will be available in a variety of flavors. The world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders. Schools will have to be oriented in this direction... All the high-school students will be taught the fundamentals of computer technology will become proficient in binary arithmetic and will be trained to perfection in the use of the computer languages that will have developed out of those like the contemporary 'Fortran". [M]ankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014. [T]he most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work! in our a society of enforced leisure.