On The Right Delivery Of Advice

The best advice in the world will be of meager service if it is not conveyed in a way that enhances the likelihood of its acceptance.  Knowledge is one thing, and communication of that knowledge is another.  What is hard-won on the battlefield of experience may be dissipated in its conveyance to another.  He who wishes to render advice, then, should be aware of the snares and pitfalls that lie in wait for him.

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The Eminence Of Barley

Of all the cereal grains I like barley the most.  It has a smooth consistency and a nourishing quality that one does not find in other grains, such as rice or oats.  One reads of its ubiquity in ancient Rome, when it was a true food staple, and found its way into the bowls of gladiators, soldiers, scholars, scribes, and aristocrats.  It could be pounded into a porridge, baked into a bread, and fermented; added to soups or stews, it acted as a fortifying agent.

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The Nutriment Of Hippocrates

The Ionian philosopher Heraclitus, who flourished around 500 B.C., was even in ancient times known for his obscurity and elusiveness.  His well-deserved nickname was “The Obscure,” due to the fact that his elliptical sayings could be variously interpreted.  Yet this was no impediment to his influence; his renown was considerable, and his fame rested on the strength of one book, On Nature.  Time has not preserved it for us intact, but we do have about a hundred short fragments, and these provides us with the rudiments of his thought.

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The Mind Of Hippocrates

Thomas Kuhn, in his brilliant 1962 treatise on the structure of scientific revolutions, proposed that the advancement of knowledge takes place more often in periodic surges than through slow, incremental linearity.  He proposed that progress can best be understood as a sequence of “paradigms;” in his view, a paradigm was a kind of general consensus on how systems should be understood and interpreted.

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