A .sig is four lines after a "-- " put at the end of a piece
of text that, for ascii communication, takes the place of a signature.
It is a flourish. Something unique to help others remember who the
post is from more easily than just a name.
Be like a child
Love like you never will be hurting,
Learn like there's right in every way,
Laugh like no one else is watching,
Live like today is your last day.
-- 1999, Douglas Reay
Why use text for that, when you can have cute animated gifs? And why
restrict yourself to just 4 lines, when you can use ascii art?
I guess I'm just a purist. Heavens, I even bottom post, trimming the
post I'm replying to down to just the bits I am replying to, using "[...]"
and nested layers of "> " to preserve attribution and context.
In other words, your standard archaic net pedant.
The point being though, unless used just to list contact details or
include standard legal disclaimers, a .sig becomes something very
personal. Like a haiku or limerick, the length restriction forces
you to think about and boil down to its essence what you stand for,
believe or see yourself as.
The sentiments behind the four lines of my signature come from different
sources. I believe that the way I have phrased and juxtaposed the four of
them is original to myself, though others have done similar compilations.
Everyone brings their own meanings to a text,
but here are some of the things these mean to me...
Line 1: Love like you never will be hurting,
To receive you must give. To be truely in love, you must let yourself
go; beyond calculation, beyond earnt trust, you must open yourself up -
deliver your heart in hand and the very keys to your soul. To do so
is also to open yourself to risk terrible hurt, but rational though it
may not be, you must put that risk aside in your mind. Act without
flinching, with faith that hurt will never come. Trust like a child.
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
-- 1850, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Line 2: Learn like there's right in every way,
Not every way of doing things is right. Or equally right for everyone.
I would not say that critical thought, or even skepticism, has no place
in the learning process. However, there are also times to lay aside
judgement, and listen as a child. Not to what you want them to be saying,
or what you think they ought to be saying, or what you would be saying,
but to what they ARE actually saying. Kuhn spoke about
incommensurable world views. Nan-in spoke about
full tea cups. Miller spoke about
chunking. Basically what it means is that what you believe affects
your interpretation of what you see and sometimes, in order to be able
to see something new, you must temporarily 'dechunk' your beliefs.
In the Neolithic Age
Then I stripped them, scalp from skull, and my hunting dogs fed full,
And their teeth I threaded neatly on a thong;
And I wiped my mouth and said, "It is well that they are dead,
For I know my work is right and theirs was wrong."
But my Totem saw the shame; from his ridgepole shrine he came,
And he told me in a vision of the night: --
"There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays,
And every single one of them is right!"
-- 1895, Rudyard Kipling
Line 3: Laugh like no one else is watching,
Children often learn best through play. Adults often work best when what
they do is what they would do anyway for free. Do what you do for yourself
and be damned to the audience and their expectations. Be yourself.
Come From The Heart
You got to sing like you don't need the money
Love like you'll never get hurt
You got to dance like nobody's watching
It's gotta come from the heart if you want it to work.
-- 1989, recorded by Kathy Mattea, written by Susanna Clark & Richard Leigh,
plaguarised from Mark Twain
Line 4: Live like today is your last day.
A sentiment going back to Ecclesiastes, and restated many many times:
To me it does not mean "don't invest for the future". It means that
every second is precious and to be savoured, like a strawberry,
not to be passed by
absently while thinking of future or past. My family motto is
"In Omnia Promptus", and my personal motto is "If a thing's worth doing,
it is worth doing to excess." Don't live for the now, but live in the
now, like a child.
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!
-- 1920, Edna St. Vincent Millay
There's a wonderful example of this in Steve Jobs' Commencement address
Title: Be like a child
The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which mean never losing your enthusiasm.
- Aldous Huxley
The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of childhood into maturity.
- Thomas Henry Huxley
I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.
- Vladimir Nabokov
True genius sees with the eyes of a child and thinks with the brain of a genius.
- Puzant Kevork Thomajan
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 18:3
The principle "Be Childlike" is paramount in the education of mankind. The child represents the future, all the possibilities, all the coming greatness of the human race. We, the adults, are contaminated by the brutal passions and vices incident to the struggle for existence and self-preservation.
Plasticity of mind is characteristic of genius. Plasticity of mind and body is preeminently characteristic of the child. Adaptability and plasticity are found in all young tissue, muscle, gland, and nerve. As the organism ages, becomes differentiated, and adapted to special functions and conditions of life, it loses its original plasticity. The tissues become fixed and the functions set. The adult's brain and mind begin to work in ruts. The child is superior to the adult.
The child looks at the world with eyes simple, clear, bright, not blinded by the heavy scales of traditions, superstitions, and prejudices of remote ages. The intricate worries, complex fears, selfish motives, brutal passions, greed, revenge, malice, vice, enmity do not as yet mar the soul of the child. Artificial needs, strong animal passions have no firm hold on the child's mind. The child's mind is purer, fresher, brighter, far more original than the adult intelligence with its philistine notions and hide-bound habits of thought and belief.
- Boris Sidis
Discovery is the privilege of the child: the child who has no fear of being once again wrong, of looking like an idiot, of not being serious, of not doing things like everyone else..
- Alexander Grothendieck