Sep

30

 This is Feynman's parting wish to Caltech class of '74:

"I have no more time so I have just one wish for you– the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described (ed: intellectual honesty), and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom."

He is less describing freedom than courage.

Mark Schuetz comments:

It seems to me still to be more like freedom than courage. There are plenty of people with jobs in both academia and industry where dissenting from the organization will likely entail the loss of a job, despite most academics' claims for the search for truth and absolute devotion to intellectual integrity. This probably stuck out to Feynman so much because the nature of his personality was to question and rethink even trivially "solved" issues (I will never forget the story of how he spent an entire day away from physics and instead experimented with ants that were carrying crumbs around in his room). Similarly, in most industries, I've heard of very few firms where open disagreement is genuinely valued… often, the bigger the firm the worse the problem. In these cases, I suppose if you have the "courage" to lose your job, then you are right.


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