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  • Naoki Kogo

Self-portrait of Michelangelo

Updated: Aug 30, 2020


In principle, I like interacting with people, and enjoy conversations, learning what their lives are like. Except when someone is arrogant or prejudicial.

It applies to scientists, and any involved in creative works, as well. My view is, “When one becomes arrogant about what they do, their science (or art) is over".

We (scientists) are trying to reach the ultimate truth that is so desperately somewhere higher “up there”. It is meaningless to compare yourself with others “down here” and be arrogant just because of your tiny small superiority in the community.

This is the thought of mine the self-portrait of Michelangelo represents. A miserable old man, despite the fact that he was one of the greatest and was praised. He knew that no matter how hard he works, his work could not be perfect, that he could not reach the place higher up there. And that was the only thing that mattered for him. I once read that, because of it, he, on purpose, left his works imperfect (by leaving out some parts unfinished). The painting is the reminder of the importance of us being humble in the face of what is up high that we have not been able to reach.

(although some studies reported that the painting was not a self-portrait but was painted by someone else ;>)

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