It’s October 2 again, and today would have been Karl Terzaghi’s 131st birthday. As I was reflecting on Terzaghi and some of his quotes, I was reading a passage from Professor’s Goodman’s biography1 that described a talk that he gave in 1924 entitled "The Way to Happiness." I thought this would be a nice change of pace from some of his more famous quotes and topics. Here are some selections from Goodman’s description of the presentation.
…This stems from application of the law of selection, which "leads to the survival of the most clever, most reckless, and most hypocritical. There seems to be no fox hole left for the freedom of will… The validity of the fundamental laws provides that the fear of perishing and the desire to succeed dominate all other instincts."
"The very moment you overcome fear and desire you leave the domain governed by the law and you become free." In this spirit Terzaghi left his hearers with three rules to promote internal happiness, all of which contradict the laws pointing toward external success: 1) do not avoid suffering but welcome it as a way to augment your strength, 2) disregard market conditions and give your best effor no matter what and never produce something that is worthless even if the market says to do so, and 3) try to combine "the inflexible firmness of the man of action with the sensitivity and spontaneity of the artistic mind."
Happy KTB 2014! -Randy
1. Goodman, Richard E. (1999). Karl Terzaghi – The Engineer as Artist. ASCE Press, Reston, Virginia.