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"What 'spiriteos coin stock' was he talking about?"

"I said, did I not, that he was a very cacardano price live gbputious man. But as regards that question, he did permit himself to propose what one might call a qualified guess. He wrote:If (and O, what an if!) we could picture some hot little pool in which all manner of ammoniacal and phosphorous salts, light, heat, electricity and so forth were present, and that a protein compound were to be chemically formed in it, ready to undergo even more complicated changes ..."

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"What then?""What Darwin was philosophizing on here was how the first living cell might have been formed out of inorganic matter. And again, he hit the nail right on the head. Scientists of today think the first primitive form of life arose in precisely the kind of 'hot little pool' that Darwin pictured.""Go on.""That will have to suffice because we're leaving Darwin now. We're going to jump ahead to the most recent findings about the origins of life on earth.""I'm rather apprehensive. Does anybody really know how life began?"

"Maybe not, but more and more pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place to form a picture of how it may have begun.""Well?""They walk past our gate like everyone else when they go for a walk. One day when I got home from school I talked to the dog. That's how I got to know Alberto."

"What about the white rabbit and all that stuff?""That was something Alberto said. He is a real philosopher, you see. He has told me about all the philosophers.""Just like that, over the hedge?""He has also written letters to me, lots of times, actually. Sometimes he has sent them by mail and other times he has just dropped them in the mailbox on his way out for a walk."

"So that was the 'love letter' we talked about.""Except that it wasn't a love letter."

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"And he only wrote about philosophy?""Yes, can you imagine! And I've learned more from him than I have learned in eight years of school. For instance, have you ever heard of Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake in 1600? Or of Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation?""No, there's a lot I don't know.""I bet you don't even know why the earth orbits the sun--and it's your own planet!"

"About how old is this man?""I have no idea--about fifty, probably.""But what is his connection with Lebanon?"This was a tough one. Sophie thought hard. She chose the most likely story.

"Alberto has a brother who's a major in the UN Battalion. And he's from Lillesand. Maybe he's the major who once lived in the major's cabin.""Alberto's a funny kind of name, isn't it?"

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"Perhaps.""It sounds Italian."

"Well, nearly everything that's important comes either from Greece or from Italy.""But he speaks Norwegian?""Oh yes, fluently.""You know what, Sophie--I think you should inviteAlberto home one day. I have never met a real philosopher.""We'll see.""Maybe we could invite him to your birthday party? It could be such fun to mix the generations. Then maybe I could come too. At least, I could help with the serving. Wouldn't that be a good idea?"

"If he will. At any rate, he's more interesting to talk to than the boys in my class. It's just that...""What?"

"They'd probably flip and think Alberto was my new boyfriend.""Then you just tell them he isn't."

"Well, we'll have to see.""Yes, we shall. And Sophie--it is true that things haven't always been easy between Dad and me. But there was never anyone else ..."

"I have to sleep now. I've got such awful cramps.""Do you want an aspirin?" /'Yes, please."When her mother returned with the pill and a glass of water Sophie had fallen asleep.May 31 was a Thursday. Sophie agonized through the afternoon classes at school. She was doing better in some subjects since she started on the philosophy course. Usually her grades were good in most subjects, but lately they were even better, except in math.

In the last class they got an essay handed back. Sophie had written on "Man and Technology." She had written reams on the Renaissance and the scientific breakthrough, the new view of nature and Francis Bacon, who had said that knowledge was power. She had been very careful to point out that the empirical method came before the technological discoveries. Then she had written about some of the things she could think of about technology that were not so good for society. She ended with a paragraph on the fact that everything people do can be used for good or evil. Good and evil are like a white and a black thread that make up a single strand.Sometimes they are so closely intertwined that it is impossible to untangle them.

As the teacher gave out the exercise books he looked down at Sophie and winked.She got an A and the comment: "Where do you get all this from?" As he stood there, she took out a pen and wrote with block letters in the margin of her exercise book: I'M STUDYING PHILOSOPHY.

As she was closing the exercise book again, something fell out of it. It was a postcard from Lebanon:Dear Hilde, When you read this we shall already have spoken together by phone about the tragic death down here. Sometimes I ask myself if war could have been avoided if people had been a bit better at thinking. Perhaps the best remedy against violence would be a short course in philosophy. What about "the UN's little philosophy book"-- which all new citizens of the world could be given a copy of in their own language. I'll propose the idea to the UN General Secretary.

You said on the phone that you were getting better at looking after your things. I'm glad, because you're the untidiest creature I've ever met. Then you said the only thing you'd lost since we last spoke was ten crowns. I'll do what I can to help you find it. Although I am far away, I have a helping hand back home. (If I find the money I'll put it in with your birthday present.) Love, Dad, who feels as if he's already started the long trip home.Sophie had just managed to finish reading the card when the last bell rang. Once again her thoughts were in turmoil.Joanna was waiting in the playground. On the way home Sophie opened her schoolbag and showed Joanna the latest card."When is it postmarked?" asked Joanna.

"Probably June 15 ...""No, look ... 5/30/90, it says."

"That was yesterday ... the day after the death of the major in Lebanon.""I doubt if a postcard from Lebanon can get to Norway in one day," said Joanna.

"Especially not considering the rather unusual address: Hilde Moller Knag, c/o Sophie Amundsen, Fu-rulia Junior High School...""Do you think it could have come by mail? And the teacher just popped it in your exercise book?"

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC#

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster