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SEAMANS: Good morning everyone.
We're here to tell you a little bit about where you are today,
and what will be happening as we go along.
I can't remember weather as gorgeous as this.
This is just spectacular, isn't it?
KEYSER: This area that we are in is known as Killian Court.
It was named after James Ryan Killian, class of '26,
who was the 10th president of this institution.
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the academic processor,
led by the Chief Marshal, will now enter Killian Court.
SEAMANS: On the faculty I think we have 11 Nobel Prize winners
and four Kyoto Prize winners.
KEYSER: It's also remarkable to see the diversity in the MIT
I believe 30% of MIT's faculty are, in fact, born outside
of the United States.
We think they're the best people world, of course.
SEAMANS: This again, is a view of the class of 1949.
An amazing percentage of them have come back
for the 50th reunion.
ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentleman, the guests of honor,
the class of 1999.
SEAMANS: They're being led by Ros Williams,
she is the Dean of Student Affairs at MIT.
She has a baton in her hand.
KEYSER: Both Tom and Ray Magliozzi are MIT alumni.
Tom is a graduate in 1958.
He is an economics graduate.
And Ray is class of '72, and he is Course 21B,
that was Science and Technology, one of the early Humanities
graduate here at the Institute.
A lot of people think they are MIT's most famous alumni.
SEAMANS: If you'll look to the dome,
you'll be seeing one of MIT's favorite places for hacks.
And if you see, they're two policemen up there now.
I want to assure you that those policeman are not hacks.
In fact, there up there to prevent hacks.
Because one of MIT's favorite activities
was to do a hack during commencement.
KEYSER: I think we're about to begin.
D'ARBELOFF: Corporation and the faculty
of Massachusetts Institute of Technology
will now declare convened, together with this assembly,
on the occasion of the commencement
exercises of this institution for the conferring
of its degrees.
The stage, assembly, and audience,
will please rise and join professor Ellen T.
Harris in the singing of one verse of the Star
Spangled Banner, and please remain
standing for the invocation by Rabbi Joshua E. Plaut.
HARRIS: [SINGING] Oh, say can you
see by the dawn's early light, what
so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Who's broad stripes and bright stars,
through the perilous fight, o'er the ramparts we watched
were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave o'er
the land of the free and the home of the brave?
PLAUT: Sing praise on this new morning, for dreams fulfill.
Proclaim gratitude to the creator
for implanting in us a divine spirit to grow in wisdom
and grasp our potential at this haven of higher learning.
A new day dawns.
Challenges brighten the paths ahead.
Knowledge inspired and acquired here
shapes us into messengers entrusted with the supplication
to act creatively and responsibly.
At this happy juncture, doors swing shut while others open.
We strive to succeed in life, not always sure of our path.
Take to heart then, words uttered 2000 years ago,
as a guy down the high road of life.
Who is wise?
One who learns from every person.
Who is strong?
The person able to master one's temptations.
Who is rich?
The person who enjoys one's own portion.
Who is honor?
One who honors others.
Proceed now with humility.
Cherish morality.
Have faith in yourself and believe in humanity.
Pursue justice and promote peace.
Be courageous.
Remember, the world needs us to make a difference.
As we sing praise for this new morning, blessed
be the work of our hands day by day.
Joyously we welcome this occasion
with a Hebrew prayer of Thanksgiving.
Blessed is the divine spirit of the universe
for giving us life, sustaining us, and bringing us
to this joyous and happy day.
Please be seated.
D'ARBELOFF: I am pleased to welcome
to the platform, the honorable Francis H. Duehay,
Mayor of the City of Cambridge.
It is also my pleasure to welcome Raymond F. Magliozzi,
Class of 1972, and Thomas L. Magliozzi, class of '58,
hosts on the National Public Radio series Car Talk.
The Magliozzi brothers will now give the commencement address.
You're on.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Don't crowd me.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Glad you could all come.
Shut up!
What's this?
R. MAGLIOZZI: Wait a minute.
I have to put my glasses on and everything.
T. MAGLIOZZI: When this was announced in the newspaper--
R. MAGLIOZZI: This happens all the time.
T. MAGLIOZZI: This was announced in the newspaper,
and my daughter, my lovely daughter,
Lydia, who's sitting over there, called me and said, "Is this
And I said, "Yeah."
She said, "When is commencement?"
I said, "It's June the 4th."
She said, "Promise me just one thing."
I said, "What?"
She said, "Promise me that you'll think
about it before June third."
Which reminded me of that great old country music
song, "How Come You Know Me So Good When
I'm A Stranger To Myself."
Yeah, what do you want to say?
R. MAGLIOZZI: Well, not much, actually.
I just wanted to say we are thrilled
to be here with you today, and we especially
want to thank Dr. Vest and anyone else
that he might be able to implicate for having
the courage to invite us here.
Now, I'm sure that--
T. MAGLIOZZI: We figure this is a guy who
has an iron-clad contract.
I mean, you've got to really have 'em.
Where is he?
R. MAGLIOZZI: Well, I'm sure those of you that know him,
know that he is a take charge, buck-stops-here kind of guy.
I mean I know that because every time
his wife Becky has taken her automobile
to our shop for repairs, he calls personally
to complain about the bill.
And you know, we were flattered to find out,
I think just this morning, that only
once before in the long history of MIT,
has the demand for commencement tickets been greater.
And coincidentally, it was when Abraham Lincoln
spoke to my brother's graduating class.
You know, if anything ever cried out for an explanation
it's, why are Tom and Ray speaking to us today?
And I will attempt, with the help of my brother,
to give you some kind of an explanation.
I think you deserve it.
You're going to be good?
T. MAGLIOZZI: I'm going to be good.
R. MAGLIOZZI: This all started a little over two years ago,
we were doing our weekly radio show,
and I happened to mention, casually,
that Kofi Annan had been selected
to give the address to the class of '97.
Tommy says, "Kofi Annan, who the hell is he?
What ever happened to [INAUDIBLE]?"
And then he begins to rant, "Why did they choose Kofi Annan?
OK, he is the Secretary General of the UN, I guess.
But no one's ever heard of them.
Everyone's heard of us.
They've got to fly him in, fly him out, put him up
in a fancy hotel, wine him and dine him and do all that.
They'd have to do none of these things for us,
and-- and-- and--
T. MAGLIOZZI: And what?
R. MAGLIOZZI: And he's not even an alumnus.
Now, I will admit that I could participate, to some extent,
in his rant and rave.
I've learned, I guess most of the experts
agree, that when you're dealing with these irrational types,
that you shouldn't be too confrontational.
In fact, you should try to be a little supportive,
and then hope that the medication kicks it.
Well, hardly a fortnight passes and we receive in the mail,
from someone named Charles M. Vest, what
I would call a terse rebuke.
T. MAGLIOZZI: It wasn't so terse.
Well, I happen to have it here.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Read it to us, please.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Which one is it?
R. MAGLIOZZI: It's the first one.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Here it is.
"Dear click '58 and clack '72--
R. MAGLIOZZI: Ah-hah, now you know who we are.
T. MAGLIOZZI: "--I was sorry to learn of your disappointment
in not being asked--" You don't mind if we read these?
R. MAGLIOZZI: We did clear this with your office?
T. MAGLIOZZI: What can you do?
"I'm sorry to learn of you disappointment
at not being asked to deliver the main address at this year's
commencement exercise.
It had been my understanding that you don't usually
care for exercise, especially in the open air,
and that you therefore wouldn't be interested in ours.
On the other hand, as alum-knee--" yes,
I'm going with the Greco-Latin pronunciation here--
R. MAGLIOZZI: I think Latin would be sufficient.
T. MAGLIOZZI: --"on the other hand, as alumni,
you will appreciate the fact we have some fairly eccentric
students and faculty here at the Institute.
So the idea of having to two gentleman as graduation
speakers is invariably floated each spring.
This year, as always, there was a strong, but murky
undercurrent support for you as commencement speakers.
Still, even your most ardent backers
had to admit that there was one crucial area in which
your qualifications could not match
those of your fellow alumnus--" he is an alumnus--
R. MAGLIOZZI: Geez, what does that say?
T. MAGLIOZZI: "--of your fellow alumnus, UN Secretary General,
[INAUDIBLE] Kofi Annan, '72--" He was a classmate of yours.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Well, I was-- no, no, let's
get this straight right now.
I was class of '70, '71, '72.
So I couldn't possibly have know everyone.
"As you know, the United Nations has a really spiffy flag.
Because Secretary General Annan was featured as this year's
speaker, we have a legitimate excuse
to fly the UN flag on the dais, and also to hang it
anywhere else we wanted to.
You could imagine how useful such a flag can
be when you want to cheer up a drab corner of the campus
or decorate a really big space like an auditorium
or an athletic cage."
I mean these are the kind of criteria
that this guy Vest is using?
What the hell is he thinking?
"If Car Talk, or even Dewy, Cheatem, & Howe
had possessed a similarly attractive flag,
we might have been able to use you.
But as it was, we felt that we really
have to go with the Secretary General for aesthetic reasons."
"You'll be pleased to know, however, that Secretary General
Anna was a great success.
The graduating seniors were especially
moved when he describe his challenge at the UN
as 'a little like trying to climb Mount Washington in a '63
Dodge Dart.
He was also warmly applauded when
he urged the US Senate to give him
their share of the gas money for UN operations worldwide.
Thus, despite your absence, MIT's '97 commencement
was a smashing success.
Please rest assured, we'll keep you
in mind for future ceremonies--" blah, blah,
blah-- "if you ever do get a flag, let us know."
R. MAGLIOZZI: Yeah, sure.
T. MAGLIOZZI: "As you may recall,
from your own graduations, the participants
want the speakers to be brief and to the point.
I know that brevity is not regarded
as your most notable quality.
"Finally, I would like to urge you to--" here it comes.
All that for this last one-line ending
paragraph-- "finally, I would like
to urge you to start sending us some really large donations.
Technically yours, Charles M. Vest.
President blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Well, a whole year passes without incident.
Well, I shouldn't say without incident.
During that year, I think, just about every automaker
on the planet threatened to sue us,
but at least without incident with regard to this issue.
And then, last year Tommy hears that some elected official--
these are his words, remember-- from Arkansas,
who's been in a--
T. MAGLIOZZI: I don't think I referred to him as an elected
R. MAGLIOZZI: --a little trouble with the law,
is going to give the address of the class of '98.
As you can imagine, another rant ensues.
Well, it doesn't take long before Charles M.
Vest puts laser printer to paper,
and we receive another rebuke.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Starting to sound like a Bible story, which
I also happen to have here.
Chuck won't mind--
T. MAGLIOZZI: --if we read this.
"Dear click '58 and clack '72, I understand that you have,
once again, expressed on-air disappointment
over not being asked to speak at MIT's graduation.
Last summer I advise you that the chances
of being invited as commencement because would be enhanced
if Car Talk had a suitable flag that could be used to help us
decorate the campus.
I hear that you now have come up with a flag,
and that you thought this would assure
your inclusion in the 1998 commencement program."
We went out of our way, if the truth be known,
we got the flag yesterday.
But we told him we had a flag.
We figured he would be gullible enough--
R. MAGLIOZZI: He went for it.
T. MAGLIOZZI: "Certainly it is possible
that a truly elegant flag, along with your accountable, yet
undeniable, popularity among your fellow alums,
might have gone a long way toward assuring a place for you
in this year's celebration, except for two
rather obvious problems.
One--" problem number one, he says--
"you failed to show your new flag to anyone at MIT."
R. MAGLIOZZI: Minor detail.
T. MAGLIOZZI: "Now I don't doubt that the flag exists-- well
that's not entirely accurate.
I do doubt the flag exists.
But its existence does you no good if you keep it secret.
There is, after all, a reason why people use expressions
like, 'let's run this up the flagpole-- " blah, blah, blah--
and the reason is, very simply, that people cannot appreciate
your flag unless they can see it.
Now some of my colleagues have suggested that the Car Talk
flag may be based on some sort of advanced
stealth technology, in which case
I applaud your technical prowess.
On the whole, however, a stealth flag seems, to me,
a self-defeating innovation."
And he's right about that.
"Problem number two.
One of this year's commencement speaker
is the Honorable William Jefferson Clinton, President
of these here United States."
I paraphrase there.
"As the duly-elected leader of the world's only superpower,
Mr. Clinton not only comes with his own flag--
and a darn good one, too-- but he's even got a seal.
Talk about upping the ante.
This guy brings his own podium, audience, press corps,
helicopter, you name it.
There's just no way for the two of you to compete this year.
You think you're disappointed?
Not even I get to make a speech this year,
and I'm supposed to run the place.
Nonetheless--" he says-- "I urge you not to give up hope.
Send us pictures of this alleged flag,
along with appropriate contributions
to the alumni fund."
Geez, will the guy never give up?
R. MAGLIOZZI: He's like a broken record, isn't he?
T. MAGLIOZZI: "Good luck.
I remain, technically yours, Charles M. Vest."
T. MAGLIOZZI: We got another letter, by the way.
R. MAGLIOZZI: I'm getting to that.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Oh, you are.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Don't interrupt.
After these two letters, of course,
Tommy continues to rant, albeit sporadically.
He says, "because we haven't been
chosen and been overlooked by MIT,
he's lost face and credibility."
You'd want to lose a face like this, wouldn't you?
Friends and neighbors have turned a cold shoulder to him.
His wife and kids of lost respect for him,
and barely to talk to him.
Even the dog won't play with him unless he has a pork chop
tied around his neck.
Then in the spring of this year, inexplicably we
received a beautifully written, I
would say almost conciliatory letter, from Dr. Vest
asking us to speak to you today.
Of course, we've lost that letter.
We don't know where it is.
But I don't know that Dr. Vest figured
that we would have the dignity, the good sense, and the respect
for MIT to refuse and to realize that the invitation was a joke.
Negative on all counts.
And of course, we accept, but we become immediately suspicious.
We start to think, how many others were
asked before they got to us?
I mean after all we knew-- and let's-- we're not kidding
anyone-- we're at the bottom of the heap.
Exactly right.
We're at the bottom of the heap, so they
must've asked thousands of other people.
So we engaged our crack detective
Paul Murky, of Murky Investigations,
to find out who was asked and the reason he or she refused.
I have the list.
Just stand back.
These are the requests that he made?
Now do to certain treaty restrictions and other strip
protocols, we can't-- and time-- we can't read all the names,
but we do have a few that we're allowed to read.
And I will give you the name of the person who was asked,
and the reason-- my brother will give you the reason he or she--
T. MAGLIOZZI: I've memorized the whole pile here.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Just this one.
Kofi Annan.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Yeah, he said, been there, done that.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Here's one.
Oh, a duo.
Pons and Fleischmann.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Yeah, they said, very low energy level.
We can't.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Oh, one of my personal favorites,
Leonid Brezhnev.
I love saying his name.
Can I say it again?
T. MAGLIOZZI: Yeah, is it like, Arup Gupta?
Leonid Brezhnev.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Yeah, he said he couldn't do it
because he was dead.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Let's see.
Oh yes.
Dolly the cloned sheep.
T. MAGLIOZZI: She couldn't come because she
didn't have FDA approval.
R. MAGLIOZZI: And last, but not least.
Leonid Brezhnev.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Still dead.
So then he got to us I guess?
R. MAGLIOZZI: I guess so.
And in spite of this news, we're still excited and thrilled,
of course, and honored to be here.
And after the euphoria subsided--
I mean after the euphoria subsided,
it began to sink in that we actually
had to give a speech today.
And I will admit that I was concerned, and maybe even a bit
After all, commencement speeches are usually
reserved for, heads of state, respected members
of the academic community, Secretaries General
of the United Nations-- but us.
Why us?
But my fears began to ebb as I weighed the consequences
of a poor performance today.
What if we do terribly?
What if we're incoherent, inspiring, uninteresting?
Be just like our radio show.
I mean, what could possibly happen?
I mean, what could they do?
Ask for our diplomas back?
They couldn't do that, could they?
T. MAGLIOZZI: I don't think so.
R. MAGLIOZZI: I don't want to get my diploma back.
I can't.
T. MAGLIOZZI: No, it's holding up
the end of that table in your dining room.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Well after this epiphany,
I began to feel a lightness of being.
And Tom and I rolled up our sleeves,
put on a pot of coffee, and began the creative process.
Now he'll divulge the intricacies
of that process soon enough, but first, the warnings.
I have to move this.
What an interesting perspective.
T. MAGLIOZZI: That's good.
R. MAGLIOZZI: You know, my brother frequently makes,
what I would call, offensive and insulting statements.
So my main function here today, other than introducing him,
is to number one, deflect any hurled fruit.
Number two, to try to prevent him
from insulting any religious, ethnic, or paramilitary groups,
to quell any civil unrest that may result from anything
he says or does, and to interrupt, and clarify, and say
things like, well, he didn't mean
to say that about every member of the faculty.
So without further ado, I would like
to introduce my esteemed brother Professor Thomas Magliozzi.
T. MAGLIOZZI: That would be me.
Well, I mean, we had to use technology, actually--
R. MAGLIOZZI: Can I-- may I sit?
T. MAGLIOZZI: Ah, geez.
We figured-- I mean this is the world's foremost
Institute of Technology on Massachusetts Avenue,
and so we ought to use technology.
So what my brother did, actually,
was he requested from Paul Parravano,
who's, I guess, the second president-- the vice
president of MIT.
Where is Paul?
We don't know.
R. MAGLIOZZI: They threw him out.
T. MAGLIOZZI: He requested copies of the last 20 years'
commencement addresses.
We gave this to our crack researcher
Paul Murky of Murky Research-- brother
of the Paul Murky of Murky Investigations--
and we asked him to analyze all of these speeches
to find out if there were some commonalities.
And indeed, there where.
He used factor analysis-- which, of course,
15 guys will understand-- and he came up with three factors.
Well, get this, every one of these features
have in common, a beginning, a middle, and an end.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Well, this is good because we were so thrilled
about this, that we had made such progress, that we put it
aside for about a month, didn't have to think about it anymore,
then we looked at it one day and said, this is a little skimpy.
R. MAGLIOZZI: I hate to interrupt,
but the good news is, our wives are not hanging
their heads in shame yet.
T. MAGLIOZZI: They will.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Okay, go ahead.
T. MAGLIOZZI: We figure the beginning, that
was pretty straightforward.
We could read a couple of letters from Chuck Vest.
So we did that already, and so that's done.
The middle, that was the tough part.
We couldn't quite figure what the middle ought to be.
But the end we knew had to be some kind
of inspirational thing.
That's what they all are.
So we said to ourselves, what do we know
about inspirational things?
It's so happens, however-- man-- it so
happens that we have, in addition
to Murky Investigations, Murky-- Paul Murky,
whom I just told you did the factor analysis-- had
been working on some other research for us.
And he and his lovely assistant, Marge Innovera--
Marge Innovera--
R. MAGLIOZZI: Yeah, they got it I think.
It just wasn't that funny.
T. MAGLIOZZI: I'll tell you the genesis.
It's interesting how research happens.
One day, I can't remember which one of us it was,
had come across, interestingly-- isn't it interesting, I mean,
We just had our little Hebrew prayer.
And one of us had thought of a quotation
from another great Hebrew philosopher Isaac Newton.
And if you recall, which you probably don't
because you're a bunch of nerds who only think in numbers--
R. MAGLIOZZI: Stop it!
T. MAGLIOZZI: He said, "If I have accomplished anything
in my life, it is because I have stood
on the shoulders of giants."
T. MAGLIOZZI: That's what we said, wow.
T. MAGLIOZZI: But after a few moments, we thought about a bit
and said, you know, it's one of those things,
you know, like George Collin, he says, it sounds good,
but-- And we wondered, is in fact true,
in all areas of endeavor, that people accomplish
great things because they stand on the shoulders of giants.
So we tell Paul Murky, do some research on this.
And he comes back to us with a couple of hypotheses.
He's a great researcher, this man.
The null hypothesis is, well, of course,
it applies to all areas, all endeavors,
because we as humans have been on the planet
for hundreds of thousands of years,
and we each benefit from whatever has
been done by our predecessors.
That's the Shoulders-of-Giants hypothesis.
The alternative hypothesis is, oh yeah!
The alternative hypothesis is it's not true.
In some areas, yes we do in fact benefit
from what our predecessors have done.
But in other areas, mostly like the human involvement kinds
of areas, we may, in fact, all be
destined to make the same mistakes over and over
and over again-- generation after generation,
child after child-- and so there is never
any giant on whose shoulders you could stand,
and therefore there is no progress.
Now there is an interesting set of hypotheses.
This one is called the "oh yeah" alternative hypothesis.
So Murky goes out and starts to work.
And, as he will do, Murky doesn't stick strictly
to what we ask him to do.
And one day we catch him, I think
it's called mucking around in the data,
and sure enough, he comes to us and says,
guys I have been mucking around in the data.
And I have I finding here that is
going to knock your socks off.
And I have to apologize for our visual aids here.
I did prepare a complete PowerPoint presentation,
and I asked for an overhead projector
and they couldn't find one here.
R. MAGLIOZZI: No, I think they told him to drop dead.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Could I have slide number two, please.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Chuck, come on Chuck.
We're on your buck here.
We're in your money.
Number two.
R. MAGLIOZZI: What's the matter with number one?
T. MAGLIOZZI: I already used that one.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Should we turn it around so people behind us
can see?
T. MAGLIOZZI: Yeah, just turn it round for a minute.
R. MAGLIOZZI: We'll be right back.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Don't fall of the stage, Chuck.
Now what-- those in the back with the cheap seats,
you can't see this, but it's very straightforward.
I may have to move over to this mic.
Does this mic work?
Yes it does.
Murky says to us, I've plotted something interesting here.
We're talking about basically left-brain
versus right-brain function.
He says, and while mucking around,
I find this interesting relationship.
This is left brain on this end.
This is a right brain on the right.
R. MAGLIOZZI: And what's the y-axis?
T. MAGLIOZZI: Well, I'll tell you that.
This is a plot-- he did a regression analysis on this
with an R square of 0.99 and a significance of 0.0001--
and this axis is happiness.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Doesn't that knock your socks off.
He says, left brain, right brain.
And if you think about it, this is
sort of what we think of-- some people do,
at least-- intelligence.
So it's almost a plot of intelligence versus happiness.
And the news ain't good for you.
Because what Murky finds out is that right-brain people
are about 10 times as happy as left-brain people.
So the stupider you get by left-brain people's measures
of stupidity-- of course, because right-brain people are
too happy to waste their time developing IQ tests
but they're 10 times happier.
We say, whoo, Paul this is something.
But that's not the end of it.
Because we do what any good researcher would do,
we want to extrapolate.
And do we want to extrapolate in this direction?
Hell know.
We want to extrapolate in that direction.
So we say to Paul, if this really
is intelligence going in that direction, what
we need is dumber people.
Let's see if it goes on and on.
So, where do you go?
He goes to Harvard.
He comes back to us about a month later,
and he says it just isn't working.
He said, they're not dumb enough.
And I say, what do you mean they're not dumb enough?
They don't give me dumber than Harvard students.
And he says, people don't get any dumber than Harvard
students, but why do we have to limit research to people?
R. MAGLIOZZI: Can we put this down now?
T. MAGLIOZZI: Oh, sure.
Are you still there?
Oh I'm sorry.
So-- I'm just trying to drive the guy with the microphones
So-- now don't go away we're going to number three.
We're going to be number three.
He says I can extend the research
to include other life forms.
And through a methodology which he will not reveal to us,
he was able to determine the happiness level all other life
Slide three please.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Slide three.
Slide three.
Here it is.
Here's humans.
And the best of humans, of course,
is the right-brain humans.
And here is what he found.
Happiness goes up-- it begins to look
like it's exponential over there--
the next happier life form is a golden retriever,
then a cow, then worms.
And he stopped his research at grass.
You can turn that to show the faculty because they may not
understand what I'm talking about.
R. MAGLIOZZI: Okay, we'll just keep going.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Here's the story.
I mean, what is the importance of this?
We have always thought that we were the highest life
form on the planet.
Turns out we are the lowest life form on the planet.
And I am going to give to you now a theorem which
will knock your socks off.
Some theories, you know, are just complete bullshit.
For example, the Big Bang Theory.
The entire universe is compacted into a dot.
It explodes.
Well they don't know why, so they call it a singularity.
That's like a bimbo saying, well it just did.
It explodes, and out of it comes all the stars
that you can see in the sky, all the planets, Madonna,
corned beef sandwiches-- now if you didn't hear that and say,
oh come on.
But I am going to give you the theorem,
and you're going to say, why didn't I think of that?
What does all of this tell us?
That we are not the highest life form?
This is the theory of reverse incarnation.
Some people believe in reincarnation.
And what they believe is that when we die,
we come back as better and better people.
What the theory of reverse reincarnation says,
if we are good people, we will come back as a golden retriever
then a cow, then a worm, then grass.
Now, if the reincarnation was working in the other direction,
coming back as better and better people, where are they?
So it becomes clear that the theory of reverse reincarnation
may be the scientific finding of, not the decade, not the
century, but of all time.
Now, my brother and I, El Ron Magliozzi,
are going to help you to achieve nirvana.
We're going to help you to get to become not smarter-- smarter
is no good.
That's the wrong direction.
R. MAGLIOZZI: You've been doing that.
T. MAGLIOZZI: You have spent the last four, five,
or six years of your life working on the wrong direction.
You are sliding down, as Tom Lehrer says, sliding down
the razor blade of life.
You are sliding down the happiness curve.
You must stop this from happening,
and you must go in the other direction,
and we are here to help you.
And as you know, there is a process for reaching nirvana,
and we are going to give it you now.
It is this.
You must repeat the mantra.
And the mantra, which happens to be emblazoned
on our flag, which stands here-- none of you morons
will be able to read it because it's in Latin.
R. MAGLIOZZI: It says, "non impediti ratione cogiatatonis."
T. MAGLIOZZI: Which, of course, mean "unencumbered
by the thought process."
Now, I am going to give you a very brief history of how
this mantra has helped me.
R. MAGLIOZZI: I can't wait.
T. MAGLIOZZI: If you repeat this mantra, what happens
is everything slows down.
Life slows down.
Being unencumbered by the thought process
allows you to identify and hear in
see defining moments in your life, things
that will change your life.
Unencumbered by the thought process.
You say it over and over again.
And as everything slows down and begins to stop-- we call these,
by the way, moments of inertia--
R. MAGLIOZZI: Oh, God is that bad.
T. MAGLIOZZI: I had to use it, though.
I had to.
I was once trapped by the scientific logic left-brain
I graduated from here and I went to work as an engineer.
And I will tell you about my defining moment.
I was driving-- I lived in Cambridge
at the time-- I was driving from Cambridge
to my job in Foxborough, Massachusetts,
and I was driving in a little MG, weighed about 50 pounds.
And on Route 128 I was cut-off by a semi.
And I almost, as they say, bought the farm.
And, as I continued my drive, I said to myself,
if I had, in fact, bought the farm out there in Route 128,
how ticked off would I be that I had spent all my life,
that I can remember, at least-- going to this job,
living a life of quiet desperation.
So I pulled into the parking lot,
walked into my boss' office, and I quit on the spot.
R. MAGLIOZZI: See now most people would have just bought
a bigger car.
So act now.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Yeah, see.
That those people would have been using their left brains.
I had been saying my mantra in the car.
That's why that guy cut me off.
I think I cut him off.
In any event, I quit my job.
I became a bum.
I spent two years sitting in Harvard Square drinking coffee.
I invented the concept of the Do-It-Yourself auto repair
And I met my lovely wife.
None of which would have happened if I
had been using my left brain.
My second great defining moment came-- also
showing the power of the mantra, unencumbered by the thought
process-- I was having an argument with my lovely wife
one day.
I mean, how can you argue with such a wonderful person?
Well, left-brain people do that.
Because all they can think of is, this is an argument.
This person's over here, and I'm over here,
and I am going to use every ounce of logic and skill
that I have so I can win this argument.
And my wife says to me, do you want
to be right or do you want to be happy?
Holy shit says I. I wanted to be happy.
So now I have reached nirvana, and my brother and I
can help you to reach it.
If you want to repeat after me-- unencumbered
by the thought process.
Say it.
R. MAGLIOZZI: You may have to stand for this.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Unencumbered by the thought process.
Louder, come on.
Unencumbered by the thought process.
One more time.
Unencumbered by the thought process.
Follow us, my children, to happiness.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Are there any questions?
R. MAGLIOZZI: Thank you.
T. MAGLIOZZI: Are you happy?
R. MAGLIOZZI: I'm excited.
Thank you Professor Wagstaff.
That was most informative.
You know, that does remind me of a famous Latin expression.
Caesar si viveret ad remum dareris.
Which means, if Caesar were alive,
you'd be changed to an oar.
Look, we won't belabor this anymore than we have to,
but this is the part of the address where
we're supposed to say something meaningful
and impart some words of wisdom.
T. MAGLIOZZI: What did I just do?
R. MAGLIOZZI: We're not sure.
But I'm not sure that we're in position of any wisdom,
but we never let that stop us.
So listen up I'm going to say this a few times.
Today you will receive a document
that states that you've earned a degree, or maybe degrees,
from MIT.
You know, you've worked hard, and you
should feel a great sense of accomplishment.
I know I did.
And most of you will leave here today
with a pretty good idea of where you're going
and what you're going to do.
Some of you have no clue, and you'll just
have to move back in with your parents--
if they haven't rented out your room already.
But others among you may have charted a course,
or had one charted for you, that you know is wrong.
And you may feel some creative energy coursing
through your body.
Don't ignore it.
If you feel the urge to create and discover
and to do something that will bring
you fulfillment and happiness, do it now while you're young.
You will never have more energy or enthusiasm, hair, or brain
cells then you have today.
Do you know when Albert Einstein was less than half my age,
he was already world famous for his Special Theory
of Relativity.