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Meaning: Using the understanding gained by major thinkers who have gone before in order to make intellectual progress.

Origin The best-known use of this phrase was by Isaac Newton in a letter to his rival Robert Hooke, in 1676:

"What Descartes did was a good step. You have added much several ways, and especially in taking the colours of thin plates into philosophical consideration. If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."

Newton didn't originate it though. The 12th century theologian and author John of Salisbury used a version of the phrase in a treatise on logic called Metalogicon, written in Latin in 1159. Translations of this difficult book are quite variable but the gist of what Salisbury said is:

"We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up,
and by their great stature add to ours."
This is how I feel, in every respect. Everything I know, everything I have learnt, all the good things about me, if any - I learnt from people who were better, smarter, infinitely wiser than I. I am built and constructed from the fabrics of those whose hands contain the expert and skill of beautiful craftsmanship. I am humbled to have such amazing figures and friends in my life.

Lord, remind me to be good, to love, to be happy, to be grateful and thankful of every single person and experience in my life and every breath I take. For the sunlight in the afternoon that casts such a beautiful light on everything, so much so that I long for my camera to capture the moment. Remind me to love the ones who gave me so much, who, after a year, still move me to tears with how grateful and thankful I am to have had them in my life.

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