“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
-Albert Einstein, letter to son Eduard, 1930
A life in motion is one of ongoing intellectual curiosity, loving relationships the deepen through the years, and a growing sense of community. Curiosity, love, and selflessness.
With that, if we are lucky, we can maintain balance and find some modicum of wisdom and maturity.
“The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything.”
“So many people today… seem to me like someone who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation…”
We are fast becoming a nation with no sense of history, from high school graduates that kind can’t find Europe on the map to a presidential press secretary that didn’t know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was while talking to reporters.
We are disconnected from the past and disinclined to see why it matters; stuck in the prejudice and hubris of the now that is nothing but an illusion, a lack of perspective of which is the consequence of narcissism, arrogance, and apathy.
“To punish me for my contempt of authority, Fate has made me an authority myself”
By rejecting the status quo and revolutionizing physics with his rebellious notions of space and time, Einstein eventually became the scientific establishment – the authority that younger physicists rebelled against through a “quantum” leap of thought and imagination.
But it was upon the former rebel’s shoulders that these young turks stood in their rebellion – just as it was for Einstein himself two decades before.
And so it is that human history progresses: through a cycle of rebellion and revolution, of one sort or another, against established authority, thus becoming the new authority from which, one day, new revolution foments.
“Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in point of fact, religious.”
To at once use our capacities to question, to discern as best we can, the workings of nature, while stopping short in reverent awe at the precipice of understanding, like a child looking up in wonder at the clear night sky, is to find religion of the truest kind.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
Albert Einstein’s curiosity was his “religion”. He believed that the path toward God was found through a passionate and unending curiosity about the universe and our place in it. No miracle was necessary to see God, for in the very structure of the cosmos was the soul of God.
To cease questioning is to abandon God.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
Seeing beyond knowledge is the realm of our imagination. Simple knowledge is but a tool for the imagination. It is, as far as we know, a uniquely human trait, without which human progress is not possible.
To create a new world it must first be imagined.
“Why is it that nobody understands me, yet everybody likes me.”
Albert Einstein’s genius was as much a product of his heart and imagination as it was pure intellect.
Through his imagination he looked at the world and saw the fundemental underpinnings of space and time. And through his heart he could imagine a world of peace and dignity for every living soul.
Many could not understand, but liked trying, and liked Einstein for seeing beyond the facade of conformity.
“Use for yourself little, but give to others much”
The brilliance of Albert Einstein was his singular, focused, insight into the universe – on the fundamental simplicity of the laws of nature.
A simple truth is a beautiful thing.
“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us_universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
Albert Einstein helped show the way.