O is for Einstein

Whenever I’m asked, “If you had a chance to spend a day with a famous person, who would you choose?”, my answer is immediate: “Albert Einstein.”  What an amazing mind he had, people say. And they are right.  Only a genius could have conceived of and explained this:

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I always think, what an amazing human he was.  Brilliant, passionate about his causes and filled with a deep love for imagination. His own as well as that of others.

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He was a pacifist and made no secret of that and of his love for Israel and the Jewish people.  A scientist who opened our eyes, our minds and our hearts to the possibilities held within the Universe.

But, going back to “O is for Einstein”. One of my much loved books is “Ideas and Opinions”, a collection of Einsteins’ writings. The book has five sections: Ideas and Opinions / On Politics, Government and Pacifism / On the Jewish People / On Germany / Contributions to Science.

This is not a book you sit down and read in one sitting. There is way too much to absorb. I pick it up, browse its pages till I land on something that speaks to me.  Like this, from The Religious Spirit of Science:  “But the scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation. The future, to him, is every whit as necessary and determined as the past. There is nothing divine about morality: it is a purely human affair. His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”

Or this, from “Exchange of letters with members of the Russian Academy: “In a healthy nation there is a kind of dynamic balance between the will of the people and the government, which prevents its degeneration into tyranny. It is obvious that the danger of such deterioration is more acute in a country in which the government has authority not only over the armed forces but also over all the channels of education and information as well as over the economic existence of every single citizen.”

This book is not one for the faint of heart or mind. Imagine, though, the pleasure of having Mr. Einstein as a dinner guest. The conversation would be enlightening and invigorating.  The goodbyes would be said with anticipation for the next opportunity to listen to such a man.

 

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