Liberal Arts Blog — Einstein’s Orion — What Did the Guy Say Most Worth Remembering?
Liberal Arts Blog — Tuesday is the Joy of Literature, Language, Religion, and Culture Day
Today’s Topic: Einstein’s Orion — What Did the Guy Say Most Worth Remembering?
I am no physicist, but I love Albert Einstein. He had a way with words as well as formulas. But, paradoxically, my favorite Einstein quote may well be a misattribution. “You can live life as if nothing in life is a miracle or as if everything in life is a miracle.” Einstein’s supreme ability was to extract what is essential from whatever he put his mind to. This quote to me extracts the essence of Mr. E’s philosophy of life which combined a taste for simplicity and humor and a love of wonder. Today, an idiosyncratic collection of my favorite Einstein quotes. To me authenticity in quotes is interesting but secondary, it is the truth of them that matters. But before we get to that let me translate his famous formula as best I can: in a pencil is more energy than a million atom bombs, in you many, many times that. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE GREATEST MYSTERY, THE ONLY HOPE, TWO WORD AUTOBIOGRAPHY
1. “One may say, ‘the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.’”
2. “Without ethical culture, there is no salvation for humanity.”
3. “I am only passionately curious.”
Comment: Einstein nailed it on the ethics front. But teaching ethics without teaching the centrality of gratitude is wrong. Gratitude and curiosity are twins.
THE BICYCLE AND THE MEASLES
4. “I look at myself as a man. Nationalism is an infantile disease, it is the measles of mankind.”
5. “Life is like riding a bicycle — to keep your balance you must keep moving.”
Comment: what is true of nations is true of all tribes.
READING AND THE THEATER, KNOWLEDGE VERSUS IMAGINATION
6. “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. Just as a man who spends too much time in the theater is tempted to live vicariously instead of living his own life.”
7. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited and imagination embraces the entire world.”
Comment: Read less, write more. Keep good records as continuity is key to depth of thought. Share. Absorb the feedback. Repeat.
FOOTNOTE — THE SIGN HANGING IN EINSTEIN’S OFFICE AT PRINCETON
“Not everything that counts can be counted. Not everything that can be counted counts.”
Comment: allegedly another myth — see below. But’s it’s beautiful and in Mr. E’s spirit. I’m sure he wishes he had written it.
COLLECTIONS OF EINSTEIN QUOTES
The Best Collection of Einstein Quotes I have stumbled upon: (48 quotes in 4 categories)
Albert Einstein Quotes (Author of Relativity)
QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
“Whenever you are wrong, admit it. Whenever you are right, shut up.” - Ogden Nash
#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
PDF with headlines — Google Drive
Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to words, language, literature, religion, culture. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to Words, Language, Literature (eg. quotes, poetry, vocabulary) that you have not yet shared.
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.