The genius of Einstein

Walter Isaacson, biographer ofAlbert Einstein, writes the following (page 550):

Perhaps the most important aspect of his personality was his willingness to be non- conformist. “The theme I recognise in Galileo’s work” , he said, “ is the passionate fight against any kind of dogma based on authority”.

Plank, Poincare and Lorentz all came close to some of the breakthroughs Einstein made in 1905.  But they were a little too confined by dogma based on authority.  Einstein alone among them was rebellious enough to throw out the conventional thinking that had defined science for centuries.

Einstein’s fundamental creed was that freedom was the lifeblood of creativity.  “The development of science and of the creative activities of the spirit, “ he said,” requires a freedom that consists in the independence of thought from the restrictions of authoritarian and social prejudice”.  Nurturing that should be the fundamental role of government and the mission of education”.

There was a simple set of formulas that defined Einstein’s outlook. Creativity required  being willing not to conform.  That required nurturing free minds and free spirits, which in turn required “a spirit of tolerance”. And an underpinning of tolerance was humility – the belief that no one had the right to impose ideas and beliefs on others

The world had seen a lot of impudent geniuses.  What made Einstein special was that his mind and soul were tempered by this humility.  He could be serenely self- confident in his lonely course yet also humbly awed by the beauty if nature’s handiwork…….

For some people, miracles serve as evidence of God’s existence.  For Einstein it was the absence of miracles that reflected divine providence.  The fact that the cosmos is comprehensible, that it follows laws, is worthy of awe”.   ( Einstein – his Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson, published by Simon & Schuster, 2008)

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