Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Einstein: Looking Beyond the Hair

There are few people in history who have had the ability to view the world in a different light; to see the workings of nature and humanity with imagination and wonder. Albert Einstein was one of those people. I know what you’re thinking: he’s the really smart guy who looks like he stuck his finger in a light socket, right? Yes, that’s the one. Sure he had scraggly white hair and an absent-minded brilliance that would put any modern day physicist to shame, but if you take the time to read about the life of Einstein you will learn that that he was actually a lot like you and I.

Einstein once said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” It is this curiosity that allowed him to picture what it would be like to ride on a motorcycle at the speed of light, study the bending of starlight, and question the relationship between time and space. It was also this curiosity that compelled him to continue his experiments after failing his university entrance exam in 1895 and being turned down time after time while trying to find a job.

Not only did Einstein question the world around him, but he also stood up for what he believed in. At only seventeen years old, Einstein renounced his German citizenship to avoid military service. Can you imagine? Let’s see, when I was seventeen I was watching Elf and saving up money for the Beyonce CD. Einstein was sacrificing his statehood for peace…amazing. He later expressed that the idea of going to war to promote peace was absolutely absurd. The man had a point, and a great one at that.

Although he was not one to apologize for his actions, Einstein did recall having one regret during his lifetime. “I made one great mistake in my life,” he said. That mistake he referred to was sending a letter to President Roosevelt to support the development of the atomic bomb. The man who literally defines the word “genius,” (Wikipedia…look it up) alleged that his only burden was supporting the production of the nuclear bomb. Now if that isn’t a big red flag, I don’t know what is.

So here is my challenge to you: When you go out into the world every day, channel your inner Einstein. Visualize the earth through the scope of possibility and wonder. And stand up for what you believe in. This Saturday, June 25th, is Nuclear Abolition Day. Let’s make Einstein proud and create new standards for humanity; standards that rise above weapons capable of total destruction. In the words of the goofy scientist who refused to wear socks, “Only the individual can think, and thereby create new values for society, even set up new moral standards to which the life of the community conforms. ... The ideals which have lighted my way and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth.”

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