Monday, July 30, 2012

Simplicity of life, through the eyes of Genius

Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Beethoven, Socrates, Jesus of Nazareth, Mark Twain, Nietzche, Edgar Allen Poe, Charlie Chaplin, Galileo, Paul Gauguin, Gautama Buddha, Irving Berlin, John Nash, Pablo Picasso, Mohandes Ghandi, Janis Joplin, Hunter S. Thompson, Howard Hughes...

Pioneers, eccentrics, some insane, some simply ahead of their time, some outcast in many circles, some tortured souls, desperately wanting to be understood, while not even understanding themselves, and SOME that viewed their naysayers, with apathy, disdain, empathy, pity, and in some cases, gleeful amusement. But ALL, remained true to their unique form of expression, and we are better for it.

Naysayers be damned!

One such historical enigma that continues to hold my fascination is Albert Einstien. The following are excerpts OF an excerpt of a much larger essay, (everybody got that?!) that I found in a web exhibit at the American Institute of Physics:

Don't ask how I landed on a website about Physics. I haven't the foggiest, personally.

Though the words in the following essay, are not mine, I have felt them, lived them, and though I of course, would never put my faux blonde brain on a tier anywhere close to his genius I feel as though I could have penned much of this myself.  I found several parts very inspirational and wanted to share a bit. I continue to be enamored with his ability very simply question, and often explain the complexities of life that seem to continue to plague the minds of so many looking for answers, myself included.

Plus, He was such a little cutie.

"How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people -- first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving...

"I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves -- this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed empty to me. The trite objects of human efforts -- possessions, outward success, luxury -- have always seemed to me contemptible.

"My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a 'lone traveler' and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude..."

"My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized. It is an irony of fate that I myself have been the recipient of excessive admiration and reverence from my fellow-beings, through no fault, and no merit, of my own. The cause of this may well be the desire, unattainable for many, to understand the few ideas to which I have with my feeble powers attained through ceaseless struggle...

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery -- even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man... I am satisfied with the mystery of life's eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence -- as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."

A larger excerpt of the full essay was found in a web exhibit at the American Institute of Physics:

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