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Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth.
Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in ...

Image via Wikipedia

Albert Einstein published his thesis on Special Relativity in 1905, now over a hundred years ago, and his General Theory in 1916, but he did not limit his opinions to physics entertaining economics and what may be broadly described as “spirituality”.

Chris Jennings, Pamela Hampton (FB) refers to three quotes of AE. What gift might this be:

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant but has forgotten the gift.”

Writing in 1949, Einstein said of the economic system:

‎”The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of evil.‎

Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of the smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organised political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights. This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism.

Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by a educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilised in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society”.

One year before his death in 1955, Einstein was suggesting that humanity conceive of a paradigm shift in its relationship with nature:

“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.

He may be wrong, he may be right, but he was a constructive thinker. This is all new to me, which does not mean that these comments are not well known. I find the language interesting eg “sacred gift”, “the real source of evil” and “optical delusion of consciousness”. I am speculating here, but I am guessing that people asking to explain the fine points of special relativity. Instead they will be saying you are a genius – who was sometimes wrong as in the Wikipedia article – what do you think about the commonplace concerns.

Since I do not to get outside the comfort zone and too hifalutin here are the thoughts of another public philosopher, Rush Limbaugh:

Many believe our entire public-education establishment is going in exactly the wrong direction. Rather, having a goal of real achievement, the trend seems to be toward reaching some kind of educational parity, to make sure no students feel badly about themselves. The liberal educational theoreticians tell you that bad grades only serve to discourage underachievers. The primary objective of Outcome-Based Education is to avoid humiliating a student. We should be educating the student first. Students are passing courses and graduating because of lower requirements, because of this new philosophical belief that no one should be held back. Colleges and universities are finding out that a high-school diploma is meaningless in terms of real achievement. The liberal school establishment lowers standards, ignores human nature, refuses to reward success and doesn’t punish failure.

Success and failure seems to be a theme with RL, and by success he means material well being and it is mostly due to the individual. He suggests that people should turn their televisions off for month, turn off the news, and people will realize what a happy land they live in. A more comprehensive view of Rush Limbaugh’s views are summarized by Frederich Mann. There is an Einstein quote, which if nothing else is a reminder of the limitations of quotes without context.


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