Tuesday, May 30, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 9, 1444 H
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We can learn so much from the greatest genius of our time

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Albert Einstein was a genius. A theoretical physicist whose contributions towards mankind’s intellectual understanding of relativity, and quantum theory, led to him being awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. He was also incredibly humble, saying “I have no special talent, but I am passionately curious.”

His name is synonymous with the term ‘genius,’ and via google search his name appears as a suggestion, simply upon typing the letter ‘a.’ However I have always seen him as the doyen of all philosophers, because his philosophies have the hard edge of truth, appear relevant to all cultures, races, and societies. He advocated too that without science, there can be no philosophy, because “science discovers, and philosophy interprets,” which offers tangible value to his thoughts.

Take for example that which is applicable to most of us, in most walks of life: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The simplicity, and the reality, of this statement is evident to us all, particularly now in respect of pandemic non-compliance, which is still at unbelievable levels, as mask wearing, social-distancing, family and social gathering regulations are ignored by far too many. “If people are good only because they fear punishment, they really are a sorry lot indeed,” and that appears to be the way many feel, that unless the police are on every corner to stop and apprehend them, they will still have their gatherings... they really are a sorry, sorry lot, for their callow, insensitive, naïve, even childish regard for their fellow man, their arrogance knowing no bounds.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited to what we know and understand. While imagination embraces the entire world, and all there will ever be to know and understand.” Where would we be without imagination? It takes us past the sentences, tenses, grammar, structure, punctuation and spelling, past numbers, fractions, percentages, angles, and tangents, and develops what we have seen, heard learned and understood, beyond that to where we can produce literature, art, science, and ask endless questions that create a cycle that continues to reach out to the unknown. “Wisdom is not a product of schooling,” he said, “but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”

None of us, two years ago, could have foreseen exactly where we are at this time. The oil price crash had a significant effect on the country, but it appeared that fiscal measures being implemented were part of a cohesive and responsible response to the situation. Then we were blindsided by the impact of the pandemic, most of us having lived through SARS and MERS were only mildly concerned, but Einstein foresaw such frailty saying, “As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see how utterly inadequate that intelligence is, when confronted with that which exists.” And the truth is that we are horribly inadequate, because we are forced to rely upon the good sense of those who refuse to comply, to keep us all safe during the pandemic. Talk about ‘utterly inadequate!’

“Everybody is a genius,” said the great man, with the great mind, “but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life thinking it is stupid!” We are all different, physically, emotionally, physiologically, cognitively, and we all have different genes, traditions, cultures, and influences that make us different, or perhaps better said, define us. It is important that we give our youth the opportunity to be all that they aspire to be. Don’t force them into silence, or away from their passions. Tree-climbing fish, swimming birds, and flying snails will not achieve much!

This amazing man of thought and deed said that we are all imprisoned by our own ideas and must test ourselves on reality while we are young. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow, and never stop asking questions!

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