I Want to Be Like Einstein

Dariela Aquique

Alberto Einstein. photo:wikipedia.org

HAVANA TIMES — Reason rests on the appreciation and discernment of facts. Everything finally reaches a category of relativity. That’s why I try not to be sectarian or biased. I always make my own opinions, which are committed only to sincerity – first with myself, then with others.

Maybe this is due to my fondness for Albert Einstein, one of the great geniuses of humankind, whose personality and thinking always sparked heated discussions. He was sometimes misunderstood and he sometimes aroused certain misgivings (and please understand, I’m not comparing with him).

In matters of ideology or political positions, there’s always a tendency to think in terms of extremes. People are defined as left or right, and they regularly refuse to accept the possibility of a balance.

Let’s go back to Einstein and his relativity, “a theory that defines the variation of physical laws, when the system of reference changes.” I think this applies to all areas of life and thinking.

Einstein believed that his scientific work was part of the philosophical contributions made throughout history to understand the mysteries of nature.

Since I began writing for this site, I’ve been attacked by various sides.

Those “on the left” go after me if I criticize the system, or accuse it of manipulating information or for the lack of it. To top it off, they call me a “mercenary” and make all kinds of insulting comments.

Those “on the right” will hammer away at me if I recognize any value in the policies of the government or express something positive about any figure on the opposite side. They call me everything from “erratic” to “mentally unbalanced.”

Einstein’s attitude towards knowledge, like everything in his life, wasn’t without contradictions. While his early career was influenced by positivist philosophers, in his later years he turned away from positivism.

Einstein used to say, “Here there’s no goal, only the chance to indulge in the pleasant task of thinking.”

This is why extreme positions scare me. Without being flakey or an inconsistent person, I’m inclined to accept the premises such as “special relativity,” which offers the reason for an event, previously inexplicable.

Einstein was a pacifist. His antipathy to the arms race was a constant throughout his life, as was revealed in his commitment to societies working for peace and in his writings. His position became more radicalized as he called on people to conscientiously object to and frontally oppose governments that opted for war as a way to “make peace.”

However, because of the calamities produced by the German Nazis, his message wasn’t so clearly an antonym to the non-participation in war. In 1939 he decided to exercise his influence by participating in political issues affecting the world.

He wrote a famous letter to Roosevelt to promote the atomic project and prevent the “enemies of humanity” from achieving it first. But the fatal ending of the war, with the dropping of atomic bombs, made him again adopt a radical stance against weapons production.

How can we judge this person? Was he left, right, liberal, conservative, wishy-washy or a nut. None of these. He was just a being committed to what he believed was best, from his perspective and depending on the context. I want to continue being like him.



Dariela Aquique

Dariela Aquique: I remember my years as a high school student, especially that teacher who would interrupt the reading of works and who with surprising histrionics spoke of the real possibilities of knowing more about the truth of a country through its writers than through historical chronicles. From there came my passion for writing and literature. I had excellent teachers (sure, those were not the days of the Fast-track Teachers) and extemporization and the non-mastery of subjects was not tolerated. With humble pretenses, I want to contribute to revealing the truth about my country, where reality always overcomes fiction, but where a novel style shrouds its existence.

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8 thoughts on “I Want to Be Like Einstein

  • Dariela,

    I know this does not bear on what you wrote specifically but I recently watched a TED talk by Jurgen Schmidhuber on machine intelligence in which he related his youth in which he went from wanting to be as smart as Einstein to wanting to work on machine intelligence (artificial intelligence or AI ) that would far exceed Einstein’s brilliance .
    Human level machine intelligence is expected sometime in the late 2020s according to the cognoscenti in that field.

  • Ha! A Marxist is telling me my political references reflect a rigid mentality… Now that’s rich!

    I’m quite satisfied with Einstein’s work as a physicist. I’m simply pointing out to you that his Theory of Special Relativity is about physics. Special Relativity is not an endorsement for lazy philosophers to believe any any silly notion is equally valid as any other idea, which is what you seem to imagine.

    Einstein’s theories have been thoroughly tested by empirical experiment and stand up. That means they accurately describe reality. Which is more than can be said of any Marxist theory.

  • “Only a fool would mistake fiction for physics.” Once again, you reveal your own rigid, “Newtonian,” mentality. Einstein was both a physicist and a poet, as demonstrated by the creativity–and accessability–of the examples he used in communicating his theories. OTOH, Griffin, you seem to be the proponent of a rigid universe of absolutes; your political and philosophical references also reflect a rigid mentality.

  • No sir, Einstein did not tell us that. His theories are about physics, not philosophy. You indulge in sophistic legerdemain when you attempt to use general relativity to cover sloppy philosophic speculation. Marques and Cervantes were brilliant novelists, not physicists. They wrote about the subjective realm of the imagination, not the physical universe.

    Only a fool would mistake fiction for physics.

  • re: “Objective reality does exist, even if you don’t know what it is and can’t see beyond your personal frame of reference.” Hmmm…this sounds like the Newtonian “absolute place” in an “absolute space.” Yet, Einstein tells us that all “place” is relative; hence, can “objective reality” ever be known? Doubtful. Still, as Gabriel Garcia Marques and Miguel del Cervantes so splendidly demonstrate, subjective realities come in a variety of delightful flavors, some much preferable to the dreary so-called “objective reality!”

  • You are mistaken. Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity is not a metaphor, or an excuse, for personal subjectivity.

    Einstein’s theory employs a frame of reference which must be taken into consideration when describing physical phenomenon. The movement of the rock is always the same, but if your frame of reference is moving with the train, it appears to move one way. If your frame of reference is the platform beside the train, the movement of the rock appears to be different. Of course, if your frame of reference is the moon, then the rock appears to move in another direction. The important word is “appears”. Appearances can be deceiving.

    But the rock moved in only one path, regardless of the observers’ various frames of reference. Objective reality does exist, even if you don’t know what it is and can’t see beyond your personal frame of reference.

  • Your essay recalls the brilliant metaphor Einstein uses to describe the relativity of time and space: namely the example of the traveller on an express train who does something naughty by going to the vestibule in between cars, removing a rock which he happened to have in his pocket, and dropping it from the car; meanwhile, an observer, sitting on a mountainside which overlooks the train speeding along the tracks in the valley below, at the same time notes this action. To the person on the train, the rock falls straight down in its gravity-driven journey towards the ground; To the observer on the mountainside, however, the stone’s journey seems to describe an arc. Why? Because the person on the train is part of one “grid,” which is travelling at 200 km/hour, whilst the observer is part of anohter “grid” which is seemingly standing still (but is really travelling on another grid, much faster, through time and space). Einstein’s metaphor can be used to describe our own live as well; from our own viewpoint, it seems to be headed in one direction; from a spectator’s viewpoint, in another. What is objective truth? Depends!

  • Dariela, keep being yourself!

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