Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book Report: Einstein: His Life and Universe

Eric was asking me what it is about non-fiction that I love so well, and I've struggled to answer this question myself. I think I am narrowing in on an answer at last- I have a fascination with fearlessness, devotion and exploration. I love to read about people who felt such passion and love for something that they would risk everything in it's pursuit, and I love to peek behind the veil of their public persona to learn how their journey began.

Albert Einstein's Biography makes juicy reading for someone enamored of those topics. Einstein was a household name by the 1930's, with crowds of hundreds of thousands meeting him at train stations and elbowing into standing room only theaters to hear him explain the theory of relativity. He enjoyed playing the role of absent minded professor, but he was also an intensely stubborn, rebellious and sometimes impetuous man.

What I loved best about this book were the sections where he described his creative process (the parallels between art and science are uncanny!), and also, the way his work brought him closer to the divine.

"The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed out candle. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I am a devoutly religious man." -Albert Einstein

Wishing you an encounter with the deeply mysterious very soon.

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