Einstein, Bad Quotes, and You

I’m convinced most people don’t know what Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity really means or anything about what he did beyond that. We take for granted that he was really smart and then quote him as a philosophical piece of evidence for our own agendas.

I have heard lots of people reference him to justify the idea of God in science, maybe as a derivation that he believed in an absolute truth (of the speed of light)? We also quote him when we want to tell someone they need to try a different method (usually to our own benefit) and say something about Einstein and insanity.

I resonated with his story most when I was a kid and used to failing. I was in all the low-level classes in Elementary school (yes Elementary-age kids know which class is the smart one and which one isn’t) and got mediocre grades. Added to generally not fitting in, it was easy to feel like no one. The moment I learned Einstein’s teachers thought he wasn’t smart either, I poured over that nougat of information like I did the silver outlines of my friendship necklace.

We should be more careful to pull on his name when imparting a special piece of wisdom, but thank whatever forces that power the speed of light that Einstein’s speech developed “slowly” and that he struggled in school. For every kid who’s been told they aren’t smart, we need Einstein’s story.

To avoid over-using his example, thank that force for our own struggles and the days people look at us as if we amount to nothing. If we have the luck to do something that makes the world a better place, our stories will be the fuel that helps the next kid who needs to know this:

That condescending gaze means nothing but the ignorance of the beholder.

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