As a youngster and through my teen years one of my heroes was Albert Einstein. In those days I thought I was going to grow up to be a man of science. Of course I picked the most famous scientist of the 20th century to admire! In retrospect I realize then I looked up to the fame and notoriety and not the man. Learning about Einstein as a person came about later in my adult life.
Even with all the wonders of his brain, Albert Einstein was a far from perfect man. His first child, a daughter, was born out of wedlock. Later there were two more children with the woman who became his wife that he later left. Without ever divorcing his first wife Albert later remarried his first maternal cousin who was also his second paternal cousin.
Life has a way of revealing more and more of my faults and imperfections the longer I live. It seems a portion of the wisdom possible is wrapped up in making peace with the mistakes I have made and me finding acceptance of my less than balanced and sometimes darker nature. The longer I live the more errors I accumulate to potentially learn from. The deeper into life my years take me the farther the depths of mining into my true nature can go. The phrase “aging is mandatory, wisdom is optional” means some learn much from this passing of their time, others not nearly so much. Einstein learned a lot.
From the book “Albert Einstein: The Human Side” here are some excerpts from letters to friends and family that show his growth as a person and his insight into life:
With fame I become more and more stupid, which, of course, is a very common phenomenon. There is far too great a disproportion between what one is and what others think one is, or at least what they say they think one is.
A happy man is too contented with the present to think much about the future.
The foundation of all human values is morality.
O youth: Do you know that yours is not the first generation to yearn for a life full of beauty and freedom?
Your fervent wishes can only find fulfillment if you succeed in attaining love and understanding of men, and animals and plants and stars so that every joy becomes your joy and every pain your pain.
What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of “humility”. This is a genuinely religious feeling.
Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.
Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion.
Learn to be happy through the happiness and joy of your fellows. If you can find room within yourselves for this natural feeing, your every burden in life will be light, or at least bearable, and you will find your way in patience and without fear, and will spread joy everywhere.
Never regard your study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn.
Humanity has every reason to place the proclaimers of high moral standards and values above the discoverers of objective truth. What humanity owes to personalities like Buddha, Moses and Jesus ranks for me higher than all the achievements of the enquiring and constructive mind.
The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.
More and more I come to value charity and love of one’s fellow being above everything else.
And in his old age Dr. Einstein was also something of a poet:
Everyone’s greeting me today
In the nicest possible way.
Heartfelt words from far and near
Have come from people I hold dear;
And presents, too, to satisfy
Even a gourmet such as I.
They’re doing all one possible can
To satisfy an aged man.
In tone like sweetest melody
They beautify the day for me.
Now the long day nears its end
And greetings to you all I send.
Today I know that one of my heroes, Albert Einstein had many flaws and made numerous mistakes. He was as human as the rest of us. With the passing of his years, he seemed to become more and more a philosopher. It is his deep and personal thoughts that entrench most him within as one of my heroes. I am grateful that a scientist with so much fame left us with the thoughts of the man he became. E(instein) was equal to a lot more than M C squared!
It’s better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you’re not. Marilyn Monroe