At the end of 2017, at an auction in Jerusalem, a proposal was made of thirteen words written by the German language by Albert Einstein himself. In this city are kept the archives of Einstein, which he bequeathed before his death in 1955 to the Hebrew University. This institution he helped to found in the 1920s. In the archives of Albert Einstein today holds about 30,000 documents. They are several times larger than the archives of Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton and can compete with the archives of Napoleon Bonaparte. However, the origin of the document, which will be discussed, has nothing to do with the archives, although its copy is also stored there. Everything is much more interesting.
This piece of paper was written and signed in Japan at the Tokyo Imperial Hotel and dated November 1922. This month, Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. He stayed at this hotel during his insanely popular tour of Japan, in which he lectured. Then the scientist attracted more attention than the family of the Japanese emperor. Apparently, embarrassed by such publicity, Einstein decided to write down some thoughts and experiences about life in the note. Specifically, this sentence (and one more short one) he gave to the Japanese courier, either because the courier did not take a tip, according to local etiquette, or because Einstein did not have a small cash.
"Perhaps, if you are lucky, these records will be much more valuable than the usual tip, "Einstein said to the Japanese courier, according to the seller's legend of the note, given to the courier's nephew.
The Jerusalem auction house estimated the note at $ 5-8,000. Bidding started with 2 thousand dollars. For twenty minutes a flurry of offers quickly pushed the price until the last two contenders grabbed the phones. By the end of the auction, the price rose to an incredible $ 1.56 million.
Einstein's sentence reads: "Calm and humble life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant anxiety."
Whether Einstein with us, he would be amazed at the absurdity of this auction. During the second half of his life, immediately after the astronomical confirmation of his general theory of relativity in 1919, he did not cease to wave off his celebrity and was not interested in accumulating money for his own good. He was happy when he was alone, alone with his mathematical calculations, or with a handful of selected colleagues among physicists and mathematicians – in Zurich, Berlin, Oxford, Pasadena and Princeton. During long sea voyages from Europe to Japan and back he liked to hide in his cubicle and solve mathematical equations.
As the physicist Philip Frank wrote, Einstein so expressed his celebrity in the preface to his own biography:
"I never I understood why the theory of relativity, with its concepts and problems so far removed from practical life, has so long been a lively or even inspired resonance among the general public … I have never heard a really convincing answer to this question "
And that's what he wrote about the meaning of life in the journal Life shortly before his death in 1955:
" Try to become not a successful person, but valuable. Nowadays, one who takes more from life than invests in it is considered successful. But a valuable person will give more than he receives. "
Einstein's death was illuminated throughout the universe. The New York Times printed tributes from the presidents of the United States and West Germany, from the Prime Ministers of Israel, France, India. Prominent intellectuals who knew Einstein personally, echoed the politicians. "For all scientists and most people, this day is a mourning day. Einstein was one of the greatest at all times, "says Robert Oppenheimer, an American physicist who led the creation of the atomic bomb during World War II. The Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who argued with Einstein on the topic of quantum theory, wrote:
"The gifts of Einstein are by no means confined to the realm of science. Indeed, his recognition of hitherto unrecognized assumptions, even in our most elementary and habitual assumptions, encourages all people to trace and combat deep-seated prejudices and complacency in every national culture. "
The English philosopher Bertrand Russell held this:
"Einstein was not only a great scientist, he was a great man. He advocated peace when the world advocated war. He remained reasonable in a crazy world and liberal in the world of fanatics. "
Today Einstein is the most quoted scientist in the galaxy: he is ahead of Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking, judging by the number of Einstein's quotes on Wikipedia, and along with so ahead of contemporaries in the 20th century – Winston Churchill, George Orwell and Bernard Shaw. From the vast archives of Einstein, an infinite number of precious quotations are extracted.
It is not surprising that Einstein is also cited as authority from science. For example: "The most incomprehensible in the universe is that it is comprehensible." But more often he is quoted in a wide range of unscientific disciplines, including education, intellect, politics, religion, marriage, money and music.
- Education: "Einstein – that's what will remain when you forget everything you learned in school."  Intelligence: "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits."
- Politics: "It's insanity to do the same thing over and over again, and expect different results."
- Religion: "God does not play dice."
- Marriage: "Men marry women in the hope that they will never change. Women go for men in the hope that they will change. Both will invariably be disappointed. "
- Money:" Not everything that can be appreciated is valued, and not everything that is valued can be appreciated. "
- Music:" Death means that you can no longer listen to Mozart. "
- On life: "Everything should be done as simple as possible, but not simplified."
And here a curious question is born. Did Einstein really say or write all of the above? They torment vague doubts.
Only one quotation above belongs to Einstein: "God does not play dice." Yes, and she became a condensed excerpt from Einstein's valuable commentary on quantum theory. In 1926 he wrote in a letter to the physicist Max Born (in German): "The theory says a lot, but does not draw one iota to the secrets of the" old. " I am, in any case, convinced that He does not play dice. "
Another statement:" If the facts do not fit the theory, change the facts. " This quote is widely attributed to Einstein, because it seems obvious that he would have liked the idea sounding in her. In a conversation with a student who in 1919, immediately after confirming the GTR, asked the question: what if astronomical facts contradict the theory? Einstein replied: "In that case, I feel sorry for God, because the theory is correct." Again, there is no record that Einstein made such a categorical statement, either orally or on paper. Similar comments about facts and theories date back to the 19th century; specifically, Einstein began to attribute this citation in 1991. Without any sources.
Now consider the statement, which is largely attributed to Einstein in the section of the exhibition of the British Museum on religion, "Life with the gods": "The most beautiful and profound experience is a mystical sensation. This is the sower of all true science. " The quote, apparently, was extracted tens of years after Einstein's death from the following commentary, which Einstein gave in 1932. In translation from the native German it reads: "The most beautiful and profound experience is a sensation of a riddle. It is the basis of religion, and also the basis of deep inspiration in art and science. " Note: the "mystery" in 1932 became "mystical" in 2018.
In short, Einstein's quotes are very different from the original ones. Many can be traced back to his labors; some of them are based on the memories of those who knew him well; others mutated over time; some resemble his thoughts or seem appropriate for his behavior, but they are not. Einstein speculates in the name of Einstein to give credence to the cause or idea. As Einstein himself said: never believe quotes on the Internet. If you understand what I mean.
Why do we still admire Einstein, try to quote him and even come up with quotes for him? The answer will be as versatile, complex and unique as this person, like his life, but he will undoubtedly be connected with the scientific genius of Einstein. There is a funny anecdote about Einstein, who was caught in the late 1930s during an act of comprehension, told by one of his physics assistants, Banish Hoffmann:
"When it became obvious how it often happened that even the transition to German is not solve the problem, we all froze, and Einstein quietly got up and spoke in his strange English: "My little thought". Having said this, he began to walk in a circle, twisting a curl of his long, gray hair around his finger. A minute passed, then another, and Infeld (another assistant) and I silently exchanged glances while Einstein continued to walk, twisting a curl on his finger. On his face it was written that he was somewhere far away. There was no trace of tense concentration. A minute passed, then another, and suddenly Einstein relaxed noticeably, and a faint smile lit his face. He did not walk any more, did not twist the curl. He came back to us, noticed us, then told us the solution to the problem, and almost always it worked. "
It's easy to understand why Einstein is considered an icon in the world of scientists. Scientific American estimates that two-thirds of the "illuminations" sent to scientists and scientific journals are related to Einstein's theories. Either the writer claims that he found a unified theory of gravity and electromagnetism, which Einstein could not do, or Einstein's ideas proved to be erroneous, especially with regard to general relativity. (Another third of the "illumination" refers to perpetual motion machines and sources of eternal energy.)
However, in the image of Einstein there must be something else that goes beyond the world of science. In 2005, Arthur Clark – whose own work and personality went beyond the circle of readers and film lovers – laid out Einstein's incredible fame for "a unique combination of genius, humanist, pacifist and eccentricity." While Newton, for example, is known to everyone, how many advertisers will use his image as often as Einstein to advertise any products to the general public? Which politician will mention Newton's name in his speech? Who will sign the quote with his name? Of course, Newton's biographies are written, but his name does not loom in everyone's mind, he himself does not become a cartoon hero and the subject of discussions. About him, except that the anecdotes are composed.
Newton is known for his scientific achievements, for which he was revered by all subsequent physicists, including Einstein. But after Newton left Cambridge and moved to London in 1696, he did not have a single friend in the place where he spent 35 years and did his revolutionary work; There is not a single surviving letter that he would send to his friends in Cambridge from 1696 to 1727. His successor, William Winston, wrote about Newton in his memoirs (long before the death of the patron): "He possessed one of the most fearful, suspicious and cautious mores of all that I knew."
Einstein and Newton had much in common on the scientific path, but very little – like people. With Einstein's skepticism about personal relationships and the institution of marriage, two unsuccessful marriages and family tragedies (his second son, Eduard spent the last thirty years of his life in a Swiss psychiatric hospital), he was a very sociable person. He constantly appeared in public, corresponded with friends, colleagues and strangers, made constant efforts to help the scientific "rivals" and recruits – for example, the still unknown Indian mathematician Satiendra Natu Bose, with whom he made many common developments.
In the difference from Newton, Einstein's disagreements about science and other issues – apart from anti-Semitism and Nazism – manifested themselves without controversy and without malice. There was no malice even in his long and unconvincing battle with Bohr on the field of quantum theory. Einstein beat hard, but not to injure. Arguing with his close friend Born on the same subject in the 1940s and 1950s, the most humiliating thing Einstein dared to do was a sardonic comment: "It's a shame, Bourne, it's embarrassing!"
Moreover, almost all the social principles supported by Einstein were honorable and far-sighted. Many needed moral courage. He opposed anti-Semitism, segregation and lynching of black people in the US, against the witch-hunting of McCarthyism, the construction of a military-industrial complex, and against nuclear war. Instead of bathe in the rays of glory, enjoying physics, music and sailing, Einstein struggled whenever his name could at least influence something. The very fact that Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI, identified Einstein as sympathetic to the Communists in 1950-55, shows how seriously Einstein's activism was accepted by reactionary forces.
It is worth noting that Einstein himself was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and shared Gandhi's indifference to the material success, although rejecting Gandhi's view that civil disobedience can be made a weapon against the Nazis. In 1952, Einstein called Gandhi "the greatest political genius of our time." Gandhi showed "what man can sacrifice when he finds the right path. His work on the liberation of India is a living manifesto of a person's will supported by an indomitable conviction that is stronger than material forces that seem insurmountable. "
Einstein's opinion on religion was taken seriously and by religious representatives. In 2004, a biologist and militant atheist Richard Dawkins wrote:
"Einstein was deeply spiritual, but abandoned the supernatural and denied all personal gods. I gladly share his perfectly godless spirituality. No theist does not dare to give Einstein lessons on spirituality. "
The physicist Stephen Hawking (recently dead, and keep his black holes) shared a similar look at Einstein when he wrote in 1984:
" If we said that there is The essence that is responsible for the laws of physics, it would perfectly match with everything that we know. However, I think it would be misleading to call such an entity "God", because usually this term has personal connotations that are not in the laws of physics. "
Pope John Paul II, speaking in 1979 at a meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences , dedicated to the centenary of the birth of Einstein, said:
"Enraptured by the genius of the great scientist, in which the imprint of the creative spirit is revealed, in no way condemning the doctrine on the great systems of this universe, and it is not in its power, the Church, the not less, the these doctrines are being considered by theologians so that they can discover the harmony that exists between scientific truth and the truth of revelation. "
The phenomenon of Einstein's incorrect quoting is largely due to the deeply human desire for mystification of authoritative figures that can be christened" icons "and" geniuses " ". When the theory of relativity became popular in the 1920s, many people assumed that Einstein could be quoted to the right and left and that everything was relative, including truth; all observations are subjective; all the impossible is possible. People like to quote Einstein, because it's hard not to agree with him. And as Einstein himself said:
"To punish me for my disrespect of power, fate has made me an authority."
Based on materials from AEON