Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Everyone instantly recognizes his name, but most forget that in addition to being a brilliant scientist, he was essentially a refugee. He was a Jew from Germany who came to the US in the 1930s, after being persecuted in his homeland.
Thinking about this, there are two other things about him that may also be relevant today: in spite of being well educated, he was fairly poor; and he lived here for a fairly long period before he got his citizenship.
But that's not all there is to say about the man. Einstein had interests beyond science.
He was a social activist. Of the nazi regime he said "[they] shun popular enlightenment, and more than anything else in the world, fear the influence of men of intellectual independence."
He was a member of the NAACP, and passionate about being against racism. He called racism the "worst disease in the US, that's handed down from generation to generation" and was vocal about it, giving talks on the subject.
Einstein also encouraged socialism and was critical of capitalism, and gave talks on that too. He strongly advocated the idea of a "democratic global government" that would check the power of nation-states in the framework of a world federation.
Keep that in mind. Everyone can and should contribute to society on an intellectual level as well as have a social conscience. Keeping people down or out because they are different or merely poor is not a solution to anything.
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