Thursday, March 16, 2006
Dear Sage, a couple of days ago I chatted with a friendly Pinoy expat who is visiting the Philippines after so many years. I guess she was glad to find a sympathetic ear because she was very frustrated for missing her Birthday (it was on March 14, when she left LA airport on March 13, she crossed the International Dateline from east to west hence when she arrived in Manila it was already March 15). Years ago, those who cross the imaginary line get a certificate like the one above.
Well, if it's any consolation, atleast she shares the same birthdate with Albert Einstein. And he knows a lot about the concept of TIME.
I think I was a small kid of 11 when in 1979 I read an article marking the centennial birth of Herr Einstein. The words were profound. It went on to say that Albert was one of the very few men who "with sheer force of intellect, rolled back the darkness of the surrounding universe."
His most famous Theories described Time, Space and Gravity the way classical physicists could barely understand. How could you possibly make Newton himself believe that Gravity is just a function of geometry, a curvature of space distorted by a great mass. Something I have given up trying to understand after 38 years of existence. It was at first thought to be heretical in the intellectual circles of the post victorian era. There was a poem that illustrates how his theories brought more chaos than understanding of the universe. It goes something like this...
"Nature and natures laws lay hid in night
God said, 'Let NEWTON Be!'
and all was Light
It did not last.
The Devil howling
'HO! Let EINSTEIN Be!'
restored the status quo."
Some ideas are so revolutionary that we should check in our prejudices at the entrance before entering the door of science. Einstein also was compromised by his prejudice. He was the last classical (deterministic) physicist of his generation. It was a bad thing. He opposed the idea of quantum mechanics. Today it is an established theory and a bedrock of modern science. I often wonder how far we would have advanced in the 1930's had Einstein embraced Quantum theory instead of being its Number One critic.
He is not as smart as I once thought. But that too is not a bad thought. It makes him as human as you and me when we think that he is prone to foibles you and I make.
The advice below, though it came from a flawed and very human poet, should be heeded by all including Herr Albert.
"Free your mind, and your ass will follow" -Bono
PS. belated happy bday to Jen of NY also celebrating on March 14, Moi of Manille also March 14, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Maida of Manhattan (March 16) Reymond of CICG and my GrandFather, Pitong, who would've been 102 summers young today had he not passed away