Monday, June 25, 2012

Einstein on the quest for harmony in nature

Quoting from Subtle is the Lord, Chapter 2a, here's Einstein addressing Planck on the latter's sixtieth birthday (emphasis mine):
The longing to behold ... preestablished harmony is the source of the inexhaustible persistence and patience with which we see Planck devoting himself to the most general problems of our science without letting himself be deflected by goals which are more profitable and easier to achieve. I have often heard that colleagues would like to attribute this attitude to exceptional will-power and discipline; I believe entirely wrongly so. The emotional state which enables such achievements is similar to that of the religious person or the person in love; the daily pursuit does not originate from a design or program but from a direct need.
 You can't teach that in schools. (Or can you?)

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