Brilliant yet Deficient

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

February 15, 2022

I have a complicated cognitive relationship with Albert Einstein. As a former New Jersey native, I was taught much about Albert and his contributions to science. And I have always utterly appreciated the many quotes attributed to him. My favorite is likely, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

Things Get Tricky

A few years back, I picked up the book The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict. While I do realize it is a work of fiction, it shed a light on a part of Albert I had never contemplated before: his personal life. And I learned about his capacity to manipulate the people around him for his own advancement. I know the time he lived on this planet is far different from our current reality, but I find myself wondering if Albert was as intelligent as he was opportunistic. Was he emotionally deficient? Did he ever care for others as much as he cared for himself?

I also learned that Albert was not a faithful nor kind husband to his first wife. At times he was downright cruel and often absent. Albert was a full and flawed person. And while he had a brilliant mind, other aspects of his life certainly suffered.

Lesson Learned

As a member of the human species, I must admit to making many mistakes in my life. As I remind my children when needed, “Everyone makes mistakes. The key is to learn a lesson when we make those mistakes. We shouldn’t pretend they didn’t happen or blame others.” Mistakes give us a chance to learn and grow. And once we realize we made a mistake – whether that be to ride our hoverboard down a hill after being told it was dangerous or to trust someone who turned out to be opportunistic – we have the power to learn and move forward with the knowledge we glean.

Severely scraped knees and wounded psyches are powerful catalysts for growth. And as Albert said, “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.”

Let’s practice taking a step back and learning the big lessons. Let’s accept our mistakes for the blessings they can uncover. Let’s look at the pain and hurt all around us and commit to learning all we can to ensure the success of our humanity. Let’s challenge our current consciousness and forge a new path forward.