PAMELA JO BOWMAN – MESA ARIZONA — I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops. — Stephen Jay Gould
I am interested in Einstein’s brain AND in the minds of those who worked in the cotton fields and sweatshops. I would like to know what the difference was that motivated one man to have confidence in himself and his talents to change the world of physics while the other who, by his choice or chance of position, did not have the wherewithal to become “an Einstein.”
Granted, there are humans who choose a simpler life. That is what they want. In actuality Einstein could be said to have lived a simple life. He worked, he loved, he thought and he wrote. As a child his parents were concerned that he was simple minded! His sister recalled the frustration of their family at how long he took to respond in conversation. This child hated school and the authority of school masters. His grades were average. And yet he became one of the greatest scientists and a proponent for social justice. What occurred for Einstein that propelled and motivated him to accomplish what he did? How was he able to recognize his talents, develop them to their fullest and use them to better himself and mankind?
I believe fear stops most, if not all, from taking that risk. What if they fail? Later, when they are old in years, I think they realize they have failed anyway … failed for not trying. Am I projecting? You bet! How many years have I justified my inaction with excuses like the children are in their formative years? Dismissed my desire to produce with the thought that they need me? Rationalized by saying that I live in a third world country without libraries and research facilities? Or, one of my personal favorites, I do not want to impose on others’ time or resources? My list goes on and on. In the end it was fear of failing. I justifed half my life away. What is true is that my children did and do need me. They need a mother who shows them that it is okay to be afraid to fail, but even better to take the risk, keep trying and, if necessary, to fail a few times.
Most accept the consequences of their choices because, at some point, what other choice do they have? Another justification! There’s an old saying that it’s never too late. It’s never too late to begin. It is true if you let it be true.
“The man who does things makes mistakes—but he doesn’t make the biggest mistake of all—doing nothing.” … Benjamin Franklin