The Power of Childish Thinking
One of the most tenacious myths about how Einstein discovered is that he relied on adopting a naive, simple mode of thinking. This mode authorized Einstein to discount and ignore all the difficult technicalities of the existing literature, whose distracting complexities, we are to suppose, block progress. The way ahead is to adopt the mode of a precocious child asking childish questions. Einstein himself seems to have advanced this myth in part through self-deprecating remarks. Here is how one such remark is related, third-hand, by one of Einstein’s biographers: One of Einstein’s typical remarks was reported to me from Falmouth, Massachusetts by James Franck …
‘‘When I asked myself,’’ Einstein said to Franck, ‘‘how it happened that I in particular discovered the relativity theory, it seemed to lie in the following circumstance. The normal adult never bothers his head about space-time problems. Everything there is to be thought about it, in his opinion, has already been done in early childhood. I, on the contrary, developed so slowly that I only began to wonder about space and time when I was already grown up. In consequence I probed deeper into the problem than an ordinary child would have done (John D. Norton, How Einstein Did Not Discover).
This is correct. You don’t have to make yourself ignorant, you have to be naive.
Question: How do you erase knowledge that already exists in you? The knowledge exists and somehow I have to take it and remove it in this moment, as if I don’t know?
Answer: I don’t know anything. Actually! I say this absolutely frankly. I feel empty anew every minute.
Question: Why? You have been studying the science of Kabbalah for 40 years.
Answer: This is such a science that it denies itself. It crosses out everything you knew before so that you can take the next step. But the next step is not after the previous one, but instead of the previous one. They don’t add up together. In the spiritual, everything is built on denial.
Question: So I go and go, I am at some stage, and suddenly it completely disappears?
Answer: I start all over again. It’s fine! In fact, this is most correct. It is like I’m being reborn. Doesn’t the child open his eyes even wider?
I don’t feel tired. I am ready every day, every lesson, every morning to start all over again, to be reborn.
Question: And when does a person feel tired?
Answer: If he doesn’t have the excitement of new desires, new questions, then, of course, he can no longer reveal the child in himself, and then he is already an old man.
Question: Is this moving toward death?
Question: When you say that eternal life is possible, are you talking about these constant updates?
Question: When is constant updating possible, in what circumstances?
Question: So you have to start over all the time? Updating constantly?
Answer: Yes. And that’s great!
Question: What would you say to an ordinary person who does not study Kabbalah?
Answer: Nothing. Find yourself a hobby and keep going.
Question: And rejoice at new discoveries all the time?
Answer: Yes. Just like my teacher said about the soccer stadium that this place must be respected, it gives pleasure to many people.
He had never been there, had never seen inside, but he knew that there was a game that 100,000 or 200,000 people were watching at the same time and were enjoying life. Joy comes from the Creator, so he rejoices for them that they receive pleasure from the Creator. They do not curse Him at this time. Therefore, this place must be respected.
Comment: The biographer wrote, “One of the most tenacious myths about how Einstein discovered is that he relied on adopting a naive, simple mode of thinking. …The way ahead is to adopt the mode of a precocious child asking childish questions.”
My Response: A person who feels in any state that this is a state of the question, he does not stop at this, he looks for his own answer to it. And he makes a discovery.
All of this alone consists of questions and answers.
From KabTV’s “News with Dr. Michael Laitman” 3/15/21