“Einstein embraced his concept of an amorphous God reflected in the awe-inspiring beauty, rationality, and unity of nature’s laws. But like Spinoza, Einstein did not believe in a personal God who rewarded and punished and intervened in our daily lives.”
Einstein: His life and Universe by Walter Isaacson
This describes my deistic views on religion perfectly. If the world were a system, then God would be the indifferent engineer who created the code and left it to human beings to utilise the system as they see fit. Even if viruses start to run rampant over the entire system, he would not intervene by answering prayers or granting miracles. And once our time for using the system runs out, we would not supernaturally transcend our existence within the current system into a higher order one.
P.S. And it is at this juncture, where I have just completed 203/1360 electronic pages of Einstein’s biography, that I realise what a difference it would have made to my younger self, with regards to my interest in science, had I started reading this way earlier – for an examination of Einstein’s life and discoveries invariably provides the humane scaffolding to the abstract foundation of theories and formulae teachers tried to construct in our minds. Suffice to say, I would have been infinitely more interested in the underlying theories that unify actions and reactions had I experienced, albeit vicariously, the struggles suffered and victories earned by these scientists. Perhaps that may also suggest that my optimal learning style is empathic as opposed to the more commonly known ones such as kinesthetic, visual and auditory.
I think if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids — and, in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power. Tell them you can fight back, tell them you can win. Because you can — but you have to know that.
And for me, the thing that is so big and so important about the darkness is [that] it’s like in an inoculation… You are giving somebody darkness in a form that is not overwhelming — it’s understandable, they can envelop it, they can take it into themselves, they can cope with it.
And, it’s okay, it’s safe to tell you that story — as long as you tell them that you can be smart, and you can be brave, and you can be tricky, and you can be plucky, and you can keep going.
Neil Gaiman (Source)
And as exams loom in the horizon, let us embrace the knowledge that the “dark thing” – the irrepressibly exhausting and consuming journey of preparation ahead that appears never-ending – can be beaten: we just have to contain the stress, the uncertainty, the competition, the solitude, the complexities and every other ancillary “dark matter” within a sustainable strategem for studying, which is itself encapsulated within supportive surroundings!
All the best, everyone! :)
I have been aware of this feeling that I am allowing studies and events a wide leeway in dictating the pace of my life, and I’m not sure if it’s something desirable. I understand that the duality of an individual’s personality – in that the ultimate result is often a harmonisation of internal will and external affairs – makes it inevitable that circumstances play a significant role in affecting how we lead our lives. Indeed, problems only arise when we allow circumstances to dictate our lives rather than the other way round, and it is thus essential that we devise ways to calibrate a healthy and customised balance such that one feels a sense of control over one’s destiny.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
It is easy to let the distinct edges of our identities – the values, traits and characteristics that distinguish us from others – be dulled or chipped away by the inexorable wear and tear of time. After all, there is often no apparent or immediate detriment that can be seen, felt or understood when we coast through life, one circumstance after another or one prescribed goal after another e.g. “A” levels, university degree, sustainable income etc. It is what one academic, in the context of trade mark dilution, would call “death by a thousand cuts”.
Letting time and the vicissitudes of fortune rob us of our capacity to navigate through the treacherous rapids of life independently, consciously and confidently must thus be amongst the most heinous crimes we can commit against ourselves – perhaps more so than deliberate acts against the self because unintentional acts tend to lead to harm of a more insidious nature.
I write, therefore I am.