Albert and Sigmund, on destruction

Well, I’ll be damned
Here comes your ghost again
But that’s not unusual
It’s just that the moon is full

And you happened to call

I am writing from some small motel off of route 95 someplace in South Carolina.  I can hear the traffic going by and the din of the
air conditioner is in the back ground creating another conflict that cools my body as I contribute to warming the planet.  My politics in the long run have always taken a back seat to my comfort….
I am taking this traveling day as an opportunity to read a short book of lectures and letters by Albert Einstein.  In contrast to his mathematical and physics theories which I presume are distances away from anything that i could read or comprehend, his lectures and essays are delightfully accessible. I read through half of them while jolting and bouncing and moving through space and time in a V W sports car that drives like a little tank.  These German engineered vehicles are not designed for pot-holes.  On these long trips, I dearly miss my Lincoln that rode like a living room couch.
I like reading about the other Alberts.  Growing up I never met another Albert and i was so disappointed in my name.  it reflected for me just how entirely different i felt myself to be.  Oh, there was that old joke about Prince Albert tobacco.  You would go into a drug store and ask if they had any Prince Albert in a can and when the clerk said, “yes,” you would holler, “well let him out.”  And then you would run out of the store before the clerk caught you.
The other Albert that I am intrigued with today is, Albert Einstein.
Who else but one of the most brilliant men in history could have the arrogance to begin a work with the first essay titled, The Meaning of Life. A man who regard his own life or the life of his fellow man as meaningless is not only unfortunate but almost disqualifies himself for life.  The fact that we have a capacity to examine ourselves and the universe is a mystery that must settle us into some form of awe.
Einstein was very aware of the casualty that human existence is.  He is at once drawn to the simplicity and to the mysterious about life.  I think that what struck me as most significant was the distance to which he was ready to come to establish just how abhorrent he found the condition of social injustice.  Finally, another Albert who sees life through the scales of justice. He insist that what drives him and his work are the ideas of truth, goodness and beauty and to the notion that every one ought to be privileged sufficiently to be able to experience first hand the wonder of the mysterious. He enjoyed the fellowship of men of like minds.
I am not above displaying my grandiosity.  I am delighted to find another Albert who thinks like I do about the wonders of existence.  The comparison stops there, I am sure.
“I gang my own gait and I have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost an obstinate sense of detachment, of the need for solitude–a feeling which increases with years.”
He is so generous in his expression of emotion, he possesses a deep desire for connection and yet relies on a purposeful detachment in order to remain true to the independence that he so values in both art and science.  The cradle of art and science is the fascination with the mysterious with the unknown and the not-yet known.  Einstein is a deeply religious man that sees no need to construct a God for there to be wonder and ethics and civilization.  Our very need for one another is sufficient to regulate man.  How noble–what a piece of work is man?
In, “The World As I See It,” the other Albert has this to say:  Academic chairs are many, but wise and noble teachers are few;  lecture-rooms are numerous and large, but the number of young people who genuinely thirst after truth and justice is small.” 

The most that we can do for humanity is to propose that the mysterious and the scientific are not in opposition to each other. One supports the other and one is not less or greater than the other.
Where is the faith that we had in truth.  Have we abandoned what is true in pursuit of science. Radiant beauty can not be studied by dissecting it.  Science and Art are natural bedfellows when the heart embraces the mind. Einstein goes on to say that it is the “fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”  He who no longer wonders is misguided.
I feel fortunate to have found in psychoanalysis a meaning that I pursue to understand and then share these findings with who ever is interested in the fruits of that labor.  What luck to have found a piece of work that I have loved to concentrate on.  How fortunate to have lived in that hiatus of war between the second great war and what ever is to come next in terms of conflagration of aggression. Like Einstein I hate the industrial military complex that sucks resources and life-blood from men and from the earth.  I hate the senseless greed that results in having to protect mine from yours.  I love to think that there is a place where the world is ours.  Let there be Peace on earth and let it begin with me.
I thank the universe for not raping me in my youth and demanding that i learn how to kill for the betterment.  Besides, I just do not think that i could have done it.
Dear Professor Freud, he beings.  “It is admirable the way the longing to perceive the truth has overcome every other desire in you.  You have shown how inseparably the combative and destructive instincts are bound up with the amative and vital ones in the human psyche.  At the same time a deep yearning for that great consummation, the internal and external liberation of mankind from war, shines out from the ruthless logic of your exposition.”
The idea of these two giants of intellectual thought sharing letters and aspirations and the idea that as separate as their sciences were they converged on the notion that liberation and freedom was the aim of man; these thoughts bring hope to me.  Not because I have seen these two men accomplish peace, but because along with the importance and the concentration of their sciences they each had the desire to bring light to the world and they each fought for truth rather than let ignorance fester.  Great men disturb the sleep of the world as Freud once said. It is an irony of civilization that the science that brought us closer to examining essential truths was the very same science that rained destruction on Japan in order to end war.  How many points and counter-points are there in the fact that unspeakable destruction was responsible for ending the greatest war we have seen to date.

4 comments on “Albert and Sigmund, on destruction

  1. Harold G. Neuman says:

    “I gang my own gait…” Describes yours truly pretty well. When I was much younger (the 1960s), I used to wonder what was wrong with me. I did not hang with any crowd or clique and my only friendly alliance was with some aspiring musicians and participation in a subsequent garage band effort. High school delusions of grandeur, or some such.

    Over the short term, I coined the phrase ‘free-thinker’, along about grade ten—much to the discomfort of teachers and school administration. Imagine my amusement upon hearing the phrase again, hearly half a century later. Sometimes a great notion.

    In any case, I no longer think about what might be wrong with me. What is immediately more concerning is what is wrong with our current culture. Many of the original free-thinking movement adherents know what is wrong. Einstein and Freud knew what they were doing. They began from a position of altruism. But, as we know too well, great notions are corruptible.

    I liked your post. My old Subaru is not good in pothole country either. Best, HGN

  2. Ivan kehelly says:

    Great site. Love how it is designed. Intelligent and thought provoking.

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