Friday, January 10, 2014

Einstein and the Internet

“Never memorize something that you can look up.” 
- Albert Einstein

While the above yields insight into the quirky mind of a giant of science and mysticism, Einstein made this remark long before the onset of the Information Age and Google. In his time, 'looking up' data meant either a trip to a library or access to a serious book collection. As only great centers of learning were able to provide adequate resources, populations in outlying areas where left to their own devices.

However, in this day and age, anyone with an internet connection can access more information than one ever dreamed possible. Google's avowed mission to digitize everything in the universe capable of documentation bespeaks of mind-boggling possibilities.

With the ability to simply look up anything, anywhere, at anytime, the logical conclusion is that we will never have to remember anything if we follow Einstein's dictate. Considering that many in the younger generation today are fixated like moths to the light on their iPhones and iPads, the future looks bright for airheads.

Perhaps our children should be encouraged to do something old-fashioned. Play outdoors. And if there is no outdoors for city kids, how about playing with real objects such as musical instruments, colored markers, building materials, puzzles - anything to get those neuronal pathways branching out to Somewheresville.

And for the old folks, who are prone to glazing over in front of a TV, perhaps they have nothing left to lose, given the drastic rise in Alzheimers and dementia. But even in these cases, there is nothing more sad than a lonely elder left alone, with minimal human interaction to pass away the time.

The human being is a social creature who needs first and foremost a connection of loving kindness with others. So, even if we don't need to remember facts anymore because they are just a mouse click away, we should never forget that the smartest human being is the loving human being.

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