Albert Einstein Français : portrait d’Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.
How often do you think about who has come before you? How often do you look to the past to understand the now, to understand the self? Mr. Einstein, once again, has hit the nail on the head. Our now, who we are, has a direct connection to that which comes before us. Our human understanding of self comes to us from our ancestors. We owe gratitude to human history, to human expression and our basic curiosity about our own existence.
All too often, we look for the new and exciting ways to discover self, to change and we give praise only to ourselves and to the “new gurus” of today. Yet, we fail to give credit to the past, to those who came before.
If Einstein can humble himself to acknowledge that others, those who came before him, have laid down the groundwork for whom and what he is, surly we can do the same. However, the idea of become Renaissance men is gaining an understanding of the great men and woman who have come before. We read the classics, study the great ones that have come before us and expand our horizons beyond ourselves to include the great men and woman of history.
Through the trials and tribulations of history, we discover the ebb and flow of life. It is within the historical ebb and flow that we will discover the secret of discovering self. There is nothing new under the sun; all that we need to understand about our humanity is in our past. Yes, we have lots to learn about the science of the human body, but there is nothing new to learn about the human condition. Plato, Cicero, Buda along with Confucius and Jesus Christ have given us the road map to perfection, and the great men and woman of the past studied and emulated the great sages of antiquity.
We have much to learn about respecting our past, and growing our future. Nevertheless, we are capable, and we have the tools we need. Most, if not all, of what we need is free and available on the internet. We can go to our local art museums and historical museums to visualize the human condition or attend the local Orchestra concert to hear our collective human heart beat. We are never more than a few miles or few clicks away from the classics, unlike any other time in history, we, in this day and age, have the ability to read, watch and listen to the voice of history. The digital age offers us total access to online studies of the classics.
We need to establish clubs and organizations for adults and youth that delve into the classics that teach the lessons of Plato and Jesus, we need to experience, as a group and individuals, the masters such as Leonardo and Dante. We need to reconnect to our past, not through the filtered message of political views, but as unfiltered historical documents of humanity.
The human condition is defined in our art, literature and wars. How we treat others and care for the less fortunate among us. Our art is our soul and our literature our heart, it is time we reconnected to them.