Just as remarkable as young Einstein’s life, are the lives he intersected with, such as that of Karl Schwarzchild, who wrote to him, out of the blue, from the Russian front in 1916, to help Einstein with his work on General relativity. Schwarzchild’s communications with Einstein, and his success in helping him create the most famous theory in history, would be the last events of his life, before he died on the front.
There’s no direct connection to draw here between individual minds sunken in scientific thought, and the atrocities that sometimes surround those same minds. The indirect connections are profound, however: the escape that deep, problem-solving thought provides from suffering, the perspective a broadley-engaged mind sheds on the immediacy of violent conflicts between populations, and above all else, the significance of an individual persisting in forming their own frameworks for understanding the universe, guided by their own values, over the significance of an individual subjugating their understanding to the thoughts and values handed down to them from their surrounding group.
We are today enraptured in group-established-values and group-imposed-understandings, understandings of the world, of science, and even of ourselves. Government overreach, along with a population smug and zealous in its willingness to condemn individuals for individualized perspectives, are breaking the mental and moral pursuits of millions in Canada. Peaceful protests and debate seem to lead nowhere except to police brutality and unlawful arrests and dismissals, which are subsequently leading to the formation of new legal and marketing armies that take advantage of the anti-woke and authoritarian-protestors as much as any have taken advantage of the woke and virtue-signalers. The bloody mess of confused morality and broken psychology littered across Canada’s landscapes is analogous to the blood soaked fields of WWI Europe.
What would Karl Schwarzchild do if he lived in Canada today? The answer is simple. He would sink into his own, individualized perspective of the universe, the one he fed with mathematics and physics, and with companion knowledge from others, like Einstein, who maintained their own individualized frameworks for understanding the universe, irregardless of what group-think-fed-atrocities erupt around them.
In terms of the “The Pressure of Light: how consciousness creates permanence in a universe of infinite-heterogeneity” (the essay which this newsletter is walking backwards through), these quotes add additional context to the Einstein quotes which head the last section, illuminating to a greater degree Einstein’s perspective of the universe as both infinite and bounded. In terms of “The Pressure of Light: shedding new light on the history and philosophy of science between 1739 and 1922”, they are a prelude to the middle of the young Einstein story I will tell, and the significance of that story to all the individualized frameworks for understanding the universe, which are trying to survive the group think of today and tomorrow.
Without further ado…
“…It is a wonderful thing that the explanation for the Mercury anomaly emerges so convincingly from such an abstract idea.
As you see, the war is kindly disposed toward me, allowing me, despite fierce gunfire at a decidedly terrestrial distance, to take this walk into this your land of ideas.”
– Letter from Karl Schwarzchild, who, through correspondence sent from the Russian front, 1916, provided Einstein with an elegant and unique solution to a difficult problem in his General Relativity work, the point-mass problem.
“Ultimately, according to my theory, inertia is simply an interaction between masses, not an effect in which ‘space’ of itself were involved, separate from the observed mass. The essence of my theory is precisely that no independent properties are attributed to space on its own.
“It can be put jokingly this way. If I allow all things to vanish from the world, then following Newton, the Galilean inertial space remains; following my interpretation, however, nothing remains.”
– Letter from Albert Einstein to Karl Schwarzchild on the Russian Front, 1916