Albert Einstein wrote an essay in the 1950 titled, “The World As I See It.” It showed the world the man behind the brain, a human who was compassionate, empathetic and basically kind-hearted. He was completely aware of the short time life holds in its hands, and was determined to squeeze every ounce of living into it.

He was aware that everything he had, and everything he achieved, was due not only to his great capacity to focus on a subject, and his limitless curiosity, but also to the work of others that he was trying to understand. “A hundred times 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.”

Einstein saw no man or woman as beneath him. He treated each person with the same kind of respect he would give to the President of the United States or Queen of England. He scorned those who were arrogant enough to think themselves better than others, held in contempt those whose sole purpose in life seemed to be to amass wealth and power. “The trite objects of human efforts — possessions, outward success, luxury — have always seemed to me contemptible.”

He went out of his way to speak on the level of the people he was talking to – without being condescending. He took great joy in teaching others and was delighted when he was able to lead them to understand what he was talking about. He also delighted in the success of others, and was a cheerleader to the efforts of others, never seeking nor asking for attention himself. He was not afraid to give credit to others for helping him come to the conclusions he did. “Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized. It is an irony of fate that I myself have been the recipient of excessive admiration and reverence from my fellow-beings, through no fault, and no merit, of my own.”

Albert Einstein was not a fan of formal education, largely because narrow-minded and shortsighted people who called themselves ‘teachers’ had stifled his curiosity and questions. He was not, however, against learning – and encouraged everyone to seek answers to the questions they have, and not be detracted by those who try to suppress this thirst for knowledge. “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”

Since Einstein was a Jewish child growing up in Germany prior to World War II, he was well aware of the effects of bigotry and hatred, and detested war and the military. “Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them!”

Most interesting was Einstein’s view of religion. As he said of himself, “I am a deeply religious man… I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence — as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.” He was a Jew, with the slants of what many today would call a spiritualist. He understood there had to be a greater power, and unlike most scientists who dismiss the existence of God, felt his presence in everything and everyone around him, even if he couldn’t explain him.

Albert Einstein marched to his own drummer beat, and never followed the crowd. His thirst for answers to difficult questions is what made him famous. His quirky personality, compassion and love of life make him beloved.

This is Ron White, memory keynote speaker and two-time USA Memory Champion, and I always enjoy learning more about Albert Einstein, and I hope you do too.



The World As I See It, by Albert Einstein: The text of Albert Einstein’s copyrighted essay was originally published in “Forum and Century,” vol. 84, pp. 193-194, the thirteenth in the Forum series, Living Philosophies.