Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Nightmare

“Oh woe!” Einstein cried out so loud that he awoke himself as well as his wife in the next room. Fearing that he was having a heart attack, she hurried to his side.
“What’s wrong?” she whispered.
“I just had a terrible nightmare,” he said, as he wiped the sweat from his forehead. “It was the worst dream of my whole life.”
“It must have been bad,” she said. “You haven’t said ‘Oh, woe!’ since they dropped the bomb, and nothing could be that bad.”
“This might be worse than Hiroshima and Nagasaki put together -- it would be felt all over the world and would continue indefinitely into the future.”
“You’re beginning to frighten me,” she said. “What on earth are you talking about?”
“I dreamed that Western civilization had abandoned the wisdom of the ages and that I was being held responsible for the development of a dysfunctional society. You know that there is a limited sense in which my theory of relativity means that everything is in a state of motion and that every motion is relative to every other motion. Needless to say, that idea could be understood as having implications for human values, and people could jump to the conclusion that all values are relative. In my dream, people thought my work had abolished the old absolutes and created a philosophy of life that says truth is based on custom or convention, or worse, that truth is just a matter of opinion.” “Go back to sleep,” she said. “You’ll feel better in the morning.”

No comments: