Are you discouraging Einstein? His teachers did. While the rumor that he failed math is not true, it is true that many of Albert Einstein’s teachers did more to slow him down than to help him along. One of them did say that he would never amount to much. I’m reading two books now, Einstein by Walter Isaacson, and My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. I often have two (or more) books open at the same time. I find that there are resonances between them that reading them serially does not reveal.
In this case the resonance comes from the right side of the brain. Taylor describes how she lived in the right side of her brain for a long time after a stroke left her left brain silent. She describes going through life feeling as though she were a fluid, completely connected to the rest of humanity and the universe. As she recovered her left brain function, she, at times, regretted leaving the free and creative place of her right brain in order to join our mostly left-brained world. She describes the right brain world as one “without the left brain’s constant chatter.”
Interestingly, Einstein described the way he solved great mysteries as involving thought without words. His “thought experiments” like riding alongside a light beam were not constructed with words, but rather visualized as they would actually happen. This would appear to be a right brain activity.
Chess aficionados, too, often describe the way they think during a game as occurring without words or procedural thoughts, but rather in visuals and pictures. The title of George Steiner’s book about the Fischer Spassky match in Reykjavik is titled Fields of Force. The name refers to the way some chess masters visualize the board as fields of forces emanating from the pieces, rather than in words or concrete steps.
So how much time do you spend in the right side of your brain thinking without words? Are you conducting thought experiments? And are you encouraging those around you to think this way? After all, the next Einstein may already be among us. Maybe you know one. Maybe you are one.