Imagine being the man who is single-handedly responsible for the way we progress through the universe at large. For the successful origin of the world’s most groundbreaking equation and introducing the ‘theory of relativity’, Albert Einstein is hailed as one of the world’s greatest intellectuals of the century.
In a quest to achieve genius in the field of scientific accomplishment, Albert Einstein’s contributions are thought to be the highest; it has formed the foundations of contemporary physics as we know it, and impacted the philosophy of science.
Einstein’s methods were somewhat different to the average person; he would use visualization and daydreaming as a process to arrive at his conclusion and often drew from music for inspiration. We learn that the common phrase ‘all work and no play make Jack a dull boy’ rings true with one of the greatest scientists of all times.
When observing his work method of, we see that he used creative acumen and deep intuitive thoughts in his style of work. He demonstrates that creativity and a break away from long, tedious tasks can bring about the best and tap into a well of thoughts.
Einstein took time off his mundane working rituals to indulge in his hobby of playing the violin. Like him, many other acclaimed individuals like Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Satie, and Mahler channeled their inner thoughts with ‘power walks’. They allowed the power of play to ignite their genius. In short, it’s about moving away from rational thinking and drawing from creativity to form brilliant, groundbreaking discoveries.
It’s all about finding where your passions lie – for some, it’s a vigorous stint during the day. For some others, it could be painting, writing, or simply finding a creative output that is different from their professional line of work. It’s thought that our imaginative and creative attempts that are familiar to us will aid in discovering and connecting knowledge we want to acquire.
For Einstein, having a regular break for music was integral to his creative genius. In addition, he would also advocate ‘combinatory play’ where he would integrate completely unrelated tasks outside the areas of science. For this, he would use a combination of music, arts, and even thoughts, to formulate new concepts. We are lead to believe that this was lead to his creation of the equation, E=mc2.
Jacques S. Hadamard studied the cognitive methods of mathematicians and said the combinatory play was essential to breeding productive thoughts. Einstein believed the words and language were not significant in developing his thoughts.
Unlike a subject matter, creativity is not a subject or lesson that can be taught; it can be moulded and developed in time. It has to be harnessed over time and the more time we engage kindling our passion or hobbies, the sharper these additional skills become. It’s likened to feeding a fire with logs; the more wood that is added results in more warmth and brightness. For the same reason, film producers venture out to museums for inspiration, and composers find musical notes in activities surrounding everyday life, a combined effort ideas, knowledge, and skills you have developed over your life can spark maximum creative potential.
Mental play of this kind deploys both your conscious and unconscious thinking, opines Victoria Stevens, a researcher of the neuroscience of creativity, To Think without Thinking. It scans a multitude of information and stimuli and looks for patterns, relationships and possible links. Einstein claimed that he derived a great deal of pleasure while engaging in art forms. He said that he felt a sense of completeness that he could not experience in any other ways.
Just like this scientist’s work was influenced by works of art, he was also a source of inspiration to artists of his generation. Salvador Dali’s creation ‘The Persistence of Memory’ was influenced by atomic particles, nuclear physics, and quantum mechanics that was apparent in the flexing of time. It’s no secret that Einstein struggled in his academic years; he left school at a formative age of 15. His teachers disregarded his learning methods which involved visual imagination. He later endorsed that imagination was more important than acquiring knowledge.
His success in research was how he would imagine intricate scientific details. As an example, he worked on gravity by conceptualizing a ride in a free-falling elevator; this lead to the understanding that acceleration and gravity stemmed together. Later, he used these thought experiments to theorize on how matter is shaped by space and time. He also discredited Newton’s concept of the universe being of a single dimension. He proposed that the universe had four dimensions in which planets, stars, and other beings were influenced by gravitational pull.
Almost a century has passed, yet, Einstein’s legacy stands without refute. Contemporary scientists still draw from his work of time, space, and gravity. To prove general perception of scientists the world over, Einstein displayed kindness and compassion in his dealings with the people around him. He always credited that whatever great feats he gained were a direct result of what was achieved before his time.