Dreams really do come true. Keep dreaming!
Albert Einstein is one of my favorite geniuses. He was born in 1879, eleven years before my grandparents. And he died in 1955, two years before I was born. Besides being a scientific smarty pants and having a wonderful sense of humor, he possessed great wisdom about a lot of different things and left behind a plethora of amazing quotes. He wrote and published hundreds of books and articles, and also was a prolific letter writer. Although I do not share many of his views about religion or politics, I marvel at his well-lived and generously shared life. On top of all the vast things that he knew, there is something that fascinates me. Albert Einstein didn’t know his phone number because he didn’t want to take up important brain space with trivial information.
Now that is just one of the reasons I am no Albert Einstein. My brain is jammed packed with trivial information. Phone numbers, well… I happen to know tons of phone numbers by heart, including some that I memorized more than 30 years ago when I was a switchboard operator. And it isn’t just phone numbers that occupy my precious brain space, I happen to know all kinds of random facts, addresses, dates, recipes, songs, and tons of childhood memories (both mine and my daughter’s) that I plan to use for future stories someday.
Like many of you, when I have a question or need to know something, I generally grab my computer or my iPhone and shazam, there it is! Actually, when I seek an answer online, I don’t just get one answer, I get back thousands and sometimes millions of potential answers to my question. So I tend to seek out Wikipedia and other reliable sources I’ve come to trust and then I have an answer (truly at my fingertips), as well as the potential for more trivial information taking up brain space. This trivia-filled brain of mine has served me well throughout my life and career, and since we all can’t be Einstein’s, I’m perfectly okay (and very grateful) for the brain I do have. But, I find myself wondering about all the future Einstein’s out in the world today. Are they guarding their brain space as protectively as Albert did, or are their brains ready to explode with information overload?
Albert Einstein died in a time before there was a TV in every home and before technology became readily available to the world’s finger tips, both day and night. Early computers used to require entire rooms or floors or buildings, and needed to be kept in temperature controlled environments. Today the world is truly all lit up with technology, and computers fit in our hands and on our laps, and we take them with us wherever we go. Inside these amazing machines, we keep our address books, our libraries, our thoughts and secrets, our business strategies, our banking and retirement plans, and for many of us – our lives.
Today, it’s not unusual to have separate email addresses for home, for work, and also for cell phones. This means potentially having dozens of passwords for dozens of online accounts and websites, because we’ve listened to the security experts’ words of caution.
For me and many of you, besides trying to stay on top of all the email inboxes, I have a blog, and a number of other blogs I enjoy reading. I have a Twitter account and I’m also on Facebook. I have a personal Facebook page and one for my book. All of this is a truly wonderful way to share thoughts, and also connect and stay in touch with family, friends, new acquaintances and followers. It’s absolutely amazing to be ‘liked’ and followed. At the same time, it does requires an investment of time and energy, and because I already have a different fulltime job, it can sometimes feel like I have a second one.
It makes me wonder if Albert Einstein (feel free to insert the name of your favorite genius or artist or writer or historical person here) were alive today, would he have succumbed by now to joining Facebook or Twitter? Would he find that he didn’t have time to discover the science behind relativity or to write all the books or articles or letters, because he was just too busy – staying connected, answering emails, or secretly trying to beat his last score playing Angry Birds or Spider Solitaire, or some other online brain challenging game? Would he even own a TV and if he did, would he be struggling to stay caught up on all his DVR’ed Discovery and National Geographic taped shows? I am thinking he’d be pleased to know that he wasn’t the only one who didn’t know his phone number, since today there are a lot of people who don’t. But, I’m also wondering if even with all his available brain space, if he could possibly take in all the information we humans take in on a daily basis? I wonder.