The Einstein Factor
By David Brockschmidt
In the Year 2000 Time Magazine´s supremos put their heads together in order to chose “their” Person of the Century in New York City – the Big Apple. Result: Adolf Hitler!
One journalist said: “Why Adolf again? We made him already twice Man of the Year in 1936 (Time Magazine, No 15, Vol. XXVII, April 13, 1936) and 1941 (Time Magazine, April 14, 1941, during World War II; National Geographic Magazine, Vol LXXI, No 2, February 1937).” - and then they said only nice things about Hitler and Germany.
Anyhow, the anti-Hitler camp within Time Magazine was overruled and Hitler became its choice. This news, Hitler – the Man of the Century, now of course not Mr nice guy anymore, like in 1936 and 1941, went like a bushfire around the world.
For the non-New Yorker you should know this city is ruled by two powerful clans; first the Irish who call their city New York the Big Apple, and then the Jews who call their city Jew York, the big bagel. For our non-Jewish readers who do not know what a bagel is, let me educate you: a bagel is a bread roll with a big hole in the middle, so it’s big from the outside and hollow inside, just like New-Jew York. As the story goes, the terrible power of the Jewish purse (Theodor Herzl – The Jewish State) won over the Irish shamrock.
The head honchos from Time Magazine got the message, took Adolf to Central Station, gave him a one-way ticket to hell where all good devils belong. The Bagel boys made certain that one of them became the person of the century. They got what they wanted – as always, and their choice was Albert Einstein – the brain of the century. BIG MISTAKE!
Historical Revisionism is not only about revising history but also to topple false icons. So let’s have a closer look at this genius of the 20th century, Albert Einstein. After you have read this revised information about him, I leave it to you, the reader, to decide if this man was the genius of the century or not.
One should also not forget that Albert Einstein was a glowing Zionist. He was actively helping to lay the foundations for the state of Israel, which has thrown the whole Middle East into a terrible mess today.
It is a mystery to me why the world-wide Jewish lobby forced Albert Einstein on to Time Magazine’s ‘Man of the Century’. Why did they not choose one of the truly great persons like Professor Israel Shahak, Yehudi Menuhin, or Professor Norman Finkelstein, for example.
Bye, bye, Einstein, welcome Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg and their Quantum Theory
Let’s give credit to the real brains of the century here: Niels Bohr-1922; Werner Heisenberg -1932; Jules Henri Poincaré 1900; Hendrik Antoon Lorentz-1902; Mileva Maric, Einstein’s wife-1902; S Tolver Preston–1875; Olinto de Pretto–1904; Michael Besso–1904; S Poor–1930; Alfred North Whitehead-1920; C E Wetherburn–1920; Arthur Lynch–1914; Weber –1946; Hasenöhrl–1846. Last but not least Stephen Hawking who was once a supporter of Einstein, but now says that Einstein’s Law of Relativity is not better than astrology.
For our German readers the following should be helpful: Gotthard Barth: Der gigantische Betrug mit Einstein, Die Geschichte des Fachlehrers A.E., Rationale Physik, Licht aus den Atomen, obtainable from Haus Bradley, A-2063 Zwingendorf, Austria; Karl Brinkmann: Grundfehler der Relativitätstheorie, Hohenrain, 1988; Johannes Jürgenson: Die lukrativen Lügen der Wissenschaft, Ewert-Verlag, 1997.
Physicist debunks Einstein’s theory
The Advertiser, 20 January 2000
New Delhi – British physicist Stephen Hawking has debunked astrology- along with some of Albert Einstein’s theory – in a lecture in the capital of India, where most Hindus consult star charts and astrological signs for the decision on marriage and other matters.
“When it was discovered that the earth was not the centre of the universe, astrology became impossible,” said Professor Hawking, delivering a lecture through voice synthesizer to a standing-room only crowd of thousands. “The reason most scientists don’t believe in astrology is because it is not consistent with our theories that have been tested by experiment”, Professor Hawking told a rapped crowd that had waited for an hour in lines winding around the block to see and hear him. Delivering the Albert Einstein Memorial Lecture for the Centre of Philosophy and Foundation of Science, he said some scientific theories about the ability to predict the position and velocity of particles in space or time are not better than astrology.
Explaining that scientists have been unable to make an exact measurement of an object’s velocity and position at the same time, he said, “one can suppose” that information is “known to God, but hidden from us!”
Giving an overview of how physics has been part of man’s quest to predict the future, he said Einstein had been “confused” about quantum theory and wrong about the existence of black holes, massive stars with gravity so strong that light does not escape.
Professor Hawking was given a standing ovation and presented with a Hindi language translation of his book A Brief History of Time.
There is a saying that behind every great man there is a woman. Geraldine Hilton would like to change that a little to something like, beside every great man is a woman. But it’s with those few steps forward that she got herself into hot water.
Hilton is not a favourite among sections of the international scientific community. Her research into Albert Einstein and the startling conclusions that she draws has rocked many who believe that Einstein’s was one of history’s greatest minds.
In her documentary, Einstein’s Wife, Hilton tells the story of Mileva Maric, Einstein’s first wife and a fellow physicist. The documentary strongly supports the idea that Maric was a collaborator on some of Einstein’s most important work.
If Albert Einstein was a “genius” who made some of the most important discoveries of his age, then so, too, was Mileva Maric.
In 1989, after the death of Einstein’s long-term secretary, thousands of his personal papers were made public, among these were Einstein’s and Maric’s love letters. These letters, and the research that has since been conducted by academics in Europe and the US, paint a mesmerizing picture of the two scientists and the age in which they lived.
As Hilton bluntly says, “It must have been painful to have been born bright and a woman at that time.”
Born in a small town in Hungary, Maric was gifted. She went to an all-male academy to study maths and physics and was accepted into one of the few European universities that allowed women students. She was the lone woman in her class when she met Einstein.
Maric’s name does not appear as co-author on Einstein’s early papers, all through researchers argue that she contributed to the work.
Hilton says the omission is not surprising with many women in that era published under a male pseudonym.
[Hilton is wrong here, Maric did not publish under a male pseudonym but Einstein crossed her name out and claimed her work as his own. DB]
Maric and Einstein excelled in their undergraduate studies and were accepted to begin doctorates. Surprisingly, both failed a final exam. After a review, Einstein was allowed to pass, Maric was not. From this point, Maric’s academic career disintegrated as quickly as Einstein’s flourished. She tried to sit the exam again but failed and by this time had fallen pregnant. There was no chance for a woman, pregnant and unmarried, to pursue an academic career.
It is the story of Maric’s private life, away from physics, that paints the saddest, most shocking picture of a woman’s life at the time, of opportunities denied and an exceptional mind refused any outlet or acknowledgement.
Einstein’s mother loathed Maric, considering her unsuitable for her son because she was plain, from a lower class, not Jewish (emphasis added), and too bright. “ (She is) a book and you deserve a wife”, she told her son.
When Einstein and Maric’s first child, a daughter, was born in 1902 before they were married, Maric gave birth in secret far from her husband. To be with Einstein, she later sent the child away. The fact of an illegitimate daughter would have been ruinous for his career, Maric’s career was already ruined.
But Hilton describes Maric as a heroine, not a victim. The filmmaker argues that Maric deserves recognition for her courage in pursuing her studies and later her strength when she looked after their two sons alone, one with a psychiatric illness. When Einstein left Europe for the US, Maric stayed in Europe with her children.
From our perspective we look back a hundred years and think, what a miserable existence, he left her and got all the fame and she was left with nothing. But she still had the family and the love of her children, Hilton says.
She says the resistance to anything that could be seen as diminishing Einstein’s achievements was the toughest part of making the film but she understands some of the concerns.
There is an industry behind the name of Albert Einstein. It has given birth to a massive amount of publications and has been a part of folklore, as well”, she says.
Einstein’s wife is Hilton’s first documentary and it may be her last for some time. With a background in film distribution and acquisition, she chose a documentary for her first film in the mistaken belief that it would be easier that a feature film.
From her home in Byron Bay, Australia, Hilton is now developing several future film projects. But she has no regrets about pursuing the story of Miliva Maric. She believes most people will see the film as fair and “a fairly level-headed analysis”.
Apart from a few, the scientific community has been very silent. I think in their heart of hearts they know that Albert Einstein couldn’t have done it without her, and she couldn’t have done it without him. He was a genius – and we acknowledge that – but she was a genius, too.”
[Kermond is wrong here because Einstein was not a genius but a copycat.- DB.]
A New Yorker cartoon showed a television newsreader reporting from the annual meeting of the American Physical Society, where participants had just agreed that everything they knew about the nature of the universe was “wrongly, wrongly wrong”. That a joke in The New Yorker is no laughing matter received further confirmation last July when Stephen Hawking renounced his belief that information could not escape from black holes.
The puzzles facing mathematical physicists today had their parallels 100 years ago. In 1905, a twenty-year-old clerk in the Swiss Patents Office, Albert Einstein, published the first of his papers that would overturn our picture of the world. Atop Einstein’s list of discards was the aether.
If nature abhorred a vacuum, seemingly empty space had to be filled with something or other, to which the ancient had given the name aether, derived from the Greek for aetherial fire. Einstein’s dismissal of aether as obsolete justifies the older spelling rather than aether which invokes a different mind-numbing substance.
Belief in aether had been a useful construct but ended its days as a label for collective confusion. Its longevity offers insights into why scientists will clinch to speculative ideas. Its prolonged death is the dark side of the story of relativity, making it the unwelcome guest at this year’s celebrations of how brilliant physicists can be.
Aether is also forgotten because its half-life is a reminder of how many such geniuses have been enthralled by the occult. The fondness of aether did have valid underpinnings, because the alternative would have been to allow for “ action at a distance”, which threatens the return to all manner of mumbo-jumbo. Scientists had marginalized any notion of aether as divine. But if aether were not angels in motion, what is it?
A jelly metaphor introduced in 1838 gained support; if aether were any kind of solid, it would act as a drag on the velocity of light passing through it. In the early 1880s two investigators in Ohio, Albert A Michelsohn (1852-191) and Edward Morley (1838-192) set out to measure that effect.
This is how Michelsohn explains his experiment to his children: Two beams of light race against each other, like two swimmers, one struggling upstream and back, while the other, covering the same distance, just crosses the river and returns. The second swimmer will always win, if there is any current in the river.
Their 1887 measurements resulted in a dead heat – a “null”, Could it be that there was no current – that is, no aether – for the light to swim against?
The battle was now on to preserve the aether. Well into the 1920s experimenters tried to overturn the Michelsohn-Morley results. Others proposed that the earth dragged aether along with it. If so, aether need not alter the velocity of light crossing its path.
More profound challenges to the nature and functions attributable to aether were spreading from discoveries in electro-magnetism. From 1864 and working from the research of Michael Faraday (1791-1867), the mathematical physicist, James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) supplied mathematical proofs that light was a ‘ mutual embrace” of magnetism and electricity.
Scientists think through metaphors as well as with data. For instance, Faraday’s version of Christianity had led him to believe that God’s creation moved in circles, not linearly as in Newtonian mechanics. Faraday’s theology encouraged Clerk Maxwell towards field theory.
The mathematical genius Lord Kelvin (1824-1907) spent his declining decades chasing after an alternative to Maxwell’s field theory, determined to establish a mathematical model of the aether. Kelvin gave up on the jelly version only to promote what one friend called “a froth theory”. In desperation Kelvin proposed that aether occupied the same space as the objects moving through it without their affecting each other.
Giving up the aether would have been easier had some alternative been proposed in its stead. Earlier scientific discoveries had gained acceptance in this way, with oxygen taking over from phlogiston and germs from miasmas. By contrast, the loss of aether suggested no tangible substitute. Several researchers hoped to retain aether as an electro-magnetic field. Beyond that, doubters were offered pure mathematics, which Kelvin called “merely the aetherialisation of common sense.” Unfortunately, common sense was the problem.
Einstein escapes from this quagmire by leaping over aether as an article of faith. One version of how to revolutionize physics would have us believe that he had built on experiments, such as Michelsohn’s and Morley’s, to arrive at a more coherent picture of the whole. On the contrary, despair at resolving the contradictions that had built up from experiments drove him to postulate conclusions from principles. The concomitant was to eliminate concepts that added nothing to this understanding. Hence, he dismissed aether as superfluous.
Among the three tests that Einstein proposed for his picture of the world, the best known became the measurement of the effect of gravitation on light. The sun was so massive that its deflection of light passing from a distant star would be big enough to be calculated during an eclipse. The eclipse itself had no effect on this difference but merely allowed any impact to be viewed.
The first opportunity to test this hypothesis came on May 19, 1919. The experimenters had to photograph the eclipsed sun in a patch of sky with lots of stars. They then imposed these plates on ones taken of the same patch when the sun was elsewhere. The shot from Brazil registered that the stars were further out of alignment when the sun was nearby than when it was far away.
Because the calculations from this sighting were perhaps no more than 50 per cent accurate, not everyone was converted. In addition, critics wondered whether other solar effects had caused the shift.
Accounts from London of the Royal Society’s discussion of the results from the 1919 eclipse had “flashed through the daily papers like a nine-days wonder”. The Melbourne Argus accompanied its report with an explanatory essay stressing the challenge to conventional views threatened more than the replacement of one arcane orthodoxy by another. Henceforth, the article continued, nothing could be accepted as absolute.
The circularity of a circle might be well no more than the congruence of an eclipse with a similarly warped measuring device. Every measure was relative to its circumstance.
Other aspects of Einstein’s universe to amaze the public was the challenge to Newton’s law of gravity. Like the aether, gravity had offered a sense of security. The budding poet Kenneth Slessor was “morbidly anxious to know did “ah, DID the apple drop?”
Despite reporting that the world had been turned inside out, The Argus reprinted an explanation that could not shake off the past: “Suppose that in a layer of jelly you inscribed a perfect circle, and that you proved its perfection by measuring the radii with a two foot ruler made of the same jelly. Assume now that the state of strain in the jelly stretched it in one direction. The circle would be deformed into an eclipse, but when you measured it with your jelly ruler, all the radii would still appear to be the same length because the rule itself, being subject to the same strain, would vary in dimensions from radius to radius.”
The aether based view became even more apparent in the summation: “Things placed in the aether stream have one length; placed across it they have a nother.” Einstein had done away with an aether stream in which to lay rulers, whether made of jelly or not.
Popular interest remained high. In October 1920 the lecturer in mathematics at Ormond College at the University of Melbourne, C. E. Whetherburn, compared the craze with “the appreciation of Omar Khayyam by the general public ten years ago. Some have been attracted by the psychological aspect of the blendings of space and time while others take it up because, like the Athenian contemporary with St Paul, they delight in spending their time either in telling or hearing some new thing.”
In the effort to confirm the 1919 eclipse results, Australia became the cynosure of the Einstein revolution when the next total eclipse was visible from Ballina across towards Broome on September 21, 1922. The largest party came from the Lick Observatory outside San Fransisco, bringing a telescope with photographic attachment fashioned for the occasion. The Americans arrived in Melbourne in July and were given a civic reception before heading for Wallal, 300 kilometres south of Broome, where the eclipse would last five minutes, 19 seconds.
Other researchers set up sites, one on the Christmas Island and two more on the mainland. Only the photographs from Cordello Downs in South Australia – close to where the explorers Burke and Wills had died – were serviceable enough to send to Britain for analysis.
The Astronomer Royal thanked the team for its efforts but concluded that their “close agreement with Einstein’s value is a matter of luck. For really first-rate results you need twice the focal length, a higher sun, and (I think) longer development to bring out the images more distinctly.”
Technical and popular journals went on publishing article, mostly in favour of Einstein. Whetherburn was the exception, criticizing Einstein’s theories for being too abstruse and wanting in confirmation. This reluctance to endorse Einstein’s picture of the world was not a mark of antipodean backwardness. When Einstein finally got a Nobel prize in 1921 it was not for the work on relativity, but on the photo-electric effect. Resident skeptics were abrest of European objections. – emphasis added.
By 1932, the same could not be said in mitigation of the Victorian-born and educated polymath, Arthur Lynch (1861-1934), who, in the case against Einstein argued that the Theory of Relativity had added nothing to science beyond replacing aether with a “mathematical expression” of doubtful accuracy. – emphasis added.
In case the shocks from relativity had not sunk into Melbourne’s respectable classes, The Argus confirmed their worst fears during a time of world war, revolution and the influenza pandemic: “Nothing is absolute, unalterable, all things are in accord with their environment and with all other things, changing if those other things and the environment change.”
Did relativity extend to loyalty to the king-emperor, the sanctity of marriage and the arts? The gaps between appearances and actuality were widening as the wireless and electricity entered the domestic sphere. To appreciate responses to Einstein requires recognition of how these elements reinforced each other. No wonder the public and many experts stuck to the insubstantial aether as a link to the certainties of religion.
For instance the Perth Chamber of Commerce in 1920 called aether “nature’s conductor” and feared that Einstein’s disproof of aether disrupted the connectedness of the universe. Another Western Australian author informed the grocers in WA in 1925 that the aether was necessary to demonstrate a “divine plan of evolution”.
The social alarms persisted. In December 1924, a Sydney monthly, The Triad, reported the results of its “great people competition”. Thomas Edison and Benito Mussolini shared first place, followed by Giuglielmo Marconi and Henry Ford with Einstein running last. Technological applications, it seemed, could be welcomed if kept under an iron fist.
Such attitudes were not the preserve of cranks. The managing director of Amalgamated Wireless Australasia, Ltd, E T Fisk, founded the monthly Sea, Land and Air to promote wireless, electricity and aviation. In June 1920 an anonymous contributor concocted an interview with “an oriental” about Einstein. Parallels between social and physical disorders indicate why a journal promoting technological innovations could chase reassurance from the wisdom of the East.
The interlocutor opened by nothing that during “the present age a terrible bombardment is made on the brain cells of men, and only those by nature extremely lethargic escaped the constant stimulus which modern education, business and social life creates.” The inertia that gravitation imposes on our bodies softens this social maelstrom. Without this cushion we would be “resolved into the chaos whence we came”.
On being told that space and motion were one and the same, the questioner pleaded: “What has become of the aether?” The sage replied: “How can you be deprived of what you never had!”
While the world’s scientists had been preparing for the 1922 eclipse, the co-founder of the Wireless Institute, Oswald F Mingay, contributed an article on the “electron theory” to the Australasian Electrical Times. Electrons, he claimed, produced vibrations or waves in the aether: “ALL space – the entire universe – is, it is assumed, permeated by this medium aether. It has been called the all-pervading aether. It exists in those portions of space which are apparently empty. It is probably at rest – stationary. Very little is definitely known about aether except that it – or something equivalent – exists. Aether is no matter, because matter is made of electrons; in certain respects aether appears to be similar to a semi-rigid jelly-like substance.”
So not only did even technical experts go on talking as if aether was real, they clung to the jelly metaphore, rather than speaking than of an electromagnetic field.
Wireless transmission is now so old hat that its mystical and mysterious dimensions have disappeared along with the aether through which many people assumed the sounds were moving. Static was a demon, according to the Wireless Weekly in 1929, as if another life form inhabited the aether. This metaphor overlapped with the hope that spiritualists entertained of using the “unseen voice” of radio waves to contact young men killed in the Great War who were said to be present but through a veil. Alternatively they were suspended in Einstein’s spacetime.
In 1916 a former president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Sir Oliver Lodge, had reported conversations with his dead son, Raymond. This loss carried Lodge far beyond any of the scientific efforts to retain the aether.
Indeed, he went further than those scientists who adapted the new physics to let God back into their equations. Lodge’s 1925 popular expositions, Ether and Reality, proclaimed aether to be the connecting link between the material and spiritual worlds, through “in ways which at present we can only surmise”. The joke going around was that a bishopric rather than a knighthood had become the apt honour for a physicist.
Newspapers reported in June 1930 that the AWA’s Fisk expected to use wireless to contact the departed. Whether or not Fisk held that opinion, he knew that such speculations gave his many critics a chance to ridicule his fitness to dominate the industry, so he issued a correction. He claimed to have been answering a question about using radio waves to contact Mars; in reply he had joked that such communication was about as likely as with the dead, who would at least understand what we were saying. Fisk’s loss of a son in the Second World War revived his interest in wireless as a medium for spiritualism.
The conviction that some form of aether existed as an expression of a Godhead afflicted the Dutch physicist Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1853-1928) who shared the second Nobel prize for physics in 1902. Instead of aethers being “God’s conductor” as Newton had proposed, Lorentz hoped that it would be revealed as the “world-spirit that permeates a physical system, without being tied to a particular place. Such a spirit could feel all events in its system and would pick a preferred coordinate system!”. In that case relativity would not be absolute.
Until 1911 the Special Theory of Relativity was known as the Lorentz-Einstein Theory because a 1904 paper by Lorentz was formally equivalent to Einstein’s 1905 account. Yet Lorentz never accepted Einstein’s Special Theory – emphasis added. For him, an aether frame of reference held out the prospect of reaching absolute measures for time, length and the velocity of light.
Historians wonder whether Lorentz would have been Einstein had he been able to surrender his attachment to aether, which he kept as a silent partner in every area where he made breakthroughs. Indeed, no one had done more to renovate views about aether. Lorentz seemed ready to abandon any of the pillars of physics, bar the aether. By 1892 he had declared that the aether-ion was outside Newtonian mechanics. Three years later he let go of Newton’s law of action and reaction because aether had to be immobile.
In 1902 Lorentz suggested that aether was not just in-between the atoms and electrons but inside them. Going further, he imagined matter as a local modification of aether. Shortly afterwards, he considered that aether could “be the seat of an electromagnetic field with its energy and vibrations”. Nontheless, he still regarded aether “as endowed with a certain degree of substantiality, however different it may be from all ordinary matter”.
Lorentz appreciated that Einstein would have never reached either of his theories of relativity had he clung to aether, remarking, with typical grace, how we were lucky that Einstein had given it up.
The philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead is said to have warned: “ A science which hesitates to forget its founders is lost!” – emphasis added.
That maxim is true in as much as reputation has no rights against evidence or better explanations. The brilliance of a Kelvin and a Lorentz was never an argument in favour of the aether.
Researchers, however, forget one strand from their discipline’s past at their peril. It is a truth, not universally acknowledged, that no picture of the world is in possession of the final word – emphasis added. Tsunamis are now understood in terms of continental drifts, a view considered ridiculous until the mid-1960s before acceptance of movement in tectonic plates.
Awareness of the refutation of past conjectures is essential in keeping the society of scientists open to discovery.
Researchers who forget the reverence that their predecessors granted to phantoms, such as aether, risk repeating such dogmatics. Without the half-life of humility, investigators in every domain leave themselves open to the joke against cosmologists who, while never in doubt, are frequently in error.
There were casualties as a direct result of Einstein deserting his wife and children for Princeton University, USA. Einstein treated wives and lovers badly. His first baby daughter, Lieserl, was adopted out a few years before he and Meliva parted on bitter terms. His second wife, cousin Elsa, fared only a little better. In marriage, he shamefully failed twice, Einstein acknowledged later in life. Faced with personal problems, he locked himself away in ‘his” equations.
ALBERT EINSTEIN Plagiarist of the Century
Einstein plagiarised the work of several notable scientists in his 1905 papers on special relativity and E = mc2, yet the physics community has never bothered to set the record straight in the past century.
by Richard Moody, Jr © 2003, 777 Treadlemire Road, Berne, NY 12023, USA
From the Memory Hole - Albert Einstein on Jews, Palestine, race, Zionims, Judaism and religion.
From The Thinkers’ Library, No 79, The World as I see it, by Albert Einstein. Watts & Co, London, UK, 1935.
Is there a Jewish point-of-view?
…Judaism is not a creed: the Jewish God is simply a negation of superstition, an imaginary result of its elimination. Judaism is thus no transcendental religion; it is concerned with life as we live it and can up to a point grasp it, and nothing else. It seems to me, therefore, doubtful whether it can be called a religion in the accepted sense of the word, particularly as no ‘faith’ but the sanctification of life in a supra-personal sense is demanded of the Jew. It is the feeling from which true scientific research draws its spiritual substance, but which also seems to find expression in the songs of birds. To take this on to the idea of God seems mere childish absurdity.(p. 90-92)
Addresses on Reconstruction in Palestine
Anything we may do for the common purpose is done not merely for our brothers in Palestine, but for the wellbeing and the honour of the Jewish people…It has been clearly proclaimed that we are not seeking to create a political society, but that our aim is, in accordance with the old tradition of Jewry, a cultural one in the widest sense of the word … For the community is not, and must never become a political one; this is the only permanent source whence it can draw new strength and the only ground of which tis existence can be justified… Eminent members of our race are already at work with all their might on the realisation of this aim … We nurse the hope of erecting in Palestine the home of our own national culture which shall help to waken the near East to new economic and spiritual life. The object which the leaders of Zionism have in view is not a political but a social and cultural one… In accordance with this notion, the establishment of a Jewish university in Jerusalem constitutes one of the most important aims of the Zionist organisation… I conclude with a warm appeal to the Jews in Germany to contribute all they can, in spite of the present economic difficulties, for the building up of the Jewish home in Palestine… For us Jews Palestine is not just a charitable or colonial enterprise, but a problem of central importance for the Jewish people. Palestine is not primarily a place of refuge for the Jews of Eastern Europe, but the embodiment of the re-awakening corporate spirit of the whole Jewish nation….Nationalities want to pursue their own path, not to blend. A satisfactory state of affairs can be brought about only by mutual toleration and respect…. It is from this point-of-view that I would have you look at the Zionist movement. Today history has assigned to us the task of taking an active part in the economic and cultural reconstruction on our native land. Enthusiasts, men of brilliant gifts, have cleared the way, and many excellent members of our race are prepared to devote themselves heart and soul to the cause. May everyone of them fully realize the importance of this work and contribute, according to his powers, to its success! (p. 93-101)
The Jewish Community – a speech in London
Embedded in the tradition of the Jewish people there is a love of justice and reason which must continue to work for the good of all nations now and in the future. In modern times this tradition has produced Spinoza and Karl Marx. … The best in men can flourish only when he loses himself in as community … Through the operation of a newly sense of solidarity among the Jews, the scheme of colonising Palestine launched by a handful of devoted and judicious leaders in the face of apparently insuperable difficulties, has already prospered so far that I feel no doubt about its permanent success. … The Jews are a community bound together by ties of blood and tradition, and not of religion only. (p. 101-108).
Young minds need to question
Education is about learning to think, not about blindly accepting someone else’s values, writes Chris Fotinopoulos.
The Age, February 23, 2004
Recent talk about the lack of values in the government school system has made me reflect on my role as a teacher. Given that I am an experienced public school teacher who was educated in the private school system, I feel I am reasonably well placed to make a positive contribution to the values in schools debate.
No doubt my teachers, as did my parents, taught me the incontestable value of truth, honesty, friendship and love of humanity, but it was the ethical inconsistencies in human behaviour that troubled me most as a teenager.
My mother never hit me, yet I was hit by certain teachers. My father encouraged me to think for myself, question everything and to be especially wary of authority, yet I was often bullied by certain staff members to conform to school customs and traditions. By the same token, values exposed at home on matters relating to sexuality, male and female roles and cultural traditions were sneered at not only by fellow students but by many teachers. I began to wonder whether the education I was receiving could provide me with ethical clarity and consistency.
Thankfully, I had the good fortune to study philosophy under the guidance of an Anglican priest, the Rev. Winter, who was more concerned about using his trademark mongrel bark to sting wayward adolescent boys into thinking about life’s big questions than in dwelling on traditions, customs and mindless observance of popular opinions.
I recall him giving his students the precise questions to the end of the year exam, suggesting there was more to learning than blindly slotting facts in the appropriate blank spaces. For him, real learning, as with life itself, required inspiration, imagination, creativity and the courage to think freely without fear of consequence. I knew as soon as he gave me a copy of Plato’s The Last Days of Socrates that philosophy would free me from my moral and ethical disorientation.
Ironically, it was in a conservative and religious private school setting that I came to appreciate Socrates warning against slavish adherence to customs and traditions.
Philosophical enquiry gave me the intellectual skills, confidence and courage to question, examine, re-evaluate and abandon many of the archaic values exposed in schools – and at home.
Sadly, Socrates paid for this important lesson with his life, whereas I got off with nothing more than being labelled a rascal and – much to the chagrin of the traditionalists of the school – an independent thinker. I never saw myself as a person bereft of values. It’s just that I, as with most teenagers – indeed most people – didn’t like to be told what to do and think.
As I continued to till the rich and fertile soil of Greek philosophy for answers to the question I posed as a child, I came across a nugget of advice that changed my life forever. It was that man again, Socrates, warning me against the dangers of living an unexamined life.
This, combined with Socrates’ emphasis on the importance of questioning and scrutinising all institutions encouraged me to pick at the threads of the elitist institutions that my parents had banked on making me a good person.
Any institution that seeks to snuff one’s thirst for wisdom needs its philosophers more than ever. A key problem in education is whether a school can, irrespective of whether it is independently or government funded, provide the creative and philosophical environment that encourages students to form and develop values through self examinations, questioning and philosophical scrutiny.
The teacher’s job is not to inculcate the “right” set of values in students. Their job is to provide students with the intellectual tools, confidence and courage to question and challenge that which parents, friends, media personalities, priests, politicians and indeed teachers insist is right. This is how an education in values ought to be approached.
By the time Socrates was executed by the Athenian state for corrupting the youth, he was old and had no definitive answers to life’s big questions. He did, however, know that he was free to question and challenge traditions, customs and dominant values.
This, indeed, is an admirable characteristic, particularly to many of today’s youth who have become tired of being told by bungling do-gooders (many of whom are teachers) what to think.
If parents value philosophical enquiry over indoctrination and religious dogma, then they need to look at a school that offers philosophy. As I see it, any school that values philosophical enquiry will provide its students with an excellent education in values. I know the government school in which I teach does.
[Chris Fotinopoulos teaches philosophy at Rowville Secondary College, Melbourne. He also manages the ethics program at the Centre for the Study of Ethics in medicine and Society at the Monash University Medical School.]
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