Albert Einstein is one of the greatest physicists of all time, his theories having contributed a great deal to human advancement. It is, however, impossible to discuss Einstein’s scientific achievements without discussing his philosophies and values that shaped them. Einstein was very much a philosopher-scientist like those of Ancient Greece, and much of his scientific findings were based on the values of Kant and Aristotle. If we establish the fact that Einstein was not just a scientist but a philosopher-scientist, there is no surprise in reading this quote of Einstein’s: “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked b the laughter of the gods”.
Looking at Einstein simply as a scientist, one might think he is being hypocritical-having discovered and devised many of the scientific rules that govern “reality”.But looking at Einstein as a philosopher-scientist, one is able to find that Einstein did not believe in the idea that “knowledge of ‘what is’ opens the door to ‘what should be'”. Instead he believed that the destiny of all truth and knowledge-in other words ‘what should be’-was set out by God.
These ideals that Einstein fervently believed in go hand in hand with the quote mentioned above, where Einstein implies that those who judge truth and knowledge, or in other words dictate “what should be”, are intruding into the activity of God. Understanding this perspective of Einstein, we can accomplish two things: we can describe the trend of convergence that is very much prevalent in many of our evolving technologies, and better understand the film V for Vendetta directed by James McTeigue.If the overriding trend during the Industrial Revolution was everything getting bigger-from population size to economic output-the overriding trend in our current Information Revolution is convergence. Technologies, ideas, and perspectives that are essentially unrelated to each other are being converged together in many ways. We have to look no further than the IPhone we hold in our hands. The real attractiveness of the IPhone lie in the fact that it is an all-in-one device-where one can browse the web, call, text, and download thousands of apps that can perform other functions as well.This integration and convergence of different technologies is a basic aspect of not just the IPhone but a variety of other hi-tech gadgets like tablets, Smart TV’s, and laptops. All of these developments stem out of the very idea that Einstein discusses in his quote.
True convergence cannot be achieved without equality-the idea that different technologies are equal in all aspects. Einstein outlines that there should be no hierarchy between ideas and knowledge because one idea should not dictate “what should be” over other ideas. This equality of ideas is what enables true convergence, and it can be said that the Information Revolution that is shaping our lives as we speak is centred around Einstein’s philosophy.The film V for Vendetta, directed by James McTeigue, outlines a similar support for Einstein’s ideals. The film portrays a dystopian society where every single aspect of an individual’s life is controlled by High Chancellor Adam Sutler and his government.
What the government says is the one and only truth, and all aspirations for knowledge are strongly repressed. Einstein, being an ardent believer in the philosophy that the destiny of truth and knowledge come from God, would criticize the dystopian government of V for Vendetta as “playing God”. Einstein encouraged searching for the truth-the “what is”.
But he did not support anyone dictating “what should be”.The dystopian society portrayed in V for Vendetta paints a precise picture of what Einstein criticizes in his quote. In the end of the film, we see that the dictatorial government of the High Chancellor falling apart as the once repressed population becomes enlightened with new ideas proposed by the main character, V. Only when the population realizes that they can form their own opinion of “what should be” do they rise up against the government. All of these developments of the movie’s plot and the overall dystopia portrayed in the film V for Vendetta go hand in hand with Einstein’s values.
There is no doubt that Einstein contributed a great deal to humanity. But we must be able to take into account the philosophies and values of Einstein’s that shaped his scientific breakthroughs. In doing so, we find fascinating values of Einstein’s that formed the basis of today’s Information Revolution and the film V for Vendetta. In such ways, Einstein’s contributions to humankind have been both scientific and philosophical, making him a truly well-rounded figure that will be remembered for centuries to come.