Einstein is quoted often. One of my favorites is: “I didn’t say most of what people think I said.” Love that. So, he was a genius AND he had a sense of humor, an odd combination, wish there was more of that around.
My fave Einstein quote (which I hope he actually uttered) is about how we can’t hope to solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them. Lots of other people like this quote too because I’ve heard it and read it countless times, in books, at seminars, in conversations, etc. Problem is, I don’t see much new thinking occurring.
I’ve wondered if the person saying these words, and then doing nothing about it, imagines that they have already starting thinking differently, just because they care about the world, for instance, about world peace. That’s just an idea… I don’t think it constitutes the fullness of what Einstein was pointing towards. Do you?
In my explorations, I’m finding a few specifics about new thinking.
1. Questions are more important than answers.
2. Humility is stronger and better than arrogance.
3. Peace is a seed, not a result. And, a bunch more.
Number one, though, is the vital importance of restoring my connection with nature. I live in the Oregon woods so that should be easy, but it’s easy to get lost in my screen. Meanwhile, that wild world out there beckons. Daily walks give me the opportunity to commune and gradually, after seven years here now, I feel the forest is accepting me and that I am beginning to hear the forest song I’ve been soaking in these years. The sound of the stream seems more melodic now; the wind in the trees too, it seems intelligent.
A question I like to ask whenever I’m discussing this with friends is: “Who do you think is the most intelligent species on earth?” It always raises eyebrows because the default is “humans.” Of course, who could question that? Well, I do. On what grounds? Results.
I don’t notice any other species wreaking havoc on the natural environment the way humans do. This, we are great at. No other animal has shown such a callous disregard for his home nest, has acted in ways that have hurt so many other species (species extinction is now about 1,000 times faster than the traditional “background” rate). Wow, we really excel at this!
Einstein was right: we need to think different. For me, it begins with realizing that humans, that “I” am not nearly the most intelligent species on the planet. I am part of Gaia, part of a universal intelligence, but I access much less of it than the trees in this forest I am growing to love. What can they teach me about peace, for instance, if I open my ears to really hear? Hmn… wonder if that might lead to some new thinking?
Will Wilkinson is a local author, life coach, and professional speaker. www.willwilkinsoncoach.com