July 24, 2012

Hair vs Beard: Tagore & Einstein

In July 1930, Tagore visited Einstein in his place, in Caputh, close to Berlin. They talked about cience, human being, Beauty and Truth. They had met four years before for the first time.

Tagore said of Einstein:

''His shock of white hair, his burning eyes, his warm manner again impressed me with the human character of this man who dealt so abstractly with the laws of geometry and mathematics ... There was nothing stiff about him -- there was no intellectual aloofness. He seemed to me a man who valued human relationship and he showed toward me a real interest and understanding.''

About Beauty and Truth, Einstein said:

If there would be no human beings any more, the Apollo of Belvedere would no longer be beautiful. I agree with regard to this conception of Beauty, but not with regard to Truth. I cannot prove scientifically that Truth must be conceived as a Truth that is valid independent of humanity; but I believe it firmly. I believe, for instance, that the Pythagorean theorem in geometry states something that is approximately true, independent of the existence of man. 

A bit later, they met again, and talked about music and art:

E: The same uncertainty will always be there about everything fundamental in our experience, in our reaction to art, whether in Europe or Asia. Even the red flower I see before me on your table may not be the same to you and me.

T: And yet there is always going on the process of reconciliation between them, the individual taste conforming to the universal standard.

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