The Feste Award
MichaelRead interviews Albert Einstein

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By MichaelRead
November 27, 2007

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The Interview that Never Happened 89

MichaelRead interviews Albert Einstein

MichaelR: "I know some are going to give me heck for inviting you as support for my attempt at The Feste Award but I figure why not have a physicist as an interviewee. The last one with academy award winners sort of backfired."

Albert Einstein: "It's all relative."

Michael: "Well, I'm sure you're ri - hold on, have I been upped, Albert?"

Albert: "My attempt at humor. Carry on, Michael. Tell me, how can I help in this? I have to say that my background really doesn't lend itself to that end."

Michael: "In a way I agree yet you are good at problem solving and I have a problem with The Feste Award in that I have been nominated six time and lost six times and I thought your genius would have a solution."

Albert: "So let's restate the problem: six others were better and you weren't. Obviously you have to be better. That isn't exactly ee-equals-emm-cee-squared, is it?"

Michael: "Probably not. But, there's some hellacious posters on Motley and they're content rich, to the point, and they post with material I can't match. Worse, there's more joining and they're smart. It's an uphill fight, Albert."

Albert: "Let me add what I can. It has been 102 years since I formulated some ideas on light and energy. We knew then what we knew and now we still know what we know and, while that's more than we knew back then, we still have more to learn. We think we know more and, in a way, we do yet each time we discover something it opens us up to areas in which we know nothing but an idea of what is."

Michael: "Let me parse that. You believe we know more but compared with a hundred years ago we are in a similar situation as then. What we have learned accumulates and now this knowledge leads us to more knowledge as we open up areas of exploration? Do I have that right?"

Albert: "Some say we learn more and more about less and less. I disagree. It may be true we exhaust certain areas of knowledge yet we are continually opening doors we didn't even know existed before. We are still asking ‘why' and that can only be because there are ‘why's' to be answered. Simply put, we are still learning. We are no different than our ancestors who looked at the sky and asked, ‘What is there?'"

Michael: "A question I have to ask. If there's a black hole in which even light can't escape but gravity can why is this that gravity can? What I mean is -"

Albert: "I know what you mean. Gravity is something we don't fully understand. We will but not now. We know weak and strong forces at the atomic level yet what generates gravity we don't fully know. We have postulates but no concrete answers. Follow this thought, Michael, it may be your way to The Feste Award.

Michael: "I don't understand. And I have to say that, since we're running out of space, as is the custom of The Interview That Never Was, you have the last word."

Albert: "Michael, we seek answers to questions we know. What we don't know is answers to questions we have yet to formulate. If we were to distinguish between when I was younger and now the difference is in the questions we ask. The true physicist is one who doesn't know the answer to his or her questions. The researcher who asks unanswerable questions finds answers by the very fact of asking them. What's needed is more asking questions in areas the questions themselves open. ‘What is?' is the first question.

Michael: "And that leads to what in my quest for The Feste?"

Albert: "The joy of posing questions to which opens up an area not previously explored. Think it through, Michael. Why Motley and why the brothers Gardiner? They asked questions not to slash through investing undergrowth but to open areas not previously explored. The risk is you're wrong but the possibility of being right only comes if you ask questions beyond what is. If I were to summate education I would say that query is what education is for."

Michael: "Are you saying that knowledge itself is not enough?"

Albert: "Not at all. Knowledge separates man from beast. But knowledge only comes from questioning and asking why. If I were to instill something it would be to ask even to the point of irritation."

Michael: "So, to get The Feste I have to ask question to which there are not yet answers? If so then I have to quote Freud and the question he was asked about women and his answer was he didn't know and I have to come up with a similar question hopefully for elicitation?"

Albert: "What do women want is not something I can answer yet posing it opens the possibility of an answer. Get my point? We as a society in all its states depends on asking questions to which we don't have the answer, This does not demonstrate our ignorance but our knowledge of areas in which there may be answers not even dreamed of."

Michael: "I don't see how this get me The Feste. Am I missing something?"

Albert: "You are. All those who won the award opened up areas not opened by others. You talk of content and aptness yet you miss the point: they brought forward new concepts by asking questions bringing forth answers that were not there because the questions previous didn't open the area of answers."

Michael: "Thanks, Albert. I have Pilsner. You want one?"

Albert: An easily answered question."