Reflection on Miller’s article

Arthur I. Miller – “Einstein, Picasso: space, time and the beauty that causes havoc”


By Bianca Polak

22 August 2006


After reading the three articles and the chapter on Einstein in Gardner’s Creating Minds over the weekend I gave them some time to let it process in my mind before writing my reflection based on Miller’s today. I decided to have a root beer float at the local CC café to jot down my thoughts while browsing through the articles again. Pouring the second half of the can over the ice cream creating a foamy bubbly light brown substance with the vanilla flavoured ice cream mixing with the caramel flavoured carbonated drink, I suddenly noticed a toddler standing next to my table watching my drink in awe. I couldn’t help but thinking what would be going through his young mind, still exploring the world around him, what impact would it have on him if any? He ran over to his mom and unfortunately for him, she didn’t allow him to have whatever I was having.

Relating the article to the discussion that we had in class last week, on the differences between teaching and educating, the 21st century learning approach of MOE and how this can be implemented into the Singapore school system, I still very much believe in the notion of the “Renaissance man”, versatility as opposed to specialising. Miller’s article just enforces this concept of versatility, which could be found in Einstein. Besides being a brilliant physicist, he was also into music and philosophy. Moreover (though this is not brought forward by Miller) he was a sailor. My personal feeling is that being too specialistic in a certain area or field without having a broader perspective will not favour creative thinking even in the area of specialism. I know that this is a very individualistic way of thinking based on Western values probably influenced by my background and upbringing as well.

An interesting aspect that is highlighted in the paper is that “subconscious thinking is a “freeplay” with concepts” according to Einstein. Personally I very much believe in subconscious thinking as a processing of the experiences and introspection and reflection.

Reflecting on the activity that we did last week I feel that this was very intuitive and relating this to the article, it very much highlighted the notion of space and time, which interestingly enough is the basis for Einstein’s relativity theory. The time as the time given to us was very limited and the space, because we were positioned in a room, I was sitting on the floor and everyone was occupied with their own work while in the background we could listen to the narration of a part of the PhD dissertation of Cyr. I didn’t really listen to it, nor did I look too much at what other people were doing pre-occupied with playing with the papers given to me to form them into something different. Thinking back on the experience, it actually let us experience multiple senses, but mainly visual and feeling (and if we would listen to the narration consciously, auditory as well). This is something that I wasn’t really aware of during the exercise, but realised after reading the papers.

Last but not least being unorthodox, daring to be different, not being bothered by what others would think or say nor pre-occupied with the norms of the society, following his own intuition and sense of aesthetics, is what brought Einstein to be critical, creative thinker he was. We can’t all be Einstein’s, but without daring to be different, following our intuition, creativity cannot exist.