A MUST READ
Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time, And The Beauty That Causes Havoc, (2001) by Arthur I. Miller (Paperback)
Basic Books, Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group, 10 E. 53rd Street , New York, NY 10022, Tel: (212) 207-7600
x+ 357 pages, ISBN 0-465-01860-2. Paperback, Price: US $ 17.00/$25.95 Can
A hallmark of high creativity is having such complete domination of all technicalities, that one can soar over unnecessary stipulates and go right to the core of the problem. Picasso did it in art, and Einstein in physics.
This book enables us to incorporate the information regarding the discoveries of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, while providing clues as to how they utilized it, congruity with the reminiscences of these two beau ideals (with their experiments) we know that seminal ideas emerge not in any real time sequence but as an explosion of thought.
A detailed analysis of the two paragons in the field of science and art, and exploration of how these two processed information in order to make their momentous breakthroughs, is the goal of the author. Tagged with the above analysis is the fact that just like scientists, artists too solve problems.creativity in art can be explored like creativity in science because the blueprints behind discovery of new representations of nature are very much tantamount for both artists and scientists.
That aesthetics, visual imagery, continuity and intuition were the four elements all active for Einstein and Picasso, giving them a structure for thinking, as a powerful motivator, and an ingredient of creativity.
Progress in art and science through twentieth century is cited by the author as a reflection of trend towards abstraction. Arthur I Miller implicates the need in why Einstein and Picasso made their discoveries, than in how they went about developing insights, one of the strong points in the book.
It is an aphorism that one can always find striking coincidences among any two people, in the case of Einstein and Picasso these similarities in their personal lives, working lives, and creativity are unearthly, and thus worth documenting, which the flipping of pages of this treatise clearly elicits.
The book reveals how the similitude between the two geniuses during their period of greatest creativity (the first decade and half of the twentieth century) shows us much more than their mere points of mutual thinking. The book talks how the best works produced in this era define the high roads of civilization, with due credit to the two men in title who led to the dramatic changes sweeping across Europe like a tidal wave, irrespective of their geographic and cultural divorcement.
Einstein's words "I live in the solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity", and Picasso's recalling of "unbelievable solitude" he felt while working indicate that the two men's personal working styles were not dissimilar, and they came to terms early on with the loneliness of the creative effort, a veiled state this drudgery sweetly inspires. Each in its own way, Einstein with relativity and Picasso with cubism, put creativity to its extreme in representing the universe's geometry.
A great breakthrough in realization of connection between science, mathematics, technology and art, rejection of accepted rules and turning to radically new intellectual framework, were the ingredients in making of a genius for that era, and the right manure for sprouting of seminal ideas in the minds of the erudite, as esoteric they may be to begin with.
The semantic transformations in the respective fields with an interplay of emerging ideas proved initially to be predicament for its conceivers amongst a society which was least amenable. But the veracity in approach and the results it brought blanketed the despair and derision in the long run. Their creative drives were guiding forces in their lives, "nothing else matters, creation is all."
The author significantly highlights Einstein and Picasso as men of immense egos and irresistible forces of charm, yet people who preferred emotional detachment. Their single minded quests demanded emotional aloofness and severity- well observable signs of a paragon, as highlighted by Miller.
Overall an exciting book, a fine biography with a philosophy that shatters the stereotypic barriers and builds a common wall of creativity between art and science.
A must read for those even distantly related to these two domains, projected as the two lanes of the same road to success (creativity the propellant) which many travel, but those who reach there are few.
The price may pinch a few pockets as on first impression by the cover, but is no intendment for the insight into the lives of the two geniuses in history.
To end with an extract from the leaves of this memoir- To understand what constitutes high creativity, we need a theory of the dynamics of unconscious, how concepts are moved about in the mind towards finding incredibly novel combinations. This is what differentiates certain people from others. After all, no matter how many hours a day the overwhelming majority of physicists or artists ply their trade, they will never approach the league of an Einstein or a Picasso.
Paras Agarwal, 20, is currently an undergraduate student of medicine and surgery, IInd professional, at the Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi. An avid lover of books of all kinds, he has been the topper in most of his academic examinations. He is also the Joint Student Editor of his institution for the semester. Paras can be contacted at email@example.com.
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