I was assigned to read Einstein's Dreams, between the Interlude and May 29th, 1905.
The entire read was so interesting and inspiring. I greatly enjoyed going through the dates. I didn't read the background of the book or the introduction to the book so I'm not entirely sure what is happening within the structure of the book.
In starting off at the Interlude, I'm introduced to Einstein and Bess through the lens of Bess. Bess seems to be a good friend of Einstein. Gesso describes how he intelligent Einstein is and how though he is very introverted, he is also passionate about companionship, in a way. Einstein is married, but barely shares his time with his wife. At night, he often sneaks out of bed to go more into his work and figure out his calculations. Besso warns Einstein of how he'll be busy for a bit while he has family visiting, and won't be able to hang out as much. He thinks of how worried he'll feel for Einstein in leaving him alone. That, for me, felt like foreshadow to later events -- but within the part of the book that I read, I didn't see anything to follow up that idea.
May 9th discusses how the people of this town believe that the world is going to end. Everyone seems to be ok with it. Businesses prepare to close. People indulge in activities to fulfill their desires, that they would have otherwise never done -- like a woman having an affair with a man she has been eyeing, though she is married. Overall, it seems to create equality within everyone. Everyone is going to have the same fate, they will die at the same time. Unity seems to be formed because of that. So, people have conversations with people they otherwise would have never had - since they share something in common.
On May 10, "No one is happy." Everyone is stuck in different periods of time within their lives or of history, and never move forward or embark on change.
On May 11, the passage of time increased order, cleanliness, intensified things. You could spend a day laying down and watch your room become cleaner on its own, by the end of the day. At the end of the day, your desk would be organized. In stead of smelling the food near you less and less as it got further away, you smelled it more and more. Chaos would naturally restore itself. A shattered vase would build itself back together with thunder. It was all so interesting. I imagined what it would be like to live in a world where the mess was purposeful because it would create order in the future.
On May 14th, time stands still and no one ever loses the passion or love in that period of time -- if you were at the center of the earth. At the center, you'd find statues of people embracing one another; parents embracing their children, loved ones in the middle of their affection. No one would ever fall in love with anyone else. Is ended with posing the question would you rather live in a world with time and sadness, or in a still world of contentment?
For me, how can you appreciate the good without the bad? Wouldn't staying in the same position for so long eventually become burdensome? Would anything other than your current situation eventually become more attractive - no matter how great it was initially?
On May 15th, there was no time. Only images. There was a confusing date for me.
On May 20th, it was a world of memories. Everyone has to write things down as they happen because they are bound to forget it by the end of the day. Husbands return home from work to their wives and families in using their written directions on how to get home. It's almost as if they meet their family for the first time, every single night. They lust for their wife, every single night - since every moment of intimacy between the two feels like the first time. They devote a part of the day to read through their individual "Book of Life"'s - a book filled with facts of their lives in the past. Some scream at the horrors of what they've done in their lifetime, others have a lift in confidence as they see the great things they've accomplished. As they get older and older, the books become too big to read in a day, so the elder tend to choose what part of their life they want to become reacquainted with. Some eventually choose to stop reading their books and no longer allow their past to affect how they view themselves, today.
This date was especially appealing to me as I go through certain current things in my life. I wonder how different come people that I know would live if they didn't have memory of their past, of the things they've suffered through. I wonder how differently they would carry themselves if they didn't have the past's pains and glories burdening and boosting them.
On May 22, it was the world of changed plans, sudden opportunities and unexpected visions. For example, a mom would have a vision of her son living in a certain town later on in his life. So, she would move there so that when that time came, they would live close by to each other. And business men would have visions of success in a certain area so they would stop whatever they were doing and move their business to that area. It was a world of guaranteed success (for those that have their visions) - so few projects start that don't advance careers and people don't make friends with people that won't be friends in the future (according to their visions). For those that don't have their visions, life is stagnant. People don't decide what to study in university because they're waiting to see in what areas they will be successful. They won't become intimate with each other because they haven't had their vision of it the person will remain faithful with them. The date ends with the question of who lives a better life? Is it the people that live one life, whether it is them seeing their future or not, or is it the people that live two lives in where they see their future and try to fight it?
I wonder how differently I would live if I knew how my life would eventually play out. Would I continue to put myself in situations that occasionally be painful if I knew that in the end, this wasn't where I was meant to be? As an artist that is interested in so many different forms of art, would I continue to invest time and money in areas of art that wouldn't eventually play out successful for me? If I knew that certain people were going to die before I did, would I work harder to build a better relationship or would I keep distance as to protect myself from sadness when they pass? Would I fight my vision and try to change it?
On May 29th, it was a world of constant motion. Homes and businesses were constantly in motion. People would wake up running. No one would ever be found still, like sitting under a tree to read a book or on the grass of a park to relax. Everyone and everything was traveling at high velocities, to essentially gain more time. Time practically became money. And houses would be sold not only on the property value, but on how quickly they moved. But when traveling, everything else seemed to be in motion as well (including the planted trees). So when one would look outside of their window, they'd feel like the trees were moving faster than they would. The faster they traveled, the faster everything else seemed to travel, and everyone was competing. So, people became frustrated and some decided to stop looking outside of their window. When they did so, they lived a much more satisfying life.
While reading that, I reflected back to today's lifestyle. In being a part of a heavily technological community, this seemed to relate very well. In technology, everything is constantly advancing so quickly, and everyone seems to be in competition to learn the next big thing, faster than the next person in the room. Some may continue in that lifestyle and continue competing while others may burn out and decide to "no longer out the window" in order to live a more satisfying life.