Albert Einstein, Relativity and the Value of Making Complex Things Simple

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There are a number of things I would like to increase my understanding of. One of those things is the theory of relativity. So I did what I normally do, picked up a book that seemed like the perfect book to answer these questions for someone who isn’t an expert. I purchased “Relativity: The Special and General Theory – A Clear Explanation that Anyone can Understand“. It was the tag line that sold me. I was even more hopeful when I read the inside of the dust cover and it said this,

“Here is a book, however, by the originator of the theory himself, explaining the theory in simple words that anyone with the equivalent of a high school education can understand.”


I had found the perfect book. Or had I? The book is full of words like “simple” and “obvious” as well as many words I had never heard of before and sentences that my tiny little brain wasn’t ready to comprehend. Here is an example,

“For example, the point P in the diagram has the Gaussian co-ordinates u=3, v = 1. Two neighboring points P and P’ on the surface then correspond to the co-ordinates

P: u, v
P’: u_du, v+dv

where du and dv signify very small numbers. In a similar manner we may indicate the distance (line-interval) between P and P’, as measured with a little rod, by means of the very small number ds. Then according to Gauss we have

ds^2=g11du^2+2g12dudv+g22dv^2, where g11, g12, g22, are magnitudes which depend in a perfectly definite way on u and v.

Are you lost too?

High school must have been different 100 years ago.

It is easy to take something simple and make it complex. It is much harder to take something complex and make it simple. Take the preacher who doesn’t prepare. The lessons spiral into layers of discombobulated complexity which are not easy to follow. Take a ministry that hasn’t been well thought out and lacks intentionality. When you lack intentionality things get complex very quickly because you throw everything in because you have no values or principles to help you weed out what is extraneous (much like the underprepared sermon).

Try to make things simple. This takes time. This takes thought. It takes a lot more effort than being complex. But it is all well worth your time because the things worth communicating are worth the extra effort to make accessible.

One Response

  1. I fully believe that God is a minimalist at heart. Yes, God did create the law, but as we read in Rom. 13:9 all of the commandments can be summed up in “Love your neighbor as yourself”.
    God takes us to the most common denominator.
    It is really us who like to complicate the simple and once we have created the quagmire it is hard to navigate though it back to the simple.
    The saints that Jesus spoke to In Matthew 5 didn’t need a hermeneutic, they needed hope and a savior who cared about them personally.
    And there was Jesus…grace and truth in the flesh.
    Simply perfect.

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