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lisa marie corley | greenville, sc

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October 2007

Einstein, consciousness, and sex

Back in the heat of the summer, I shared with a couple work buds a quote which I found pretty insightful. Delivered to my browser’s home page via iGoogle, it was by Albert Einstein:

No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.


When the quote appeared on my screen, I suppose it spoke to me because a group of us at work were about to dive into a series of creative problem-solving exercises. We’d been given an advertising/branding concept to which had been attached a specific visual element or two, and it was our task to translate it into practical design guidelines/templates/whatever. While each of us saw strengths in the “givens,” we also saw challenges.

So reading the quote made me feel better about those challenges. We were bringing to the table a new consciousness.

Instinctively, I also saw a different type of meaning in the quote — that, if you have a problem of your own creation, your ability to solve it will be greater if you can somehow look at it with new eyes. Gain a new perspective, change your position to view a new angle. Bring to the table a new consciousness.

My previously mentioned work buds, however, stared at me blankly when I explained this to them. They’d liked the quote when I recited it to them, but apparently they’d translated “consciousness” as a separate person or group, an entity outside of the problem-creating source. Their interpretation: No problem can be solved by the same person who created it.

They seemed to see my point after a minute or so, but the enthusiasm for my interpretation was a bit lukewarm. Their reaction has hung with me, prompting an echo of a question to tickle my brain now and then. Is it too Pollyanna-ish of me to believe that someone can so radically change their own perspective enough to solve their own problems?

I’m not saying it would be easy…..and maybe it would be impossible for people unable to break free of “self” for a minute or two. But it sure paints a bleak picture. It’s an image of the masses running on a supergiant hamster wheel, all of them fruitless disciples of one self-help discipline after another. All destined for ultimate failure, despite their fleeting light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel moments. They’re zombie pale. They’re wearing dark, dingy grey that has yellowed from prolonged exposure to the blinking, buzzing florescent lights above their heads. Remember the opening sequences of Tom Hanks’ Joe Versus the Volcano? It’s that sort of vibe, this bleak picture in my head.

Well, recently I decided to google Einstein’s quote in order to understand its context. One site used the quote in support of prayer. Many sites used it as part of a call-to-action for humanitarian causes. Other sites, most of which seemed a little more scholarly than the rest, had slightly different wordings. Then…payoff! I found several sites which included the next sentence that came out of Einstein’s mouth:

No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew.


Cool. I still don’t know the context in which he uttered the sentences, but apparently he did NOT mean to imply that people couldn’t solve problems of their own making. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.

I feel better.

By the way, I put sex in the title just to make this entry more intriguing. Sorry. It was wrong to tease you like that.

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Something’s been missing, I know

Remember back in July when I announced my poll results to you, my bright-eyed, blog-hungry friends? Have you noticed that I still haven’t explained my love for monkeys?

My gut reaction when the question first appeared was simple — monkeys are FUN! There’s nothing to explain, for heaven’s sake. Everyone loves monkeys, don’t they? Monkeys are carefree! Monkeys are cute! Monkeys throw poo!

Wellll….OK…. I really am a grownup who realizes monkeys don’t necessarily have it that great. I mean, they live in pretty complex, hierarchical social groups which one minute can be loving and nurturing and the next minute can seem senselessly cruel. And some of them live in cages. But that stuff is true of life for ALL of us, isn’t it? So let’s just push the negative stuff aside for a minute, and take a look at the really cool things we — or at least I — imagine about monkeys’ lives. Hang onto your bananas and coconuts! I think I’ll make a list.

23 reasons why I love monkeys

1. They have sweet little hairy human-child faces that make me want to mother them.
2. They scream at the top of their lungs whenever they feel like it.
3. When one monkey screams at the top of his lungs, it excites his friend-monkeys, who join in with unadulterated, euphoric abandon.
4. I just have to smile — even if it’s only a little — when I look at a monkey. I’ll bet you do, too.
5. Say the word ‘monkey’ three times REALLY fast. Now, that gave you a chuckle, did it not? I’ll be willing to bet that, at the very least, it amused someone nearby.
6. They pick bugs out of each other’s fur.
7. They are curious and learn very quickly.
8. They really seem to love a good practical joke.
9. They don’t have to be at work every day at the crack of 8:30.
10. They have no concept of ‘politically correct.’
11. They swing carefree in tall treetops, unafraid.
12. Some monkeys may live in cages, but I’ll bet they don’t live in metaphorical cages.
13. They make friends with animals outside their own species.
14. A monkey’s friends are his friends for life.
15. It’s perfectly acceptable for monkeys to be naked at all times.
16. They have no mortgages or other bill-paying obligations.
17. They don’t belong to any homeowner’s organizations, and — even if they did — they wouldn’t give a rat’s ass whether their neighbors thought their shutters need to be painted.
18. Monkeys scratch whatever itches, no matter who’s around.
19. They have impressively strong tails.
20. They’re fuzzy!
21. Sometimes they have affectionate group grooming sessions which last for hours.
22. They throw poo at things which displease them.
23. When I was in grade school, I was a giggling, gleeful witness as a baby monkey crawled to the top of Johnny Carson’s head and — you guessed it — went wee-wee. I still laugh when I remember the look on his face.

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