“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert EinsteinIt included a picture of Einstein in his young days when he was working as a clerk.
The first problem is the foolishness of the quote. I shared it with a class and one of my brighter students got a confused look on her face and said, “Then no one is a genius.” As they say, “out of the mouth of babes.” It always amazes me when my 13 year olds have more savvy and common sense than the adults who have authority over me. You wonder why college students are enthused about Bernie Sanders? Their heads have been filled with mush by educators who think that everything is free and there are no consequences for stupidity and sloth.
The second problem is the lack of logic. It would not be the fish that felt it was stupid. The fish might think the judge was stupid. The judge might feel stupid. But the fish knows that its forte is swimming, not climbing. The fish would be laughing at the fool quote. Also, as I was researching this quote I found someone who pointed out that there is a fish that can climb a tree. Who feels stupid now? Sorry, nothing I can do about that.
The third problem is the source. My first reaction was that just because Einstein was a great mathematician does not make him an authority on education or the human condition. Then I began to wonder if even Einstein could be such an idiot savant. I did a little Google search and found that no one can find any evidence that Einstein ever said such a thing. This from the Quote Investigator,
“There is no substantive evidence that Einstein made this statement. It does not appear in the comprehensive collection of quotations “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein” from Princeton University Press.”Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin are often quoted as saying things they never said. Often the quotes are solid truths even if they did not come from solid people. In this case it is a bunch of foolish educators trying to find traction for being champions of mediocrity. Part of the problem is that it is hard for mediocre people to recognize genius. They define it as agreeing with the standard nonsense of education.
I guess that makes none of us geniuses.
homo unius libri