Einstein vs. Shakespeare

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I don’t know when it first came up, but I’ve had conversations comparing the two more than once in life.

It always struck me as an odd comparison, but it’s really an essential one. Your gut reaction to the question says a lot about what you value and how you look at life.


I think most of my readership will probably say that Albert Einstein is easily more important than William Shakespeare.

Albert Einstein discovered science as we know it. He framed the world in the most accurate way we’ve seen. Without him, we would still be in the stone age of modern science.

And what did Shakespeare do? He wrote a few words. Performed a few plays. Got his works published. Big deal.

I don’t personally find the comparison that cut and dry. Einstein did a lot for science, but Shakespeare did as much — if not more — for the English language, literature, and entertainment.

I think I’ve always liked this oddball comparison because it gets to the root of the duality of my very personality.

I spend my life working with computers. I spend most of my free time working with computers.

But at the end of the day, I love to write a good story or draw. I love to read a good book, or watch an artistic movie.

To me, you can’t have one without the other. Einstein and Shakespeare are the respective embodiment of logic and creativity.

To me, Shakespeare is who I wish I could be while Einstein is who I feel like I should be.

How do you rate the matchup? Is it folly to compare the two, or is there a deeper philosophical point to the match-up?

4 Comments to Einstein vs. Shakespeare

  1. Hemisphire,

    Shakespeare’s got better hair.

  2. akaemi,

    But Al’s got more …

  3. halfling,

    You want philosophy? The comparison is all about a persons reach. Deep within to find what binds him to all humanity and far beyond to what binds him to the universe. The ability to be free of time and distance and connect to everything at once.

  4. Livermoor,

    Honestly, I think that Shakespeare is the greatest figure.

    Einstein is a genius, but Shakespeare has the largest body of work ever by an author and writer in 400 years his plays continue discussed, analyzed, tested, there are more books on their parts than on Einstein’s theories that is only concerned by 80 years. In 50 years the theory of relativity will be overcome, but in 500 years, the critics will still be analyzing Hamlet, both as Shylock, Othello, Lear, Falstaff.
    Remember that Einstein, while important, did not affect people’s lives directly as Shakespeare, his influence is more intellectual, Shakespeare practically rewrote the English and today is the language franca of west, of the founders of Western civilization, Shakespeare is a of the most striking, Einstein can be a genius in his own field, but there are much older giants.

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