A great Albert Einstein quote on critical thinking—and being a cyborg

I stumbled on the quote below while reading Walter Isaacson’s excellent recent biography of Albert Einstein. Einstein was being asked by an American journalist about the anti-theoretical pragmatism of Thomas Edison. Edison liked people with a lot of practical knowledge in their heads—and even put prospective job interviewees on the spot about random arcana, such as how to tan a hide—to which Einstein offered this taut retort:

Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.

Einstein also said that he didn’t clutter his mind with things that could be looked up in books. In other words—and to put it into Marshall McLuhanesqe terms—Einstein believed that the technological extensions of human beings are a perfectly legitimate place for our brains to outsource memory.

We are already cyborgs, aren’t we?

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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