Like many other natural scientists, Einstein saw a unity of truth and beauty in the universe itself. Outside the natural world, however, the concepts of truth and beauty have undergone such a beating that any attempt to revive – or even discuss – them can seem anachronistic. We have seen a century in which most non-natural truths seem downright ugly; we’ve expanded our awareness of our own parochiality and perspective. Can we reconstruct ideas of truth and beauty that are not dependent on markets and media? Are we afraid to try?
Susan Neiman is director of the Einstein Forum. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Neiman studied philosophy at Harvard and the Free University of Berlin. She was professor of philosophy at Yale University and Tel Aviv University before coming to the Einstein Forum in 2000. Her works include Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin (1992); The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant (1994); Evil in Modern Thought (2002); Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists (2008) and Why Grow Up? Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age (2014). She is currently completing a book titled Learning from the Germans.