The Internet can simplify our lives to the extent that it can help resolve all but the most abstract of problems. But, the flip side of this is that it raises questions and complications that would not have occurred to you otherwise. Take for example this Albert Einstein quote I saw on the noticeboard of a work colleague today. After seeing it, I did something that has become second nature when I come across a smart saying or other words of wisdom. Reader, I Googled it. And what I found that Uncle Albert probably said no such thing. It appeared in Matthew Kelly’s Every Day With Passion And Purpose, a book written in 2004 by an Aussie who, according to his website “has dedicated his life to helping people and organisations become the best version of themselves”.
Kelly has written books with titles like The Dream Manager, Perfecting Yourself and , cue alarm bells, Rediscovering Catholicism. Surely a devout soul dedicated to the wellbeing of humankind wouldn’t stoop so low as to invent a quote? Or would he?! The jury is well and truly out since the source of the quotation is not given nor can they be traced in any of AE’s works. Einstein’s irrefutable status as bona fide genius, coupled with the fact that he is safely deceased, means that he is probably fair game for unscrupulous writers who want to add substance to their works. A further complication to all this is that these particular words lose some of their impact by the discovery that the climbing perch of South Asia has been known to climb palm trees and the fact that there’s a funkily named mudskipper that shows that a fish out of water is not necessarily a dead fish.