In Search of Great Spirits essay

One famous quote on individuality comes from German-born physicist, Albert Einstein. He believes that “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” (Einstein). This means that “great spirits” or people who take risks in order to challenge themselves and discover or create innovations are often not understood by “mediocre minds”, which means ordinary people. The “mediocre minds” seem to have the upper hand as they can actually put forward a “violent opposition” that hinders self-expression by the “great spirits”.

This suggests that they are the majority and are therefore all the people who feel content about what is being practiced or what is generally believed; they do not want to seek further. Einstein may have his focus on science, but his quote encompasses other innovations. An example of a person who needs to constantly display creativity is an artist. They are also often misunderstood and thought of as strange by others who may not understand their art. “The task of the art educator is to nurture the artist in each of us by promoting the habit of creativeness.

Through valid art experience, the individual can gain satisfaction from invention and exploration” (Hastie 5). An artist is constantly exploring, and finding new ways to improve his or her craft. Staying with what has been done and proven is against what an artist is truly about. Risks have to be taken to continue growth. Einstein’s quote is a significant point that emphasizes individuality because it presents the importance of separating oneself from other people’s ordinary thinking in order to be able to contribute and create something great.

Artists are constantly trying to separate themselves from the masses, which are their own version of “mediocre minds”. “The art education that has been educated for masses is obviously not the classic art education designed by artists for artists…It cannot humanize, making the person more attentive to uniqueness and individuality in others – a way to smash bigotry and prejudice – as art can” (Flannery 19).

Art created by a real artist, therefore, create not to please the masses but to produce art that expresses individuality and erases prejudiced thinking. Some people may have been prejudiced into thinking that only a certain art form that they like are what must be labeled as good art. Art is indeed a good example of expression of individuality. In fact, “individuality as an educational aim implies, therefore, creativity as an aim – not any kind of creativity – but the self-creation involved in giving shape to one’s life” (White 178).

Einstein is himself a good example of his quote. He truly believes in the value of individuality in improving any field, be it science or art. As “great spirits”, people who have strong individuality must not then be afraid to venture away from their comfort zone and to be misunderstood by “mediocre minds” in order to effect a change for the better, or at least for creativity’s sake.

Thinking out of the box may not be comfortable, but it certainly is a risk that can lead to greatness.

Works Cited:

Einstein, Albert. “QuoteWorld. ” 29 February 2008 <http://www. quoteworld. org/quotes/4089>. Flannery, Merle. “Art for the Masses. ” Art Education (1972): 19-20. Hastie, Reid. “Art Education: The Individual and Society. ” Art Education (1959): 5-7. White, John. “Conceptions of Individuality. ” British Journal of Educational Studies (1980): 173-186.