Albert Einstein on testing, plus ça change…

I take the following passage from Stephen Hawking’s A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion, the Essential Scientific Works of Albert Einstein.

Einstein himself is doing the talking:

“… one had to cram all this stuff into one’s mind for the examinations, whether one liked it or not. This coercion had such a a deterring effect upon me that, after I had passed the final examination, I found the consideration of any scientific problems distasteful to me for an antire year…. It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely  strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty. To the contrary, I believe that it would be possible to rob even a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness, if it were possible, with the aid of a whip, to force the beast to devour continuously, even when not hungry, especially if the food, handed out under such coercion, were to be selected accordingly….”

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