“That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.”

In 1915, aged thirty-six, Einstein was living in wartorn Berlin, while his estranged wife, Mileva, and their two sons, Hans Albert Einstein and Eduard “Tete” Einstein, lived in comparatively safe Vienna. On November 4 of that year, having just completed the two-page masterpiece that would catapult him into international celebrity and historical glory, his theory of general relativity, Einstein sent 11-year-old Hans Albert the following letter:

My dear Albert,

Yesterday I received your dear letter and was very happy with it. I was already afraid you wouldn’t write to me at all any more. You told me when I was in Zurich, that it is awkward for you when I come to Zurich. Therefore I think it is better if we get together in a different place, where nobody will interfere with our comfort. I will in any case urge that each year we spend a whole month together, so that you see that you have a father who is fond of you and who loves you. You can also learn many good and beautiful things from me, something another cannot as easily offer you. What I have achieved through such a lot of strenuous work shall not only be there for strangers but especially for my own boys. These days I have completed one of the most beautiful works of my life, when you are bigger, I will tell you about it.

I am very pleased that you find joy with the piano. This and carpentry are in my opinion for your age the best pursuits, better even than school. Because those are things which fit a young person such as you very well. Mainly play the things on the piano which please you, even if the teacher does not assign those. That is the way to learn the most, that when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes. I am sometimes so wrapped up in my work that I forget about the noon meal. . . .

Be with Tete kissed by your

Papa.

Regards to Mama.

 

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Deception is one of nature’s long-standing survival strategies. All of the unfolding darwinian extravaganza of life uses deception to survive — even at the level of microorganisms.

And, as any ten-year-old already knows, when it comes to human behaviour, things are rarely as they seem.

There are deceptions. There are hidden motives and hidden agendas. There are people ‘behind the scenes’. There are manipulators. There are scapegoats. There are turncoats. There are traps and ambushes. There are willing or paid agents. There are big investments and potential payoffs. There are opportunists and there are traitors.

Little wonder that situations are rarely how they seem. Rarely how they are portrayed. Nor are they what they seem to be on the surface. So what can you do? What can you use to find out what’s really happening in complex situations? What investigative tools can anyone use?

One ancient and clever tool is called cui bono.

The power of the cui bono is the most likely answer to the question: who benefits?

This is always a very useful question to ask. However, because of the very nature of deception there is not always a very obvious answer to that question.

Investigative journalism and criminal investigations may invest considerable resources in trying to construct comprehensive answers to the cui bono. They are trying to find out: who benefits most from the crime or situation that we are investigating?

The Cui Bono Test

When you are trying to uncover a much better understanding of the truth you can use the Cui Bono test. Whenever you find yourself looking to allocate suspicion or blame to agents involved in a situation ask yourself if they have passed the Cui Bono Test.

To apply the Cui Bono Test you carefully ask the questions: How did that agent benefit? Who else benefited? Who benefited more? Who benefited the most?

Is it true?
The most important question to ask is: Is it true? You can also use greyscale thinking to pursue the truth in any situation that arises.

—click through there for more on greyscale thinking