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Nick Grimshaw just misquoted Albert Einstein, twice

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Tristan Cross
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Nick ‘Grimmy’ Grimshaw didn’t just become the host of the Radio 1 Breakfast Show by clicking the heels of his red Topman shoes together three times and wishing for it. No, Sir, Grimmy sought out wisdom from the great thinkers of his age. Thinkers such as his sometime E4 co-host Miquita Oliver, who famously said:

Eagle-eyed viewers might spot that, although Miquita Oliver might have spoken unto Grimmy that “madness is when you keep doing the same thing and expect the same results”, it’s an eerily similar quote to little-known early-twentieth century physicist Albert Einstein. And they may also note that, in Einstein’s version, madness was doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Old Albert’s version can both be applied to science – the futility of repeating scientific experiments which you’ve already established the conclusions of – but also more broadly to the maddening shortcomings of mankind – doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past by never learning from our mistakes. Grimmy’s version is slightly harder to interpret, but it makes total sense when you consider it in the career of a breakfast show host...

For instance, you might find listening to the same four songs on repeat for three hours to be absolutely maddening, but Grimmy thinks the opposite. When Grimmy queues up James Arthur’s number one smash hit Say You Won’t Go to play twice in a row, he doesn’t expect it to play both times. Grimmy thinks it is madness to expect that. And so he does it. And so James Arthur comes on again. The notes are the same, the lyrics are the same, the duration is the same, but Grimmy hears a different song every time. Because Grimmy knows better than Albert Einstein.

To Einstein, and his theory of relativity, time is therefore not as linear as we experience it.  Basically, it’s a load of mumbo jumbo where he's talking some nonsense about being able to travel fast enough to move at different times (you, in a warpspeed rocket, ageing ten seconds while everyone on earth ages 60 years.) Therefore, if you travelled fast enough, you could travel beyond time, and so experience the same moment again. Grimmy contests this.

Miquita Oliver: a philosopher for our time

Grimmy knows that once something has happened, it has happened and can never happen again (“expecting the same results.”) Grimmy posits that each moment is singular and unique, and even if there is repetition in action (“keep doing the same thing”) it would be truly mad to view the results as “the same.”

Grimmy knows it’s truly impossible to ever experience the same thing again. When Grimmy reads out another identical, “Hey Grimmy! Loving the show! Dancing around the kitchen to James Arthur right now!” message from another satisfied listener, even though he’s read thousands of messages worded exactly the same before, he thanks them as though it’s a new compliment.

Einstein thought he lived his entire life at once and now look at him: dead and no longer living his life at all. Meanwhile, Nick Grimshaw never expects the same, Nick Grimshaw is grateful for every second of life, and so consequently, Nick Grimshaw has an infectious joie di vivre that comes across in his presenting, and so Nick Grimshaw’s career continues to thrive.

So who can we truly learn more from? The overrated hack nerd fraud Albert Einstein, or the subtly wise and unassuming broadcaster Nick Grimshaw?