Fear, Falling and What Einstein Got Wrong About Gravity

judetrederwolff
7 min readMar 14, 2023

“Gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.”
Albert Einstein

Einstein’s Theory Of General Relativity is a sexy theory, the language rich with references to “gravitational attraction between bodies in space” or “a universe of two.” Perhaps his first experiment to prove his theory was using these as pick-up lines with women in Viennese bars, but that we will never know. What we do know is that he revolutionized our understanding of the way things work in the universe. While I have immense appreciation for the magnitude of his scientific contributions, and gratitude for the advances his theory granted us — the GPS, communication at the speed of light, laser technology, just to name a few — my own research has proven him wrong about one thing. “Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love,” he said. I respect Einstein, but on this point I humbly disagree.

I respect the forces of gravity. I have a healthy fear of falling from a great height. I avoid rapid descents in any form, because of gravity. Hence my purposeful avoidance of skiing. Dread and paralyzing anxiety of what is clearly an enjoyable sport to many may be irrational to some, but science is science. When Einstein was born on March 14–3/14 — or Pi Day in America — in 1879, science held that gravity is fixed, that every particle in nature was attracted to every other particle producing a natural force that pulled us toward the earth. (This is a significant simplification of the actual scientific theory, just to be clear that you know that I know this). Skiing enters my orbit only because of my attraction to another particle, and by particle I mean person.

This is how I proved Einstein wrong. At age 30, I’m a year into a relationship with someone for whom I have tremendous feeling. We are bodies in space with a powerful gravitational attraction to one another, but at a relationship juncture. Can we combine our separate lives and very different interests enough to think about a life together? How do we manage conflict? Can we be a “universe of two?”

He loves to ski. I love to shop, cook a complicated recipe while gossiping, sit still in a theater while actors act or speakers speak, walk on level ground with zero risk to life or limb. He loves to ski the Alps. I…

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judetrederwolff

LCSW, CGP, CPAI, writer/performer, storyteller, storytelling coach. Improviser on team AURA at Magnet Theater in NYC. Storytelling coach for individuals & orgs