Книги по философии

Альберт Эйнштейн
The world as I see it

(страница 10)

The disposition of the individual is everywhere better than the official pronouncements. Right-minded people should bear this in mind and not allow themselves to be misled and get angry: senatores boni viri, senatus autem bestia.

If I am full of confident hope concerning the progress of international organization in general, that feeling is based not so much on my confidence in the intelligence and high-mindedness of my fellows, but rather on the irresistible pressure of economic developments. And since these depend largely on the work even of reactionary scientists, they too will help to create the international organization against their wills.

The Institute for Intellectual Co-operation

During this year the leading politicians of Europe have for the first time drawn the logical conclusion from the truth that our portion of the globe can only regain its prosperity if the underground struggle between the traditional political units ceases. The political organization of Europe must be strengthened, and a gradual attempt made to abolish tariff barriers. This great end cannot be achieved by treaties alone. People's minds must, above all, be prepared for it. We must try gradually to awaken in them a sense of solidarity which does not, as hitherto, stop at frontiers. It is with this in mind that the League of Nations has created the Commission de coopИration intellectuelle. This Commission is to be an absolutely international and entirely nonpolitical authority, whose business it is to put the intellectuals of all the nations, who were isolated by the war, into touch with each other. It is a difficult task; for it has, alas, to be admitted that--at least in the countries with which I am most closely acquainted--the artists and men of learning are governed by narrowly nationalist feelings to a far greater extent than the men of affairs.

Hitherto this Commission has met twice a year. To make its efforts more effective, the French Government has decided to create and maintain a permanent Institute for intellectual co-operation, which is just now to be opened. It is a generous act on the part of the French nation and deserves the thanks of all.

It is an easy and grateful task to rejoice and praise and say nothing about the things one regrets or disapproves of. But honesty alone can help our work forward, so I will not shrink from combining criticism with this greeting to the new-born child.

I have daily occasion for observing that the greatest obstacle which the work of our Commission has to encounter is the lack of confidence in its political impartiality. Everything must be done to strengthen that confidence and everything avoided that might harm it.

When, therefore, the French Government sets up and maintains an Institute out of public funds in Paris as a permanent organ of the Commission, with a Frenchman as its Director, the outside observer can hardly avoid the impression that French influence predominates in the Commission. This impression is further strengthened by the fact that so far a Frenchman has also been chairman of the Commission itself. Although the individuals in question are men of the highest reputation, liked and respected everywhere, nevertheless the impression remains.

Dixi et salvavi animam naeam. I hope with all my heart that the new Institute, by constant interaction with the Commission, will succeed in promoting their common ends and winning the confidence and recognition of intellectual workers all over the world.

A Farewell

A letter to the German Secretary of the League of Nations

Dear Herr Dufour-Feronce,

Your kind letter must not go unanswered, otherwise you may get

a mistaken notion of my attitude. The grounds for my resolve to

go to Geneva no more are as follows: Experience has,

unhappily, taught me that the Commission, taken as a whole,

stands for no serious determination to make real progress with

the task of improving international relations. It looks to me far

more like an embodiment of the principle ut aliquid fieri

videatur. The Commission seems to me even worse in this

respect than the League taken as a whole.

It is precisely because I desire to work with all my might for the

establishment of an international arbitrating and regulative

authority superior to the State, and because I have this object

so very much at heart, that I feel compelled to leave the


The Commission has given its blessing to the oppression of the

cultural minorities in all countries by causing a National

Commission to be set up in each of them, which is to form the

only channel of communication between the intellectuals of a

country and the Commission. It has thereby deliberately

abandoned its function of giving moral support to the national

minorities in their struggle against cultural oppression.

Further, the attitude of the Commission in the matter of

combating the chauvinistic and militaristic tendencies of

education in the various countries has been so lukewarm that no

serious efforts in this fundamentally important sphere can be

hoped for from it.

The Commission has invariably failed to give moral support to

those individuals and associations who have thrown themselves

without reserve into the business of working for an international

order and against the military system.

The Commission has never made any attempt to resist the

appointment of members whom it knew to stand for tendencies

the very reverse of those it is bound in duty to foster.

I will not worry you with any further arguments, since you will

understand my resolve yell enough from these few hints. It is not

my business to draw up an indictment, but merely to explain my

position. If I nourished any hope whatever I should act

differently--of that you may be sure.

The Question of Disarmament

The greatest obstacle to the success of the disarmament plan was the fact that people in general left out of account the chief difficulties of the problem. Most objects are gained by gradual steps: for example, the supersession of absolute monarchy by democracy. Here, however, we are concerned with an objective which cannot be reached step by step.

As long as the possibility of war remains, nations will insist on being as perfectly prepared militarily as they can, in order to emerge triumphant from the next war. It will also be impossible to avoid educating the youth in warlike traditions and cultivating narrow national vanity joined to the glorification of the warlike spirit, as long as people have to be prepared for occasions when such a spirit will be needed in the citizens for the purpose of war. To arm is to give one's voice and make one's preparations not for peace but for war. Therefore people will not disarm step by step; they will disarm at one blow or not at all.

The accomplishment of such a far-reaching change in the life of nations presupposes a mighty moral effort, a deliberate departure from deeply ingrained tradition. Anyone who is not prepared to make the fate of his country in case of a dispute depend entirely on the decisions of an international court of arbitration, and to enter into a treaty to this effect without reserve, is not really resolved to avoid war. It is a case of all or nothing.

It is undeniable that previous attempts to ensure peace have failed through aiming at inadequate compromises.

Disarmament and security are only to be had in combination. The one guarantee of security is an undertaking by all nations to give effect to the decisions of the international authority.

We stand, therefore, at the parting of the ways. Whether we find the way of peace or continue along the old road of brute force, so unworthy of our civilization, depends on ourselves. On the one side the freedom of the individual and the security of society beckon to us, on the other slavery for the individual and the annihilation of our civilization threaten us. Our fate will be according to our deserts.

The Disarmament Conference of 1932


May I begin with an article of political faith? It runs as follows: The State is made for man, not man for the State. And in this respect science resembles the State. These are old sayings, coined by men for whom human personality was the highest human good. I should shrink from repeating them, were it not that they are for ever threatening to fall into oblivion, particularly in these days of organization and mechanization. I regard it as the chief duty of the State to protect the individual and give him the opportunity to develop into a creative personality.

That is to say, the State should be our servant and not we its slaves. The State transgresses this commandment when it compels us by force to engage in military and war service, the more so since the object and the effect of this slavish service is to kill people belonging to other countries or interfere with their freedom of development. We are only to make such sacrifices to the State as will promote the free development of individual human beings. To any American all this may be a platitude, but not to any European. Hence we may hope that the fight against war will find strong support among Americans.

And now for the Disarmament Conference. Ought one to laugh, weep, or hope when one thinks of it? Imagine a city inhabited by fiery-tempered, dishonest, and quarrelsome citizens. The constant danger to life there is felt as a serious handicap which makes all healthy development impossible. The magistrate desires to remedy this abominable state of affairs, although all his counsellors and the rest of the citizens insist on continuing to carry a dagger in their girdles. After years of preparation the magistrate determines to compromise and raises the question, how long and how sharp the dagger is allowed to be which anyone may carry in his belt when he goes out. As long as the cunning citizens do not suppress knifing by legislation, the courts, and the police, things go on in the old way, of course. A definition of the length and sharpness of the permitted dagger will help only the strongest and most turbulent and leave the weaker at their mercy. You will all understand the meaning of this parable. It is true that we have a League of Nations and a Court of Arbitration. But the League is not much more than a meeting-hall, and the Court has no means of enforcing its decisions. These institutions provide no security for any country in case of an attack on it. If you bear this in mind, you will judge the attitude of the French, their refusal to disarm without security, less harshly than it is usually judged at present.

Название книги: The world as I see it
Автор: Альберт Эйнштейн
Просмотрено 29490 раз