Книги по философии

Альберт Эйнштейн
The world as I see it

(страница 16)

These are my reasons. But I should like to add that I have always honoured and admired that highly developed sense of justice which is one of the noblest features of the French tradition.


The Jews

Jewish Ideals

The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice, and the desire for personal independence--these are the features of the Jewish tradition which make me thank my stars that I belong to it.

Those who are raging to-day against the ideals of reason and individual liberty and are trying to establish a spiritless State-slavery by brute force rightly see in us their irreconcilable foes. History has given us a difficult row to hoe; but so long as we remain devoted servants of truth, justice, and liberty, we shall continue not merely to survive as the oldest of living peoples, but by creative work to bring forth fruits which contribute to the ennoblement of the human race, as heretofore.

Is there a Jewish Point of View?

In the philosophical sense there is, in my opinion, no specifically Jewish outlook. Judaism seems to me to be concerned almost exclusively with the moral attitude in life and to life. I look upon it as the essence of an attitude to life which is incarnate in the Jewish people rather than the essence of the laws laid down in the Thora and interpreted in the Talmud. To me, the Thora and the Talmud are merely the most important evidence for the manner in which the Jewish conception of life held sway in earlier times.

The essence of that conception seems to me to lie in an affirmative attitude to the life of all creation. The life of the individual has meaning only in so far as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful. Life is sacred--that is to say, it is the supreme value, to which all other values are subordinate. The hallowing of the supra-individual life brings in its train a reverence for everything spiritual--a particularly characteristic feature of the Jewish tradition.

Judaism is not a creed: the Jewish God is simply a negation of superstition, an imaginary result of its elimination. It is also an attempt to base the moral law on fear, a regrettable and discreditable attempt. Yet it seems to me that the strong moral tradition of the Jewish nation has to a large extent shaken itself free from this fear. It is clear also that "serving God" was equated with "serving the living." The best of the Jewish people, especially the Prophets and Jesus, contended tirelessly for this.

Judaism is thus no transcendental religion; it is concerned with life as we live it and can up to a point grasp it, and nothing else. It seems to me, therefore, doubtful whether it can be called a religion in the accepted sense of the word, particularly as no "faith" but the sanctification of life in a supra-personal sense is demanded of the Jew.

But the Jewish tradition also contains something else, something which finds splendid expression in many of the Psalms--namely, a sort of intoxicated joy and amazement at the beauty and grandeur of this world, of which, man can just form a faint notion. It is the feeling from which true scientific research draws its spiritual sustenance, but which also seems to find expression in the song of birds. To tack this on to the idea of God seems mere childish absurdity.

Is what I have described a distinguishing mark of Judaism? Is it to be found anywhere else under another name? In its pure form, nowhere, not even in Judaism, where the pure doctrine is obscured by much worship of the letter. Yet Judaism seems to me one of its purest and most vigorous manifestations. This applies particularly to the fundamental principle of the sanctification of life.

It is characteristic that the animals were expressly included in the command to keep holy the Sabbath day, so strong was the feeling that the ideal demands the solidarity of all living things. The insistence on the solidarity of all human beings finds still stronger expression, apd it is no mere chance that the demands of Socialism were for the most part first raised by Jews.

How strongly developed this sense of the sanctity of life is in the Jewish people is admirably illustrated by a little remark which Walter Rathenau once made to me in conversation: "When a Jew says that he's going hunting to amuse himself, he lies." The Jewish sense of the sanctity of life could not be more simply expressed.

Jewish Youth

An Answer to a Questionnaire

It is important that the young should be induced to take an interest in Jewish questions and difficulties, and you deserve gratitude for devoting yourself to this task in your paper. This is of moment not merely for the destiny of the Jews, whose welfare depends on their sticking together and helping each other, but, over and above that, for the cultivation of the international spirit, which is in danger everywhere to-day from a narrow-minded nationalism. Here, since the days of the Prophets, one of the fairest fields of activity has lain open to our nation, scattered as it is over the earth and united only by a common tradition.

Addresses on Reconstruction in Palestine


Ten years ago, when I first had the pleasure of addressing you on behalf of the Zionist cause, almost all our hopes were still fixed on the future. To-day we can look back on these ten years with joy; for in that time the united energies of the Jewish people have accomplished a splendid piece of successful constructive work in Palestine, which certainly exceeds anything that we dared to hope then.

We have also successfully stood the severe test to which the events of the last few years have subjected us. Ceaseless work, supported by a noble purpose, is leading slowly but surely to success. The latest pronouncements of the British Government indicate a return to a juster judgment of our case; this we recognize with gratitude.

But we must never forget what this crisis has taught us--namely, that the establishment of satisfactory relations between the Jews and the Arabs is not England's affair but ours. We--that is to say, the Arabs and ourselves--have got to agree on the main outlines of an advantageous partnership which shall satisfy the needs of both nations. A just solution of this problem and one worthy of both nations is an end no less important and no less worthy of our efforts than the promotion of the work of construction itself. Remember that Switzerland represents a higher stage of political development than any national state, precisely because of the greater political problems which had to be solved before a stable community could be built up out of groups of different nationality.

Much remains to be done, but one at least of Herzl's aims has already been realized: its task in Palestine has given the Jewish people an astonishing degree of solidarity and the optimism without which no organism can lead a healthy life.

Anything we may do for the common purpose is done not merely for our brothers in Palestine, but for the well-being and honour of the whole Jewish people.


We are assembled to-day for the purpose of calling to mind our age-old community, its destiny, and its problems. It is a community of moral tradition, which has always shown its strength and vitality in times of stress. In all ages it has produced men who embodied the conscience of the Western world, defenders of human dignity and justice.

So long as we ourselves care about this community it will continue to exist to the benefit of mankind, in spite of the fact that it possesses no self-contained organization. A decade or two ago a group of far-sighted men, among whom Herzl of immortal memory stood out above the rest, came to the conclusion that we needed a spiritual centre in crder to preserve our sense of solidarity in difficult times. Thus arose the idea of Zionism and the work of settlement in Palestine, the successful realization of which we have been permitted to witness, at least in its highly promising beginnings.

I have had the privilege of seeing, to my great joy and satisfaction, how much this achievement has contributed to the recovery of the Jewish people, which is exposed, as a minority among the nations, not merely to external dangers, but also to internal ones of a psychological nature.

The crisis which the work of construction has had to face in the last few years has lain heavy upon us and is not yet completely surmounted. But the most recent reports show that the world, and especially the British Government, is disposed to recognize the great things which lie behind our struggle for the Zionist ideal. Let us at this moment remember with gratitude our leader Weizmann, whose zeal and circumspection have helped the good cause to success.

The difficulties we have been through have also brought some good in their train. They have shown us once more how strong the bond is which unites the Jews of all countries in a common destiny. The crisis has also purified our attitude to the question of Palestine, purged it of the dross of nationalism. It has been clearly proclaimed that we are not seeking to create a political society, but that our aim is, in accordance with the old tradition of Jewry, a cultural one in the widest sense of the word. That being so, it is for us to solve the problem of living side by side with our brother the Arab in an open, generous, and worthy manner. We have here an opportunity of showing what we have learnt in the thousands of years of our martyrdom. If we choose the right path we shall succeed and give the rest of the world a fine example.

Название книги: The world as I see it
Автор: Альберт Эйнштейн
Просмотрено 27263 раз