Книги по философии

Альберт Эйнштейн
The world as I see it

(страница 5)

But contact between the intellectual and the masses must not be lost. It is necessary for the elevation of society and no less so for renewing the strength of the intellectual worker; for the flower of science does not grow in the desert. For this reason you, Herr Solf, have devoted a portion of your energies to Lessing College, and we are grateful to you for doing so. And we wish you further success and happiness in your work for this noble cause.

Of Wealth

I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker in this cause. The example of great and pure characters is the only thing that can produce fine ideas and noble deeds. Money only appeals to selfishness and always tempts its owners irresistibly to abuse it.

Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus, or Gandhi armed with the money-bags of Carnegie?

Education and Educators

A letter.

Dear Miss _____,

I have read about sixteen pages of your manuscript and it made

me--smile. It is clever, well observed, honest, it stands on its

own feet up to a point, and yet it is so typically feminine, by

which I mean derivative and vitiated by personal rancour. I

suffered exactly the same treatment at the hands of my teachers,

who disliked me for my independence and passed me over

when they wanted assistants (I must admit that I was somewhat

less of a model student than you). But it would not have been

worth my while to write anything about my school life, still less

would I have liked to be responsible for anyone's printing or

actually reading it. Besides, one always cuts a poor figure if one

complains about others who are struggling for their place in the

sun too after their own fashion.

Therefore pocket your temperament and keep your manuscript

for your sons and daughters, m order that they may derive

consolation from it and--not give a damn for what their teachers

tell them or think of them.

Incidentally I am only coming to Princeton to research, not to

teach. There is too much education altogether, especially in

American schools. The only rational way of educating is to be an

example--of what to avoid, if one can't be the other sort.

With best wishes.

To the Schoolchildren of Japan

In sending this greeting to you Japanese schoolchildren, I can lay claim to a special right to do so. For I have myself visited your beautiful country, seen its cities and houses, its mountains and woods, and in them Japanese boys who had learnt from them to love their country. A big fat book full of coloured drawings by Japanese children lies always on my table.

If you get my message of greeting from all this distance, bethink you that ours is the first age in history to bring about friendly and understanding intercourse between people of different countries; in former times nations passed their lives in mutual ignorance, and in fact hated or feared one another. May the spirit of brotherly understanding gain ground more and more among them. With this in mind I, an old man, greet you Japanese schoolchildren from afar and hope that your generation may some day put mine to shame.

Teachers and Pupils

An address to children

(The principal art of the teacher is to awaken the joy in creation

and knowledge.)

My dear Children,

I rejoice to see you before me to-day, happy youth of a sunny and fortunate land.

Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labour in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honour it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it on to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common.

If you always keep that in mind you will find a meaning in life and work and acquire the right attitude towards other nations and ages.

Paradise Lost

As late as the seventeenth century the savants and artists of all Europe were so closely united by the bond of a common ideal that co-operation between them was scarcely affected by political events. This unity was further strengthened by the general use of the Latin language.

To-day we look back at this state of affairs as at a lost paradise. The passions of nationalism have destroyed this community of the intellect, and the Latin language, which once united the whole world, is dead. The men of learning have become the chief mouthpieces of national tradition and lost their sense of an intellectual commonwealth.

Nowadays we are faced with the curious fact that the politicians, the practical men of affairs, have become the exponents of international ideas. It is they who have created the League of Nations.

Religion and Science

Everything that the human race has done and thought is concerned with the satisfaction of felt needs and the assuagement of pain. One has to keep this constantly in mind if one wishes to understand spiritual movements and their development. Feeling and desire are the motive forces behind all human endeavour and human creation, in however exalted a guise the latter may present itself to us. Now what are the feelings and needs that have led men to religious thought and belief in the widest sense of the words? A little consideration will suffice to show us that the most varying emotions preside over the birth of religious thought and experience. With primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions--fear of hunger, wild beasts, sickness, death. Since at this stage of existence understanding of causal connexions is usually poorly developed, the human mind creates for itself more or less analogous beings on whose wills and actions these fearful happenings depend. One's object now is to secure the favour of these beings by carrying out actions and offering sacrifices which, according to the tradition handed down from generation to generation, propitiate them or make them well disposed towards a mortal. I am speaking now of the religion of fear. This, though not created, is in an important degree stabilized by the formation of a special priestly caste which sets up as a mediator between the people and the beings they fear, and erects a hegemony on this basis. In many cases the leader or ruler whose position depends on other factors, or a privileged class, combines priestly functions with its secular authority in order to make the latter more secure; or the political rulers and the priestly caste make common cause in their own interests.

The social feelings are another source of the crystallization of religion. Fathers and mothers and the leaders of larger human communities are mortal and fallible. The desire for guidance, love, and support prompts men to form the social or moral conception of God. This is the God of Providence who protects, disposes, rewards, and punishes, the God who, according to the width of the believer's outlook, loves and cherishes the life of the tribe or of the human race, or even life as such, the comforter in sorrow and unsatisfied longing, who preserves the souls of the dead. This is the social or moral conception of God.

The Jewish scriptures admirably illustrate the development from the religion of fear to moral religion, which is continued in the New Testament. The religions of all civilized peoples, especially the peoples of the Orient, are primarily moral religions. The development from a religion of fear to moral religion is a great step in a nation's life. That primitive religions are based entirely on fear and the religions of civilized peoples purely on morality is a prejudice against which we must be on our guard. The truth is that they are all intermediate types, with this reservation, that on the higher levels of social life the religion of morality predominates.

Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. Only individuals of exceptional endowments and exceptionally high-minded communities, as a general rule, get in any real sense beyond this level. But there is a third state of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form, and which I will call cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to explain this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.

The individual feels the nothingness of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvellous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. He looks upon individual existence as a sort of prison and wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear in earlier stages of development--e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learnt from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer especially, contains a much stronger element of it.

The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no Church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with the highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as Atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.

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