Whenever we think of the world’s brilliant thinkers, Albert Einstein always comes among the top ones. The man who has influenced the scientific thought immeasurably. He never hung back to share his thoughts on other topics,writing essays, articles, letters, giving interviews and speeches.
The spiritual and moral visions of the scientist had a great impact on his everyday-life opinions on social and intellectual issues. “The World As I See It” covers his thoughts from before 1935 through a collection of essays and ideas.Einstein comes back to the question that what a meaningful life really is and on purpose of life often in the book, even linked it with religiosity once.
Einstein wrote, “What is the meaning of human life, or, for that matter, of the life of any creature? To know the answer to this question means to be religious. You ask: Does it make any sense, then, to pose this question? I answer: The man who regards his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life.”
This raises a question, does Albert Einstein possessed any religious belief? Einstein had a complex and evolving spiritual thoughts in his secular Jewish family. He was a complete package with both scientific impulse and religious thoughts coexisting in his life.
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind,” said Einstein in his 1954 essay on science and religion.
Many scientists, even Einstein himself, referred the spiritual views of Einstein as “pantheism”, which had a great influential boost from the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. Pantheism is a theoretical belief in god which equates divinity with the reality. Rejecting a specific personal God or a god that is somehow forked out with human attributes as well.
Einstein’s pantheism was mentioned as “sexed up atheism” by Richard Dawkins, who was a quite famous atheist himself while the others say that Einstein did possess a belief in a supernatural intelligence that’s beyond the physical world.
Many writings of Einstein talked about “a superior spirit,” “a superior mind” and a “spirit vastly superior to men” which is perhaps the supernatural intelligence Einstein believed. He also thrashed out the value of a human being in a passage from 1934.
“The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained liberation from the self”
Liberate yourself to glimpse the true meaning of life, this theme also reflected in a letter consoling a grieving father Robert S. Marcus by Einstein later on, in 1950. Also echoing what Einstein believed to be the intrinsic truth of a life worth living.
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish it but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.”
Are you thinking that Einstein saw value in material pursuits? Here’s a part of “The World As I See It” which talks about accumulating 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 lead us to noble thoughts and deeds. Money only appeals to selfishness and irresistibly invites abuse. Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus or Gandhi armed with the money-bags of Carnegie?”