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Einstein's view of life  

2010-07-29 19:31:32|  分类: English |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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                                                                              Einstein's view of life

How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn: for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people--first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving. I am strongly drawn to a frugal life and am often oppressively aware that I am engrossing an undue amount of the labor of my fellow-men. I regard class distinctions as unjustified and, in the last resort, based on force. I also believe that a simple and unassuming life is good for everybody, physically and mentally.

  I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity. Schopenhauer's saying, " A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants," has been a very real in spiration to me since my youth; it has been a continual consolation in the face of life's hardships, my own and others, and an unfailing wellspring of tolerance. This realization mercifully mitigates the easily paralyzing sense of responsibility and prevents us from taking ourselves and other people all too seriously; it is conducive to a view of life which, in particular, gives humor its due.

  To inquire after the meaning or object of one's own existence or that of all creatures has always seemed to me absurd from an objective point of view. And yet everybody has certain ideals which determine the direction of his endeavors and his judgments. In this sense I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves--this ethical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed to me empty. The trite objects of human efforts--possessions, outward success, luxury--have always seemed to me contemptible.

  My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a " lone traveler" and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude--feelings which increase with the years. One becomes sharply aware, but without regret, of the limits of mutual understanding and consonance with other people. No doubt, such a person loses some of his innocence and unconcern; on the other hand, he is largely independent of the opinions, habits, and judgments of his fellows and avoids the temptation to build his inner equilibrium upon such insecure foundations.

  The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery--even if mixed with fear--that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds--it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.






 体验神秘是最美妙的。真正的艺术和真正的科学正是萌芽于这种最原始的情感。任何一个不懂得这点也不再会对此感到神奇、为之惊叹的人,就如行尸走肉一般,他的眼睛将毫无神采可言。正是人们对神秘的体验--尽管也夹杂着恐惧--使宗教得以诞生。我们知道存在未知的事物,我们感觉到有最深奥的"理"和最灿烂的" 美",它们以最原始的形式出现时,我们才能意识到,正是这种认知和这种情感构成了真正的宗教情结;从这个意义讲,也仅仅是从这个意义讲,我是个虔诚的信教者。我无法构想出一个奖赏和处罚自己所造之物的上帝,也无法设想上帝具有我们身上所体现的那种意志。我既不能也不会设想居然会有一个在其肉体死亡后仍能生存的人;让脆弱的人们出于恐惧或愚蠢的利己思想而这样想吧。我对生命永恒所具的神秘,对现存世界神奇结构的觉察和少许了解感到满足,包括我力图去理解的,自然本身显露出来的"理"中的一小部分,尽管这部分微不足道。

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