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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.

                                                                                 爱因斯坦谈人生
 作者简介:阿尔伯特·爱因斯坦(AlbertEinstein1879~1955),德国著名物理学家,1921年因在物理学方面的杰出贡献,特别是发现光电效应定律获诺贝尔物理学奖。他提出的狭义相对论和广义相对论有力地推动了物理学的发展。

 我们这些终有一死的凡人是多么不可思议!每个人都只在这世界上作短暂的逗留,究竟为了什么却并不知道,虽然偶尔觉得自己意识到这个问题。但无需深思,从日常生活中就可认识到我们是为别人而活。首先是为其欢笑和健康维系着我们幸福的那些人;其次是为许许多多素昧平生的人,同情的纽带把他们的命运和我们联系在一起。每天我都上百次地提醒自己,我的精神生活和物质生活都与别人的劳动分不开,这些人有的仍健在,有的已过世;我还提醒自己,对于我已经得到和正在得到的一切,我要尽心尽力做出相应的回报。我非常愿意过俭朴生活,我经常不安地感到自己过多地占有了同胞的劳动成果。我认为把人划分为不同的阶层是没有道理的,归根到底是一种强制行为。我还认为简单朴素、不事张扬的生活方式,对任何人的身心都有好处。 

 我根本就不相信哲学所谓的人的自由。一个人的所作所为,不仅是外界所迫也是内心所需。叔本华说过:"一个人能做他想做的,但不能要他想要的。"从年轻时起这句话就一直深深地激励着我。生活中,无论是我自己面临困境,还是看见他人遇到艰难,我都能以此自慰;同时,这句话也是使我宽容忍耐的不尽源泉。认识到这一点,就能安心地缓减那易于使人气馁的沉重的责任感,并使我们不至于对自己对他人都过分苛求;这也有助于培养一个人的人生观,特别是那种该幽默就幽默一下的人生观。 

 探求个人或一切生物生存的意义或目的,客观地讲,我一直都认为是荒谬的。当然,每个人都有某种理想,正是这种理想决定了他的奋斗目标和价值标准。因此,我从不认为安逸和快乐本身是最终所求,我把这种理想准则称之为"猪舍里的理想"。一直照亮我前进道路并反复给我勇气使我愉快面对生活的理念是真、善、美。如果没有与我同心同德的人在一起而产生的亲和感,如果不倾心于客观世界、不倾心于艺术和科学领域永远达不到的目标,生活对我会是十分空虚的。至于那些老生常谈的人生目标,诸如物质占有、功成名就、舒适享受等等,在我看来都不值一顾。

 我有强烈的社会正义感和社会责任心,另一方面我却又明显地不愿与世间人事直接接触,这形成了奇特的反差。我的确是个"孤独的旅行者",从未全心属于我的国、我的家、我的朋友,乃至我的直系亲属;面对所有这些社会关系,我一直有一种距离感,一直想要孤独,这种感觉与时俱增。一个人会强烈地感到和他人相互理解、意见一致总有限度,但并不为之遗憾。毫无疑问,这样的人会失去一些天真和无忧;另一方面,他在很大程度上独立自主,不受他人的主张、习惯和判断的影响,同时也不至于情不自禁地把自己内心的平衡建立在这种不牢靠的基础之上。

 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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