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“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. The knowledge of the existence of something unfathomable to us. The manifestation of the most profound reason, coupled with the most brilliant beauty.

I cannot imagine God, who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, or who has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with the awareness of, and glimpse into, the marvelous construction of the existing world, together with a steadfast determination, to comprehend a portion be ever so tiny of the reason that manifests itself in nature. This is the basis of cosmic religiosity. And it appears to me, that the most important function of art and science is awaken this feeling among the receptive and keep it alive.

I sense that it is not the state that has intrinsic values in the machinery of mankind; but rather the creative feeling individual, the personality alone that created the noble and sublime. Men’s ethical behaviour should be effectively grounded on compassion, nurture and social bonds. What is moral, is not the divine, but rather a purely human matter albeit the most important of all human matters. In the course of history the ideal pertaining to human beings behaviour to each other, and pertaining to the preferred organization of their communities have been espoused and taught by enlightened individuals. These ideals and convictions, results of historical experience, empathy and the need for beauty and harmony, have usually been willingly recognized by human beings, at least in theory. The highest principles for our aspirations and judgements are given to us westerners in a jewish, christian religious tradition. It is a very high goal. Free and responsible development of the individual, so that he may place his powers freely and gladly in the service of all mankind. The pursuit of recognition for their own sake, and almost fanatical love of justice and the quest for personal independence, formed the traditional themes of the jewish people, of which I am a member. But if one holds these high principles clearly before ones eyes and compares them with the life and spirit of our times, then it is glaringly apparent that mankind finds itself at present in grave danger.

I see the nature of the current crisis in the juxtaposition of the individual to society. The individual feels more than ever dependent on society, but he feels this dependence not in the positive sense, cradled, connected as part of an organic whole. He sees it as a threat to his natural rights and even his economic existence. His position in society, then, is such that, that which drives his ego is encouraged and developed, and that which would drive him towards other men, a weak impulse to begin with, is left to atrophy. It is my believe that there is only one way to eliminate these evils. Namely, the establishment of a planned economy, coupled with an education geared towards social goals. Alongside the development of individual abilities, the education of the individual aspires to revive an ideal that is geared towards the service of our fellow-men. And that needs to take the place of the glorification of power and outer success.”

Albert Einstein – 1950s


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