“Each of us here for a brief sojourn for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he feels it. But from the point of view of daily life, without going deeper, we exist for our fellowman. in the first place for those on whose smiles and welfare all our happiness depends, and next for all those unknown to us personally with whose destinies was are bound up by the tie of sympathy.”
“I am strongly drawn to the simple life and a often oppressed by the feeling that a engrossing an unnecessary amount of the labour of my fellowman.” “I also consider that plain living is good for everybody physically and mentally.”
“I regard class differences as contrary to justice and, in the last resort, based on force”
“When we survey our lives and endeavours we soon observe that almost the whole of our actions and desires are bound up with the existence of other human beings. We see that our whole nature resembles that of the social animals. We eat food that others have made, live in houses that others have built. The greater part of our knowledge and beliefs has been communicated to us by other people through the medium of language which others have created. Without language our mental capacities would be poor indeed, comparable to those of the higher animals; we have, therefore, to admit that we owe our principle advantage over the beasts to the fact of living in human society. The individual, if left alone from birth, would remain primitive and beast-like in his thoughts and feelings to a degree that we can hardly conceive. The individual is what he is and has the significance that he has not so much in virtue of his individuality, but rather as a member of a greater human society, which directs his material and spiritual existence from the cradle to the grave.
A man’s value to the community depends primarily on how far his feelings, thoughts and actions are directed towards promoting the good of his fellows. We call him good or bad according to how he stands in this matter. It looks at first sight as if our estimate of a man depended entirely on his social qualities
And yet such an attitude would be wrong. It is clear that all the valuable things, material, spiritual, and moral, which we receive from society can be traced back through countless generations to certain creative individuals. The use of fire, the cultivation of edible plants, the steam engine – – each was discovered by one man.
Only the individual can think, and thereby create new values for society – – nay, even set up new moral standards to which life of the community conforms. Without creative, independently thinking and judging personalities the upward development of society is as unthinkable as the development of the individual personality without the nourishing soil of the community.”
“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 in the only thing that can produce fine ideas and noble deeds. Money only appeals to selfishness and always temps it owner irresistibly to abuse it.
Can anyone imagine Moses or Ghandi armed with the moneybags of Carnegie?”
“However much our political convictions may differ, I know that we agree on one point: in the progressive achievements of the European mind both of us see and love our highest good. Those achievements are based on the freedom of thought and of teaching, on the principle that the desire for truth must take precedence of all other desires. It was this bases alone that enabled our civilisation to take its rise in Greece and to celebrate its rebirth in Italy at the Renaissance”
Source: The world as I see it – By: Albert Einstein