Dirk Bertels

The greatest malfunction of spirit
is to believe things (Louis Pasteur)

Einstein's philosophy

Book excerpts: The World as I see it

pp 2

Shopenhauer's saying, that a man can do as he will, but not will as he will, has been an inspiration to me since my youth up, and a continual consolation and unfailing well-spring of patience in the face of the hardships of life, my own and others.

Without the sense of fellowship with men of like mind, of preoccupation with the objective, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific research, life would have seemed to me empty

pp 3

I gang my own gait 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 an obstinate sense of detachment, of the need for solitude - a feeling which increases with the years

I am quite aware that it is necessary for the success of any complex undertaking that one man should do the thinking and directing and in general bear the responsibility.

pp 5

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.

pp 7

The true value of a human is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained to liberation from the self.

pp 9

Only the individual can think, and thereby create new values for society - nay, even set up new moral standards to which the life of the community conforms.

Book excerpts: Einstein - Two stars at the end of the rocket

pp 574

... He had by this time given up his violin, saying that he was not good enough, but continued to play Bach or Mozart each day on his Bechstein grand.

pp 578

'I know a little about nature', he said, 'and hardly anything about men'.

pp 582

Never lose a holy curiosity.

His inability to feel the human tragedy emotionally as well as intellectually had helped to disrupt his first marriage, a troublesome vexatious mistake which seems at the times to have driven him to the point of desperation just when he wished to concentrate on the job in hand.

pp 583

[Einstein] had remarked of Herbert Spencer's idea of tragedy - a deduction killed by a fact - 'every theory is killed sooner or later in that way. But if the theory has good in it, that good is embodied and continued in the next theory'.

Further quotations

I was sitting in a chair in the patent office at Bern, when all of a sudden a thought occurred to me: "If a person falls freely he will not feel his own weight". I was startled. This simple thought made a deep impression on me. It impelled me toward a theory of gravitation.