Wisdom of Life

Albert Einstein: On the Wisdom and the Meaning of Life

 

“The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.”

 

einstein

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.

From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that we are here for the sake of each other — above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. Life isn’t worth living, unless it is lived for someone else.

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things. Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere. Imagination is the highest form of research. I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.

I am not more gifted than the average human being. I am just more curious than the average person and I will not give up on a problem until I have found the proper solution. This is one of my greatest satisfactions in life — solving problems — and the harder they are, the more satisfaction do I get out of them. Now, if you understand what I have just told you, you see that it is not a matter of being more gifted but a matter of being more curious and maybe more patient until you solve a problem.

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales. When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking. Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death. Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it. Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as hard duty. Never regard study as duty but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs.

Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value. The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive. Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work. Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. Excellence is doing a common thing in an uncommon way.

The man with the greatest soul will always face the greatest war with the low minded person. Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.

Do not grow old, no matter how long you live. Never cease to stand like curious children before the Great Mystery into which we were born.

It is humankind’s duty to respect all life, not only animals have feelings but even also trees and plants. It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Excerpts from Albert Einstein’s works and sayings.

***

~Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics. His work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science.

Excellence Reporter 2019

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Categories: Wisdom of Life

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