Einstein on the Mysterious
The following paragraph is the conclusion to the essay "The World as I See It," which is taken from the abridged edition of
Einstein's book bearing the same title. In the abridged edition (Philosophical Library, New York, 1949), the essay appears on
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. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel
amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. It was the experience of mystery--even if mixed with
fear-that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the
manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms-it is this knowledge and this emotion that
constitute the truly religious attitude; 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 type of which we are conscious in ourselves. An individual who should survive
his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the
fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of
the marvellous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavour to comprehend a portion, be
it never so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.Browse all articles.
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