To show Einstein's views, it would be best to let him speak for himself. Here are some excerpts from his essays.

"The Meaning of Life"

What is the meaning of human life, or for that matter, of the life of any creature? To know an answer to this question means to be religious. You ask: Does it make any sense, then, to pose this question? I answer: The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life.


"On Wealth"

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 individuals is the only thing that can lead us to noble thoughts and deeds. Money only appeals to selfishness and irresistibly invites abuse. Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus, or Gandhi armed with the money-bags of Carnegie?



It seems to be a universal fact that minorities - especially when the individuals composing them can be recognized by physical characteristics - are treated by the majorities among whom they live as an inferior order of beings. The tragedy of such a fate lies not merely in the unfair treatment to which these minorities are automatically subjected in social and economic matters, but also in the fact that under the suggestive influence of the majority most of the victims themselves succumb to the the same prejudice and regard their kind as inferior beings. This second and greater part of the evil can be overcome by closer associaiotn and by deliberate education of the minority, whose spiritual liberation can thus be accomplished. The resolute efforts of the American Negroes in this direction deserve approval and assistance.

from "Why Socialism?"

It is evident, therefore, that the dependence of the individual upon society is a fact of nature which cannot be abolished - just as in the case of ants and bees. However, while the whole life process of ants and bees isfixed down to the smallest detail by rigid, hereditary instincts, the social pattern and interrelationships of human beings are very variable and susceptible to change. Memory, the capacity to make new combinations, the gift of oral speech have made possible developments amon human beings which are not dictated by biological necessities. Such developments manifest themselves in traditions, institiutions, and organizations; in literature; in scientific and engineering accomplishments; in works of art. This explains how it happens that, in a certain sense, man can influence his life through his own conduct, and that in this process conscious thinking and wanting can play a part.


"Manifesto - March, 1933"

As long as I have any choice, I will only stay in a coutry where political libety, tolerance, and equality of all citizens before the law prevail. Political liberty implies the freedom to express one's political opinions orally and in writing; tolerance implies respect for any and every individual opinion.

These conditions do not obtain in Germany at the present time. Those who have done most for the cause of international understanding, among them some of the leading artists, are being persecuted there.

Any social organism can become physically distempered just as any individual can, especially in times of difficulty. Nations usually survive these distempers. I hope that healthy conditions will soon supervene in Germany and that in future her great men like Kant and Goethe will not merely be commemorated from time to time but that the principles which they taught will also preail in public life and in the general consciousness.


*Note: I strongly recommend the book Ideas and Opinions (edited by Carl Seelig) for Einstein's longer, but more interesting, essays.