Einstein clearly got many things right, but his statements about human morality not improving can be shown to be wrong. If we look at many of the statements of the ancient sages, as described in the post Variations on what the Golden Rule means, we would see a clearly higher moral development through time. There is a more universal appreciation of each individuals relationship with all humanity, and it can even be observed in the behavior of the common man. The change, even in last the one hundred years shows a clear improvement in peoples understanding of other people’s humanity and human needs. Here are some wonderful Einstein quotes cadged from the internet which show his bent, but remember these statements were made by the man as responsible as any for creating the Doomsday weapons. It was Zillard, Teller and Einstein who composed the letter to President Roosevelt which started the A-bomb project.
- Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds.
- We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.
- We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.
- If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge. Albert Einstein, quoted in: All the Questions You Ever Wanted to Ask American Atheists, by Madalyn Murray O’Hair
- No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.
- A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?
- Morality is of the highest importance – but for us, not for God.
- Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods.
- The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.
- Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
- Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
- Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.
- Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
- Perfection of means and confusion of ends seem to characterize our age.
- Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavours.
- It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.
- Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow – perhaps it all will.
- Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
- Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
- Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.
- Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
- I do not believe that civilization will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two-thirds of the people of the earth will be killed.
- Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
The tone of these statements shows more concern for the feelings of other people than does those similar variations of the Silver Rule, but not so much as the Golden Rule. However, these statements were not directed at improving other people so much as improving the technology of the world. Those improvements would permit people to live better lives. Perhaps, he is right in saying, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” but says, “I do not believe that civilization will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb. Perhaps two-thirds of the people of the earth will be killed.” Note, that the two people who encouraged him to submit the letter to Roosevelt created super weapons. Teller is famous for creating the H-bomb which is a thousand times more powerful than the A-bomb and Zillard who first thought of all of these bombs and who designed the C-bomb (Cobalt) which is a Doomsday bomb. However, when Einstein said this about the A-bomb the H-bomb was already in development and that technology is a thousand times more powerful, and that was sufficient to kill everyone. He, also must have known about Zillard’s C-bomb because they were lifelong companions. Einstein was obviously a deep thinker, and thought about the future use of what he and his friends were discovering, but it was largely because of him and these friends that humanity now possesses the ability to destroy itself. That simple fact casts a very dark shadow over his eloquent and apparently humane statements.
When man’s most brilliant children speak of peace,
They do so in a most deceitful way.
With one hand they give us a golden fleece.
But, with the other, all of us, they slay
When Armageddon dawned all men still loved,
Mankind, and beast, and tree and clear blue sky.
But then, these man brought blasts came and proved,
The best for life that man could do was die
With mister Noble’s gifts and Einstein’s too,
Seeming love turns suddenly to proven hate,
That renders pulsing life to stinking goo.
Is this for me and you? Is this our fate
We need no villains with their subtle shifts,
With heroes such as these to bring us gifts.
Armageddon – Sonnet 2