Yesterday I finished reading Einstein’s book “The World as I see it” (in Spanish “Mi vision del Mundo” -205 pgs.-, Ed. Tusquets, from the original “Mein Weltbild”).
I firstly came across this book many years ago in Casa del Libro, when searching for his books on special and general relativity. Then I wasn’t very interested in this book, I looked for science. Later on, I grew curiosity for it driven mainly by the desire to know what was his explanation of his connection with the Manhattan Project, his defence of Zionism, how he based his religious believes…
- He explains his resolution for writing the letter to F. D. Roosevelt telling the necessity of conducting experiments to study the possibility of building the A-bomb. The only reason: the danger of the Germans working toward the same. He says he was completely conscious of the horrendous outcome for human kind but found no other way out despite his solid pacifism.
- In the book, there are several other letters and speeches in favour of pacifism, the creation of supranational organizations to which nations shall transfer sovereignty, the disarming of the nations, shows criticism against the creation of mandatory military service for the youth (he continuously called for insubordination) …
- He explains in his book that he understands Judaism more as a tradition centred in moral issues concerning practical matters than a religion based on faith. He defends the creation of a nation for the Jews because of the hostility found in other countries, admits the nationalistic approach of that creation and says that if the situation was different he would be the first one in rejecting all forms of nationalism calling for a universal human community. He joined Zionism as a consequence of the anti-Semitism he found in Germany. The majority of his letters on this issue come from the ‘20s and ‘30s. Einstein died in 1955, before the Suez-Sinai and the Six-Day wars.
- Religion: he rejects the concept of a God that rewards and punishes every action of humans. He uses the term Cosmic Religiosity and writes:
“I am of the opinion that all the finer speculations in the realm of science spring from a deep religious feeling, and that without such feeling they would not be fruitful. I also believe that, this kind of religiousness, which makes itself felt today in scientific investigations, is the only creative religious activity of our time.”
I definitely recommend the book; though I warn the reader that it is not an easy read, it is quite dense, there isn’t a spare word…
3 responses to “Einstein’s: The World as I see it”
I didn’t expect Einstein to write something not fulfilling the “it is quite dense” requisite. 😉
The A-bomb issue is quite controversial. I was not aware of the history behind it, till I went to Hiroshima Peace Memorial and I was surprised Einstein took part in the decision of A-bomb development and test.
The excuse of developing it to prevent Nazis from doing it, and killing a couple of million people to proof the world they had it first… hasn’t convinced me yet.
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