Einstein's poem to Spinoza's Ethics

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In summary, Albert Einstein wrote a poem about Spinoza's Ethics in 1920, showing his admiration for Spinoza's ideas. The poem can be found in several sources, including a handwritten manuscript and a translation in English. It discusses the limitations of human understanding and the importance of being born with certain qualities to reach the heights of enlightenment.
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Einstein's poem On Spinoza's Ethics

does anybody have a link to a legible online text of this poem?

I would like a legible text of the German original and also
a complete English translation if one exists.

http://www.lorentz.leidenuniv.nl/history/Einsteins_poem/Spinozas_Ethik.jpg

Maybe the poem is not so very good---at least to our contemporary ears. It was written around 1920 I think.
But it shows Einstein liking Spinoza's ideas very much.
 
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here are more links
www.lorentz.leidenuniv.nl/history/einstein/vol59no4p57_62.pdf see page 6 for a couple of lines both in orig. German and in English translation.

see also reference [13] of the above PDF article.

a couple of lines is not enough, I think.
would anyone be willing to type it in, if you happen to have a copy of the complete poem?here is another link I have not tried yet

http://www.Alberteinstein.info/db/ViewImage.do?DocumentID=17814&Page=1

tried it, just the same handwritten MS

here is something
www.pupress.princeton.edu/chapters/s6681.pdf

this is Chapter 1 of Jammer's book. PUP offers it as a free sample to get people to buy the book
Here is the TOC
EINSTEIN AND RELIGION (by Jammer)

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 3
CHAPTER 1 Einstein's Religiosity and the Role of Religion in His Private Life 13
CHAPTER 2 Einstein's Philosophy of Religion 65
CHAPTER 3 Einstein's Physics and Theology 153
Appendix 267
Index 26

the text of the poem is in the Appendix. But is it nowhere else on the web?

Could this be a really really bad poem by Einstein. So bad that human decency prevents people from posting copy?
 
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  • #3
Marcus - discovered your query while researching Spinoza. It's now a year later. If you're still interested in the English text & translation of Einstein's Spinoza poem, email me & I'll get them to you. - Ben
 
  • #4
Time is relative.
 
  • #5
So it is, waht. Somebody's out there, so here 'tis. The translation is mine, so beware:

To Spinoza’s Ethic

Wie lieb ich diesen edlen Mann
Mehr als ich mit Worten sagen kann.
Doch fuercht’ ich, dass er bleibt allein
Mit seinem strahlenden Heiligenschein.

So einem armen kleinen Wicht
Den fuehrst Du zu der Freiheit nicht[.]
Der amor dei laesst ihn kalt
Das Leben zieht ihn mit Gewalt[.]

Die Hoehe bringt ihm nichts als Frost
Vernunft ist fuer ihn schale Kost[.]
Besitz und Weib und Ehr’ und Haus
Das fuellt ihn vom oben bis unten aus[.]

Du musst schon guetig mir verzeihn
Wenn hier mir fellt Muenchhausen ein,
Dem als Einzigen das Kunststueck gediehn
Sich am eigenen Zopf aus dem Sumpf zu zieh’n.

Du denkst sein [replaces crossed out: ‘Spinozas’] Beispiel zeigt uns eben
Was diese Lehre den Menschen kann geben[.]
[crossed out original conclusion:
Mein lieben Sohn, was faellt dir ein?
Zum Nachtigall muss man geboren sein!]
Vertraue nicht dem troestlichen Schein:
Zum Erhabenen muss man geboren sein.


To Spinoza’s Ethic

How I love that noble man
More than I can say with words.
Though I’m afraid he’ll have to stay all alone
Him with his shining halo.

Thus a poor little dwarf
Whom you do not lead to Freedom.
Your ‘love of god’ leaves him cold
Life drags him around by force.

The high altitude brings him nothing but frostbite
Reason is stale bread to him.
Wealth & Women and Fame & Family
That’s what fills him up between dawn and dusk.

You must be good enough to forgive me
For I can’t help thinking of Munchhausen just now,
The only one ever to pull off the trick
Of hoisting himself out of the cesspool by his own hair.

You think his [Spinoza’s] example shows us
What human teaching has to give.
[My dear son, what’s gotten into you?
You have to be born a Nightingale!]
Don’t trust the comforting mirage:
You have to be born to the heights.

That's it. I was a bit, well, stunned by it at first.

Ben
 

Related to Einstein's poem to Spinoza's Ethics

1. What is the connection between Einstein and Spinoza?

Albert Einstein was a famous physicist, while Baruch Spinoza was a philosopher. Both of them were known for their groundbreaking ideas and theories in their respective fields. However, Einstein was greatly influenced by Spinoza's philosophical work, especially his book "Ethics".

2. What is "Einstein's poem to Spinoza's Ethics"?

"Einstein's poem to Spinoza's Ethics" refers to a short poem written by Albert Einstein as a tribute to Baruch Spinoza's "Ethics". The poem was written in German and was first published in a collection of Einstein's works in 1929.

3. What is the significance of this poem?

The poem serves as a testament to the impact that Spinoza's work had on Einstein's thinking. It also shows the admiration and respect that Einstein had for Spinoza's philosophical ideas.

4. What is the meaning behind the poem?

The poem is a reflection of Einstein's view that the universe is governed by laws and principles that can be understood through human reason. This aligns with Spinoza's belief in the existence of a single unified substance that governs the universe.

5. How does this poem relate to Einstein's scientific work?

Although the poem is not directly related to Einstein's scientific work, it reflects his belief in the power of reason and the pursuit of truth. This is a fundamental aspect of his scientific approach, and it is evident in his admiration for Spinoza's philosophical ideas.

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