The conflicted craziness that observes our current cultural and societal reality tears at the heart and mind from time-to-time. Today, being pointed to one of Einstein’s writings, I picked the following that resonates with a strong value I hold dear.
The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me not the political state, but the creative, sentient individual, the personality; it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains dull in thought and dull in feeling.
Reading further, his lifetime having witnessed the worst of man’s nightmares and tragedies, including his own hand involved with creating a force of such destructive power, Albert Einstein shares a perspective that he holds passionately. He is not alone.
“This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor… This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them!
In American Beauty, Kevin Spacey narrates his story. Upon his death, his narration describes a perspective and overwhelming sensation that life is so beautiful that it causes his heart to feel ready to burst.
For some reason, reading the following excerpt, I feel as though this is a piece of the mystery shared by Einstein that has also given me experiences of similar nature.
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man… I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence — as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.”
I’ve struggled for years with religions, new age, spirituality, and whatever the Truth is supposed to represent. After years of toil, exploration, delving through the inner and outer as described by Einstein in his own reflections, I’ve reached much the same conclusion. I believe today we have access to more insight from science than was available to him, though I suspect his intimacy with the subject has him standing on far more solid ground with faith and the art of living faith than most in society today.
There is always so much more…
Lester Burnham, narrating his observations after death in the final moments of the film, American Beauty, says,
I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me, but it’s hard to stay mad when there is so much beauty in the world.
Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold onto it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.
You have no idea of what I’m talking about I’m sure. But don’t worry, you will some day.
Do you have the courage to let go, to flow, and to grow in gratitude?