5 0 0 D O C . 5 0 6 A N N I V E R S A R Y O F N E W T O N S D E A T H 506. “On the 200th Anniversary of Isaac Newton’s Death” [Einstein 1927m] Dated before 31 March 1927[1] Published May 1927 In: Nord und Süd: Monatsschrift für internationale Zusammenarbeit 50 (1927): 36–40. Among the persons we admire or venerate, we can quite neatly distinguish three types. The first type includes men of action and ambition. They are almost exclu- sively the subject of discussion during those classes in school preoccupied with so- called history—or, to put it more accurately, with the history of great acts of violence, state organizations, and mass psychoses[2] of humanity—e.g., generals and politicians. Had they not served as objects of history and of the dramatic arts, most of these men would be forgotten after a few generations.[3] The second type includes persons who use their minds to physically secure, improve,[4] or enrich the lives of generations. Among these belong the foremost discoverers and inventors in the areas of medicine, engineering, and social and economic organization. The third type, whom I regard as superior, includes those who help raise human society to a higher level of experience, vision, ethical being, and understanding, thereby creating the noblest values in life. They include the great artists, ethical pioneers, and thinkers, and their importance to humanity is akin to the significance of animal life to the matter of the universe namely, they are the bearers[5] of a higher level of consciousness. Newton was a genius among the latter, most supreme kind. It is easy to characterize the scientific achievement that secured Newton a unique position in intellectual history for all time. Newton was the first to try to for- mulate fundamental laws that fully determine with great precision a general class of natural processes in their temporal progression. His law of motion, combined with the law of gravity, fully governs all motions carried out by celestial bodies in their sole interaction with gravity. Through it, he turned into reality the dreams of the great materialistically minded philosophers of antiquity, Democritus and Epi- curus, according to whom a complete, seamless causality[6] of physical events should exist. Following these successes, it seemed scarcely possible to doubt that all material events generally proceeded with necessary regularity—comparable to [p. 36] [p. 37]
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