D O C U M E N T 1 5 7 O N T H E D AV O S L E C T U R E S 1 6 7 157. “On the Davos University Lectures” [Einstein 1929d] Dated 18 March 1928[1] Published 1929 In: Gelegentliches von Albert Einstein. Zum fünfzigsten Geburtstag 14. März 1929 dargebracht von der Soncino-Gesellschaft der Freunde des jüdischen Buches zu Berlin. Berlin: Soncino-Gesellschaft, 1929, pp. 14–16. Senatori boni viri, senatus autem bestia.[2] Thus wrote a Swiss professor, a friend of mine, in his witty fashion to a faculty member of his university that had annoyed him. Collectives and communities are as a rule not so often guided by feel- ings of responsibility and conscience as are individuals. How much severe suffering has this fact brought to humanity wars and oppression of every kind, which have covered the Earth with pain, sighs, and bitterness. And yet, things of true value can be achieved only through the impersonal col- laboration of many people. It is the humanist’s greatest joy to see a common enter- prise be conceived and founded with great sacrifices, whose only purpose is to foster life and culture.[3] I experienced such a pure joy when I heard of the Davos University Courses.[4] Here, with intelligence and wise constraints, a work of rescue is being carried out, which answers to a serious need even though that need may not be obviously vis- ible to everyone.[5] Many a young person comes to this valley in the hope of finding healing powers in the sun-filled mountains, and regains physical health. But, de- prived for so long of the normal willpower-strengthening daily labor and at the mercy of brooding over his state of health, his spiritual vigor and the feeling of be- ing a full-fledged participant in life’s struggles are in danger of being lost. He be- comes so to speak a hothouse plant, and after being restored to physical health, often finds the path back to normal life a difficult one. This applies especially to younger students. An interruption of the training of the mind in the decisive years of development all too often leaves a gap that is hard to fill in later years. But, however, intellectual work in moderation does not generally stand in the way of a return to health it may even be indirectly helpful, just as is moderate phys- ical work. This idea lies behind the founding of the University Courses, which are intended not only to prepare participants for a profession, but also to encourage general intellectual activity.[6] They offer work, education, and hygiene in intellec- tual fields.[7] [p. 14] [p. 15] [p. 16]
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