D O C . 6 9 S C I E N C E A N D P A C I F I S M 2 5 7
69. Impact of Science on the Development of Pacifism
[Einstein 1922b]
The manuscript was completed before 9 December 1921.
Published 1922
In: Kurt Lenz and Walter Fabian, eds. Die Friedensbewegung. Ein Handbuch der
Weltfriedensströmungen der Gegenwart. Berlin: Schwetschke, 1922, pp. 78–79.
Wars present the most severe obstacle for the development of all endeavors, in par-
ticular all cultural goals that are essentially based on the cooperation of people from
all nations. War deprives the intellectual worker of the external and internal condi-
tions upon which his work must be based. If he is still of sufficient youth and vigor,
war will make him a slave of an organization aimed at annihilation, or else it will
surround him with an atmosphere of excitement and hatred. In addition, war creates
an oppressive economic dependency, lasting for years, due to the impoverishment
associated with it. Consequently, a human being whose highest values are spiritual
ones must be a pacifist. This is also verified by history, when men of the past are
not just counted but rather weighed.
What about the effect of science upon the development of pacifism? In this re-
spect the influence of the arts has obviously been a very small one. It is easy to note
that the majority of representatives of the science that comes to mind first, I mean
history, has by no means advanced the ideals of pacifism. Many representatives of
the science—even though not quite the best ones—have publicly come forth with
astounding and strongly chauvinistic and militaristic pronouncements, especially
during the recent great war.—The situation is quite different in the natural sciences.
Due to the universal character of their subject matter and their need for internation-
ally organized cooperation, they are inclined toward an international understanding
and thus favor pacifist goals. A similar attitude prevails among national economists
who necessarily must view war as a disturbance of the economic processes that is
caused by a lack of organization.
But the deepest effect of the natural sciences upon the historical process that in-
terests us here is not of a spiritual but of a material kind. Technical inventions aris-
ing from the natural sciences have internationally chained together the economic
Previous Page Next Page