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Do you agree or disagree with this Einstein quote?

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Aurelia

Over a low sun, undo the undone.
#1
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle, and the other is as though everything is a miracle." Albert Einstein

I have several thoughts about this quote. Firstly, the statement is a bit black and white. It's "either this or either that" and no grey area. Also, it depends on one's definition of miracle. Is it essentially saying that you can either be an optimist or a pessimist? Grateful or ungrateful? Religious or non-religious? It seems as though all or any of those could apply.

What are your thoughts on it?
 
#2
I see where he's coming from, but I suppose it's a bit simplistic once you take into consideration people's definitions like you said, and also some things in life don't seem like either- they aren't bad enough to be considered the opposite of a miracle, but they aren't great enough to be considered a miracle either. Like if you step out the door, trip up, and land face first in dog crap, that's not a miracle, but it's not awful enough to be the opposite of a miracle either. But maybe he's implying the grateful thing like you said, -you have the choice to look at every situation as "well it could be worse!" or "well it could be better". I think it is basically saying that you can be a pessimist or an optimist and that life is only as good as your mindset, which I agree mostly, but of course it's more complex than that when you throw in anxiety, depression, etc, that people can't always control
 

Aurelia

Over a low sun, undo the undone.
#3
After I posted the thread, I actually thought of another meaning as well. That one could either live their life as though everything has an answer/explanation behind it (not a miracle) or nothing does (miracle).

But yeah, I think it's a little too simplistic in nature. Life is a lot more complex than that, regardless of what meaning one chooses to assign to the quote.
 
#4
I did a little research on this quote, and it's not clear that he actually said this. You have to be careful of things attributed to Einstein, Mark Twain, Buddha, and a few others, because sometimes people misatribute quotes in order to gain currency.

I doesn't strike me as the sort of thing he would say, but in any case, I don't think it's true. Seeing everything as a miracle sounds like it would be kinda cool though, but probably not that easy to do sincerely.
 

Aurelia

Over a low sun, undo the undone.
#5
I did a little research on this quote, and it's not clear that he actually said this. You have to be careful of things attributed to Einstein, Mark Twain, Buddha, and a few others, because sometimes people misatribute quotes in order to gain currency.

I doesn't strike me as the sort of thing he would say, but in any case, I don't think it's true. Seeing everything as a miracle sounds like it would be kinda cool though, but probably not that easy to do sincerely.
Really? It actually does strike me as something he might have said. But you're right, I actually got that from some mental health paperwork I was given, and never thought to research if he had ever really said that. So I guess he may or may not have.
 

Ash600

Of dust and shadows
SF Creative
SF Supporter
#8
It is debatable whether that quote can actually be attributed towards Einstein, But that's not at issue here....

On the surface, it does seem to be quite the linear quote with there being no scope for a third perspective. But how would one define "miracles"? Initial thoughts would be as acts of God perhaps? Which leads to the opposite view for those who don't believe in celestial intervention.

However, as Einstein has been dragged into it, perhaps the miracle could be referring to the probabilities of so many random events coming together the way that they have? It's either an awareness of it or blissful unawareness of such matters?

If what I have wrote seems fucked up and makes no sense whatsoever, then blame @Lux for distracting me *help
 

Aurelia

Over a low sun, undo the undone.
#11
It is debatable whether that quote can actually be attributed towards Einstein, But that's not at issue here....

On the surface, it does seem to be quite the linear quote with there being no scope for a third perspective. But how would one define "miracles"? Initial thoughts would be as acts of God perhaps? Which leads to the opposite view for those who don't believe in celestial intervention.

However, as Einstein has been dragged into it, perhaps the miracle could be referring to the probabilities of so many random events coming together the way that they have? It's either an awareness of it or blissful unawareness of such matters?

If what I have wrote seems fucked up and makes no sense whatsoever, then blame @Lux for distracting me *help
Yeah, I don't know. It's possible that the miracle part could be referring to random events coming together. But if Einstein did, indeed, say that, then I would assume that he would be more inclined not to believe in miracles. So if he had said it, perhaps it was misconstrued as meaning that one has to look at the positives in life or appreciate and be grateful for things, when in actuality, he could have simply meant that there is no such thing as miracles, despite many choosing to live their life as though there are. In other words, it was maybe twisted up into an optimistic quote when he may have meant it to be the opposite.
 

Aurelia

Over a low sun, undo the undone.
#14
I feel like when (if) he said "miracles" he didn't mean literally as in religious type, just like to be grateful for everything and that even small things have huge value that you don't even realize if you're busy taking things for granted or being pessimistic?
Yeah, but I feel like Einstein was probably neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I think he's the type of person who believed there was an explanation for everything, and was kind of more in the middle, a realist.
 

Optimistic Goatman

The woolly enigmatic one
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#16
I'd say that my biggest issue with this statement is that it discounts the fact that it's possible to view things as simultaneously miraculous and non-miraculous. For instance, my take on the fact that we live on a world in a perfect orbit at a perfect distance from the sun, with the perfect mass, and the perfect atmospheric conditions, to not just sustain life, but to do so for billions of years without ever falling out of orbit, colliding with something, or one of a billion other possibilities?

That's not really miraculous at all. You're talking about random chance playing out over quadrillions upon quadrillions of solar systems and planets. The law of averages state that this ideal scenario was not just inevitable, but likely to have occurred multiple times throughout the universe. The existence of this particular planet and species is genuinely nothing special when you really reflect on it. However, the very concept of a universe so vast, so ever-expanding, and so all-consuming, that such a law of averages becomes applicable, as well as the notion that there must exist something outside of that universe, is so astounding to me that in my eyes it qualifies as a miracle.
 

Aurelia

Over a low sun, undo the undone.
#17
I'd say that my biggest issue with this statement is that it discounts the fact that it's possible to view things as simultaneously miraculous and non-miraculous. For instance, my take on the fact that we live on a world in a perfect orbit at a perfect distance from the sun, with the perfect mass, and the perfect atmospheric conditions, to not just sustain life, but to do so for billions of years without ever falling out of orbit, colliding with something, or one of a billion other possibilities?

That's not really miraculous at all. You're talking about random chance playing out over quadrillions upon quadrillions of solar systems and planets. The law of averages state that this ideal scenario was not just inevitable, but likely to have occurred multiple times throughout the universe. The existence of this particular planet and species is genuinely nothing special when you really reflect on it. However, the very concept of a universe so vast, so ever-expanding, and so all-consuming, that such a law of averages becomes applicable, as well as the notion that there must exist something outside of that universe, is so astounding to me that in my eyes it qualifies as a miracle.
I agree that two opposites could both be true at the same time, depending on perspective. It's like the black hole conundrum. Does someone who falls into a black hole remain okay and in one piece or are they incinerated before they even reach the singularity? Physics states that both are true.
 

Auri

🎸🎼Metal Star🎼🎸
Safety & Support
SF Supporter
#18
Well, you can interpret quotes the way you want, no matter who said them. You'd have to know a lot about Einstein's personal life and beliefs to know what he exactly meant by this (if he indeed said that), but that was not the question anyway.

I would personally not interpret that quote using the literal definition of a miracle because I do not believe in their existence AT ALL. That being said, I think I usually try to view life as described in that second statement (well, according to my interpretation) : as if everything is a "miracle". Meaning that I am fascinated by everything that is out there. There is so much to discover, to experience, to learn, and it makes me pretty ecstatic to think about it. I also do not think that things cease to be wonderful because they can be explained, that makes them even more beautiful to me. This will and view of mine help me on a personal level in all the ways you described : to be more optimistic, to be more grateful, and ultimately, happier.

That being said, there is a "too much" for everything. Some things are bad in the world and I would consider myself irrational if I saw these in a positive light. But even knowing about them very well, I can choose to focus more often on the good wonderful sides, otherwise I'm on the path towards destruction. So yeah, it is short and doesn't leave space for a grey area, but I think that's the point of quotes.
 

Auri

🎸🎼Metal Star🎼🎸
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#19
Oops, I clicked on something and my post was sent before I finished! I hope it was understandable. ^^ I tried not to write a novella.
 

Optimistic Goatman

The woolly enigmatic one
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#20
I agree that two opposites could both be true at the same time, depending on perspective. It's like the black hole conundrum. Does someone who falls into a black hole remain okay and in one piece or are they incinerated before they even reach the singularity? Physics states that both are true.
Exactly. I think this statement in question refuses to acknowledge the true complicated and messy nature of life. A life where most things are shades of grey, and it really is possible for two diametrically opposite beliefs or concepts to both be true. So ironically, in their attempt to create some kind of pithy, profound and beautiful statement, i feel like they've discounted the very thing that actually makes the universe so agonisingly wonderful.
 
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