by E. Raymond Rock
“The True Value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self.” – Albert Einstein.
This theory is as difficult to comprehend, as is his theory of relativity, but perhaps more so because just as a knife cannot cut itself, the self cannot see itself. Therefore, the self remains ever an enigma.
Einstein mentions the true value of a human being – an excellent measure of our worth, for if we merely measure our wealth, power, or fame, we lose touch with the truth, and scientists such as Einstein lived for the truth; truth is a scientist’s passion.
A scientist’s truth begins with observation, not an observation that is skewed toward a desired resolution, but an unbiased, impartial, disinterested examination. A scientist will do blind studies, where neither the evaluator nor the subject knows which items are controls, and will perform extensive testing to make certain the results are irrefutable. Therefore, when Einstein says that liberation from the self is the true value of a human being, rest assured that his scientific mind has observed human nature very closely, and that he has come to an unbiased conclusion.
Can we do what Einstein did to come to his conclusion? Can we set aside our beliefs and prejudices and simply observe life? If we can do this, how could we not come to the same conclusions? The fact is; we can’t observe life in the manner that a scientist does because we simply are too enmeshed in our opinions and beliefs – all resulting from our conditioning. We don’t have the capacity to step back with a grand overview and see life exactly as it is. We tend to see life as we wish it to be, and when life doesn’t live up to our expectations, we become entrapped and not at all liberated as Einstein theorized we could be.
What keeps us imprisoned? Einstein, joining many great thinkers and spiritual figures down through the ages, said that the self is what separates us from our freedom. We would be hard pressed to find a popular religion that addresses this certain remedy for our bondage, and the reason for this is that uncovering the self requires the greatest courage, because the revealing of self involves pain; pain in proportion to the power of the self-illusion that we have bought into, which is usually substantial. And frankly, churches that inflict pain don’t last, only happy churches last, even though necessary pain is the only thing that will free us.
If scientists merely believed what someone told them, or what they had read in a book, the world would still be flat – it took the Catholic Church 300 years to forgive Galileo for that one! The fact is; science embarrasses religion regularly. The only religion that has kept up with science has been Buddhism, probably because one of the tenets of the Buddha was that his monks should believe nothing they couldn’t prove true for themselves.
Einstein said, “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal god and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both natural and spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual and a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.”
There is one more thing that the Buddha hinted at; if you want to find truth for yourself . . . meditate. If you simply believe what someone tells you, suffering will follow like tracks from an ox cart follows the wheels. Look at your life, honestly, like a scientist does, Happiness? Suffering and worry?
You make the objective call.