Only the individual can think, and thereby create new values for society–nay, even set up new moral standards to which the life of the community conforms.
It is clear that all the valuable things, material, spiritual, and moral, which we receive from society can be traced back through countless generations to certain creative individuals. The use of fire, the cultivation of edible plants, the steam engine–each was discovered by one man.
Without creative, independently thinking and judging personalities the upward development of society is as unthinkable as the development of the individual personality without the nourishing soil of the community.
The health of society thus depends quite as much on the independence of the individuals composing it as on their close political cohesion.
It has been said very justly that Græco-Europeo-American culture as a whole, and in particular its brilliant flowering in the Italian Renaissance, which put an end to the stagnation of mediæval Europe, is based on the liberation and comparative isolation of the individual.
THE WORLD AS I SEE IT #Albert_Einstein