were it but a feeble reflection...

  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    For me it means "even if it was only..." but I'm not quite sure what Einstein meant by the phrase you have underlined.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    I think Velisarius is basically right. Einstein is saying Kepler and Newton were deeply convinced of the
    rationality of the universe, and were devoted at a deep and passionate level (which religious people show) to understanding it.
    He is saying or speculating, in the key line, that their devotion to rationality may be a (small or pale) reflection of (or derivative of) "God's Mind," the rationality of the the universe.
     

    deepuips

    Senior Member
    Thank you

    Is this interpretation correct?

    "even if it might be only an imperfect glimpse of the orderliness of the universe" If the context is religious, the "mind" referred to might be the "mind of God".
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    I think it's worth pointing out that if Einstein had an impersonal God, or was a pantheist of sorts, the 'mind of God' is really a kind of metaphor for overall rationality and orderliness of the universe. "Mind of God" may equate to "mind of the universe." In that case, an extraordinary mind, like that of Kepler (who is, after all, an individual), to a limited extent, reflects or partakes of this larger mind.
     

    mohamad_r

    New Member
    persian
    This thread has been merged - please read from post #1 above for a fuller discussion.

    What a deep conviction of the
    rationality of the universe and what a yearning to understand, were it but
    a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world, Kepler and Newton
    must have had to enable them to spend years of solitary labor in disentangling
    the principles of celestial mechanics!
    Albert Einstein,
    “Religion and Science,”
    New York Times Magazine
    9 Nov. 1930

    ===============================
    what does refer"were it"? what means:
    "were it but a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world,"
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    fh3579

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    <-----Threads have been merged at this point.----->

    The following sentence is cited from "the Big Questions" by Robert C. Solomon. But the origional text is from Religion and Science by Einstein.
    What a deep conviction of the rationality of the universe and what a yearning to understand, were it but a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world, Kepler and Newton must have had to enable them to spend years of solitary labor in disentangling the principles of celestial mechanics!
    I know the rest of the sentence. But "were it but a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world" is confusing to me. What does it mean?
     
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