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A compass is an instrument used for navigation and orientation that shows direction relative to the geographic cardinal directions (or points).
- A wonder of such nature I experienced as a child of 4 or 5 years, when my father showed me a compass. That this needle behaved in such a determined way did not at all fit into the nature of events, which could find a place in the unconscious world of concepts (effect connected with direct "touch"). I can still remember—or at least believe I can remember—that this experience made a deep and lasting impression upon me. Something deeply hidden had to be behind things. What man sees before him from infancy causes no reaction of this kind; he is not surprised over the falling of bodies, concerning wind and rain, nor concerning the moon or about the fact that the moon does not fall down, nor concerning the differences between living and non-living matter.
- Albert Einstein, "Autobiographical Notes", in Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp (1949)