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A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. ~Albert Einstein, Letters of Note


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The story:

A grieving father named Robert S. Marcus — then-Political Director of the World Jewish Congress — was the recipient of the following letter of condolence in 1950, not long after his son succumbed to polio. It was written by Albert Einstein.

Transcript follows. Image courtesy of On Being

From Wikiquote:

  • A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.

  • Letter of 1950, as quoted in The New York Times (29 March 1972) and The New York Post (28 November 1972). However, The New Quotable Einstein by Alice Calaprice (Princeton University Press, 2005: ISBN 0691120749), p. 206, has a different and presumably more accurate version of this letter, which she dates to February 12, 1950 and describes as "a letter to a distraught father who had lost his young son and had asked Einstein for some comforting words":

    A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish it but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.

    Letter transcript and photograph

More Einstein quotes: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

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Einstein quote a human being is part of the whole

Einstein quote a human being is part of the whole

Einstein quote a human being is part of the whole

Einstein quote a human being is part of the whole

Einstein quote a human being is part of the whole

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