Einstein On Being Human {sayings}



{image via onBeing}

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘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. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is in the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.”



Though it was new to me, this is a fairly well-known quote by Albert Einstein. He wrote this to Robert S. Marcus on the occasion of his son passing away due to polio. Like many other famous quotations, this text is often taken out of the original context and reproduced for a type of autonomous meaning that it invokes for the reader. And often the excerpts still resonate regardless of context or not.

I thought it was worth including this breakdown I read on another blog about this particular quote. Basically the quote has been altered from the original version which is shown on these documents. When I read the breakdown, it loosely made me think of a thread on the forums and the idea of how we receive information and how that reception may or may not affect meaning or resonance.

As it appears in most reproductions:
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘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 us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Actual version from handwritten note:
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘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. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is in the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.”

(source)

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