Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Einstein and spirituality

This story came via David Heyl, but he is citing an anonymous source.

"An ordained Rabbi had written explaining that he had sought to comfort his 19-year-old daughter over the death of her sister, `a sinless, beautiful, 16-year-old child.' The surviving daughter found no comfort `based on traditional religious grounds,' the Rabbi said, but had told her mother that perhaps a scientist could help.

`A human being,' wrote Einstein in reply, `is a part of the whole, called by us `Universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, and 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 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 nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.'"