A Human Being, Wrote Einstein, Is A Part Of The Whole

We Experience Our Thoughts And Feelings Alone—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

Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
Aug. 3, `82

I was in a very different mood after we left the festival. I think it
had something to do with the quiet after so much excitement. I can’t
put that mood into words, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Michelle likes to stop a lot. This practice is okay, particularly
since I enjoy the bits of history that I pick up along the way. Also,
we get to share these experiences together, and sharing with an
intelligent and pretty woman makes for a very special experience
indeed. In the vicinity of the town of Middleton, there was a museum
that was exceptionally nice. Maybe the place was less a museum and
more a historic site. I’m not sure. Anyway, on the top floor there was
a room full of books. I walked over to the shelf on the far side of
the room from where two women were cataloging books, and took the book
entitled Einstein down from the shelf. When I opened it, a newspaper
clipping fell out. I found a quote taken from one of Einstein’s
letters in it. It was an incredible quote, so I wrote it down:

“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.'”

I have had exceptional good fortune. I have had a wonderful and
beautiful trip. I even have a T-shirt and a cup that I prize as
souvenirs from Nova Scotia, but the discovery of this quote, which
essentially states the philosophy that I believe in, and have
struggled to express for two years, coming form the man I admire most,
is a prize beyond compare.

Aug. 4,

Here I am on a beautiful morning, eating cinnamon donuts and drinking
hot coffee. Michelle is still sleeping. I expect she will be rising
before long. I used her stove to heat up this water.

Yesterday, after a long day of riding and stopping, we arrived in
Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. We checked out the youth hostel and were
welcomed with an $8.00 per bed greeting. Even though we were too tired
to look for a freebee campsite, Michelle took the lead and we got back
on our bikes. We didn’t have far to go. Down by the bay, we passed by
a bearded artisan who was quick to strike up a conversation. He was
cleaning up after painting the outside of his art gallery. After
hearing our story, he happily gave us permission to put our tents up
in his backyard. The very friendly French Canadian left soon after
that, and Michelle rolled out her sleeping bag. The moon was full and
there was a fishing wharf not far from the gallery, so I forced myself
to go check it out. At the end of the pier, in the middle of the
ocean, I savored the seclusion, moon, and salty air. I just had to.
The moon had pretty much traversed the sky when I finally crawled into
my sleeping bag.


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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2 Responses to A Human Being, Wrote Einstein, Is A Part Of The Whole

  1. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    At the end of the pier, in the middle of the
    ocean, I savored the seclusion, moon, and salty air. I just had to.
    The moon had pretty much traversed the sky when I finally crawled into
    my sleeping bag.

    It’s wonderful scene. 🙂

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