Monday, 10 July 2017

Einstein and the Letter Never Written

Einstein and the Letter Never Written

As Albert Einstein once said, "Don't believe every quote you read on the internet, because I totally didn't say that."

There is a letter which purports to be from Einstein which is a wonderfully crafted piece:

”When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world. I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below. There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us.

This universal force is LOVE.

When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force.

Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it.
Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others.

Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals.

For love we live and die.
Love is God and God is Love.

This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.

This is frequently shared and quoted but it was certainly was never penned by Einstein.

In that sense it is like some of the New Testament Pseudepigrapha, which claim to be written by apostles but which, while sometimes exceptional - the Hymn of the Pearl in the Acts of Thomas being an example - are clearly not genuine.

Einstein's beliefs were more in a wonder that the cosmos was understandable and rational than any God. His letters and statements on religion do not mention love.

Someone has cleverly taken an element of truth – a 20 year embargo, and used it to fashion a reason why the letter has not been seen

The Albert Einstein site records that:

"Albert Einstein's step-daughter Margot had stipulated in an agreement with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem dating from 1984 that letters in her possession, inherited from her step-father after his death in 1955 would be given to the Hebrew University but should be kept sealed and away from the public's eye for 20 years after her death. By the beginning of 1986 the material had arrived in Jerusalem. Margot had passed away a short time later, in July 1986. By July 8th, 2006 the 20-year period since her death had lapsed. Now the time had come to make the letters available to the public"

But Snopes records that:

“We found no reproduction of, or reference to, this alleged letter in print or online prior to its seemingly sudden appearance on the Internet in April 2015.”

And Huffington Post reports on their investigation of the matter:

“As director and editor of the Einstein Papers Project - which just last December launched The Digital Einstein Papers, making 5,000 documents spanning Einstein’s first 44 years of his life available online - surely Dr. Kormos-Buchwald would be able to provide some clarification regarding the authenticity of this letter.

Her response?

“This document is not by Einstein. The family letters donated to the Hebrew University - referred to in this rumor - were not given by Lieserl. They were given by Margot Einstein, who was Albert Einstein’s stepdaughter. Many of those letters were published in Volume 10 of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein in 2006 and in subsequent volumes, in chronological order.”

These are genuine quotes by Einstein which show a very different religious viewpoint:

"I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."

And a genuine letter states:

"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text."

"For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them."

And also elsewhere:

"Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious."

"To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I am a devoutly religious man."

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