EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph letter signed ("Papa") to Eduard Einstein, n.p., n.d. [c. 1928-1929]. 1 page, 4to, 278 x 220 mm. (11 x 8 5/8 in.), small chip in right margin, not affecting text.
PHILOSOPHY FROM A PHYSICIST: "MAN IS A COG IN THE GREAT MACHINE"
"When I read your letter, I am reminded of my own youth. Youth is a time when one is particularly inclined to contrast oneself, in thought, with the world. One measures one's strength in everything, wavering between despondency and self-confidence. One has the feeling that life is endless, and everything one thinks or does is important. Indeed, one has the feeling of being the first who has ever done these things. This heroism, however, is rather painful. It can only be corrected by a sense of humor and the realization that one is a part of society. However, I cannot agree with what you say about the worthlessness of intellectual achievements...I myself have thought about these questions all my life, and am as convinced now as I was at the outset that perception, in the scholarly and artistic sense, is the best thing we have. I have never lost my love for these things, and I will keep it until my last breath. You, too, were born for such things, and your words on this occasion stem only from the fear that you won't be able to accomplish enough. Dear Tetel, I sympathize with you...Man is a cog in the great machine...If a man hears the angels singing, a few times in his life, he can contribute something to the world and is especially happy and blessed. If that isn't the case, he is still a little part of the soul of his generation, and that too is good."