In defence of hierarchy

Resultado de imagem para Daoist power: Herding Horses by Han Gan, Tang dynasty, China.

Daoist power: Herding Horses by Han Gan, Tang dynasty, China. Photo courtesy the National Palace Museum, Taipei/Wikipedia

As a society we have forgotten how to talk about the benefits of hierarchy, expertise and excellence. It’s time we remembered

BY Stephen C Angle is professor of philosophy at Wesleyan University. He has written and edited many books on Chinese philosophy, including Sagehood: The Contemporary Significance of Confucian Philosophy (2012). He lives in Middletown, CT.

The modern West has placed a high premium on the value of equality. Equal rights are enshrined in law while old hierarchies of nobility and social class have been challenged, if not completely dismantled. Few would doubt that global society is all the better for these changes. But hierarchies have not disappeared. Society is still stratified according to wealth and status in myriad ways.

On the other hand, the idea of a purely egalitarian world in which there are no hierarchies at all would appear to be both unrealistic and unattractive. Nobody, on reflection, would want to eliminate all hierarchies, for we all benefit from the recognition that some people are more qualified than others to perform certain roles in society. We prefer to be treated by senior surgeons not medical students, get financial advice from professionals not interns. Good and permissible hierarchies are everywhere around us.

Yet hierarchy is an unfashionable thing to defend or to praise. British government ministers denounce experts as out of tune with popular feeling; both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders built platforms on attacking Washington elites; economists are blamed for not predicting the 2008 crash; and even the best established practice of medical experts, such as childhood vaccinations, are treated with resistance and disbelief. We live in a time when no distinction is drawn between justified and useful hierarchies on the one hand, and self-interested, exploitative elites on the other.

As a group, we believe that clearer thinking about hierarchy and equality is important in business, politics and public life. We should lift the taboo on discussing what makes for a good hierarchy. To the extent that hierarchies are inevitable, it is important to create good ones and avoid those that are pernicious. It is also important to identify the ways in which useful and good hierarchies support and foster good forms of equality. When we talk about hierarchies here, we mean those distinctions and rankings that bring with them clear power differentials.

We are a diverse group of scholars and thinkers who take substantively different views on many political and ethical issues. Recently, we engaged in an intensive discussion of these issues under the aegis of the Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center in Los Angeles, and we found ourselves agreeing on this: much can be said in defence of some kinds of hierarchy. The ideas we present here are at the very least worthy of more widespread and serious attention. All of this takes on a new urgency given the turn in world politics towards a populism that often attacks establishment hierarchies while paradoxically giving authoritarian power to individuals claiming to speak for ‘the people’.

What then, should be said in praise of hierarchy? 

First, bureaucratic hierarchies can serve democracy. Bureaucracy is even less popular these days than hierarchy. Yet bureaucratic hierarchies can instantiate crucial democratic values, such as the rule of law and equal treatment.

There are at least three ways in which usually hierarchical constitutional institutions can enhance democracy: by protecting minority rights, and thereby ensuring that the basic interests of minorities are not lightly discounted by self-interested or prejudiced majorities; by curbing the power of majority or minority factions to pass legislation favouring themselves at the expense of the public good; and by increasing the epistemic resources that are brought to bear on decision-making, making law and policy more reflective of high-quality deliberation. Hence democracies can embrace hierarchy because hierarchy can enhance democracy itself…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/hierarchies-have-a-place-even-in-societies-built-on-equality

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Three Ways to Practice Forgiveness

Three Ways to Practice Forgiveness

Photo by Rob Ireton | https://tricy.cl/2mn8wfH

Meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg guides us through an exercise that helps us cultivate kindness toward those who have harmed us (including our own selves).

By Sharon Salzberg

The sense of psychological and spiritual well-being that comes from practicing forgiveness comes directly because this practice takes us to the edge of what we can accept. Being on the edge is challenging, wrenching, and transforming. The process of forgiveness demands courage and a continual remembering of where our deepest happiness lies. As Goethe said, “Our friends show us what we can do; our enemies show us what we must do.”

It is indeed a process, which means that as you do the reflections, many conflicted emotions may arise: shame, anger, a sense of betrayal, confusion, or doubt. Try to allow such states to arise without judging them. Recognize them as natural occurrences, and then gently return your attention to the forgiveness reflection.

The reflection is done in three parts: asking forgiveness from those you have harmed; offering forgiveness to those who have harmed you; and offering forgiveness to yourself. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and let your breath be natural and uncontrolled. Begin with the recitation (silent or not, as you prefer): “If I have hurt or harmed anyone, knowingly or unknowingly, I ask their forgiveness.” If different people, images, or scenarios come up, release the burden of guilt and ask for forgiveness: “I ask your forgiveness.”

After some time, you can offer forgiveness to those who have harmed you. Don’t worry if there is not a great rush of loving feeling; this is not meant to be an artificial exercise, but rather a way of honoring the powerful force of intention in our minds. We are paying respects to our ultimate ability to let go and begin again. We are asserting the human heart’s capacity to change and grow and love. “If anyone has hurt or harmed me, knowingly or unknowingly, I forgive them.” And, as different thoughts or images come up mind, continue the recitation, “I forgive you.”

In the end, we turn our attention to forgiveness of ourselves. If there are ways you have harmed yourself, or not loved yourself, or not lived up to your own expectations, this is the time to let go of unkindness toward yourself because of what you have done. You can include any inability to forgive others that you may have discovered on your part in the reflection immediately preceding—that is not a reason to be unkind to yourself. “For all of the ways I have hurt or harmed myself, knowingly or unknowingly, I offer forgiveness.”

Continue this practice as a part of your daily meditation, and allow the force of intention to work in its own way, in its own time.

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/three-ways-practice-forgiveness/

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How Showing Compassion for Animals Can Improve Personal Well-Being

by Alex Pietrowski, Staff,Waking Times

Compassion is the humane side of suffering, which inspires the most beautiful acts of humanity. In man’s world, animals often bear the worst of our dark side, suffering under the stresses of cruelty and ruthlessness, however, being compassionate towards animals may actually be good for your health and well-being, perhaps even prolonging your life.

For so many of us, compassion appears to be an innate, instinctual part of the human experience, something so many of us do automatically, and decades of clinical psychological research into the problem of human suffering shows how our most evolved nature is to respond compassionately. A host of university studies share the conclusion that compassion is part of our higher nature, looking at the biological basis for compassion.

Dacher Keltner summarized the emerging findings from this new science of human goodness, proposing that compassion is “an evolved part of human nature, rooted in our brain and biology.”” [Source]

Human well-being is multi-dimensional and the corollaries between how we behave and how that behavior in turn affects our overall wellness are more understood now than ever before. When we act from our higher nature, it benefits our health, which may explain the tendency for so many people to live altruistic lives in helping others and protecting animals.

“That suffering, as unpleasant as it is, often also has a bright side to which research has paid less attention: compassion. Human suffering is often accompanied by beautiful acts of compassion by others wishing to help relieve it. What led 26.5 percent of Americans to volunteer in 2012 (according to statistics from the US Department of Labor)? What propels someone to serve food at a homeless shelter, pull over on the highway in the rain to help someone with a broken down vehicle, or feed a stray cat?” [Source]

Taking this one step further, looking at the tendency of people to extend compassion beyond the human race, showing empathy towards the animal kingdom and the natural world, we find an infinite number of possibilities for improving our own lives by directing our energy toward ending the pain and suffering of many beings.

Being compassionate has even been shown to make us more attractive to the opposite sex in behavioral studies looking at societies with more altruistic tendencies.

“One more sign that suggests that compassion is an adaptively evolved trait is that it makes us more attractive to potential mates. A study examining the trait most highly valued in potential romantic partners suggests that both men and women agree that “kindness” is one of the most highly desirable traits.” [Source]

Furthermore, engaging in acts of compassion, when done for the right reasons, can increase one’s peace of mind and happiness:

“The cultivation of well-being has specifically shown that it is eudemonic, rather than hedonic wellbeing which is linked to a sense of connectedness with oneself, and others. Eudemonic wellbeing implies finding meaning and purpose in life, living in accordance with one’s values and developing a sense of long-term “spiritual” health (not necessarily religious).

In turn, eudemonic well-being may be cultivated through mindful practices such as mediation and compassion training.” [Source]

Final Thoughts

It’s not something that would surprise most people, as the expression of our best nature feels good and is uplifting for everyone involved, but the inverse of this must also be true, that people who neglect their own health would have a more difficult time being compassionate to animals, and even nature in general. Therefore, adding intentional kindness, compassion and empathy the ways in which we attain better health and wellness makes perfect sense.

About the Author

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider ofstorable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.

This article (How Showing Compassion for Animals Can Improve Personal Well-Being) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/03/21/the-link-between-compassion-for-animals-and-good-health/

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The last hollow laugh

Resultado de imagem para Francis Fukuyama photographed in Paris.

Francis Fukuyama photographed in Paris. Photo by Stephane Grangier/Corbis/Getty

Since Francis Fukuyama proclaimed ‘The End of History’ 25 years ago, he has been much maligned. His work now seems prophetic

Paul Sagar is junior research fellow in politics and international relations at King’s College at the University of Cambridge.

Edited by Nigel Warburton

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man (1992). Rarely read but often denigrated, it might be the most maligned, unfairly dismissed and misunderstood book of the post-war era. Which is unfortunate for at least one reason: Fukuyama might have done a better job of predicting the political turmoil that engulfed Western democracies in 2016 – from Brexit, to Trump, to the Italian Referendum – than anybody else.

This should sound surprising. After all, Fukuyama’s name has for more than two decades been synonymous with a fin-de-siècle Western triumphalism. According to the conventional wisdom, he is supposed to have claimed that the collapse of the communist regimes in eastern Europe and the United States’ victory in the Cold War meant that liberal capitalist democracy was unambiguously the best form of human political organisation possible. To his popular critics – sometimes on the Right, but most especially on the Left – The End of History was thus a pseudo-intellectual justification for a hyper-liberal capitalist ideology, whose high-water mark was the disastrous administration of George W Bush. Fukuyama’s tagline – ‘the end of history’ – was seized upon by critics as proof that he was attempting to legitimate neoconservative hubris, cloaking a pernicious ideology with the façade of inevitability.

But (the conventional wisdom continues) hubris was soon followed by nemesis: the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent disaster of the Iraq War showed how wrong any triumphalist vision of liberal-capitalist world order was. Fukuyama took particularly heavy flak in this regard. Francis Wheen, in How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World (2004), was typical when he accused Fukuyama of being a shill for neo-con interests. In reply to the question ‘How do you get ahead by boldly making one of the worst predictions in social science?’ Wheen sniped: ‘If you are going to be wrong, be wrong as ostentatiously and extravagantly as possible.’ He claimed that Fukuyama ‘understood what was required to titillate the jaded palate of the chattering classes’ – and played on this for personal gain.

Yet all of this is incorrect. For a start, it is a gross misreading of The End of History to see it as any kind of triumphalism, let alone one subsequently disproved by the rise of radical Islam, or the stalling of capitalist democracies post-2008. It was also deeply unfair to Fukuyama himself. Although a public intellectual rather than a traditional academic, his infamous book displayed an erudition and depth of learning, combined with ambition and panache, that few tenured academics come close to. He might have been wrong, but he was never the dummy his critics made out.

To see this better, it’s worth elucidating the actual argument of The End of History. For a start, Fukuyama never suggested that events would somehow stop happening. Just like any other sane person, he believed that history (with a small h), the continuation of ordinary causal events, would go on as it always had. Elections would be held, sports matches would be won and lost, wars would break out, and so on. The interesting question for Fukuyama was about History (with a big H), a term that, for him, picked out a set of concerns about the deep structure of human social existence.

With regards to History, Fukuyama advanced a complex thesis about the way opposing forces play themselves out in social development. Here, he drew inspiration from the work of the German philosopher Georg Hegel, via the reinterpretations of the Russian émigré Alexandre Kojève. Hegel (and Kojève) proposed that History is a process by which contradictions in the ordering of societies work themselves out by eventually overcoming conflict, so as to move to a higher order of integration, where previous contradictions drop away because the underlying oppositions have been solved. The most famous instance of such a ‘dialectical’ view is Karl Marx’s (also made under Hegel’s influence): that the bourgeoisie and the proletariat would eventually move past their combative opposition, via a period of revolution against capitalism, into the harmony of communism.

In essence, big-H history was, for Fukuyama, an understanding of human development as a logical progression (or dialectical working out of contradictions), generating a grand-narrative of progress, in which each step forward sees the world becoming a more rational place. For Fukuyama, the long-run development of humanity was clearly discernible: from the Dark Ages, to the Renaissance, and then crucially the Enlightenment, with its inventions of secularism, egalitarianism and rational social organisation, paving the way in turn for democratic liberal capitalism. This was the cumulative, and thus far upward-curving, arc of human development…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/was-francis-fukuyama-the-first-man-to-see-trump-coming

 

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The real Casanova

Resultado de imagem para Illustration by Brunelleschi

Illustration by Brunelleschi from a 1755 edition of Memories of Giacomo Casanova de Seingalt. Photo by akg-images/Fototeca Gilardi

His name is synonymous with serial seduction but Casanova’s memoirs reveal a man greater than the sum of his ‘conquests’

Laurence Bergreen is an award-winning biographer, historian, and chronicler of exploration. His books have been translated into over 25 languages worldwide. His most recent adult book is Casanova: The World of a Seductive Genius (2016). He lives in New York City.

Edited by Nigel Warburton

Everyone thinks that they know about Casanova, the legendary lover who proceeded from one romantic conquest to another, but almost no one really does. They believe that he was handsome, distinguished and practised in the arts of love, a virtual Zorro of the boudoir. That he was a wealthy member of the upper class, and celebrated in his lifetime for his exploits. So runs the fable of the great lover.

In reality, Giacomo Girolamo Casanova was a far more complex and intriguing figure, a libertine, to be sure, but so much more. And – in case there is any doubt – he was a real person. Born in Venice on 2 April 1725, he was the obscure son of a somewhat famous actress and courtesan named Zanetta Farussi and a forgotten actor, Gaetano Casanova. If anyone in this modest family qualified as a ‘Casanova’, it was his mother Zanetta with her love affairs and wiles and penchant for abandoning him. At the start of 1726, the New Theatre in the Haymarket in London hired his parents along with an ensemble of Italian comedians; Zanetta and Gaetano left Giacomo in the care of his grandmother Marzia. A little more than a year later, Gaetano and Zanetta’s second child, Francesco Giuseppe, was born, and baptised on 1 June. Rumours described him as the bastard child of King George II.

In Venice, meanwhile, young Giacomo suffered from nosebleeds that he said affected his ability to think. His environment was equally problematic. The Republic of Venice, as it was known, was extremely hierarchical, and ruled by 400 families registered in the Libro d’Oro, or Golden book, a directory of Venetian nobility. This rigid structure was destined to collapse under its own weight but, at the time, Venice thrived on sin; it was the Las Vegas of its day. Tourists came from across Europe to sample its gambling dens and its courtesans, and other illicit pleasures. Some convents functioned as harems for the daughters of wealthy families who did not want the girls to marry or to bear children. Under cover of religious vocation, they entertained well-heeled admirers and staged orgies. In time, a ‘nunnery’ became a synonym for a ‘brothel’, as Hamlet said to Ophelia. 

As the son of actors, Casanova had no place at all in Venetian society, decadent or otherwise. Actors were outcasts. They couldn’t even be buried in consecrated ground. For Casanova, a career in the clergy was the approved way up and out of the restricted circumstances of his birth. It was a path to education and a secure status in a society. He himself did not feel a sense of religious calling; quite the opposite. He was cynical about the whole experience and wrote about it in amusing, occasionally caustic terms. He did get a sense of excitement when he began preaching sermons, but for Casanova the most important part of the experience was the impression he made on women. 

In time, he found a quicker path to women and status as a successful gambler, and left the priesthood, although throughout his life he benefited from the classical education he had received. So he spent the rest of his life manufacturing identities to overcome the disadvantage of low birth. He styled himself as the Chevalier de Seingalt, appropriating a title to which he had no claim. On this basis, he managed to ingratiate himself with the aristocracy, and to gain access to women of the upper echelons, who were, at least in his account, taken in by his impersonation of an aristocrat. Each time he seduced an upper-class woman, he had a sense of evening the score, of striking a blow for the common man.

Casanova claimed that he bedded 124 women – not a lot, perhaps, by the current yardstick of some celebrity memoirs, but more than enough to qualify for libertine status, so long as he did not marry – and he never did. ‘Marriage is the tomb of love,’ he wrote in his memoirs. Who was his greatest love of all the women in his life? A Freudian would answer: his mother, very possibly present in his subconscious because of her absence in his daily life. We know a few tantalising titbits about Zanetta. Ruthlessly ambitious, she abandoned him when he was a child to pursue her vocation as an actress. Casanova saw her infrequently during the rest of his life. She retired on a pension to Prague, at the time a centre of the arts, after a reasonably distinguished and scandalous career performing in commedia dell’arte

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/is-there-more-to-the-legendary-lover-than-his-reputation

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Diseases of the Will: Neuroscience Founding Father Santiago Ramón y Cajal on the Six Psychological Flaws That Keep the Talented from Achieving Greatness

Self-portrait by Cajal at his library in his thirties, from Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal

“Our neurons must be used … not only to know but also to transform knowledge; not only to experience but also to construct.”

“Principles are good and worth the effort only when they develop into deeds,” Van Gogh wrote to his brother in a beautiful letter about talking vs. doing and the human pursuit of greatness. “The great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, and is a succession of little things that are brought together.” But what stands between the impulse for greatness and the doing of the “little things” out of which success is woven?

That’s what neuroscience founding father Santiago Ramón y Cajal (May 1, 1852–October 17, 1934) addresses in his 1897 book Advice for a Young Investigator (public library) — the science counterpart to Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet and Anna Deavere Smith’s Letters to a Young Artist, predating one by nearly a decade and the other by more than a century.

Although Cajal’s counsel is aimed at young scientists, it is replete with wisdom that applies as much to science as it does to any other intellectually and creatively ambitious endeavor — nowhere more so than in one of the pieces in the volume, titled “Diseases of the Will,” presenting a taxonomy of the “ethical weaknesses and intellectual poverty” that keep even the most gifted young people from ascending to greatness.

It should be noted that Cajal addresses his advice to young men, on the presumption that scientists are male — proof that even the most visionary geniuses are still products of their time and place, and can’t fully escape the limitations and biases of their respective era, or as Virginia Woolf memorably put it in Orlando, “It is probable that the human spirit has its place in time assigned to it.” (Lest we forget, although the word “scientist” had been coined for a woman half a century earlier, women were not yet able to vote and were decades away from being admitted into European universities, so scientists in the strict academic sense were indeed exclusively male in Cajal’s culture.) Still, when stripped of its genderedness, his advice remains immensely psychologically insightful, offering a timeless corrective for the pitfalls that keep talent and drive from manifesting into greatness, not only in science but in any field.

Considering the all too pervasive paradox of creative people “who are wonderfully talented and full of energy and initiative [but] who never produce any original work and almost never write anything,” Cajal divides them into six classes according to the “diseases of the will” afflicting them — contemplators, bibliophiles and polyglots, megalomaniacs, instrument addicts, misfits, and theorists.

He examines the superficiality driving the “particularly morbid variety” of the first type:

[Contemplators] love the study of nature but only for its aesthetic qualities — the sublime spectacles, the beautiful forms, the splendid colors, and the graceful structures.

One of Cajal’s revolutionary histological drawings

With an eye to his own chosen field of histology, which he revolutionized by using beauty to illuminate the workings of the brain, Cajal notes that a contemplator will master the finest artistic techniques “without ever feeling the slightest temptation to apply them to a new problem, or to the solution of a hotly contested issue.” He adds:

[Contemplators] are as likable for their juvenile enthusiasm and piquant and winning speech as they are ineffective in making any real scientific progress.

More than a century before Tom Wolfe’s admonition against the rise of the pseudo-intellectual, Cajal treats with special disdain the bibliophiles and polyglots — those who use erudition not as a tool of furthering humanity’s enlightenment but as a personal intellectual ornament of pretension and vanity. He diagnoses this particular “disease of the will”:

The symptoms of this disease include encyclopedic tendencies; the mastery of numerous languages, some totally useless; exclusive subscription to highly specialized journals; the acquisition of all the latest books to appear in the bookseller’s showcases; assiduous reading of everything that is important to know, especially when it interests very few; unconquerable laziness where writing is concerned; and an aversion to the seminar and laboratory…

 

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https://www.brainpickings.org/

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Happy Birthday, Einstein: The Physicist’s Remarkable Letter to a Grief-Stricken Father Who Had Just Lost His Son

A poignant perspective on “the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.”

To outlive one’s children is arguably the most unbearable of human miseries. Even the most empathic among us can never fully imagine the incomprehensible anguish of a parent who has survived the loss of a dear life that had only begun to blossom.

In February of 1950, a devastated and disconsolate New York father who had lost his eleven-year-old son to polio several months earlier turned to none other than Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879–April 18, 1955) for pain-salving perspective. Their touching correspondence is included in Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein’s Letters to and from Children (public library) — the slim, wonderful collection that gave us Einstein’s encouraging words on gender and science to a young girl who wanted to become a scientist.

Albert Einstein by Yousuf Karsh

The grief-stricken father writes:

Dear Dr. Einstein,

Last summer my eleven-year-old son died of polio. He was an unusual child, a lad of great promise who verily thirsted after knowledge so that he could prepare himself for a useful life in the community. His death has shattered the very structure of my existence, my very life has become an almost meaningless void — for all my dreams and aspirations were somehow associated with his future and his strivings. I have tried during the past months to find comfort for my anguished spirit, a measure of solace to help me bear the agony of losing one dearer than life itself — an innocent, dutiful, and gifted child who was the victim of such a cruel fate. I have sought comfort in the belief that man has a spirit which attains immortality — that somehow, somewhere my son lives on in a higher world.

With heart-rending and utterly disarming despair, the grieving father goes on to wonder whether some evidence of immortality may be found in the principle of energy conservation in science, then adds:

I write you all this because I have just read your volume The World as I See It. On page 5 of that book you stated: “Any individual who should survive his physical death is beyond my comprehension … such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls.” And I inquire in a spirit of desperation, is there in your view no comfort, no consolation for what has happened? Am I to believe that my beautiful darling child … has been forever wedded into dust, that there was nothing within him which has defied the grave and transcended the power of death? Is there nothing to assuage the pain of an unquenchable longing, an intense craving, an unceasing love for my darling son?

May I have a word from you? I need help badly.

Sincerely yours,
R.M.

Sixteen years after his sublime letter to the bereaved Queen of Belgium, which stands among history’s greatest letters of consolation, the physicist — himself the father of two boys — takes the time to respond to the grieving stranger. With great sensitivity to his pain, Einstein reminds the anguished father that science cannot provide the assurance of immortality he so longs for, at least not in a literal sense — such claims belong to the realm of religion. Unwilling to call on unreason and illusory comfort even from the depth of sympathy, Einstein instead offers a beautiful and benevolent perspective on the oneness of the universe, reminiscent of the Indian poet and philosopher Tagore’s ideas about the interdependence of existence. (Einstein and Tagore had bridged science and spirituality in their landmark conversation twenty year earlier.)

Fourteen years after answering a little girl’s question about whether scientists pray, Einstein writes on February 12, 1950:

Dear Mr. M.,

A human being is part of the whole world, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is 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.

With my best wishes,
sincerely yours,
Albert Einstein

Complement the thoroughly wonderful Dear Professor Einstein with the legendary physicist on widening our circles of compassion, his timeless message to posterity, his answer to a woman who had lost sight of why we’re alive, and his letter of advice to his own son, then revisit Joan Didion on grief, a Zen master’s advice on navigating loss, and these uncommon children’s books that help kids mourn.

 

https://www.brainpickings.org/

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