Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Widening Our Circle of Compassion
Topic: Love, Compassion, & Kindness
A human being is part of the whole, 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 consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and 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 of nature in its beauty.
Albert Einstein, born on 14 March 1879 and passing away on 18 April 1955, stands as one of the most renowned theoretical physicists in history. Best known for his groundbreaking special and general theories of relativity, his scientific endeavors spanned a multitude of areas within the field of physics. Amongst his numerous accolades, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his elucidation of the photoelectric effect—a phenomenon that expanded the horizons of quantum theory.
Einstein's journey, however, wasn't merely defined by scientific discoveries, but by the myriad challenges he overcame across various dimensions of his life. In his spiritual journey, he grappled with the concepts of God and universe. Socially, he navigated the complexities of his time—facing the rise of anti-Semitism, experiencing exile from his homeland due to Nazi oppression, and advocating for civil rights, disarmament, and global peace. These adversities only strengthened his resolve and underscored his resilience.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Einstein's life was enriched by a tapestry of relationships and dialogues with luminaries from diverse fields. He engaged in profound conversations on the nature of reality with the likes of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, discussed the principles of non-violence with Mohandas Gandhi, and deliberated on humanitarian issues with Albert Schweitzer. Furthermore, his camaraderie with fellow scientists and physicists provided a fertile ground for intellectual exchanges, fostering an environment of collaboration and innovation during one of the most exciting epochs in scientific history.
Levy, Naomi. Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul. Flatiron Books, Macmillan, 2018 [Naomi Levy, Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul] pp. 22-23.