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Einstein's quote on the Self - what does it mean?
January 15, 2007
10:53 pm
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"The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained to liberation from the self."

Any idea what this quote means? If you can, please give a good explanation that makes sense and which tells me what exactly he was talking about.

January 15, 2007
11:14 pm
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Yes.

January 18, 2007
9:35 am
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Anonymous
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guest,

I have no idea what Einstein meant when he said this. Sorry that I can't help you.

January 18, 2007
9:46 am
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risingfromtheashes
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don't know, except maybe the true measure of a man is how free he feels to be himself?

January 18, 2007
4:42 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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It's difficult to understand a quote unless you can understand the context. What was it taken from?

January 19, 2007
3:59 pm
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To me it means that the more I focus on myself, the more I remain in my own safe haven, which ultimately leads to isolation, loneliness, and my own concept of my own reality. Who wants to go there?

If I focus on myself, I become selfish, prideful, arrogant, nothing short of narciscism, and all that that includes.

We were made for relationship, be it ever that some are so strained, but we are. If people thought about themselves all of the time then there is no one else but self....pure hell.

January 19, 2007
4:47 pm
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truthBtold
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You know......Einstien was a real loner. Never felt as if he belonged anywhere (poor fellow.)

Consider the source.

January 19, 2007
4:52 pm
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on my way
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Wasn't he married though? Of course one can me married and feel alone. Maybe it was because he was so intelligent do you think? There is one thing I know of his childhood, he didn't talk/speak until he was 5 years old. It was thought that he had a learning disorder. But he also was sociable in that he attended parties. An interesting man to say the least.

January 19, 2007
5:02 pm
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truthBtold
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Notwithstanding the incredible genius he was........he really did live inside his own head - for the most part.

I have been reading (on & off for many years the book: Einstein - Ideas and Opinions) which I admit, I will never, ever fully comprehend in this lifetime, but I did notice that he was a very lonely man......maybe because he was not able to engage with someone of like mind during his lifetime.

January 19, 2007
5:07 pm
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Exactly. which also makes me wonder if very intelligent people find themselves being lonely....maybe to some degree at least. It would also be lonely living with Eistein to a degree...wanting to understand him, but only being able to understand a little bit. oh well.

January 19, 2007
5:08 pm
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.....only after a hard week do i ramble like this. TGIF!!!

ramble...ramble...

January 19, 2007
5:54 pm
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Anonymous
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Einstein once said his idea of a dream job would be a lighthouse operator. That way, he could have the solitude to carry on his thought experiments most of the day.

He was married at least once, and also was divorced. I'll bet he was rather lonely.

January 19, 2007
6:06 pm
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The world was probably too busy for his mind then.

January 19, 2007
6:40 pm
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“The religion of the future should transcend a personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both natural and spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description…If ever there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.”
-Albert Einstein [1]

January 19, 2007
7:08 pm
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On the 15-Jan-07 you quoted Albert Einstein as saying:

"The true value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure and the sense in which he has attained to liberation from the self."

Then you asked:

"... please give a good explanation that makes sense and which tells me what exactly he was talking about."

Albert Einstein explains his above statement this way:

"A human being is part of a whole, called by us the '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.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affectation for a few people near us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion, to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." - Albert Einstein.

He also said:

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein.

There it is in a nutshell!

January 19, 2007
11:04 pm
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Yea I can see that sameness but I can also see the seperateness. You dont want me to start buying gas now for eveyone in the neighbourhood now, do you, just beucase we're all the same.

But yea, we can see the sameness of all things. Where that leads to, I dont know. Yes, we're the same, but we're separate too. Its like an atom. A tiny electron can think he's the same as everyone else and just part of the whole - but from another point of view, he IS separate, there's no doubt about that.

Its the SAME as in humans. We're part of the whole, YET we are separate. Nothing wrong in thinking we're seperate. After all, we breath for OURself, eat and do everything for OUR self, not for the whole.

This wholeness is a valid viewpoint but it doesnt do anything except put you in a peaceful hippie state of mind for 10 seconds. Thats really it.

January 19, 2007
11:11 pm
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And here's another thing: you cant contribute to the Whole properly, unless you're taking care of yourself in the seperate way. If I'm too reckless on msyelf, I cant contribute to society much.

I have to give importance to my seprateness and take care of myself. Its like a workplace. Employees must take care of their individual tasks in order to contribute to the company of which they're part of.

If they take the hippie stance for any significant amount of time, they'll end up seeing themselves as insignificant and not contributing. Thats how I see it.

Are you and cow dung the same and part of the same Universe? Get my point now? Heh.

January 20, 2007
1:03 am
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Matteo
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"Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion, to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." - loooong way to go for most of us!

And because of that widening circles of compassion he invented atomic bomb? Talking about discrepancy!

January 20, 2007
9:20 am
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He invented the bomb so people could have compassion for its victims. See it still works. If you're killing somoene, you're causing someone else to have compassion for their loved ones who'll suffer now. Unless you're just eating a cereal bowl like I am right now, everything else you do can only result in compassion in some form or the other. ok, kidding.

January 20, 2007
11:13 am
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Well Tez, that was the best explanation, using his own quotes, thats what I was looking for.

January 20, 2007
11:58 am
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Here's a big question that I would have asked Eientien too:

Give examples of two people - one who has liberated himself from the self and one who has not. Describe the way they differ in this life. Is one more happy?

See where I'm going? Its easy to talk in the air, but when you ask for real tangible differences, if its just in the air, it cant hold up.

January 21, 2007
1:06 am
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chelonia mydas
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My great uncle worked with Einstein at Princeton. Said that he fit in about as well as any other professor there- at the time they knew he was smart and all but didn't idolize him the way he is now. Many other scientists thought they were just as good or better- at least at the time when Einstein was still working on this theories.

My great uncle always told a story of the time he almost ran over him one day because Albert was so into his own thoughts that he just walked right in front of him when he was pulling out of the parking lot. My uncle said that he was a nice enough guy.

As for inventing the atomic bomb... Einstein just came up with the idea of matter and energy being one in the same- ya know that little E=mc2 equation. This idea was further developed by several other scientists who had significant contributions to early nuclear physics. The Manhattan Project, lead by theorical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves was responsible for creating the first nuclear bombs.

I think what Einstein meant by that quote was that there is more out there than just youself. You need to consider the needs, feelings etc of all beings around you. I think what he is trying to get at with this concept of being liberated from The Self- is just to be more empathic/compassionat/sympathetic and not so self centered/ selfish.

Just my $0.02

Good thread- I don't have many opportunities for such discussions and I really enjoy it. Thanks, Chelonia

January 21, 2007
3:14 am
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hey, chelonia,

that is so cool about your great-uncle! Yes, I think it's easy to forget that these people who have become icons were just ordinary mortals like the rest of us in many ways. Fame is such a weird phenomenon.

Good thing your great-uncle didn't run over old Albert though :-0

January 21, 2007
12:54 pm
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Sorry to say this but I am not so sure about the last one, kroika.

Other scientists developed an atomic bomb, but for them it was probably more like a cooking meal with the recipe than anything else after Einstein’s “little E=mc2 equation”. I can’t believe that he didn’t realize how his findings might be used; it doesn’t take a genius to realize that fire can be used to cook your meal or burn your house. He knew about it, that’s why he wrote to Roosevelt (or rather signed a letter written by other, less genius but more conscious scientists) about the concern in regards with Germans attempting to purify uranum-235, so the secret was out, thanks to him. He might not built the atomic bomb himself but he is morally responsible for it. If you would create a powerful monster just in theory, a monster which can be used to destroy human kind, would you announce it? And if you would, then what would be your motivation to do it? In my opinion he is responsible, especially because he was a genius, he didn’t figure it out accidentally.

Perhaps other scientists would figure it out sooner or later, but then maybe not, at least not for a while. How the world would look like without an atomic bomb today? I am not surprised that he is such a celebrity now, especially in US. Thanks to that device we can all evaporate in a split of a second, just like people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki did.

One of his quotations: “When I am judging a theory, I ask myself whether, if I were God, I would have arranged the world in such a way”. No comments on this one.

January 21, 2007
1:32 pm
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Coming to the realization that matter and energy are one in the same is nothing more than a scientific principle. Just because that knowledge could be used as a fragment of what it takes to build an atomic bomb, does not make Einstein in any way responsible for the death of anyone. You might as well blame Newton and Leibniz for the bombing since they invented calculus. Science and math is all about standing on the shoulders of those who came before them. Are we also going to blame the men who invented automobiles for the multitude of deaths caused by auto accidents?

"Guns don't kill people. People do."

I have no desire to get into any kind of debate regarding history, but there were many factors that led to the dropping of the atomic bomb. It wasn't used without cause. But it begs the question: Is it somehow more 'moral' to kill the same number of people over a longer period of time than it is to kill those same people in one fell stroke? Aren't we focusing on the wrong thing? It's the wars themselves that bring death whether you are killing with a musket, bow and arrow, or bombing Pearl Harbor.

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