Albert Einstein's Letter to a Grieving Father

In 1950, the young son of Robert Marcus died of polio. Albert Einstein wrote this short metaphysical exposition to help him through the pain. Is it philosophically sound? I don't know. But when someone is mourning the loss of a child, that's not really important.

Read a transcript at Letters of Note.


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When someone is grieving, it's more important to be helpful than right.

I worked as a hospital chaplain one summer. One day, I was called upon to baptize a dead baby. Did it help the baby? No. But it helped the mother a lot.
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"We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?" - Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow (1998)
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Not quite sure what Einstein meant exactly.
What I do believe is that saying there is some sort of life after death is delusional.
As far as I'm concerned there is nothing after death.
If that is too harsh for you just accept that we don't know. Why is this so hard to deal with for some people? And it gives yourself the possibility to mourn instead of believing we go to heaven, in which case we should celebrate death instead.
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