Einstein and Happiness

Einstein and Happiness
Fecha de publicación: 
22 June 2023
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Six years ago, two notes written by the famous German scientist Albert Einstein were sold for more than a million and a half dollars, not on any physical subject, as anyone would believe, but on happiness. Yes, that state we pursue throughout our lives, which is subjective, variable from person to person, but which is, ultimately, the goal of fulfillment that involves only positive feelings.

In short, what Einstein wrote in 1922 transcends to this day as the key to achieving total satisfaction. These are two little handwritten pieces of paper, without any rigor, and in a hurry, for a messenger who delivered a package to the renowned scholar to a room at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, where he was staying. Almost a hundred years later, the advice that Einstein left in the form of gratitude for that boy came to light, and it still remains valid.

In just four lines, the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics summarized what’s fundamental for many, although sometimes some of us lose our bearings and patience when it comes to emotions and the practical part of our existence. One of the texts, in his native language, says that A humble and quiet life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that it involves. The other refers to where there is a will, there is a way.

Although it’s very personal, there are not too many interpretations. The phrases are really a simple lesson that any individual could give. In addition to inviting us to reflect on the objectives we set for ourselves, it brings us closer to the so-called father of the theory of relativity, humanizes him, takes him out of the lab where we always imagine him, and makes us shape a judgment about him. So, Einstein, who devoted himself entirely to the study of science with important results on matter, gravity, and the photoelectric effect, most likely believed that ostentation is not completely satisfying, but living simply, and having motivations, but not clutched ourselves to the idea to succeed, much less leaving to material things all the responsibility.

It's true that it’s complex to detach from what’s tangible because we almost always believe that we need a lot of adornments to live; however, if we stop to think, we would be happier if our aspirations were less corporeal, for example, if we base our satisfaction on more earthly desires, easier to achieve, we would be upset for less time.

Einstein's notes are notable for their folk wisdom, and while they gained value for being written by one of the most distinguished scientists of all times, it’s nonetheless highly appropriate. In a few words, it reveals his philosophy on austerity, and it would be very sensible to take it into account.

According to his memorandums sold at Winner's Auctions in Jerusalem, the genius understood life without so much entanglement on this universal issue related to the goals to be attained. He leaves us many teachings, he refers to the importance of having the will to create, seek, and achieve goals in the healthiest and most modest possible way. It has a bit to do with Einstein's relationship with fame, to which, we believe, he never comfortable with.

Contemporary society does not help with consumerism and immediacy mediating in all processes. Therefore, a century ago Einstein could never have imagined that his theory of happiness would be more necessary today than ever as a principle, since it points to what’s really essential: our time in this world is too fleeting to be anxious about it. the obsession to achieve trending, superficial purposes.

That doesn’t mean to give up on having ambitions and that conformity is the way. Of course not! Desires are vital for personal fulfillment, but what seems wrong to me is basing our existence on unnecessary objectives, on unrealized dreams, impossible to fulfill, and that therefore spawn frustration. Einstein's recommendation is to set specific, objective intentions, and understand that living without so much fanfare can be very enriching.

In short, although his vision is very interesting, it’s not a recipe, but rather an appeal to appreciate that sometimes we waste precious time chasing after fanciful and bombastic ideas.

The paradox is that Einstein offered this advice on a simple life, and the notes were sold for millions of dollars. Funny right?

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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