2 4 V O L U M E 8 , D O C U M E N T 2 3 2 a
Vol. 8, 232a. To Heinrich Zangger
[Berlin,] 11 July
Dear Friend,
Your long letter, in which you informed me about how my boys are faring,
pleased me very much, but it also filled me with a certain concern in one
Whenever my
confided in any one of my friends, I almost always had to give
him up for lost. Besso alone counts as a famous
So don’t allow the
slightest drop of venom into your subconsciousness. It would be such a pity on our
fine relations. Surely not that I believed the woman would complain about me out-
right; it’s a matter of indirect influence on the emotions, by which women so often
get the better of
My relations with the boys have frozen up completely
again. Following an exceedingly nice Easter excursion, the subsequent days in
Zurich brought on a complete chilling in a way that is not quite explicable to
It’s better if I keep my distance from them; I have to content myself with the knowl-
edge that they are developing well. How much better off I am than countless others,
who have lost their children in the war! Planck also lost a son like that, the other
one has been languishing in French captivity for almost 2
I’m extremely happy that Besso adjusted so well to his new
He has
your stabilizing influence largely to thank for that. The few days I spent with him
during the Easter holidays were exceedingly
He is one of the best minds I
ever encountered and is at the same time an excellent fellow.
This vacation I’m not going to come to Switzerland, for one because I have con-
fidence that peace is coming soon, so next spring I could travel there without those
chicaneries; on the other
because revisiting my boys would be rather more
painful than enjoyable.
Concerning science, I’m only working on smaller things now, living a more con-
templative life and appreciating the work of others. The general theory of relativity
has now penetrated to the point where I can regard my task in this connection as
I shut my eyes as best I can to the insane goings-on in the world at large, having
completely lost my social consciousness. How can anyone merge in such a social
monstrosity if one is a decent person? A fleeting glance at the newspaper is enough
to make one disgusted with our
One can find solace only in cer-
tain individuals.
Cordial greetings, yours,
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