D O C U M E N T 1 0 8 M A R C H 1 9 2 2 1 1 5
Dear Langevin, I am not as resilient as ten years
ago[3]
and wish for nothing
more dearly than the maximum peace and composure obtainable under the prevail-
ing adverse conditions. Aside from the 4 presentations at your
Collège[4]
and the
evening of debate at the philosophical
society,[5]
I do not want to attend any public
sessions, and certainly not deliver another talk. Second, I beg you not to accept a
single private invitation for me, not even with colleagues, and generally not sched-
ule anything a priori. There will then be ample time for serious scientific discus-
sions. But socializing for its own sake is an ordeal for me; and once one starts with
that it is difficult to cease, because one thing leads to the
next.[6]
Furthermore, I
want absolutely nothing to do with journalists. However, I would quite like to say
a word to one or the other serious politician, if the opportunity presented itself;
maybe something can be done, after all, against the harm that is being borne out
into the world from your fine city. Furthermore, I would like to have occasion to
speak with scientists about the possibility of restoring international relations in the
scientific world, but not just with well-wishers and pacifists. I am objective enough
to tolerate anything that is said without getting heavy-handed in any way. All these
conversations would best be carried out during short walks but not at meals. This
way I also avoid the otherwise inescapable flattery that is the norm at official din-
ners or such larger social functions generally.
Please do not take my obstinate nature amiss; but otherwise I am not going to be
able to endure the strain. Messrs. Barclay and Borel will surely understand my
standpoint; I cordially thank them for their invitations. If I refuse all invitations, the
two of us can be together much more casually, too. Do please cancel the lunch in
Boulogne for me as
well.[7]
Reason throughout: weak health.
At the philosophical society I would prefer not to present a talk; we could very
well limit ourselves to a discussion instead, in such a manner that I reply to opin-
ions stated by
others.[8]
It suffices that I be informed about the content shortly
beforehand. You do not need to send me anything here.
Dear Langevin, I am causing you a good deal of trouble and it is a thankless busi-
ness, at that. But let us both operate in cheery spirits and try to avoid everything that
from an objective point of view is not necessary. Otherwise we and others will just
have vain endeavors and pain. The fewer the honors, the greater the informality and
enjoyment.
Cordial regards, yours,
Einstein.
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