3 9 2 D O C U M E N T 4 1 5 N O V E M B E R 1 9 2 6 415. To Eduard Einstein [Berlin, between 14 November and 12 December 1926][1] Dear Tete, When I read your letters, I am very much reminded of my youth. At that time, one is so inclined to pit oneself against the world in thoughts. One tests one’s pow- ers on everything, alternates between despondency and self-confidence. One has the feeling that life is endless and ¢always² that everything that one does and thinks is so important. Certainly one feels as if one were the first and only fellow who has experienced all of this. This heroism is, however, rather petty and can only be cor- rected through humor and through the fact that one meshes somewhere into the so- cial engine. However, I cannot agree with what you say about the worthlessness of intellec- tual production.[2] It is, of course, an irrefutable point of view when one rejects values altogether—consistent pessimism or nihilism. But if one wants to value so- ciety and, beyond that, what is alive, and rejoices in the fact that consciousness exists, it is impossible not to acknowledge the highest stage of consciousness as the highest ideal. Eudaimonia is a dreary swine-herd ideal. We do not want creatures to be afflicted for no reason however, this alone is not a goal that can make life worth living. Because the balance sheet of happiness and pain remains rather neg- ative, so that the goal would be most perfectly achieved perhaps by the annihilation of life. I have toiled my entire life with problems and am always as convinced as on the first day that cognition in the scientific and artistic sense is the best thing that we have. The love for these things has never diminished in me and will remain with me until my final breath. You were also born for that, and your words to the con- trary come only from the fear of not being able to achieve anything worthwhile. Dear Tetel, for this reason I feel sorry for you. It is, however, easy to help. One be- comes a small cog in the great machinery so that no one can demand anything dif- ferent from you. One is a thinking and feeling creature in private and for one’s own pleasure. If one hears the angels singing a few times in one’s lifetime, then one can give something to the world and one is a particularly happy and blessed person. Should that not be the case, one is still a small piece of the soul of one’s generation, and that is also good. Think about it carefully, that you do not fall victim to the devil of ambition and vanity. Also bear in mind: it is not the yearning for achievement, but rather only the love of things that can lead to something worthwhile.
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