D O C . 2 6 1 J A N U A R Y 1 9 2 0 2 1 7 261. From Paul Oppenheim [Frankfurt-am-Main,] 14 January 1920 My dear Friends, Just as I used to flee to you from the emotional burden of war, I now shut myself away in a little room in my father’s shop[1] in order to write you, where my thoughts are happily absorbed I feel, on the other hand, the sober burden of tradition, I feel anew the schism between piety and the drive for science, feel again how hard it is to choose between two equally great idealisms that are incommensurable. Thus the provisional compromise continues in the form of that temporal alternation of which my flight into the little room is a symbol, until I am compelled from the outside to a solution to which Buridan’s ass does not find a way.[2] But I did not want to talk about that, rather about your kind mail, which gave me infinite joy.— Still, I don’t know where I should begin.— And yet there is not a single doubt for he who with pride may call himself something of a friend: it is the thought of your mother, dear Professor, that she may nonetheless find more relief than you dare to hope in the selfless care of your devoted wife, whom you thank for your own recovery.[3] And now, a thousand thanks for the letters with their sen- timent, for the photograph, which—as unretouched nature—is especially valuable to us, for the book, which is so well chosen and by the dedication give the parents likewise a joy you can scarcely have anticipated.[4] We laughed ourselves to tears over the silhouettes, particularly over the one of the poet, which is brilliant and proves that he knows how to find the right frame of reference, corresponding to the special case, not just against the world but also against himself. So now there is also an “Einstein transformation” it allows the transition from a 3-dimensional to a 2- dimensional framework and is so much more comprehensible to me than any other! However, I do not want to hold any tavern speeches, but—little though it suits me to waste more words on it—to defend good old Freundlich. Since he knows that everything interests me as regards your researches and your person, he told me among oth[er things] about the Albert Einstein Donation Fund. I wish I could show you the letter in which the opposite of the anticipated contributions became evi- dent. Precisely for that my openhandedness.[5] You know it would have depressed me if I had failed there who knows whether I can still do the same later. Thus we have here again the case where, basically, egoism appears to be altruism. Only, I would have liked to have found a more personal application much better please take this into account in its disposal.— Is there no chance of our meeting somewhere this summer at a third location without encroaching on your leisure with overly much scientific discussion? Would
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