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Albert Einstein on the Purpose of Being Here

"The World As I See It" in Ideas and Opinions (Crown Publishing Group: December 29, 2010). Originally in Forum and Century, Vol. 84 (Simon and Schuster: 1931), pp. 3-7.

How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daly life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.