Einstein & our delusion of consciousness

Einstein

In a section of Grace Lee Boggs‘ book The Next American Revolution, Boggs quotes Einstein as she explains why now is the time to grow our souls

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest–a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty”

Beyond this simply being a very powerful statement for me personally (as a vegetarian and pending pacifistic), I’m also curious as to how it relates to people’s relationships with each other or even with themselves.  Can we live our lives in a bubble, believing that our own actions only affect ourselves a select few?

When it comes to our own bodies there are so many images out there telling us how we can save our bodies.  Eat dark chocolate and fish and drink wine to live longer.  Eat flax seeds, have children early, and avoid alcohol to prevent breast cancer.  The list goes on…

As I read about all these things that could save my life, I get really excited about what I should go out and buy during my next grocery trip or what sorts of New Years resolutions I should come up with to implement a new exercise regimen or diet into my already busy lifestyle.  But I want to take a step back and ask, are these things that I decide the only influences on my body?  Of course choosing a healthy lifestyle and taking charge of my body by being more aware of what goes in and how I treat it are very important, but what about how I connect with the rest of my external environment?  If I am in fact a “part of the whole,” there must be more to my body than me.

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