Einstein, Hilary Hahn & The Meaning of Life. ~Tom Rapsas

Via on Dec 22, 2011

Albert Einstein was once asked to provide “the ultimate explanation of the world”, or what in everyday terms might be called the meaning of life. His response is both humorous and thought provoking:

“I can not tell you in words, but I can play it on the violin.”

It’s interesting how the ultimate intellectual Einstein explained his beliefs not in language, but in the feeling a violin can evoke. And maybe he’s right. Some things can’t be explained in words, especially when they are felt more in the heart and soul, than the head.

I’m reminded of a passage by Rumi, the 13th Century Persian poet and mystic, who mirrors Einstein’s thoughts in this verse:

Do you know what the music is saying?
 Come follow me and you will find the way.”


For Rumi, the music serves as a stepping stone to the truth, bringing us to its doorstep to witness it first-hand. From this up close and personal vantage point, the way of life may be understood.

Henry David Thoreau has also spoken of the mysterious power of music, stressing its ability to melt away problems and broaden our perspective of life. According to Thoreau:

“When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.”

Nowhere did Einstein specify which piece of music was able to convey so much to him that it could explain the world. But I imagine it sounded something like this Bach piece performed by Hilary Hahn:

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About Tom Rapsas

Tom Rapsas is a blogger on inspirational and spirituality issues for Patheos, Elephant Journal and his own site The Inner Way. A long-time spiritual seeker and student of philosophy and religion, his influences include Thomas Moore, John Templeton, Napolean Hill, Ralph Trine and Ralph Waldo Emerson. A resident of the Jersey Shore, Tom lives with his wife, daughter and nine cats. He’s the author of Life Tweets Inspirational & Spiritual Insights That Can Change Your Life, which is now available for Kindle and as a trade paperback. His next book, the spiritual fable Thaddeus Squirrel, will be published in 2014. You can reach him at tomrapsas@gmail.com or via Twitter @TomRapsasTweets

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2 Responses to “Einstein, Hilary Hahn & The Meaning of Life. ~Tom Rapsas”

  1. Andrea Balt Andréa Balt says:

    WOW! Thank you. I love Hilary Hahn and used to listen to her Bach pieces a few years ago. This took me back in time. Beautiful & Inspiring. Just shared on Elephant Culture FB Page.

  2. [...] get upset about this,” but within moments I’ve worked myself into a state, questioning the very meaning of my life if I can’t get what I worked so hard for. I can recognize that I’ve begun to spiral [...]

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