The wisdom of Albert Einstein has long been sought after. His letters expressing his views on God and religion were recently auctioned, and many more of Einstein’s words have been made available in a digital archive. But a brand new letter by Albert Einstein is believed to have been discovered in a Brazilian school this week. Written in German, the note contains some of Einstein’s most quotable words yet.
According to the Telegraph, the letter was written almost 65 years ago and found in Brazil just this year. It is dated 1951 and has the signature of Albert Einstein himself. While it might seem possible that anybody could forge a letter by Albert Einstein, a legal expert and a graphologist have confirmed that the signature matches Einstein’s handwriting.
The letter was written to students of Colégio Anchieta in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Einstein wrote to the students at the request of Father Gaspar Dutra, who met the scientist in the United States and asked him to provide some wisdom to bring back to Brazil. Dutra took the letter to Porto Alegre to show the students and later locked it away in a safe, where it remained for the next 65 years, according to the local Brazilian news site G1.
The message is short but full of Albert Einstein’s signature brilliance, particularly pertaining to the nature of knowledge and understanding. When translated, the letter reads:
“He who knows the happiness of understanding has gained an infallible friend for life. Thinking is to man what flying is to birds. Don’t follow the example of a chicken when you could be a lark.”
Despite the fact that it took decades to discover the letter and reveal it to the public, the letter by Albert Einstein was reportedly part of the institution’s lore. The school’s director said he heard rumors that the letter existed almost 40 years ago, when he first started at the college, but he had never actually tried to find it until this year.
“The man preoccupied with the Theory of Relativity and other things thought to write to young people from a city that maybe he never even imagined existed,” said the director, João Claudio Rhoden. “This document has a very great value, as well as any historical or commercial value, in the message there, in this memento he gave to the students.”
You can see a photo of the actual letter below, typed and signed by Albert Einstein.
“This really is a message that he left for Anchietans, to motivate them to seek knowledge because he is a remarkable person within science,” said Dario Schneider, a teacher at the school. “And we, as educators, want to promote this.”
For more wisdom from Albert Einstein, read three of his most brilliant quotes that you’ve probably never heard before. Or check out the aforementioned thoughts on God that Albert Einstein shared in several letters.
[Image courtesy of the Telegraph]