06 November 2023

‘Love conquers all, is able
to transcend everything
and anything, because love
is the quintessence of life’

‘Love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits’ … street art on Red Cross Way, close to the ‘Boot and Flogger’ (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

Patrick Comerford

A popular posting circulating on social media for many years, claims that Albert Einstein’s daughter Lieserl, donated 1,400 letters written by her father to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in the late 1980s, with the proviso that their contents should not be published until two decades after his death.

Among the letters is what is supposed to be Albert Einstein’s letter to his daughter Lieserl regarding the ‘universal force’ of love.

Katharine Rose, a contributor to Huffpost, wrote eight years ago how her searches in the Hebrew University’s online archives, including the Albert Einstein Archives, and in the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein failed to yield any results. She also found that Lieserl was born with a mental handicap and died of scarlet fever in 1903 when she was nearly two years old. Katharine Rose became convinced that the letter was, indeed, fabricated.

Dr Diana Kormos-Buchwald, a professor of physics and the history of science at the California Institute of Technology, is the director and editor of the Einstein Papers Project, which has published the Digital Einstein Papers, making 5,000 documents spanning Einstein’s first 44 years of his life available online.

Referring to the letter circulating on social media, she has written: ‘This document is not by Einstein. The family letters donated to the Hebrew University – referred to in this rumour – were not given by Lieserl. They were given by Margot Einstein, who was Albert Einstein’s stepdaughter. Many of those letters were published in Volume 10 of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein in 2006 and in subsequent volumes, in chronological order.’ The supposed letter on the ‘universal force’ of love is not among them.

The question of who is behind the letter on the ‘universal force’ of love remains a mystery. But, as Katharine Rose wrote on Huffpost in 2015, ‘It's a beautiful read, offering a universal message that speaks to the essence of the human condition and our incessant yearning to believe in love's conquering force.’

In the letter said to have been written to his daughter Lieserl, Einstein supposedly says:

‘When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.

‘I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.

‘There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us.

‘This universal force is LOVE.

‘When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force.

‘Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it.

‘Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others.

‘Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals.

‘For love we live and die.

‘Love is God and God is Love.

‘This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.

‘To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation.

‘If, instead of E = MC2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.

‘After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy …

‘If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.

‘Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.

‘However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.

‘When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.

‘I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it’s too late to apologise, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer!

‘Your father, Albert Einstein’

‘My heart … has quietly beaten for you all my life’ … street art at the railway arches at Stoney Street and Winchester Walk, close to Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2023)

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