“Nature continues to shine in everlasting loveliness and one is so happy with one’s precarious existence that the human dilemma is forgotten. One feels reduced to the level of an innocent animal. Dare I hope you share this feeling? Does music still belong in that untouchable sphere? I believe so, so long as one is not a professional musician.” — from a letter to the Queen Mother of Belgium, January 1952
What does it mean to live a meaningful, productive life?
If Albert Einstein passed away in 1905 after publishing his earliest work on relativity, he would have been only 26 years old—but he would have still completed more than enough impressive work for one lifetime. I wrote earlier this year about ten great composers who died before they were 30, and what they all have in common with Einstein is that they lived remarkable lives and left visible legacies behind while they were still young.