Unschooler-curated learning resources


Albert Einstein, 'lone traveler,' -- The World As I See It

Albert Einstein & Charlie Chaplin, 1931
A shortened version of an essay written by Albert Einstein in 1931, titled “The World As I See It.”

How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving…

I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves — this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed empty to me. The trite objects of human efforts — possessions, outward success, luxury — have always seemed to me contemptible.

My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a ‘lone traveler’ and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude…

My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized. It is an irony of fate that I myself have been the recipient of excessive admiration and reverence from my fellow-beings, through no fault, and no merit, of my own. The cause of this may well be the desire, unattainable for many, to understand the few ideas to which I have with my feeble powers attained through ceaseless struggle. I am quite aware that for any organization to reach its goals, one man must do the thinking and directing and generally bear the responsibility. But the led must not be coerced, they must be able to choose their leader. In my opinion, an autocratic system of coercion soon degenerates; force attracts men of low morality… The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me not the political state, but the creative, sentient individual, the personality; it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains dull in thought and dull in feeling.

This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor… This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them!

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man… I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence — as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.

Read the full essay.


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Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day! - Gluten-Free Coriander Ale

I'm reposting the following for Teach A Friend to Homebrew Day! - Saturday, Nov 1 - Plus, I've added a gluten-free beer recipe.

Gluten-Free Coriander Ale
Coriander seeds, long used in beer, grow into the common 
culinary herb known as Cilantro.

You’ll need:
3 pounds white sorghum syrup
¾ pound honey
0.16 ounce coriander seed, powdered
1.25 ounce sweet orange peel
½ package dried ale yeast
bottling sugar

1. Bring to boil 1.5 gallons water.
2. Add sorghum, coriander, and orange. Boil 30 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in honey.
4. Add water to total 2.5 gallons.
5. Cool to 70° F (21° C), strain into fermenter, and add yeast.
6. Cover and ferment 7-14 days.
7. Siphon into bottling bucket. Prime with sugar. Bottle.

Ready to drink in 2 weeks.

Maia got one comment on her beer making project. It wasn't about why she's a kid making beer. It was, "Is your hair green?"

"Maia's Blonde Ale" is presently fermenting in our garage brewery. She checks on it with encouraging words each morning. For her, it's not about the beer (yet). She wanted to use the jumbo kettle, the hydrometer, the carboy and airlock, hop socks, long-handled spoon, thermometer, and kitchen scale.

We had to measure out precise amounts of hops and sugars and reach precise temperatures. She can't wait to bottle her brew. I'll have to ask her whether she prefers the swing top bottles or if she wants to try the bottle capper. She'll get to use the siphon and tubes and bottle filler. That will be fun.

When she's of legal age, especially since she's gluten-free, she'll probably appreciate her brewing skills even more.

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