"One can feel the meaning of life, but not understand it with the mind"
AQS in German at the bottom of a 4 x 7.5 bookplate belonging to Arthur Leonard Ross, affixed to the front pastedown of a first edition of About Zionism: Speeches and Letters by Professor Albert Einstein. In bold and clear fountain pen, Einstein writes, in full: "Den Sinn des Lebens kann man fühlen, aber nicht mit dem Verstand begreifen [One can feel the meaning of life, but not understand it with the mind]. Albert Einstein, 1932." The book, published in New York by Macmillan in 1931, is a hardcover with dust jacket, 4.75 x 8, 94 pages. Autographic condition: fine. Book condition: VG/G+, with Einstein postage stamps affixed to the first free end page, the front panel of the jacket split along the spine, losses to edges of the jacket, and clipped corners to front flap.
Arthur Leonard Ross, a New York attorney who represented the likes of anarchist Emma Goldman and writer H. L. Mencken, was evidently a rare book and autograph collector, whose ex-libris bookplate was specifically designed to leave space for authorial autographs. On this stunning example, Einstein not only signed with his less common full name—"Albert Einstein"—but offered his personal advice on the ultimate question: the meaning of life. As someone with the intellectual capacity to understand the inner workings of the universe, his conclusion—that one can only feel the meaning of life—reveals the genius's humanity, and acknowledges that some things are unknowable. His assertion seems to hint at the spiritual/religious dimension, making it all the more captivating of a quote. A stunning piece of existential wisdom from the revered physicist.