Albert Einstein’s hand-written letter in German questions whether an entity named God exists:
SPIRITUALISM – ABOUT SPIRIT AND SOUL-THE TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN:
I am pleased to share this letter with my readers. I am not surprised. Albert Einstein is no exception and like all others before him and after him (like Richard Dawkins), he just chooses to examine one side of the coin and forgets that the same coin could have a second face. This is the same problem that I encounter while I read the thoughts of a variety of people. They fail to make the fundamental distinctions (for example, the distinction between the living and the non-living, or animate and inanimate) and they tend to examine one aspect of the standard dualism (for example, Appearance vs Reality, and Conditioned vs Unconditioned) . However, I have no reason to reject their views as they present a view of the coin, the face that they recognize. I would give a brief response and invite all to discuss the issue if that would be of any interest to you.
1. Human Identity and Human Individuality
2. Human Essence and Human Existence
3. Human Spirit and Human Soul
4. Human Creation and Human Evolution
5. Reality and Illusion.
There are two aspects or elements of human nature that are in perpetual tension with each other; 1. Freedom, and 2. Dependence. In ‘Spirit’ we seek Freedom, Independence, Liberation, Release, and Salvation. Freedom is associated with the man’s ability called imagination, and a man can find inspiration from within himself and from without to express his creative power of imagination. Man has this unique ability to set himself Free in his mind. Man is endowed with an intellectual ability to seek Freedom even when that Freedom has no correspondence with an external Reality. Man can think that he is Free while he exists in captivity. Man primarily uses his Freedom, the Free Spirit to manipulate the dependent nature of his “conditioned” existence that is sustained by the vital, animating, Life Principle called Soul which represents the second face of the same coin. Man exists as an Individual with Individuality while he is helplessly attached to the environment and the biological community in which he always exists. Man cannot escape from being an Individual with Individuality as this Individualism is the expression of the Individualistic behavior of the molecules (Deoxyribonucleic Acid or DNA), the biological basis for his existence. At the same time, this human Individual with Individuality cannot find Freedom for he survives on support from an external source which demands a constant relationship with an external community of living things.
I describe the second face of the coin as the ‘Soul’ which provides the attachment for man’s dependent or conditioned existence. Man’s Spirit is expressed as his Essence and man seeks to describe his Identity in terms of this Essence and will be able to do so if and only if the Spirit is in relationship with the Soul that provides the attachment to draw energy from an external source. Man’s dependence is often accompanied by an emotional state or condition called ‘Devotion’ which is expressed as a behavioral attitude called Humility.
The matter that concerns us is not that of verifying the existence of God. Man is condemned to exist under the influence of an Illusion that generates Ignorance or inability to perceive the Reality. The experience of Ignorance is a fundamental requirement to support human existence. The perception of Reality puts an end to man’s existence. Man is free in his Spirit to seek Mercy, Grace, and Compassion to understand the nature of Reality while he is trapped by the powerful influence of Illusion. The Illusion that I speak about, describes the lack of sensory perception of the fact of existence on the surface of a fast-moving object. Man is free to describe the motion, but is not free to have a direct, sensory perception of that motion. Man’s Freedom is in his Free Spirit called ‘Bhavana’ and his relationship with the world and universe called ‘Jagat’ (that which is constantly moving and changing ) in which he lives, is called Spirituality and Spiritualism.
I like the concluding remarks made by Albert Einstein in his letter and it reads: “Therefore I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.” In that spirit, I would invite my readers to talk about concrete things; this discussion is not about Albert Einstein’s personal belief, it is not about his Identity as a Jew, it is not about the stories found in Bible, and it is not about God. Let us talk about concrete things; man, his structure, his function, his behavior, his nature, and his existence in the world that we know and understand today.
Albert Einstein’s Historic 1954 “God Letter”
by Richard Dawkins. Posted on September 17, 2012
E-Bay will auction the original, handwritten, in German, letter and envelope,
sent on Princeton University letterhead, by Albert Einstein to
Eric B. Gutkind, on January 3, 1954, a year before Einstein passed away in 1955,
sent as response to Gutkind’s book “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt”.
Key Passages in Translation into English from German:
… I read a great deal in the last days of your book, and thank you very much for sending it to me.
What especially struck me about it was this. With regard to the factual attitude to life and to the human community we have a great deal in common.
… The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.
In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.
Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e; in our evaluations of human behavior. What separates us are only intellectual ‘props’ and ‘rationalization’ in Freud’s language. Therefore I think that we would understand each
other quite well if we talked about concrete things.