Where is God? Or my take on the conversation between Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore.

What I find fascinating about the conversation between Einstein and Tagore (see http://wp.me/p6Hoh2-4l) is that it unveils the men’s philosophies about god-consciousness – as I will call it – referred to simpy as ‘truth’ in the conversation. On a side note, I tried to do a quick search on Enstein’s views on God, and I was surprised to see some claim that Einstein did not believe in God. I think this is inaccurate.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind…” to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein (1929) (http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/35917-i-believe-in-spinoza-s-god-who-reveals-himself-in-the). So Einstein wasn’t a fan of a monotheistic personal God with human-like passions and judgments.

And who or what is Spinoza’s God? Baruch Spinoza says, “[b]y God I understand a being absolutely infinite, i.e., a substance consisting of an infinity of attributes, of which each one expresses an eternal and infinite essence.” (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spinoza/)

The conversation between Einstein and Tagore begins right away with the question of whether god-consciousness or truth exists independent of human consciousness.

EINSTEIN: Do you believe in the divine isolated from the world?
TAGORE: Not isolated. The infinite personality of man comprehends the universe. There cannot be anything that cannot be subsumed by the human personality, and this proves that the truth of the universe is human truth.
. . .
EINSTEIN: Truth, then, or beauty, is not independent of man?
TAGORE: No, I do not say so.
. . .
EINSTEIN: I agree with this conception of beauty, but not with regard to truth.
TAGORE: Why not? Truth is realized through men.
EINSTEIN: I cannot prove my conception is right, but that is my religion.
TAGORE: Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony, which is in the universal being; truth is the perfect comprehension of the universal mind.
. . .
EINSTEIN: . . .The problem is whether truth is independent of our consciousness.
. . .
TAGORE: In any case, if there be any truth absolutely unrelated to humanity, then for us it is absolutely non-existing.
EINSTEIN: Then I am more religious than you are!
TAGORE: My religion is in the reconciliation of the superpersonal man, the universal spirit, in my own individual being.

According to Tagore, “truth is the perfect comprehension of the universal mind.” Einstein doesn’t dispute the existence of a universal mind. However, he counters with that “[t]he problem is whether truth is independent of our consciousness.” And Tagore’s position is that “if there be any truth absolutely unrelated to humanity, then for us it is absolutely non-existing.”

Where is truth – the universal mind – or god-consciousness? Is it separate and independent of man, or is it necessarily one and in unity with man? I am fascinated with Tagore’s interpretation. But I can also see why Einstein is in disagreement with Tagore – because perhaps Tagore’s god is too much of a personal god? That is, are we all gods if we claim that truth or god consciousness is not independent of man?

Both men seem to agree that there is a universal being, a universal mind, an infinity. Is this infinity one and the same as us? I love this idea. At the same time, I think that if I were to claim that I am god would be like saying that the egg is the chicken or that the seed is the tree. Although I must also add that no one has been able to determine which came first!


5 thoughts on “Where is God? Or my take on the conversation between Albert Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore.

  1. Hello, my dear friend Edyta! I’ve just read this post. As is typically remarkable about your writings, this one certainly engages my thoughts. I’m very interested in sharing then more fully a bit later but hopefully very soon when I have the time to offer a response your post deserves. In the meantime, I’ll simply add that I’ve read a number of materials expounding on the philosophical contemplations of a variety of noteworthy, historical individuals. So I’m familiar with the kind of discourse engaged between Einstein and Tagore. One of my most memorable experiences regarding my examination of philosophy transpired years ago when I took a philosophy class led by a very intelligent, impassioned woman (her classes were always so animated and I’d never before seen a person so agog about a subject that before then I’d always felt was utterly boring). This instructor permanently changed my view of philosophy as a general field of study. And I’ve retained an interest in it ever since. I think I might truly enjoy sharing more thoughts with you on this and other topics. You’re a thinking, reasonable person, Edyta. From what I’ve gleaned so far about you, your greatest strengths flow consistently from your honest intelligence, your sincere passion for life and personal growth, and your inspiring humility. As I told you before on another post a little while ago, I may or may not agree with things you notably believe or consider. But, even though we’ve never met in person, I already have a deep respect for you, your impassioned desire to expand your understanding of life, and the strength of your character.

    The subtext I perceive as I read this post (and your others) highlights your ability to articulate yourself effectively and with potency. I’m looking forward to commenting more specifically about this post’s subject later. Thanks, Edyta.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Great Post! More of this topic, please! 🙂

    I think we’re arriving upon an era where science (genetics, at least) will lead many of us into a science-based faith in a being who wrote our DNA code. Many will agree that in order to be the “first” cause of physically coded life (that requires preexisting nanomachines to read the first code), the code writer must have done the original work from outside of time (else who coded the code writer’s DNA?). For me, this access to a “place” beyond time, along with impeccable moral character, qualifies the code writer for the title, God.

    The traditional dogma of Neo-Darwinism, crammed down all of our throats in everything we read, has been effectively challenged and, in my view, laid to rest. You might be interested in Meyer’s book, “Signature in the Cell.”


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! It is such a fascinating topic to explore. I enjoy thinking about it although I don’t have the scientific background – only my layman logic and intuition. I feel I can get at the most basic truths if I try though. Perhaps the answers are also coded in us? I am enjoying your Hapa book by the way. It’s a ‘page turner’ so far 🙂 And thank you for the book suggestion, I will check it out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the encouragement on “Hapa Girl.” I’m reading “The Story Grid” by Shawn Coyne and realizing that I have a lot of cutting and plot work to do if this thing’s ever going to pull readers along the way I want it to. Shawn Coyne is amazing, by the way, if you’re a fiction writer.

        “Perhaps the answers are coded in us.”

        That is such a brilliant idea, whether you mean it figuratively, literally or both. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

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